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How to Improve Body Composition to Achieve a Lean Body – Body Fat vs Muscle Ratio

The amount of fat, fluid, bones, muscle, skin, as well as other essential tissues which make up the body, is referred to as the individual’s “body composition”. The word “body composition” is typically used in the realm of fitness and health. Although stepping on the scale to check your weight might be useful for getting an idea of your overall mass, this does not provide any information on the composition of the body.

BMR Definition:  “Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the number of calories the body burns while doing basic (basal) life-supporting functions. Commonly referred to as Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), which is the number of calories expended if you spent the entire day in bed. In either case, many individuals use the basal metabolic rate calculation to determine their metabolism rate.”

Your BMR identifies your basal metabolic rate, which accounts for 60 – 70 % of the calories the body expends (or “burn”). This includes the energy the body uses to maintain the most fundamental functions of your body, including:

  • The rhythm of our heartbeat
  • Cell production
  • Respiration
  • The regulation of body temperature
  • Circulation
  • Nutrient processing

The quantity of fat in the body in relation to fat-free mass is referred to as body composition. People with appropriate body composition are typically healthier, move more readily and effectively, and feel better overall. Although some body fat is required for optimum health, excess body fat has been shown to significantly raise the risk of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

The Importance of Body Composition

The proportion of body fat and overall body composition may predict the health risks associated with obesity more accurately than BMI alone. A body that has a lower amount of fat and a larger amount of muscle tissue is considered to have a healthier composition. Body composition is essential as it can indicate potential health risks.  This is especially true for those who are overweight or obese in terms of BMI. People in this category possess more muscle and lean tissue than others.

Types of Fat Mass in the Human Body

The components that make up your body include minerals, water, protein, and fat. Your body stores two different kinds of fat in its cells, as explained below.

Non-fat mass (Visceral Fat) : This is also referred to as vital fat. This type of fat can be found in the bones, liver, kidneys, intestines, and muscles and is essential to normal and healthy bodily function.  This type of fat is needed for the body to function normally. ‌

Fat mass (Subcutaneous Fat) : This type of fat is also known as excess body fat and is located in the body’s adipose tissue (Adipose tissue is commonly known as body fat). This form of fat is converted into energy by your body. It protects and insulates your body. It is immediately beneath your skin and surrounds your organs.  This is the type of body fat that impacts physique and body shape. 

Body Fat Vs Muscle Ratio

Fat mass is the opposite of lean body mass, which is made up of muscles, internal organs and bones. 

Muscle mass

Muscle mass represents the amount of muscle in the body. There are three types of muscles that make up muscle mass: skeletal, smooth, and cardiac.

  1. Skeletal muscle is also known as striated muscle and is controlled voluntarily. The biceps are an example of a skeletal muscle.
  2. Smooth muscle is an involuntary, non-striated muscle that contracts without voluntary control. The digestive tract is a smooth muscle.
  3. The cardiac muscle is a combination of striated and smooth muscle; it is an involuntary striated muscle.

Body fat percentage: The fat percentage includes both the fat that your body needs and the fat that it stores. Withings, a company that makes smart scales, says that the following are normal ranges for fat mass:

  • Ages 20–39: 8–20% for men and 22–33% for women
  • Ages 40 to 59: 11 to 22% for men, 24 to 34% for women
  • 13–25% for men, 25–36% for women between the ages of 60–79

Muscle mass: The amount of skeletal muscle in the body as a whole. There are three kinds of muscles in the body: skeletal, smooth, and heart. Smooth muscle contracts on its own, without any thought from the person using it, and cardiac muscle makes up most of the tissue in the walls of the heart.

Withings says that the following are normal ranges for muscle mass:

  • Between the ages of 20 and 39, 75–89% of men and 63–75.5% of women voted.
  • Ages 40 to 59: 73–86% for men and 62–73.5% for women
  • 70–84 % for men, 60–72.5 % for women between the ages of 60–79

What Is A Healthy Body Composition?

The accumulation of excessive amounts of fat may be detrimental to one’s health. Having an excessive amount of fat deposited in the body might put a person at risk for developing various chronic illnesses and disorders.

For healthy body composition, the proportion of a person’s lean muscle mass should fall somewhere in the range of 70 to 90 percent. This indicates that the body fat percentage falls between 10 and 30 percent.

Athletes often have a body fat percentage ranging from 7-22 percent.

The percentage of men’s lean mass that falls within the range of 80–90% is often larger than that of women, who typically fall within the range of 70–85%.

It is important to keep in mind that it is possible to have an excessively low body fat percentage. Generally speaking, men shouldn’t get below 5 percent body fat, while women shouldn’t get below 12-14 percent body fat.

