By itself, your body fat percentage is nothing more than a number - it doesn't really give you any benefit, except maybe bragging rights if the number is low. The real value in knowing your body fat percentage is as a tool to monitor progress in terms of pounds of fat and pounds of muscle.
The next step is to use your percent fat measurement to separate your total weight into pounds of fat and pounds of muscle. Then, you can chart progress in terms of total weight, fat weight, LBM and body fat percentage.
Your LBM is the total weight of all your body tissues excluding fat. This includes not only muscle, but also bone and other fat-free tissues. Since muscle is the largest component of the lean body mass, then keeping track of your LBM can tell you if you've lost or gained muscle. Tracking your LBM is one of the most useful and important purposes of body fat testing.
To calculate your LBM in pounds you need to know two things: your bodyweight and your body fat percentage. First, determine how many pounds of fat you are carrying by multiplying your body fat percentage by your weight. You can then calculate your lean mass by subtracting the pounds of fat from your total bodyweight.
Your body weight is 194 pounds Your body fat percentage is 18% (.18) Multiply your body fat by your weight to find lbs. of fat: .18% X 194 lbs. = 34.9 lbs. of fat.
Subtract lbs. of fat from total weight to determine lean mass: 194 lbs. - 34.9 lbs fat = 159.1 lbs lean mass
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