firefighter wellness
Home - Body Comp - BMI - BMR - Waist/Hip - Vo2 - Endurance - Strength - Flexibility - Tiers - Partners

Body Composition:

What is Body Composition?     In physical fitness, body composition is used to describe the percentages of fat, bone and muscle in human bodies. Because muscular tissue takes up less space in our body than fat tissue, our body composition, as well as our weight, determines leanness. Two people at the same height and same body weight may look completely different from each other because they have a different body composition. 

The National Institute of Health recommends that a healthy adult male's body should have between 8 and 17 percent fat and a female should have 10-21%. Levels significantly above these amounts may indicate excess body fat.

Why is Body Comp Important?   Your body composition can directly effect your personal performance in activities of daily living as well as on the job.  Certain body composition levels are strong indicators  pointing to your risk level of certain physical diseases.

Body Fat Percentage By Age- Men                ...........................What are FF Values?

........Classification ...18-25 ...26-35 ......36-45 .....46-55......56-65 .........66+
10 - Lean .................<10% ......<14% ...<17% ......<20% ......<21% ......<21%
8 - Leaner Avg .........10-13% ...14-18% ...17-21% ...20-23% ...21-24% ...21-23%
6 - Average .............13-17% ...18-21% ...21-24% ...23-25% ...24-26% ...23-25%
4 - Fatter Avg ..........17-20% ...21-24% ...24-26% ...25-28% ...26-28% ...25-27%
2 - Fat ....................20-27% ...24-29% ...26-29% ...28-31% ...28-31% ...27-30%
0 - Overfat (Obesity) 27-37% ...29-37% ...29-38% ...31-38% ...31-38% ...30-38%

Body Fat Percentage By Age Women
........Classification ....18-25.... ..26-35 ......36-45...... 46-55 ......56-65 ......66+
10 - Very Lean ..........13-17% ...13-18% .. ..15-19% ...18-22% ...18-23% ...16-18%
8 - Lean ... ... ... ... ...18-20% ...19-21% ... 20-23% ...23-25% ...24-26% ... 22-25%
6 - Leaner Avg ... ... ...21-23% ...22-23% . ..24-26% ...26-28% ...28-30% ...27-29%
4 - Average ... ... ... ...24-25% ...24-26% ...27-29% .. .29-31% ...31-33% ...30-32%
2 - Fatter Avg ... ... ... 26-28% ...27-30% ...30-32% .. .32-34% .. 34-36% ... 33-35%
1 - Fat ... ... ... ... . .. .29-31% ...31-35% ...33-36% .. .36-38% ...36-38% ...36-38%
0 - Overfat (Obesity) . 33-43% ...36-48% ...39-48% .. .40-49% ...39-46% ...39-40%


General Population Norm Charts: 

Classification            ...         Women (% fat)                Men (% fat) ......
                                                                         
Essential Fat                       10-12%                             2-4%       ......
                                                                            
Athletes                              14-20%                            6-13%      ......
                                                                              
Fitness                               21-26%                           14-20%    .......
                                                                           
Acceptable                          27-32%                            21-28%    ......
                                                                               
Obese                                33%-37%                        28%-32%   ......

Obese + .............................38%+ ...............................33%+ .........


How to Effect Your Body Comp: It's fairly common knowledge now days that "spot reduction" is a myth.  Meaning, if you body chooses to hold onto a relatively larger quantity of fatty tissue in a particular area of your body, you cannot specifically target that area for fat loss through exercise.  To lose that troublesome fatty area or any other portion of your fat mass you must utilize appropriate diet and exercise programming and take a general approach to overall body fat reduction.                      Review of the scientific literature suggests that moderately intense aerobic activity needs to be performed most days of the week to bring about significant fat loss. Some sources recommend brisk walking progressing to 45 minutes or more daily. Other authorities recommend working up to 60-90 minutes of daily physical activity for weight loss.

The USDA recommends at least 60 to 90 minutes of daily moderately intense physical activity while not exceeding caloric intake requirements to sustain weight loss in adulthood. About 60 minutes a day may be needed to prevent weight gain. (USDA 2005).