If your body fat percentage is too low, you may start to feel the hormonal and physiological problems that are associated with body fat levels that are too low.

How to Determine Your Body Composition

Tools that estimate the proportion of body fat you have can be used to assess your body composition. There are several approaches to measuring one’s body composition. Some may be easier to reach but may have a lower degree of accuracy, whilst others may be complex with more precise results. The following are some of the methods by which body composition may be measured.

Measurement of the Skinfolds

When measuring the thickness of a skinfold, a particular kind of caliper instrument that is built specifically for this purpose is used. This is done by pinching and pulling the fat that is directly beneath the skin on several different body locations.

Circumference of the Body

Measurements taken around the torso or the waist provide a straightforward and uncomplicated approach to determining overall body fat percentage. This is done by wrapping a tape measure around various body parts to determine their circumference. It is common practice to measure a person’s circumference in several bodily areas, including the waistline, arms, chest, legs, and hips.

Weighing by Hydrostatic Pressure

The water displacement that occurs when an individual is completely immersed in water is what is measured by hydrostatic weighing. Because fatty tissues rise to the surface of the water while lean tissues sink to the bottom, the greater lean body mass you have, the denser you will be while submerged in water.

DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray)

A dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scanning, often known as a DEXA scan, makes use of low-energy X-rays to get an accurate reading of the weight of bone, muscle, and overall body fat. Following the scan, you will be provided with an analysis of your bone quality, as well as your percentage of overall body fat and the mass of every body component.

Analysis of the Bioimpedance (BIA)

A bioimpedance analysis, often known as a BIA, employs non-invasive, low-energy electrical impulses to evaluate a subject’s hydration level, muscle mass, and fat mass (water mass). Because muscle has a higher water content than fat does, it is a stronger conductor of the energy current than fat. The flow of the stream is impeded by the presence of fat tissue.

The BIA scanner can evaluate a person’s body composition by tracking how energy is distributed throughout the body. In comparison to other kinds of scans, this test often has lower prices and may be easier to locate.

Ways to Improve Body Composition

Reduced body fat with increased or maintained muscular mass is a straightforward description of better body composition. Although there are various approaches to achieving these objectives, the following suggestions are supported by research and generally considered to be the most effective.

Diet and Nutrition

Calories are among the most crucial things to take into consideration, even though they are not the only factor that matters. If you consistently consume more calories than the body needs, you will put on weight, most often in the form of fat.

This is a simple explanation of the concept. In the same vein, you will experience weight loss if you continuously consume fewer calories than the body burns off.

Consider the categories of food that you often go over and beyond the recommended serving size for. After determining how many calories you consume daily, the next thing to think about is whether or not you consume an adequate amount of protein and fiber.

Protein is essential for everyone’s diet, but those who engage in strenuous physical activity, focus on increasing their muscle mass, or reduce their body fat may need a higher intake.


In addition to diet and nutrition, altering body composition also requires regular exercise and physical activity. These methods not only help you burn more calories, but they’re also essential for achieving the best possible results when it comes to building muscle.

This is a very significant aspect to consider given that one’s body composition is altered either by reducing the amount of fat mass or by increasing the amount of muscle mass. For your muscles to expand and become stronger, they need to be pushed by exercise, with weight training as a focus.

Quality Sleep

The quality of sleep someone gets each night may have an impact on their body composition. Sleep also has a substantial influence on how the body works on a cellular level.

A sufficient amount of high-quality sleep helps regulate appetite and raises basal metabolic proportion, which encourages more calorie burning throughout the day. Sleeping for the appropriate amount of time is also important. At least 8 hours of sleep every night is recommended. This may result in more fat reduction over time if it is combined with a nutritious diet and frequent physical exercise.


According to the findings of recent studies, the most effective strategy for putting on muscle mass is to consume protein sources continually throughout the day. As a result, protein supplements may be used to attain the necessary daily consumption. This averages at 0.73 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

Supplements such as whey, pea protein, casein, and hemp granules are a convenient way to increase your daily protein intake. These powders may be of particular assistance to individuals who are engaged in strenuous resistance training.

Alternatively, it is acceptable to eat the required dose of this nutrient through meals and appetizers through the day. There is no need to take any additional supplements in this case.


Understanding your body composition can help you fully comprehend how fit and healthy you are right now. Additionally, testing your body composition frequently will allow you to monitor your advancement on your journey to good health.

Work Cited :

Goldman, L.  “Basal Metabolic Rate”.

“Body Cardio – What are the normal ranges for body composition?.”

Ramirez, V R.  “Fat-to-Muscle Ratio: A New Anthropometric Indicator as a Screening Tool for Metabolic Syndrome in Young Colombian People”.


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