When you start your fitness journey, the most common parameters measured include body weight followed by body fat percentage. Most people trying to lose weight mainly aim to lose fat, not just weight. In fact, a lot of people who are very muscular and fit actually weigh more than those with more body fat. Lean body mass refers to the entire body composition except for body fat. This includes the skin, bones, blood, and other organs. Therefore, measuring the total body weight and deducting the body fat from it can give a measure of lean body mass. A Lean Body Mass Calculator can help in this regard.
Using the calculator is a simple process. You are required to enter the following parameters in the calculator featured on a credible website/app.
The gender (male or female)
Age (whether above or below 14 years)
The Lean Body Mass Calculator gives an approximate percentage using one of the following formulae.
The Boer formula
The James formula
The Hume formula
A lean body mass of about 60-90% is considered to be healthy. People trying to lose weight should aim for a higher lean body mass as it means that excess fat is lost and muscle deposition is increasing.
To understand the difference between these terms, it is necessary to know how fat is stored in the body.
The three main forms of stored fat are as follows.
Essential fat: Essential fat is the fat found in the brain, nerves, and bone marrow, without which life is not possible. It also plays a key role in regulating hormones.
Visceral fat: Visceral fat is the one that accumulates around the abdomen and body organs such as the liver and kidneys.
Subcutaneous fat: Subcutaneous fat is the one below your skin (it is what you feel when you jiggle your arms and thighs).
Fat-free mass is the body weight minus the total of all types of fat in the body. Lean body mass includes the essential fat that is vital for life. This essential fat amounts to 10-13% for women and 2-5% for men. This difference is genetic, as females are more prone to fat deposition than males.
Here are some points to note regarding the importance of lean body mass.
Excess visceral fat deposition and obesity are associated with several health concerns, including diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
A strong musculoskeletal system also reduces the chances of joint pain, backaches, etc. People with strong bones, joints, and muscles are also generally more active and have more stamina.
A healthy body composition requires more lean muscle and less body fat. Even the natural tendency of the body is to preserve muscle mass. Normally, energy is generated mainly by burning fat. It is only after no excess fat is available that the body considers breaking down muscle for energy.
Lean body mass is a preferable measure compared to BMI (body mass index), which considers only height and weight. People who are tall and lean with good muscle mass often weigh more and have a high BMI. However, this does not indicate poor health in such persons.
People with a lean body mass index below 60% need to decrease body fat to maintain good health. Here are a few simple tips.
Increase daily movement by incorporating short walks after meals to avoid taking a nap. You can also opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator and go for morning or evening walks when possible.
People with better stamina can engage in more intense cardiovascular exercises such as jogging, running, cycling, swimming, dancing, etc.
To build lean muscle mass, strength training is essential. You can start off with bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups, etc. Gradually, dumbbells or resistance bands can be incorporated even at home for those who do not have the option of going to the gym.
Following a healthy diet with a protein intake of 0.8-1 g per kg is a must.
Caution: It is not advisable to start using heavy weights or gym equipment without the supervision and guidance of a trainer, especially if you are unfamiliar with strength training. Always consult your doctor to get clearance, especially if you are prone to joint problems.
Using the Lean Body Mass Calculator, your lean body mass is 62.12 kg (73%).
Simply going to the gym might not be ideal to lose weight. You need to focus on improving your diet as well. Also, the quality of sleep matters. Collectively, it’s the workout, diet, and rest that help burn fat and increase lean body mass. Speak to a certified fitness trainer about your goals and work continuously towards them.
Body weight alone is not an appropriate indicator of health. When going to the gym, it is important to maintain a good balance of cardio and strength training and monitor your measurements and lean body mass or body fat percentage regularly for best results.
The kind of exercises you can do will depend upon the equipment available to you. You can start with push-ups and squats using body weight and then gradually move on to weight training in a gym. Please consult a certified fitness trainer for precise exercises to improve lean body mass as per your body composition.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.