Printable Body Fat Percentage Charts – Free Downloads

Men and women vary on what will be considered high, low, or standard fat when it comes to body fat percentage. Therefore, it is essential to know the ideal percentage of body fat for both men and women if you are to stay within the healthy range. Remember that high body fat can lead to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, while low fat can lead to fertility, immunity, and heart health issues. It is important to know how to accurately measure your body fat if you are to avoid the health risks that come with too high or too low body fat percentage.

Doctors and experts have developed a body fat percentage chart that will help you understand how to measure your body fat to determine if you are within the standard health. With this fat percentage chart, you have the opportunity to assess and keep your body fat, weight, and general health in check.

Even though numbers cannot provide a clear picture of your general health, understanding more about your body fat is important. It will allow you to keep your health in check and help you make healthy choices such as eating the correct type of food.

In this article, you will learn more about the meaning of body fat, its importance, how best to measure your body fat, and how your BMI differs from your body fat percentage.

Body Fat Percentage Chart

Free Body Fat Percentage Chart 01 for Word
Printable Body Fat Percentage Chart 02 for Word
Free Body Fat Percentage Chart 03 for Word
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    Body Fat

    Body fat is usually listed as a percentage; it is the total body fat divided by the total body weight (everything else that is not fat, such as bone, muscle, organs, etc.) multiplied by 100%. The result is known as the body fat percentage of the human body.


    If a woman weighs 210 lbs. and has a total body fat of 19 lbs., divide this by 210 lbs. then multiplied by 100%, which is 9.04%.

    Why Does It Matter?

    The fat percentage of the body matters because it helps you understand your body and know what you need to do to stay healthy. Remember that fat percentage charts are excellent for providing accurate measurements of your body fat. In addition, these tests consider your physical appearance and personality to provide definite results.

    In such a case, the results will include a proper breakdown of your body into fat and fat-free mass such as lean muscle, water, bone, and even tissues. This means your fat percentage is the ideal measurement of how healthy you are in general as a man or woman. Hence, you will need to keep track of your progress and get tested every 4, 6, or 12 months again. Therefore, using the required standard tests to determine your percentage is best.


    If you use generic formulas that utilize broader categories such as your height, weight, sex, and age, instead of the standard tests, the results may be confusing or ambiguous.

    Basics of Body Fat Percentage

    There are two types of BF that you should know about as they are the basics of the body fat percentage. The two types of fat include essential body fat and storage body fat:

    Essential body fat

    Essential body fat is the fat necessary to maintain human life and all the reproductive functions. Women tend to have higher body fat and, hence, essential fat than men, no matter the fitness level. For example, men have 4 to 5% of essential body fat while women have 10 to 13% essential fat. This is due to the physiological differences between women and men, such as hormones, ovulation, and childbearing abilities.

    Storage body fat

    Storage body fat consists of the fat accumulated in the body’s fatty tissue. The adipose tissue is meant to store energy in the form of lipids. It is also designed to protect and insulate the body’s internal organs around the chest and abdomen. Storage of body fat is essential, but if its accumulation is in excess, it can be harmful.

    Here are the charts for both men and women:

    Body fat percentage chart for women

    Body fat percentage chart for men


    Types of Charts

    Two types of charts provide information about the normal range for body fat and what is considered healthy or unhealthy. If you are trying to add or lose weight, understanding the body fat percentage by using these charts will help you to achieve your aim quickly.

    In addition, you will be able to understand the type of exercise and diet you should be involved in for weight loss or gain:

    ACE body fat chart

    The ACE (American Council on Exercise) body fat chart is the most used in gyms and sports institutions. It provides a range of body fat, which tends to be close to an individual’s BMI. This chart focuses on the levels of fat stored in a human body.

    The ACE body fat chart is divided into the following categories to determine if you are in the healthy or unhealthy range:

    Essential fat

    The essential fat is the lowest limit on the scale and is meant to describe the minimum fat requirement needed for the body to operate correctly with a very high lean muscle mass. This range is below the healthy or fit range. This is because having this body fat percentage means living at the extremes of very healthy or very unhealthy lifestyles.


