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    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    What's a good body fat %?

    Just for a little background, I'm 60 yo, 5'9.5" and weigh in at 190 as of this morning. I've been doing spinning 2Xwk since Nov. and have been lifting weights 4Xwk since Feb. I got a new Taylor scale that shows body fat % and I came in at 21.3%. Where does that fit into the general scheme of things? TIA
    Last edited by bruce19; 03-06-07 at 09:11 AM.

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    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    The numbers vary from one source to another but not by much and they do go a bit higher than these at your age, so search around the web for the numbers you perfer. Obese is considered over 25%. 18-25% is considered "acceptable". 14-17% is considered "fit". Athletes can get down to about 6% with many in the 10-15% range.

    You shouldn't change your lifestyle because of the results of a home body fat scale. Ask your doctor if you are overweight or have an accurate body fat assessment done at your gym or elsewhere.

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    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I don't know about their body fat percentage calculator; I come in around 8%, but calculate 12 to 15% by other means.

    I would also think that a good target is the age 21-40 figure, irrespective of one's own age.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19
    Just for a little background, I'm 60 yo, 5'9.5" and weigh in at 190 as of this morning. I've been doing spinning 2Xwk since Nov. and have been lifting weights 4Xwk since Feb. I got a new Taylor scale that shows body fat % and I came in at 21.3%. Where does that fit into the general scheme of things? TIA

    21.3% comes out pretty good. I come in at 22 to 22.8%

    Point is how you feel. I am 5'6" short and weigh in at 147lbs. I have been told by a doctor that I am overweight just a bit and I ought to get some some exercise instead of sitting around.
    I know that if I go up to 155 lbs- then I feel sluggish on the bike amd I also know that if I drop to 140- then I do not have enough body fat to see me through a long ride. Somewhere you have a happy medium. We all know when the weight has been put on a bit too much, and as I have found out- weight loss by dieting instead of exercise does not help me on the stamina scale either. Now 10 years ago when I did weigh 140 lbs and did not carry any excess "Fat" I felt fit. 7lbs on and I still feel fit, but I just wonder why I have gone up 2" in belt size.
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    I used the web site from Beverly above to calculate my BMI and Body Fat. It is a BMI of 26.7. That makes me obese. My Body fat calculates at 16.6.
    I am 6 ft, 196 lbs, 34 waist and my wife complains that I am too skinny. I have very heavy legs.
    I exercise 90 minutes every day and much more than that on weekends. A reduction in weight requires a starvation diet which drastically affects my performance level, physically and mentally.
    So, I guess I will be obese.
    Last edited by will dehne; 03-07-07 at 08:00 AM.

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    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    ... Point is how you feel. ... Somewhere you have a happy medium.
    Very true. "Moderation in most things" ("Moderation in ALL things" is an immoderate statement ) and "Trust your body."

    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    ... weight loss by dieting instead of exercise does not help me on the stamina scale either. ...
    Weight loss by dieting alone is not sustainable. The exercise component is essential.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  9. #9
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    FWIW, I have some extra body fat if anyone needs some. PM me.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne
    I used the web sit from Beverly above to calculate my BMI and Body Fat. It is a BMI of 26.7. That makes me obese. My Body fat calculates at 16.6.
    I am 6 ft, 196 lbs, 34 waist and my wife complains that I am too skinny. I have very heavy legs.
    I exercise 90 minutes every day and much more than that on weekends. A reduction in weight requires a starvation diet which drastically affects my performance level, physically and mentally.
    So, I guess I will be obese.
    Personally I feel body fat is much more important than the BMI readings. Many people with muscular builds hit the obese mark according to their BMI. I've always paid more attention to my BF%....now if I could just lower mine a little more

    I have a BMI of 26.1 so that puts me in the obese category, too. But my BF% is in the good range for my age. I bike, lift weights and run on the treadmill so I think I'm in pretty good shape for a 64 year old Who cares if that BMI says I'm "chunky"
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  11. #11
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beverly
    .....I have a BMI of 26.1 so that puts me in the obese category, too. But my BF% is in the good range for my age. I bike, lift weights and run on the treadmill so I think I'm in pretty good shape for a 64 year old Who cares if that BMI says I'm "chunky"
    Yeah, my BMI is in the overweight range and when I used the site you listed I was at 20% body fat. If I can get down to around 17% I should be in good cycling shape. Now I think I'll go have a beer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beverly
    Personally I feel body fat is much more important than the BMI readings. Many people with muscular builds hit the obese mark according to their BMI. I've always paid more attention to my BF%....now if I could just lower mine a little more

    I have a BMI of 26.1 so that puts me in the obese category, too. But my BF% is in the good range for my age. I bike, lift weights and run on the treadmill so I think I'm in pretty good shape for a 64 year old Who cares if that BMI says I'm "chunky"
    Thanks, you make me feel better.
    FWIW: I enjoy going 100 miles at 17-18 MPH on the flats. That requires attention to nutrition. I have, on occasion, got the idea to try to loose a little weight while doing that. This had disastrous results in terms of well feeling, performance and even ability to finish the ride.
    I am looking at these skinny bikers and must say that I cannot do it (going down to their size).

