What should your body fat percentage be? Well, that depends on your gender and age, for one. Usually, women have a higher body fat percentage than men. It may be acceptable for older people to have a slightly higher fat percentage/. Pregnant women definitely for a period of time may have a higher body fat percentage than what is recommended.
This is the body fat percentage chart from the American Council on Exercise:
Classification Women (% fat) Men (% fat)
Essential Fat 10-12% 2-4%
Athletes 14-20% 6-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-17%
Acceptable 25-31% 18-25%
Obese 32% plus 25% plus
Accessed on March 28, 2006
People often weigh themselves every day. This may help keep you up-to-date on the results of your exercise regimen. However, it may not give you much of a clue. First of all, weight can vary day to day and may be due to things such as a heavy, mostly undigested dinner from the night before, water retention, or the time of the month for women. Perhaps more importantly, after working out for some weeks, you will notice that your muscle mass increases. Muscle weighs more than fat, so you can actually gain weight while you lose a clothing size! Keep these facts in mind when you weigh yourself. It is best to weigh yourself once a week, in the morning after going to the bathroom.