    The athletes or fitness range is best suited for fit individuals or sports professionals like basketball, football, tennis, and cricket. In this range, the person likely has lean muscle mass and enough fat to provide energy after training and exercise. However, such a person does not have too much fat, which might lead to cardiovascular or heart issues.


    This acceptable range is the most common for both men and women. These individuals do not exercise often, and neither do they engage in sporting activities. However, their body fat percentage does not put their health at risk or expose them to illnesses. Such individuals must maintain proper nutritional habits and incorporate exercise into their routines to avoid increased body fat levels.


    Obesity is the highest range on the scale and usually results from lack of exercise, failure to participate in sports, and poor nutritional habits. In some cases, however, sporting and performance needs require that an individual gain dangerous fat levels, such as in sumo wrestling.

    This stage requires the adoption of safe weight loss regimes to help reduce one’s body fat percentage. In this stage, an individual has too much visceral and subcutaneous fat, which means they are at risk of illnesses such as cardiovascular problems.

    Jackson and pollock caliper chart

    The other body fat percentage chart is the Jackson and Pollock Caliper chart. The best-known chart under this is the Accu-Measure body fat caliper. This chart presents more accurate ideal body fat ranges for men and women using the caliper measurement results. The body fat measurements determined by this method have become the standard for skin-fold measurement.

    Skin-fold measurement is where you measure the thickness of your skin at different body parts to determine your body fat percentage. Using the body fat measurement calculators, you can calculate your fat percentage using your measurements to determine the range you fall in on the Jackson and Pollock Caliper chart.

    Body Fat Percentage Vs. BMI

    There is a difference between body fat percentage and BMI (Body Mass Index). This is because BMI was created as a screening tool for obesity and overweight. That means, just like the body fat percentage chart, the BMI is also used to screen body fat to determine your health status. However, these two concepts are different.

    BMI is prone to limitations and can sometimes be wrong compared to determining body fat using a standard fat percentage chart, which usually has more accurate results. For example, the BMI classifies men and women under the following categories: underweight, average weight, overweight, or obese, while body fat percentage classifies them under low body fat risk, ultra-lean, moderately lean, excess fat, and high body fat risk zones.

    Finally, BMI has expressed in units of kg/m2, while body fat percentage is expressed in percentages. BMI is the total body mass or weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of the body height (in meters). Body fat percentage is the total body fat divided by the total body weight and then multiplied by 100%.

    Problems and Limitations of BMI

    Although estimating your body fat using BMI is easier and quicker, it has its problems and limitations. First, BMI only accounts for weight with no proper difference between lean muscle, body fat percentage, and bone mass. This means, for example, BMI does not factor in the probability of an individual with high bone density and muscle mass having high body fat. That means there is no proper indication for weight distribution.

    Another issue is that with BMI, there is no assessment of where your body fat is located. This means no differentiation between body fat and lean mass. It is crucial to determine the location of your body fat to get proper results regarding your general health. For instance, fat around your abdomen might cause more health risks than good fat protecting your internal organs. Without the proper location of fat in your body, BMI does not provide proper results regarding your overall health.

    Ideal Body Fat Percentages

    Although it is hard to determine the exact body fat percentage for both men and women, the fat percentage chart allows you to know the average percentage that is considered healthy. Studies suggest that men’s ideal body fat range is 15 to 20%, while women range at 20 to 25%. Below is an understanding of the ideal body fat percentage for women and men.

    When it comes to women, the ideal percentage of body fat is represented in a body fat chart by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). It ranges under different categories such as acceptable range and can also be ranged by age. The body fat chart used is somehow similar to the adult MI chart.

    Women need to have the following if they are to view themselves as having the ideal body fat:

    Essential fat10-13%

    When it comes to women’s ideal body fat percentage based on their age, the table below provides the required range:


    When it comes to men, they have lower body fat to lean tissue ratio as compared to women. This phenomenon explains the difference between men’s and women’s ideal body fat percentage.

