Have you decided to start working out and eating healthier? Using a BMI machine to calculate your body fat percentage can give you a clear picture of how much weight you need to lose.
This guide will discuss everything you need to know about the body mass index. How does it work, and where do you stand on the body fat scale? How many pounds do you need to lose to fall into the healthy weight range? What type of exercise regimen will help you accomplish this goal?
What Does the Body Mass Index Tell You?
BMI is a formula that uses your height and weight to determine how far you are from a healthy weight. This is by no means a comprehensive breakdown. However, for the average sedentary individual, it provides a rough estimate of where you stand for the average sedentary individual.
People who are overweight or obese are at risk of several health conditions like cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. However, you also need to consider that the BMI reading doesn’t account for muscle presence.
So athletes who are extremely fit and have a lot of muscle mass will have a higher BMI value, making them look unhealthy on paper. As an average person with sedentary activity levels, this should not affect you. But it is still something to keep in mind.
What is a Healthy Weight According to BMI?
According to the scale, any BMI value between 18.5 and 24.9 puts you in the normal range, while values below signify that you’re underweight, and values above this mean you’re overweight.
If a person has a BMI reading of 30 or above, that means they’re not just overweight but edging into obesity. People who are obese are at a higher risk of heart diseases and other health issues.
Measuring your BMI is important because it shows you exactly where you stand and what steps you need to take to lose weight. While personal trainers can help you create a customized fitness plan, you don’t require specialized equipment to start your weight loss journey.
If you’re unhappy with your current weight, then use a BMI calculator to plan your fat loss journey. In addition, you can check out our guides on running and walking to help you develop a workable solution.
What is the Difference Between BMI And Body Fat Percentage?
BMI measures the relationship between body weight and height. The formula for BMI is weight in pounds divided by height in inches squared multiplied by 703.
Don’t worry; you can easily use one of our BMI calculators to do the math. Once you get your BMI value, you can check it against the four pre-determined ranges.
- Below 18.5 means you’re underweight
- Between 18.5 and 24.9 means you’re healthy
- Between 25 and 29.9 means you’re overweight
- Over 30 signifies obesity
BMI doesn’t differentiate between fat and muscle. That’s why another value exists called the body fat percentage. Under this, the healthy range for women is from 19 to 32 percent, while for men, it is 16 to 25 percent.
There is no particular association between BMI and body fat percentage.
Can I Check My Body Fat Percentage?
It may seem counterintuitive, but you can check your total body fat percentage using handheld BMI machines. So how does a handheld BMI machine work? The device sends an electrical signal through your body. Don’t worry; this is entirely painless.
The rate at which the signal passes through various parts of your body varies. It takes more time for an electric signal to pass through body fat than it does muscle and bone. And it moves through water the fastest.
That is why its speed, when plugged into a formula, helps you determine body fat percentage, muscle mass, and water or hydration levels. This formula, unlike the one used for essential BMI, also accounts for other factors like your gender, weight, height, and activity level. This is important because all these factors impact body composition.
The BMI machine gives you relatively accurate results using bioelectrical impedance. What makes this such a great tool is that it doesn’t require technical knowledge so that anyone can do it!
Buying a BMI Machine
According to healthcare professionals, handheld machines that log values from leg to leg are more precise when measuring body fat than those that work from hand to hand or finger to finger. The reason behind this is that leg-to-leg handheld devices measure stomach fat, while the others do not.
There are also other tools you can use to estimate body fat. For example, skinfold calipers provide more accurate readings than handheld BMI devices, requiring technical expertise. If you don’t have experience using calipers, you’re likely to get a bunch of user errors that will skew your readings.
Also, when you’re taking your readings, make sure you do it simultaneously every day. If you’ve just finished exercising, drinking, or eating, this will skew the results. Similarly, if you take a reading as soon as you wake up, you’ll likely be dehydrated.
Other factors that can drastically upset the values overnight are skin temperature differences or menstruation cycles. So overall, when you’re trying to measure body fat try and keep all the external conditions like temperature, time of day, exertion levels, and hydration precisely the same.
How to Plan Weight Loss Using Your Body Fat Percentage?
So why should you measure BMI or body fat in the first place? Using a body mass index-based exercise regimen lets you set realistic weight loss goals. For example, if you take a look at our guides for “How Much Should I Run Based On Your BMI?” you’ll see that it takes 35 miles of running to burn one pound of body fat.
Similarly, you can work your way backward and calculate how many hours you need to walk in a week to lose 2 pounds every month using our guide for “How To Plan Walk Using Body Mass Index Results?”
Once you know your body fat levels, you’ll be better positioned to seek professional medical advice and put yourself back on the right track through diet control and exercise.
A lManyople underestimate body fat and how dangerous it can be for your health. But if you’re outside of the healthy ranges, 19 to 32 percent for women and 16 to 25 percent for men, then you’re at risk of diabetes and other health problems even if your BMI value doesn’t signify obesity.
Does Regular Body Fat Monitoring Increase Weight Loss?
Research shows that the frequency with which you monitor factors like weight and body fat has a direct impact on weight loss as well as your internal motivation to eat healthier foods.
Additionally, daily checks let you highlight trends over several weeks or months. This is great because you’re not worrying about the daily fluctuations. You can afford to have bad weeks without getting demotivated because you know that the overall trajectory is moving upwards.
Many people struggling with body image issues tend to beat themselves up over minor fluctuations in weight. This strategy helps you avoid those downward spirals and does wonders for your mental health because you know that gaining a few pounds over the holiday season isn’t the end of the world. As long as your body fat trends show a gradual improvement over several months, you’re moving in the right direction.
It isn’t just about fat percentages, either. BMI machines give you a host of values, including body water percentages. With these, you can monitor your hydration levels and make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. Once you’re hydrating regularly, you’ll notice a massive improvement in your energy levels, and your skin will improve remarkably.
Even if you’re satisfied with your current weight, you can still use a BMI machine to become fitter. As athletes or personal trainers will tell you, keeping track of changes in muscle mass and bone density assures fitness-focused individuals that any weight gain they’re experiencing is actually muscle gain.
Overall, there are several reasons why regular monitoring may benefit you physically and mentally.
At the end of the day, BMI machines are an excellent way for ordinary people to figure out where they stand without the money and effort it takes to consult healthcare professionals. In addition, staying within the healthy body fat percentages lets you avoid many health problems.
When you know how many pounds of fat you need to lose, you can translate that directly into hours of physical exertion, and cardio exercise spread out over days and weeks. And when you have handheld measuring devices, you can keep track of your changing body fat levels.
Set up a chart and take regular readings so you can see how you’re losing pounds of fat over the weeks and months. Having that concrete evidence in front of you will keep you motivated through your weight loss journey.
So invest in your very own handheld BMI device and put yourself on the track to health and fitness!