  13. #13
    DoubleTrouble cgallagh's Avatar
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    I used to participate in other sports and worked my whole body at the gym. Since starting riding I find I have slacked off some on the upper body workouts and more on the legs. I am 5-8, 156 and around 8-10% body fat. Eating a well rounded diet with lots of green veggies and fiber (we are of that age where fiber is important), adding in lean meat has done me a lot of good. Recently went through a thorough physical as a participant in my Fire and Rescue team and my chemistries were great. Eating right is not difficult. In fact it can be fun if you like to cook. My wife and I started ww online and both of us lost over 30 lbs each. I have since dropped 5 more and plan on staying there.

    Diet and exercise and moderation in the stuff that tends to be less "healthy" without suffering is the key for us.

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    57, 6 feet, 32 inch waste, 77.1 Kg (170 lbs), 8 – 10% body fat, gym 6 days per week; split workouts, cycle 10 hours per week.

    “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels” Karl Lagerfeld
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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne
    Thanks, you make me feel better.
    FWIW: I enjoy going 100 miles at 17-18 MPH on the flats. That requires attention to nutrition. I have, on occasion, got the idea to try to loose a little weight while doing that. This had disastrous results in terms of well feeling, performance and even ability to finish the ride.
    I am looking at these skinny bikers and must say that I cannot do it (going down to their size).
    Will
    Glad to see that you are not envious of the skinny guys. I am not doing it this year but part of my preparation for my big ride is to put on weight by carbo-loading before the event. I will put on at least 5Lbs and I do not lose this on the ride. I eat on the ride and it is whatever I fancy -but after the ride, me and the co-rider want to eat- It is down to the local KFC for the biggest bucket of greasy fried chicken and plenty of chips. Within the next couple of days I have lost the weight I put on for the event + a bit more.
    You are 110% right. If you are doing physical exercise to the extreme- Or even to excess in your case, Then the right food has to be taken. If that means keeping a few extra lbs on to keep up the energy, then it has to be done.

    DG- It is a "Few" extra lbs for "Extreme" exercise.
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    Here is a short report what happens if you restrict food intake.
    Today, at noon, I decided to go on the trainer for one hour at over 100 RPM. I did have a bottle of water and a simple sandwich with lunch-meat.
    I will have a stressful meeting later in the afternoon and must feel OK for that. No go. I had to add some fast carbs in the form of peanut crackers.

  17. #17
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    57, 6 feet, 32 inch waste, 77.1 Kg (170 lbs), 8 – 10% body fat, gym 6 days per week; split workouts, cycle 10 hours per week.

    “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels” Karl Lagerfeld
    32 inch waste? That's one helluva BM!

    (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
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  18. #18
    SSP
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne
    Thanks, you make me feel better.
    FWIW: I enjoy going 100 miles at 17-18 MPH on the flats. That requires attention to nutrition. I have, on occasion, got the idea to try to loose a little weight while doing that. This had disastrous results in terms of well feeling, performance and even ability to finish the ride.
    I am looking at these skinny bikers and must say that I cannot do it (going down to their size).
    You can't neglect nutrition while you're riding...especially if you're riding longer distances. But, you can lose weight...and if you do you'll be amazed at how much stronger you'll feel on the bike (especially when climbing).

    I'm 6' tall, and for many years my weight was in the 180-185 range. Per BMI standards, that's towards the upper end of the "normal" range, and nobody who looked at me then would say that I was carrying excess weight.

    But a few years ago I decided to experiment with my weight, and see how it affected my performance on the bike. After a year or so of doing nothing more than being careful with my food intake, my weight has stabilized around 170 lbs (getting down to around 165 or so in the summer).

    I ride a lot in the mountains, and the difference in my performance has been dramatic. I now spend a lot more time standing on long climbs, and can hang with most of the faster young 'uns.

    Losing fat is relatively easy - all you need to do is eat a little less, or exercise a little more, or do some of both. For most of us cyclists, we get plenty of exercise...so, to lose weight you need to focus on the "Calories In" side of the equation.

    If you can figure out a way to cut out a few hundred calories each day from your normal diet, you will probably start losing weight. Hint: if you worship pie, drink sugared sodas every day, or find yourself eating a whole bag of cookies, you have a "substance abuse problem" and will need to get that under control. Unfortunately, it's very easy to f*ck up a good exercise program with a few poor food choices or "bad days" each week.
    Last edited by SSP; 03-08-07 at 12:42 AM.
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  19. #19
    SSP
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Will
    Glad to see that you are not envious of the skinny guys. I am not doing it this year but part of my preparation for my big ride is to put on weight by carbo-loading before the event. I will put on at least 5Lbs and I do not lose this on the ride. I eat on the ride and it is whatever I fancy -but after the ride, me and the co-rider want to eat- It is down to the local KFC for the biggest bucket of greasy fried chicken and plenty of chips. Within the next couple of days I have lost the weight I put on for the event + a bit more.
    You are 110% right. If you are doing physical exercise to the extreme- Or even to excess in your case, Then the right food has to be taken. If that means keeping a few extra lbs on to keep up the energy, then it has to be done.
    Nobody needs "a few extra lbs" to "keep up the energy" (you don't see many fat guys in the Tour de France, for instance).