    For men, the ACE body fat percentage chart below shows the ideal body fat percentage for men under different categories:

    Essential fat2-5%

    For ideal body fat percentages for men based on age, here is a table that depicts that information:


    How to Measure Fat Percentage

    There are five standard ways that you can use to measure your fat percentage as a woman or man:

    DEXA/DXA scan

    This is the most considered method of measuring fat percentage. However, the test focuses on more than just your weight and BMI. The scan can determine your total body fat percentage, total fat mass, and fat-free mass. In addition, it provides details of your body composition; this means that it can determine the regional body fat in the trunk, arms, legs, pelvis, and android/gynoid regions, alongside the bone density and muscle mass. Also, the DEXA scan can measure visceral fat / abdominal fat and help determine if you are at risk of cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.


    BOD POD is used to determine the body composition, which is fat and fat-free mass. It uses air displacement plethysmography, so it is more preferred than the invasive DEXA scan that uses X-ray. This method is best if you need to keep track of your progress since it can be frequently used to measure your body fat percentage without the risk of too much x-ray exposure.

    Underwater/hydrostatic weighing

    Hydrostatic weighing is considered the most accurate way of measuring the fat percentage. With this method, your average body weight on land is compared to your body weight when you are submerged in water. With these two weights and the density of water, an accurate body volume, body density, fat mass, and fat-free mass can be determined.

    Skinfold calipers

    A skinfold caliper is the most common and accessible way to measure body fat percentage. This method measures the thickness of the skin and the subcutaneous fat at about six locations in the body, including the triceps, shoulder blade, love handle area, abdomen, and calves. However, this method does not consider the muscle and fascia; hence, it is not considered accurate. The test is meant to gather measurements that will be put in a formula to determine the body’s composition.


    With this method, you will need to stand on a scale and push the buttons of the two electrodes in your hands. A low electric current is sent through your body to determine the fat percentage. Since tissues with fluid and electrolytes, such as blood, contain high conductivity while fat and bone have high resistance, the electric current can help determine your fat percentage. Any resistance experienced provides an estimate of your body water and body fat.


    Visceral fat is found within the deep abdominal cavity as it is meant to cushion the abdominal organs. It can cause health issues even more than the subcutaneous fat (fat around the abdominal area that you can pinch with your hand) if not within the required range. However, with exercise and a proper diet, you can quickly shed off excess visceral fat compared to subcutaneous fat, which tends to be hard to shed.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the most accurate way to calculate body fat percentage?

    DEXA/DXA scan is considered the most comprehensive way of calculating the body fat percentage. Although it requires a machine that might not be available across all medical institutions, this method provides fast results and a detailed analysis of the body composition. However, hydrostatic or underwater weighing is considered highly accurate when measuring and calculating body fat percentage.

    Does my health status suggest that a body fat percentage test might be helpful?

    Your health status may suggest a need to take a body fat percentage test. This is because your physical and mental well-being results from being healthy and fit. Hence, having too high or too low body fat percentage may be causing your health status to deteriorate. That means experiencing cardiovascular problems, cancer, diabetes, or a weak immune system may require you to take a body fat percentage test to better your health status.

    What can I do to be healthier?

    To ensure you are healthier, you must maintain a healthy body fat percentage. You can achieve this by consuming the proper nutrition, watching your diet, aerobic exercising, and doing strength training. 

    About This Article

    Kenneth H.
    Authored by:
    Microsoft Office Expert, Adobe Creative Suite Professional, PowerPoint Design
    Hailing from Buffalo, New York, Kenneth H., widely known as Ken Hoffman, is a seasoned professional specializing in PowerPoint design and the Adobe Creative Suite. As a dedicated PowerPoint artist, Ken crafts presentations that not only captivate the audience but also distill intricate data into easily digestible visual narratives. Leveraging the power of Adobe products, he breathes fresh life into diverse projects, ensuring they resonate with their intended audience. Ken's meticulous attention to detail, coupled with his capacity to thrive under tight deadlines, makes him an invaluable addition to any collaborative endeavor. Whether you're aiming for a persuasive pitch or a memorable visual masterpiece, Ken Hoffman is the expert you need.

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