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a good range for any female is between 20-25 for fertility and i think 18-20 for that "ripped" look which is more masculine IMO. i wouldnt try to go below 18 because many lose their periods, hormones go outta whack unless you use fake birth control etc etc.
some scales will tell you but i dont know how accurate it is, theres a machine you sit in enclosed for like 30 seconds and it measures it, theres body capliers, and if you good BF measure im sure they will give you a hoot of results
OK that calculation is soooooo wrong. Apparently I have 30% body fat. At my 5'7" and 155lbs I am certain that I am far below 30%. I find that methods like these are always horrendously erroneous for females with hourglass frames.
I clock in at a perplexing 6-8%, depending on which of those circumference tests I use. Either 1) the tests are bunk, 2) I'm a genetic freak, or 3) I have some as-yet unknown illness that prevents me from making efficient use of the calories I consume and/or down-regulates my appetite.
The device that can accurately measure body composition is called the "BodPod". See here: http://www.bodpod.com
I plan on using it soon to see whether I can eliminate 1) above as an explanation.
A 7 point caliper test also does a decent job. I'm working with a trainer at my gym for progress reports. I wish they would test where I hold my fat (inner thighs/bottom of my bum) and I'm at 14% currently. My upper body is very lean (veins popping out everywhere), but my legs aren't. Genetics are putting up a good fight! Plus, I've tried to do the test on my own and it's rather difficult to pinch and measure yourself.
I'm only testing myself because I'm doing a bodybuilding Figure contest and I need to make sure I'm losing the fat. After this, all my cute pants will be my guide. :^)
I had a full body scan done recently for a body fat analysis, right before my recent 10K, and was shocked to get a result of 18.6%. The doctor and I were both expecting about 12-13%. There were several strange irregularities. And this is supposedly the most reliable method.
Enough silly tests for me; from now on I'm going to let my incipient six-pack do the talking.
A lot of university Kinesiology/Exercise Physiology departments have tanks in which they test BF through the process of underwater weighing. That method has a pretty high validity rating. It usually is accurate within .5 to 1.0 percent +-. If you have a university nearby they are usually glad to have volunteers to train students and you get it done for free.
There was a recent post by Mark Where he had his BF tested and the results were 19%. That measurement is not even close if you've seen the pics of Mark. So I think the only true way of telling is maybe just looking in the mirror.