The Measure of Physical Health

Another way to do it would be using bioelectrical impedance, in which an electrical impulse is sent painlessly through your body. The idea is that electricity travels more easily through tissues that have a lot of water, such as muscle, and less easily through tissues in which water is scarcer, such as fat. So by measuring the amount of current that makes it through the body, you can also estimate how much fat your body contains.

However, it is difficult to get an accurate reading with this method, as you will always drink a different amount of fluids from one day to the next. Hence, it is difficult to establish base points of measurement.

So what makes sense if you want to track and measure your process?

One of the easiest ways to accurately measure your body composition is a series of skin fold measurements, which normally have a standard error of not more then 3.5 percent. This is simply done, using calipers to measure folds of skin on different points on your body. The skin fold measurement is based on the belief that 50 percent of body fat lies under the skin, which can be pinched and measured at anatomical locations.

So now that you have your body fat percentage, the outcome can be assessed by using the following guidelines:

Essential Fat

Women: 10-12 percent

Men: 2-4 percent


Women: 14-20 percent

Men: 6-13 percent


Women: 21-24 percent

Men: 14-17 percent


Women: 25-31 percent

Men: 18-24 percent


Women: 32 percent and higher

Men: 25 percent and higher

Reaching Your Goals

The goal objective for a regular individual should be getting to the fitness region. Yes, I know it is easier said than done. But it is doable.

These guidelines may also give you also a great goal incentive. You can map out when you should reach what kind of body fat percentage with what kind of body weight. Your gain or loss of fat tissue and lean muscle tissue can be tracked and measured.

This is the only measurement that can give you this information. The other measurements are just tools to give you information on the direction you are going in your fitness goals.

But let's keep it logical and honest. You probably already know when you weigh too much and when you need to lose weight. You don't need measurements to prove this fact.

Stefan Aschan is the owner and founder of, providing nutrition and exercise programs, in New York City.

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