Body Fat Percentage: How to Calculate & What Is Ideal

Updated in March 2022

To reach an ideal body fat percentage and have a toned body, you should reduce the fatty foods you consume and exercise at a high intensity (e.g. run or jump rope) for at least 90 minutes every day.

The ideal body fat percentage for men should be between 16-20%, and for women it should be between 20-24%. These healthy range thresholds will increase with age, and women will typically have a higher healthy range.

People who workout regularly and athletes will generally have less body fat than people who live a sedentary lifestyle. 

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How to calculate body fat 

Bioelectrical impedance equipment, like scales, can assess these weight, water content and muscle or body fat percentages easily. Measurements should be taken while fasting or one hour after a light meal, like a salad.  

Measurements should not be done when pregnant, after intense physical exercise, or 5 days before or after menstruation, as these factors can influence the values.

In addition, there are formulas that can be used with measurements of pinched fat in the abdomen, back and thighs. This is usually used by registered dietitians to calculate localized fat, as a way to customize a diet or exercise plan that targets specific spots. 

Ideal body fat percentages for men 


20 to 29 years old

30 to 39 years old

40 to 49 years old

50 to 59 years old


Less than 11%

Less than 12%

Less than 14%

Less than 15%


11% to 13%

12% to 14%

14% to 16%

15% to 17%


14% to 20%

15% to 21%

17% to 23%

18% to 24%


21% to 23%

22% to 24%

24% to 26%

25% to 27%

Very elevated

Over 23%

Over 24%

Over 26%

Over 27%

Ideal body fat percentages for women 


20 to 29 years old

30 to 39 years old

40 to 49 years old

50 to 59 years old


Less than 16%

Less than 17%

Less than 18%

Less than 19%


16% to 19%

17% to 20%

18% to 21%

19% to 22%


20% to 28%

21% to 29%

22% to 30%

23% to 31%


29% to 31%

30% to 32%

31% a 33%

32% to 34%

Very elevated

Over 31%

Over 32%

Over 33%

Over 34%

When the patient is over 60 years old, it is normal to have a body fat percentage that exceeds the ranges in this table. Therefore, registered dietitians will compare the measurement to current diet and physical activity level. 

Maintaining body fat percentage within the normal values is important to guarantee optimal health, to protect the internal organs, and to regular normal body temperature. 

How to lower body fat percentage 

To lose weight and decrease body fat percentage or increase muscle mass, it is important to exercise on a regular basis at high intensity for at least 3 weeks. Examples include running and riding a bike. Some body types will also be more prone to retaining body fat - learn more about the endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph body types.

Use the calculator below to find out your current BMI (body mass index) and to see if you are within the normal ranges: