Body Muscle percentage

by bikeboy76   February 1, 2013  

I was getting dangerously close the 15 stone last year so I decided to do something about it. I have always commuted by bike with a few weekend rides but nothing over an hour. I started to put the hours in and slowly lost a bit of weight. I am down to about 14st 2or3 lbs at the moment, not slimmer of the year but I feel a lot better.

My friend saw how much I was making an effort and bought me a Lloyds pharmacy hand-held electro sensor thingy to calculate body fat/water/muscle. I normally have an official weigh in on a Friday morning to avoid any weekend binge/exercise variation. I have been using it since August and hoping that even if I don't loose weight every week I can swap fat for muscle.

My figures today are:
lbs, BMI, Fat%, Muscle%, Water%
199, 26.9, 26.1, 69.8, 53.6

FYI I am 5'11.5" (6ft with hair!)

The weight and the BMI come from the scales and match up with my expectations and the fat% seems correct, obviously fat/muscle/water are not exclusive but is around 70% muscle a normal figure? I have been looking at some charts online and they say this is ridiculously high. The machine is not broken as it has always given these figures within a few percent. Does anyone have one of these devices and what sort of readings does it give you?

11 user comments

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For a man that is simply wrong. I have some body fat etc. scales from Aldi (about £12) and they give a reading of about 47% for me, with 46-48 being considered normal for a reasonably fit man, according to the book it came with and other research I've done. However any machine like this is just making a calculation based on average values for your height, gender, age etc so if you're a bodybuilder it might not work too well. In any case as your bodyfat goes down your muscle goes up as a % but that doesn't mean you've actually put on any muscle. Cycling by itself doesn't put on much muscle, you have to do weights for that. Sprinters are born pretty muscly to begin with and then work out a lot. The only figure you should pay attention to really is body fat. Ideally should be 12-16 for an average-build male.

Best of luck with your plan and checking things regularly helps me as well.

posted by Alan Tullett [1578 posts]
1st February 2013 - 17:36


I don't have one, but my wife was using a device at the gym which seemed to rely on passing an electrical current through the body to determine the fat/water figures. She says it's never seemed reliable and the staff don't really trust it. Also, my doctor friend says that the only way of accurately measuring fat is by using calipers, which I presume are not included with your scales.

I think I'd take the view that spinning a high cadence will tone the muscle without adding bulk. So get a tape measure (preferably a bendy one like tailors use) and measure the circumference of your upper arms, thighs, waist and hips every week. Use your weight/BMI as well, and I think you'll see the results.

For what it's worth, the first few rides with my local club shed about 6-7lb for me. Basically, the effort required to keep up with someone else's pace was a shock to my system. Really enjoyable though, perhaps you could give it a try?

Well done on the lbs lost already, by the way!

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3690 posts]
1st February 2013 - 18:05


DON'T even go near a BMI score. Its all sh*t.

If everyone was identical, then yes, BMI would work, but it doesn't take in the fact of your bone structure, so you may have wide shoulders. Woman have wider hips....etc.

So if I'm the same size and weight as you. we would have the same BMI....but you might have massive shoulders and I just have a huge gut....

That is why BMI is just nonsense.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9312 posts]
1st February 2013 - 18:22


There is a new BMI calculator that suggests Brad Pitt may have been obese under the old system:

This new system drops me one point to 25.9. Plus I know for a fact that my body shape doesn't favour my BMI score. I used to kayak a lot and once lent my boat to a friend, but when I got to the bottom of the river my playboat was nowhere to be seen (though he had lost it!) but he just said he couldn't fit into it. I was perplexed as he was the same height as me, a bit thinner but not much. He said the kayak was too short, we stood beside each other and although the same size his hips were about 2.5"/6cm higher than mine. He was like a Spider Monkey boy with long limbs though.
I normally wear 32" leg jeans so reckon I have a long body like a ferret. More body, so I could knock another point off for that and yeah, I am just into the normal range.

So my sensor thingy is way off, I will just have to use it as a up or down indicator and stick to good old fashion weight.

I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1706 posts]
1st February 2013 - 19:35


Going on that BMI, here are my results. Just at the top range of "normal" but I was told by doctors to ignore BMI, because below my hips, you cannot even pinch a little bit of skin. Its all muscles.

Your new BMI: 24.06
Your old BMI: 24.68

So I thought, lets do Chris Hoy, I use him as a body example as we all know he's fit and has massive legs.

Giving his 6ft 1 and 14.5 stone. His results are

Your new BMI: 25.32
Your old BMI: 26.52

So he's in the overweight range....Cause he's really fat and unhealthy Devil

Further more, Mr thunder thighs himself. Robert Forstemann. He's 5ft9 and 14st. He's at the high end of overweight

Your new BMI: 28.42
Your old BMI: 28.94

So it goes to show. BMI doesn't work if you have any extra muscle bulk Nerd

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9312 posts]
1st February 2013 - 20:11


Also, I'm not going to link this, as its a livestrong post. So take it with a pinch of EPO....

Step 1
Weigh yourself with a body fat scale. The scale will automatically calculate your percentage of body fat.

Step 2
Subtract your body fat percentage from 100 to get your lean mass percentage. Here is an example: 100 -- 25 percent body fat = 75 percent lean mass.

Step 3
Divide your lean mass percent by 100 to calculate the decimal for your lean mass percent. Here is an example: 100 / 75 - .75

Step 4
Multiply your lean mass decimal by your total body weight to calculate your lean mass weight. If you weigh 175 lbs., multiply 175 by .75 for 131.25 lbs. of lean mass.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9312 posts]
1st February 2013 - 20:16


Yeah, old BMI does not favour tall people or muscular people, so Chris Hoy, Brad Pitt and Jonny Wilkinson are all obese, obviously. The new BMI tries to fix that but still is not perfect.

Perhaps the lean weight (not the real muscle weight) is what the monitor is telling me. GK your calculation is interesting, though I have lost 6lbs since july, 2.5lbs of that is lean mass. Not all fat Crying

It takes a long time to make a difference. It took me 10 years to go from 12 to 13 stone, 5 years to 14 and only 2 years to 14st 10; it had to be stopped.

I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1706 posts]
1st February 2013 - 21:42


Well done on the weight loss. I think that BMI needs to be taken with a pinch of salt but it's still a useful guide. I'm like you, short legs and long body which skews my score upwards. Nonetheless, I still think that calculating your BMI when you weigh in is a good indicator of progess. I recognise that it doesn't work well for body builders but if cycling is your main activity then you should be fairly lean with good muscle tone and very little visible body fat. Most pro cyclists are in the low twenties BMI with Hushovd and Greipel being the musclebound exceptions up near 25. With nicknames like The Bull and The Gorilla I suppose that's only to be expected. Whatever your view of BMI, there's little doubt in my mind that hills are a whole lot easier for someone at BMI 22 than 27. I can't imagine that 19 would be a heathy weight for me though, there'd be nothing left of me.

Oh yes, you are right, it does take forever to make a difference in the right direction. Stick with it.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [345 posts]
3rd February 2013 - 20:40


Bedfordshire Clanger wrote:
you should be fairly lean with good muscle tone and very little visible body fat.

More like a fat otter:

Disclaimer: just saw the link not a Mail reader.

At least I now know what lean tissue is thanks.


I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1706 posts]
3rd February 2013 - 22:36


"We have nets and things to stop animals getting in but it wouldn't stop an otter. We need proper protection."


Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [345 posts]
4th February 2013 - 16:56


I swear I saw that otter in a lake in Connemara. Big Grin

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
20th February 2013 - 22:11