How much body fat is the right amount of body fat?
Does everyone have the same amount of body fat?
What determines how much fat a person stores on their body?
These are some "body fat basics" that might be helpful in understanding why it is that we find such a variety of body types when we think of our friends and family.
First, it is important to know that body fat percentage varies from person to person and there is no ONE right percentage of body fat, although there is a healthy RANGE of body fat percentage.
The average body fat for women under the age of 30 is 20-25%, while for men, the average is 13-16%. Even for athletes, the range is fairly similar: 13-26% for elite female athletes and 8-15% for male athletes.
Did you know there are three different body types, and that your body type has a lot to do with how you store fat? It's true - may not be what we hear a lot of these days...we hear instead that there is one type in particular that we should all strive to be...but that is just not so.
The three genetic body types are:
Ectomporphs. These folks are generally lean and muscular and have a lower body fat percentage on average.
Mesomorphs. Naturally muscular folks that can increase there muscle mass fairly quickly.
Endomorphs. These folks tend to be more "stocky", with a wider set chest and hips and tend to gain and store fat a bit more easily.
Knowing one's own body type can be useful in understanding what the "right" range of body fat is for that individual. One size does, in fact, not fit all.