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What's a Good Lean Muscle Percentage?

Do you want to lose weight, get lean and toned, look more athletic, or build muscle? If so, the key to reaching your goal is improving your body composition. That means reducing body fat percentage and building lean muscle mass.

Understanding Body Composition

Body composition is the ratio of lean body mass (muscle, bone, connective tissue, etc.) to fat mass. It's essential for those who want low body fat and good muscle tone to appear lean and strong. Instead of focusing solely on the number on the scale, it's more important to consider your body fat percentage and skeletal muscle mass. Achieving and maintaining an ideal body fat percentage while building muscle definition will make you look and feel better, healthier, and more resilient throughout life. Plus, having more muscle boosts your metabolism, allowing you to eat more without gaining weight.

What's Lean Body Mass?

Lean body mass includes all body parts without fat, such as bones, skin, organs, muscle mass, and body water. Skeletal muscle mass is the same as muscle mass and can be used interchangeably.

The Importance of Lean Muscle

Many people focus only on losing weight by cutting calories and doing lots of cardio, but this can lead to muscle loss. Lean muscles are essential for a healthy metabolism, allowing you to enjoy delicious food without gaining weight.

Body Fat Percentages for Men & Women

A good lean muscle percentage range should be about 70% to 90% to be considered healthy. That means your body fat percentage ranges from 10-30%. Athletes typically range in the 7-22% body fat for maximum performance. 

Men tend to be on the higher side with lean mass in 80-90% range and woman in the 70-85% range. Please note that you can be too lean, and that men typically don't want to fall below 5% body fat and women typically don't want to fall below 12-14% body fat. When your fat percentage falls too low, you can start to experience hormonal and health issues associated with too low of a body fat percentage. This is because there is an essential body fat percentage you need to sustain good health. So the goal is to achieve a healthy body fat percentage in relation to lean mass. For men, you should target around 9 percent body fat, and for women you should target around 17 percent bodyfat. These numbers vary based on your body type and genetics

Improving Body Composition

To improve your lean body mass, you should consider eating a healthy whole food diet, adding a protein powder supplement, and strength training. Whole foods are any foods that come from the earth directly with little to no processing. If it grows on, or in, the earth it is a whole food. If it walks, swims, or flies on the earth it is a whole food. These foods should account for 80% of your calories. Processed foods (comes in a box or package) should be limited to the 20%. As for strength training, your options are almost endless. You can do body weight exercises, weight training, banded resistance training, or a strength training class to help build lean muscle tissue and gain muscle strength.

A good diet with high protein, regular exercise, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep will aid the process as well

Why Lean Body Mass Matters

Lean body mass is so important. Lean muscle mass is the major engine of our metabolism - meaning the more lean muscle you have the higher your metabolism. Meaning you can eat more and not gain weight!

Having higher lean mass also helps combat illnesses such as diabetes and insulin resistance, and can assist you during your recovery after an illness. Higher lean body mass also ensures your muscles and bones remain strong and healthy as you age.

Comparing Lean Body Mass and BMI

Both lean body mass and Body Mass Index (BMI) can be used as indicators for good health. But your weight alone only reveals how much you weigh and not the composition of what makes up that weight. This leads to the the logical questions,"What's my lean body mass?" Because, knowing how much of your weight is made up of fat and healthy muscle will lead you to make more healthy lifestyle choices.

BMI is calculated using your height and weight but does not account for the composition of your weight. It is a good starting point, but it is incomplete if lasting health is your goal. . Lean muscle mass is more dense than fat mass. Lean body mass is a better indicator of your overall health, and making healthy lifestyle decisions such as eating healthy and getting enough exercise will improve your overall health.

How to Improve Lean Body Mass

To increase lean body mass, eat a healthy diet, engage in strength training, and maintain good hydration and sleep habits.

Age vs. Lean Body Mass

As you age, you may lose lean body mass and experience a slower metabolism. Following healthy lifestyle habits can help mitigate this effect.

Final Thoughts

Instead of focusing solely on weight loss, prioritize improving your body composition for long-term health and fitness. Embrace a healthy lifestyle that includes nutritious eating, regular exercise, and adequate rest. Start focusing on your body composition today for lasting results

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