Did you know that you can control the shape of your body? It might sound impossible, or maybe something only the lucky ones can do, but we all have the ability to transform our bodies with a little understanding of diet and exercise and how they both can play a part in body composition.
What is Body Composition?
Body composition is the ratio of fat to lean mass, including muscle, bones and organs. A healthy body composition is one that includes a healthy percentage for men and women, that is a lower percentage of body fat, but not so low that it causes health issues such as the loss of menstruation and fertility problems in women.
Body fat percentage is a measurement of body composition to indicate how much of the weight of your body is fat. The percentage of the body that is not fat is fat-free mass. To figure out the body fat percentage you can use a specialist machine at a gym or by taking simple measurements and entering the numbers into an online body fat percentage calculator. Bear in mind they might not be 100% accurate, but can give a rough idea of how much of the body is fat and fat-free mass.
Healthy ranges of body composition:
- Women = 21% to 24%
- Men = 14 to 17%
- Women = 25% to 31%
- Men = 18% to 24%
Athletes tend to have lower body fat percentages and those who are overweight will, obviously, have higher body fat percentages. The aim here is to have a healthy body fat percentage and body composition. Athletes don’t tend to always have healthy bodies as some female athletes have menstruation problems due to the rigorous exercise.
What are the 3 Body Types and How Do They Affect Body Composition?
There are three body types, or somatotypes, which help to put most people into categories. We are born with an inherited body type, and as we age we can alter the shape of our body due to lifestyle changes. These are generalized and many people will often find they fit on the borderline of two somatotypes.
Ectomorphs – This body type is characterized by a very lean physique, with little body fat and little muscle mass. This body type often struggles to gain weight, whether it is fat or muscle.
- Endomorphs – This body type tends to be heavier and carries much more body fat and or muscle. This body type doesn’t automatically mean the person is obese. Some people simply tend to be heavier with the extra muscles and fat. It does mean that those in this category can end up with a high body fat percentage if they become too sedentary or have poor eating habits. If you fall into this group, it is important to focus on a nutrient-dense diet and regular exercise that will focus your body’s natural need for being heavier on maintaining feminine muscle mass rather than adding too much fat to your figure.
- Mesomorphs – This is the body type you think of when you think about athletes. They tend to be lean but have significant muscle mass compared to the average person. This body type tends to gain and lose muscle without too much effort and without a lot of fat gain.
Having a better understanding of body fat percentage and body composition will help to determine whether you need to make any adjustments to diet and exercise for a healthy body. What are your goals? Do you want more muscle? To be stronger? Need to put on healthy weight? Need to reduce body fat?
Get clear on your goals and then you can decide if you need to make any tweaks with your daily nutrition and exercise to support a healthy approach to transforming the body.
What are Body Composition Exercises?
Firstly, ensure you are eating healthy wholesome foods packed with nutrients. Eating a nutrient-dense diet will help you to look good and feel good from the inside out.
Secondly, incorporate regular exercise to help you achieve a body composition that supports a healthy body. It goes without saying that you should enjoy what you do so make sure you focus on exercise that makes you feel good.
To change body composition you can incorporate specific exercises as well as general exercise to help shape the body. Walking, running, dancing, swimming, cycling, climbing and sports are all great ways of maintaining a healthy body shape. However, if you are looking to make serious changes to your body composition, you will want to focus on compound movements or exercises that employ multiple large muscle groups. Give these exercises a go:
6 Simple Body Composition Exercises
- Pull ups
- Squats (weighted, jumping, bodyweight)
You can create a simple, fun and effective workout with these movements and make a HIIT style workout. HIIT style training is a fantastic way to lose body fat, be fit and have fun whilst exercising.
Do Body Composition Exercises Actually Work?
In a short answer yes. If you focus on good healthy nutrition and add a combination of general exercises such as walking or running, and a few specific body composition exercises you can change the shape of your body. It takes time to gain weight the healthy way or lose body fat in a healthy way, however, with the right food and exercise that helps you feel good you can transform your body.