Your body fat percentage is a measurement of the amount of total fat tissue you have on your body. This percentage is used as a measurement of your fitness level and is helpful when tracking progress of development when implementing a new workout routine.
Body fat can be measured using a variety of tools, such as the bioelectrical impedance machine, skin fold calipers, or hydrostatic weighing. The most cost effective and accurate measurements are generally taken using the skin fold calipers and are performed at most gyms.
There are various steps you can take to decreasing your body fat percentage.
1. Switch from the predominate ideal of having three square meals per day, to having five or six mini meals. The idea is to cut back on portions to shrink your stomach, but eat often enough (every three hours or so) to maintain a speedy metabolism.
2. Incorporate a strength building routine into your current workout. Building lean muscle mass is effective to reducing your body fat percentage by:
a.) Increasing your muscle mass to burn more calories by increasing your basal metabolic rate
b.) Increasing the ratio between body fat and lean muscle
3. Participate in a variety of aerobic activities such as power walking, jogging, swimming, or skating at least three times per week. Be sure to choose activities that you enjoy so you can be sure to continue doing them even if your motivation is lagging.
4. For people short on time, incorporate a session or two (or three!) of high intensity training. High intensity cardio requires as little as 20 minutes of your time but will cause your metabolism to skyrocket for over 24 hours after the workout. To start, perform short bursts of high intensity running coupled with longer periods of recovery. For a beginner, this might look like 30 seconds sprinting, 90 seconds recovery at a fast walk for a minimum of 6 intervals. Gradually, increase those intervals to 60 seconds sprinting, 120 seconds recovery. High intensity training is also a great way to promote athletic endurance and stamina.
5. Consume the right types of protein to help recover from your workouts and build solid muscle. Protein also is the hardest nutrient to digest therefore you end up burning more calories trying to digest it than other nutrients. This also means you will stay fuller for longer, helping you to combat those cravings to stay on the right track.