What Is Body Composition
Body composition is the term used to describe the different components that, when taken together, make up a person’s body weight. The human body is made up of lean tissue (muscles and organs), bones, and water that are metabolically active, and fat tissue that is not.
The ideal weight and fat-lean ratio varies considerably for men and women and by age, but the minimum fat percent considered safe for good health is 7% percent for males and 14% for females. The average adult body fat is closer to 15% to 18% for men and 22% to 25% for women.
As an individual ages, body composition changes even in the absence of body weight changes. Studies have shown that fat mass increases and muscle mass decreases with age. This process starts as early as age 30 and can escalate rapidly depending on a person’s lifestyle.
At first, the progressive reduction in muscle tissue goes unnoticed because of the additional fat and greater body weight. However, as time goes on, more of the muscle that gives a solid, firm and toned physical appearance is reduced and replaced by ever-increasing amount of fat.
Visceral fat refers to fat that surrounds the internal organs. Levels of visceral fat in the body cannot be gauged by stepping on a scale. If we used only weight and height in assessing fat content, people who have lots of muscles would fall in the obese category.
As an example, let’s take two average size women who both have a similar diet, one who lifts weights and one who doesn’t. Hypothetically, they could both weigh an average of 135lbs at 5.4 in height and appear externally to be the same dress size. However, the woman who lifts weights could have a body composition of 14% fat and be considered fit, while the one who doesn’t could be over 30% fat, which would be considered obese. (The average fit woman’s percent of body fat is generally between 18.5 – 24.9%). A healthy diet could lower body weight, but not necessarily change one’s body composition. The picture here shows a student who has been training on our system for 16 years and is now 66 years old.
Your lifestyle choices affect how quickly the aging process takes place. Some things you can do to reduce age-related body changes are:
- Strength training is the no1 scientifically proven activity to build lean muscle mass and combat muscle loss syndrome and its associated consequences such as changes in metabolic rates and weight gain
- Eat a balanced diets comprised of lean protein, healthy fats and healthy carbohydrates.
- Avoid tobacco and alcoholic beverages
Written by Batista Gremaud for Dr. Fitness USA