    A skinny 165 lb guy with 10% body fat has 16.5 lbs of stored fat energy. That represents 57,750 calories worth of stored energy! On the bike, that would be enough energy to ride 1,400+ miles!

    Performance on the bike is mostly about power to weight ratio. Within reason, losing the fat will improve your performance on the bike (especially if you ride in the mountains).
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  20. #20
    SSP
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beverly
    I have a BMI of 26.1 so that puts me in the obese category, too.
    Nope...per BMI standards, you are "overweight", not "obese".

    BTW - here's a good online BMI calculator, with an interesting enhancement. Below the BMI calculator is a tool that allows you to see your "weight percentile" - with it, you can compare your weight to other Americans of the same gender, height, and age. It tells me that I'm at the 18th percentile - woo-hoo!
    Last edited by SSP; 03-08-07 at 12:42 AM.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    To put a limit on things for there is an objective limit on body fat loss. Runs about 17% for ladies. Below that zone they run into loss of periods and infertility. I had a friend who was a lady body-builder running about 12% body fat. She and her husband wanted kids and she could not conceive. Doctor ordered her off hard training and to gain 20 pounds. Six months later she conceived. Many young ballerinas get below that limit while still growing and have serious problems. Experts correct me but the danger limit for men is somewhere around 5% or less.
    This space open

  22. #22
    SSP
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken cummings
    To put a limit on things for there is an objective limit on body fat loss. Runs about 17% for ladies. Below that zone they run into loss of periods and infertility. I had a friend who was a lady body-builder running about 12% body fat. She and her husband wanted kids and she could not conceive. Doctor ordered her off hard training and to gain 20 pounds. Six months later she conceived. Many young ballerinas get below that limit while still growing and have serious problems. Experts correct me but the danger limit for men is somewhere around 5% or less.
    True, but that's usually not a problem for most of us in the 50+ forum...I suspect very few of us have scary low levels of body fat .

    Here are some recommendations:

    American Dietetic Association:
    Men - 15 - 18%
    Women - 20 - 25%
    Athletic Men - 5 - 12%
    Athletic Women - 10 - 20%

    Dr. C. Everett Koop:
    Men 18-39 years old - 8 - 19%
    Women 18-39 - 21 - 32%
    Men 40-59 - 11 - 21%
    Women 40-59 - 23 - 33%
    Men 60-79 - 13 - 24%
    Women 60-79 - 24 - 35%
    Last edited by SSP; 03-08-07 at 12:41 AM.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSP
    Nope...per BMI standards, you are "overweight", not "obese".

    BTW - here's a good online BMI calculator, with an interesting enhancement. Below the BMI calculator is a tool that allows you to see your "weight percentile" - with it, you can compare your weight to other Americans of the same gender, height, and age. It tells me that I'm at the 18th percentile - woo-hoo!

    You're right...I'm classified as "overweight"

    I've seen the other website before. For my gender, age and weight I'm in the 34th percentile.
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  24. #24
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    SSP:
    I find the information you provide useful and must accept the fact that I am overweight. According to your calculator, I have a lower BMI than most Americans but that is not a great compliment, is it?
    FWIW, I know my substance abuse. You are correct, there is one. It is red wine. I am embarrassed to admit how much of that stuff I consume. Last night I was with customers and each of us had a bottle.
    Food was fish and veggies, no bread.
    All this means that I can drop ten lbs if I were to cut out wine. Hmmm? Not yet!

  25. #25
    Pat
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSP
    True, but that's usually not a problem for most of us in the 50+ forum...I suspect very few of us have scary low levels of body fat .

    Here are some recommendations:

    American Dietetic Association:
    Men - 15 - 18%
    Women - 20 - 25%
    Athletic Men - 5 - 12%
    Athletic Women - 10 - 20%

    Dr. C. Everett Koop:
    Men 18-39 years old - 8 - 19%
    Women 18-39 - 21 - 32%
    Men 40-59 - 11 - 21%
    Women 40-59 - 23 - 33%
    Men 60-79 - 13 - 24%
    Women 60-79 - 24 - 35%
    I think you are right about most of us not having a problem with scary low levels of percent body fat. Most cyclists seem to love to eat. I have seen some thin cyclists but a really thin cyclist is pretty rate. It might be that cycling requires a fair bit of fuel and the real weight control types never succeed at the sport.

    Something of interest in C. Everett Koop's recommendations. His percent body fat readings increase with age. It is always nice to have a reserve. Older people tend to be able to mobilize reserves less easily thatn the young. I have a friend, George, who is in his seventies and he had to have a cardiac bypass surgery and he lost over 20 lbs during recovery. Fortunately, George, had gained some weight and had 20 lbs to spare. So when you get up there, being a little plump is not really a bad thing.

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