Body Fat is stored as adipose tissue in almost every region of our bodies but a small amount of fat, about 300-400 grams to be exact, is stored in our muscles. This fat is called intramuscular fat and is stored in our skeletal muscles such as our biceps, triceps etc, organ muscles such as the heart and other muscles such as our stomachs and intestines. The majority however, is stored around the organs and underneath the skin and the fat that surrounds the organs themselves relates to the Visceral Fat that we talked about in the previous one.
The amount stored in different parts of your body depends very often on genetic make up and an individuals hormone balance. There is very little we can do about where our body chooses to distribute the body fat but of course there is indeed something that we can do to change the way and the amount of it that is stored in our bodies.
Some body Fat is essential for maintaining body temperature, cushioning joints and protecting internal organs so it is important to try to find a balance between being healthy and low body fat whilst also not being excessively low. Especially in Sports, being extremely low can increase our risks of injury especially as we are not protected.
On he opposite end of the scale, too much fat can increase risk of heart disease and diabetes etc.
There are 3 main components of body fat; essential fats to help the structures of our body tissue, sex specific fat for hormonal function and storage fat which is required for energy and the one that as Athletes we most rely on. The minimum percentages of body fat recommended for Men is 5% and 10% in women. Anything below that would be regarded as unhealthy.
Going below these can lead to issues such as hormonal imbalances, amenorrhea, possible infertility, reduced bone density and increased risks of osteoporosis.
Unless you are an Athlete, the recommended average ranges for recommended good health are 13-18% for Men and 18-25% for Women.
The reason they are called essential fats is because there are some fats that we must consume because they are indeed good for us and some of it does get converted by the body in to energy and glucose. These essential fats are very important for maintaining healthy cells and cell membranes, brain tissue and nervous system and a healthy bone marrow. Most importantly, it helps cushion our organs from damage and therefore some body fat is important.
The amount of Fat that is healthy for each individual to consume depends on three factors; your body weight, age and height.
From these information you can calculate how much is the ideal barometer of fat that you should be consuming for your body weight.
Body Fat Mass is the actual weight of fat in your body in comparison to your body weight. So my own personal body weight at last measurement was 56.7kg and my body fat mass was 5.7kg.
Body Fat percentage indicates the proportion of that fat to your body weight. So my body weight is 56.7 with my body fat mass at 5.7 so when calculated my body fat percentage equates to 10%.
Fat free mass is the amount of your body weight that is completely fat free, which obviously equals to your fat mass taken away from your body weight.