John 8:32 "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." NIV

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Body Fat %

No, this isn't me!
I admit it. I have been OBSESSING of my Body Fat Percentage since yesterday. Not obsessing like researching to find out that 15.7% is actually low for women (thanks TriGuy), but more like obsessing as in feeling like I am a total blob. I am floored that it has really affected me in this way.

Being obsessed, I decided to go back to the gym last night. I did a mile on the treadmill, then rode the bike 3.46 miles in 15 minutes, and then headed back to the treadmill of another 5.2 miler = total running time was 58:45 (included the mile warm-up).

I got home and felt tired - in a good way. I stretched and went to bed. I slept very restless, probably due to the double workout.

But I woke up still upset about the BF %. Why? Because I am insane. I worked this morning and then was meeting with the trainer again. I arrived early to the gym and did a 30 minute warm-up on the bike which made for 13.77 miles. I met with the trainer and she really worked me out for an hour. I did leg weights, stationary lunges, steps ups, dips, squats and then we did more core work. I left after an hour knowing that if I laughed it would hurt.

Bob picked me up for a run and hill workout at 5:15... plenty of time to recover from my 1pm workout session with the trainer, right? We ran 2.9 miles through the neighborhood near the hill and then did 4 hill intervals on ice. It was sleeting/snowing. Running up a hill on ice isn't bad. You cannot go as fast as you want, so it really forces you to work on your form - don't try this at home folks. I felt great when we finished and it was good to reconnect with him.

So how am I feeling about the BF %... well, I would still like it to be around 10%, but here is what I found when I Googled it:

Body Type








Above Average






And some charts even listed anything under 17% as underFat.... so I guess it isn't that bad. Maybe after looking more into it, I feel less annoyed by 15.7% but definitely do not feel that I am too skinny.

Have you ever had your Body Fat % checked? Is so what test did they give you? Were you surprised by the results?

UPDATE: Okay... I whined enough. I spent some time tonight really researching this and I AM low, possibly too low. I have never even imagined that I would obsess over this. I like that I am healthy and have strength to workout. And while I see flaws in my body, I love my body. I think this was a little test, a test I failed, but I am done. I am back. I am ready to continue to train, the right way, and to be happy with who I am, where I am, and to support others. I am not perfect, nor do I claim to be. I thought about removing this post, but that would be unfair... I want those that may struggle with body image to know... they are not alone. Thanks for reading my rambles....


Pam said... says females are in competition form at 6-10% BF.

I am personal friends with a bodybuilder. I know what they do to get that BF %! Although I admire your drive, that seems awfully low for a nonprofessional runner/triathlete.

If you do decide to strive for that goal, please, please, plase do it safely!

Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal said...

I know you already know this but sometimes it's nice if someone reminds you. It's what's on the inside that counts, not how low your body fat percentage is :)

XLMIC said...

It is unhealthy to have your body fat % be too low. If your periods stop, you could run the risk of osteoporosis... anyway that is what I have been told. When I was in peak physical form I was 19.7%. And I was in amazing shape. We trained between 3and 6 hours a day, 6 days a week. I am 5'7" and then weighed 125.something. All of my teammates were astounded that my body fat was "that high" but I wasn't. I have boobs. lol

Obsessing about your body fat being 15.7% and you're a woman... I think you might want to reevaluate that obsession! ;-)

coach dion said...

I had my Body Fat checked back in the mid 90's, but I don't remember what it was, so I can't tell you if I was thinner or fatter than you... What I do remember is, like you I had wanted to be thinner. I was proberly 12% or something and had wanted / hoped to be 10 or under... (I didn't have any wirght to loss and now I'm 5kg heavier and would be happy if I could loss 2kg. Don't think that is going to happen. I drink to much and eat to much, food is nice...

Karen said...

I'm glad you posted the update! I've been thinking about you.

If one of the girls you work with as part of your youth ministry said to you what you originally posted, what would you say to her?

Terri said...

XLMIC is absolutely right - if your body fat is too low, normal hormonal activity is interrupted and you won't deposit calcium in your bones properly and, hello stress fracture. Or worse - full on break when you fall or get bumped or something that inevitably happens when we participate in endurance activity. Just read SUAR (or one of the many other blogs of injured recreational athletes) to remind yourself that you do NOT want to go there!

I am always a little suspicious of fitness "evaluations" held by folks who have something to gain if you don't do well on the "test" - not saying this is the case with your trainer, or that you shouldn't work out with a trainer, mind you. I just think I'd take most of the results with a grain of salt.

Trish said...

Your post was so timely for me. I have recently had some experiences with the body fat % that are making me question how I feel about myself. And I am a personal trainer, you'd think I'd know better. Everyone is right, despite how you have seen yourself, you BF is on the lower end for a non-pro/competitive athlete. A lot of hormonal issues can kick up when we gals go to low. It's hard to let go of how we look or what the number say and focus on how we feel and how our performance is going.

You're doing great, and I'm glad you revisited this. It sets a great example for everyone. I think I may do some blogging about my experience....

Anonymous said...

I read your blog yesterday about the body fat percentage, personally yours is awesome! I have 17% body fat, which, according to the person who measured me, nicely fit in the athlete range. You have to have a certain percentage to have a period and bear children, so being too low can affect your reproduction (you know, if you're interested in that one day).

I wouldn't worry about the body fat percentage. If you can move and run like you want to, who cares what the number is?


Bethany + Ryan said...

last time i had my body fat tested it was over 20%!! I wear a size 4 or a 6, i've run 19 marathons (faster than most people could ever run) and i've run a 50 mile race and will DEF do more. Seeing the 20%+ doesn't bother me at all, sure it'd be nice if it was lower but i don't let it bring me down. Do i feel "soft" for a runner? Yes, sometimes i do. I line up at races standing next to girls who look like models, i feel a little jealous for a second but then as i pass them at mile 1 i stop caring. I guess it's about what you can do, for me at least. There are some women with 12% BF who could never even run a mile. It's not the only way to judge yourself. You have had many fitness accomplishments and you are a runner and an athlete. I wouldn't let a little number bother you, especially one that's so low!! Good luck!

momof3 said...

you know I'm obese right? Yup. I had mine read last march and it told me I am Obese. I wear a size 8 on my "fat days". Of course, I have/had a nice set of pillows on my chest, and they tell me that the machine registers those as fat, so I'm "probably just over weight".