How to Figure Out How Much Percentage of Body Fat to Lose

by Max Whitmore

About Max Whitmore

Max Whitmore is a personal trainer with more than three years experience in individual and group fitness. Whitmore has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Cincinnati, fitness certifications and dietetics training from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. Whitmore has written for several online publishers.


Percentage of body fat is the amount of body fat you have in relation to the amount of lean mass. Body fat percentage varies by individual, but the healthy range for women is 15 to 25 percent and the healthy range for men is 10 to 20 percent. Once you know your body fat percentage, you can use that number to determine the percentage of body fat you need to lose to stay in the healthy range. You can also use the body fat percentage to determine how many pounds of fat you need to lose.

Calculate the Percentage

Step 1

Weigh yourself with a body fat scale to determine your weight and current body fat percentage (example: 150 lbs. with 35 percent body fat). Record your body fat percentage with a pencil and paper.

Step 2

Determine your target body fat percentage. Your target body fat percentage depends on your gender and personal choice. The lower the number, the harder you will have to work to achieve and maintain that body fat percentage.

Step 3

Subtract your target body fat from your current body fat percent to determine the percent of body fat to lose (for example: 35 percent body fat – 15 percent body fat = 20 percent body fat to lose).

Calculate the Pounds

Step 1

Divide your body fat by 100 to convert your body fat percent to a decimal (for example: 35 / 100 = .35). Use the same equation to convert your target body fat percent: 15 / 100 = .15

Step 2

Multiply the decimal for your body fat by your total body weight to get your current fat weight (for example: 150 x .35 = 52.5 lbs. fat).

Step 3

Multiply the decimal for your target body fat by your total body weight to get your target fat weight (example: 150 x .15 = 22.5 lbs. fat).

Step 4

Subtract your target fat from your current fat to determine the pounds of fat you need to lose to reach your goal (for instance, 52.5 -22.5 = 30 lbs. of fat).

Items you will need

  • Body fat scale
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Calculator
  • "Personal Trainer Manual"; American Council on Exercise; 2008
  • “Physiology of Sport and Exercise”; Dr. Jack H. Wilmore, et al.; 2007

Photo Credits:

  • Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or