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Old 04-03-2008, 07:38 PM   #1
sarena kopciel
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Default Ideal Bodyfat percentages

Please help me understand and create realistic goals by explaining to me realistic "ideal" bodyfat percentages for a woman age 46! I was looking online and an average of sites come to around 23% which to me seems awfully high. I actually saw on one site that under 23% can be "too little" for a woman my age range. I think that may be preposterous!!

Anyway, I had some skinfold tests about a month ago that placed me at 21%. Today I jumped on Coach's Tanita scale which gave me a 19.6%. Now I understand that these are not very accurate but as a general guideline with a +/- SD! I can use the scale as a baseline and follow it on a consistent basis as my training continues and improves.

So what would be an ideal goal??
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:45 PM   #2
Mike ODonnell
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Personally I always hated clients and BF for the following reasons:

- They are highly inaccurate methods (esp the electrical ones which are based on water balance)
- People obsess about it too much
- People get really depressed when the numbers don't fall fast enough or jump up (mainly because of water balance)

I use the "look in the mirror" line....if someone wants to start just to know that's one thing....if they become obsessed about it that's not healthy....if one is eating healthy and exercising they should see results and be happy
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Old 04-03-2008, 09:01 PM   #3
Greg Everett
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I'm with Mike - the numbers are so arbitrary. If you like how it looks, it's good (and more importantly, if you like how it feels and performs). Some people carry 20% like 12%, while others carry it like 30%.
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Old 04-04-2008, 06:00 AM   #4
Chris Rice
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I've used skin fold calipers for years and years to track my BF. I have no idea how truly accurate it is but it does seem to be reproducible and consistent. In the close to 25+ years I've used them, I've gone from 8% to 12% now at almost 60 years old. I'm a natural skinny though so it hasn't been something I've ever worked at - just a couple times a year, I'll pull them out and check. But that said - after you've done it a few times - a quick look in the mirror will tell you everything you need to know about it. It also seems to have something to do with "thin" skinned versus thicker skin. The naturally thin skinned guy may look ripped but still have the relative same BF inside as another who doesn't appear as lean.
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Old 05-02-2008, 11:05 AM   #5
Brian Shanks
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O sweet!
I must have thick skin.
Yes that is it I have thick skin.

I like that!

Thanks for the tip!

Brian
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Old 05-02-2008, 11:22 AM   #6
Tirzah Harper
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I'd say the numbers you get from any one source are probably decent relative to the way that source calculates body fat....
Do you like how you feel/perform/look? If so, you're at your ideal BF%.
Me, I'm a handful of pounds over mine. I've been there before, liked it, miss it, not sure how to work in the extra activity to get back to it on top of everything I'm already doing in life.
Numbers are just...numbers. My weight at my ideal BF NOW would probably be a couple pounds more than the last time I was "ideal," because I've definitely added some muscle.
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Old 05-03-2008, 06:18 AM   #7
Darryl Shaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarena kopciel View Post
Please help me understand and create realistic goals by explaining to me realistic "ideal" bodyfat percentages for a woman age 46! I was looking online and an average of sites come to around 23% which to me seems awfully high. I actually saw on one site that under 23% can be "too little" for a woman my age range. I think that may be preposterous!!

Anyway, I had some skinfold tests about a month ago that placed me at 21%. Today I jumped on Coach's Tanita scale which gave me a 19.6%. Now I understand that these are not very accurate but as a general guideline with a +/- SD! I can use the scale as a baseline and follow it on a consistent basis as my training continues and improves.

So what would be an ideal goal??
Skinfold tests and BIA can both be out by +/- 2-4% so there's not much point worrying about small variations in measurements and at ~20%BF you're already as lean as many healthy female athletes that are half your age.
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Old 05-03-2008, 06:03 PM   #8
sarena kopciel
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Thanks Darryl but at a formerly obese person (around 225#), I still see FAT when I look in the mirror. I need to see a shrink!! (oops that would be me, a social worker...)
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Old 05-03-2008, 09:37 PM   #9
Mike ODonnell
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Throw out the scale and BF meter.....those are just numbers used to make you get obsessed over something....all you need is a mirror to know what you see is good.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:55 AM   #10
Tirzah Harper
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So essentially, since you KNOW your self-perceptions are likely to be off, you're asking for some tips on being objective about it, right?
How are your lifts progressing? Are you making gains?
How is your energy level? Good, bad, or in between?
How healthy do you feel, generally?
Who do you know, or know of, around your age and body type (that's important! No point in comparing yourself to someone who is naturally very thin or very muscular or anything that you're not!), who trains similarly to you and looks the way you want to look? What's their bodyfat % tested by the same method that you use to test yours?
In other words, find what you like within the limits of reality and then find out what THAT measures to be. I prefer to run at a lower BF% and weight than most women my height, because of my build and bone structure. Other people look and feel better a little higher, because of their own makeup.
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