Ideal Body Fat Percentage: How Lean Should You Be?

Instead of relying on your bathroom scale when looking to get in better shape, you should take into account your ideal body fat percentage. When relying solely on weight to measure your fitness, you do not take into account the amount of actual fat on your body. It is always a good idea to keep track of your weight, but it is also important to keep an eye on your body fat percentage as well. While there is some debate as to what constitutes a “healthy” body fat range, I have below 2 different types of body fat percentage charts, which I will walk you through along with some insights into how to read each chart.

1.Ideal Body Fat Percentage Chart – American Council On Exercise (ACE)

The graph beneath comes from the American Council on Exercise and is a standout among the body fat charts. As you can see, ladies have a higher muscle to fat ratio. Ladies have more fat due to physiological contrasts, for example, hormones, sex organs and breasts. Moreover, ladies require a higher measure of fat for ovulation.


Essential body fat is necessary to maintain life and reproductive functions. The percentage of essential body fat for women is greater than that for men, due to the demands of childbearing and other hormonal functions. The percentage of essential fat is 2-5 % for men and 10-13 % for women. The limitation of the ACE chart is that while it takes into account gender differences, it does not take into account your age, which is exactly why I included the Jackson & Pollock chart.

2.Ideal Body Fat Percentage Chart – Jackson & Pollock

Ideal Body Fat Percentage Chart

If you are unable to read the chart, simply find your age on the left section, then observe the relating muscle to fat quotient to the other side. For an example, if you are 25 years old men, your ideal body fat percentage would be considered around 10.5 %.

You may have noticed how your age age increases yours body fat increases also. This is because older people tend to have lower body density. But older athletic people, however might not fit, because, their body density may be underestimated.

For Ideal Weight Chart here