YMCA Body Fat Calculator – Fitness Volt


Estimate your body fat percentage, body composition (lean mass to fat mass ratio) and fat category using the YMCA Body Fat Formula.

There are many body fat calculators out there, however, the YMCA Body Fat Tool is one of the simpler calculators. It gives an approximation of body fat, body composition and fat category based on gender, weight and waist circumference.

What does the YMCA represent?

Acronym YMCA refers to the “Christian Association of Young Men”, now commonly referred to as “the” Y “. The well-known organization was founded on June 6, 1844 by Sir George Williams and 11 others in London, England.

The YMCA has grown tremendously since its inception to provide “healthy” activities for young men in big cities during the Industrial Revolution era, when the options were less than desirable.

Although it has a deep history, we all know that today the program focuses on youth development and prioritizes physical activity.

Fun fact: YMCA inspired the famous 1978 hit YMCA by Village People.

What is the YMCA Calculator?

The calculator uses a formula developed by the YMCA to estimate body fat using your gender, weight, and waist circumference.

It doesn’t require you to have a caliper or take skinfold measurements like many of the other calculators we offer. Hence, it is a simple tool that anyone can use.

The YMCA Body Fat Calculator uses equations for men and women to estimate body fat, body composition, and fat category.

Male Formula

((4.15 × height – 0.082 × weight – 98.42) / weight) × 100

Female formula

((4.15 × height – 0.082 × weight – 76.76) / weight) × 100

Try our US Navy Body Fat Calculator to determine if you meet military standards.

Why measure body fat?

Body fat plays a role in health, fitness, and performance. It can also be a predictor of health risks. Carrying too much body fat can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc.

Having a waistline of 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes according to the National Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood (1).

On the other hand, having too little body fat can put you at risk of nutritional deficiencies and other unwanted side effects.

Performance and aesthetics

Health isn’t the only reason to watch body fat. A healthy body fat percentage or percentage range makes you look better and perform better.

There are a few exceptions, of course, but usually excess fat will make you heavier and require more energy to do activities.

If you want to be slim, you will need to have less body fat. It varies between men and women as the former may have a lower body fat level while women need more body fat to stay healthy and promote reproduction. (2).

Related: 9 Common Reasons You Don’t Seem To Lose Body Fat

How accurate is the YMCA Body Fat Tool?

There is no way of knowing exactly. For some, it can estimate between 2 and 5% of the other methods and for others, the difference can be more important.

The best way to determine this is to use different body fat testing methods such as skinfold measurements and compare them to your YMCA body fat results.

Using a caliper or the two-finger pinch method to assess skin folds is one of the best options for most people, as it is relatively inexpensive compared to DEXA scans, at the hydrostatic weighing and other more advanced options.

Learn how to measure skin folds and enter them into our body fat skin fold calculator to estimate your body fat, body composition and fat category.

How to use the YMCA body fat calculator

It’s easy to use the YMCA Body Fat Calculator.

Step 1: Choose the desired unit of measurement: Imperial (pounds and inches) or metric (kilograms and centimeters).

2nd step: Select your gender

Step 3: Enter your weight

Step 4: Enter your waist measurement (measured at belly button / navel level)

Step 5: Hurry Calculate

Now is the time to analyze your numbers.

The calculator will display four categories of information based on the details you entered into the tool.

  • Body fat
  • Fat mass
  • Lean mass
  • Fat Category

Body fat is your body fat percentage or the percentage of your body weight which is body fat.

Fat mass is your percentage of body fat in pounds / kg.

Lean mass is your percentage of lean mass in pounds / kg. Lean mass includes body weight that is not fat, such as muscles, bones, organs, and skin.

Fat Category is basically the type of shape you find yourself in based on your body fat percentage and body composition. For example, acceptable, fit, overweight, etc.

So, for example, if you are a 160 lb male with a 33 inch waistline, you will get the following results.

Body fat: 16%

Fat mass: 26 pounds

Lean mass: 134 lbs

Fat Category: Adjust

How to measure the waistline at the navel

As well as needing a scale to weigh yourself, you’ll also need a soft tape measure to measure your waistline. It is important to do this part correctly to make sure you get the most accurate numbers.

The optimal time to take a measurement is soon after waking up, ideally after using the bathroom and before eating or drinking anything.

Size measurement

Stand up straight with your feet together and ideally in front of a mirror. Wrap the ribbon around the belly button, also called the belly button.

Make sure there is no space between the ribbon and your midsection, but avoid stretching the ribbon too much.

Take a normal breath and measure after exhaling. We recommend that you take the measurement twice for best accuracy.

Body Fat Categories Table

Category Women (% fat) Men (% fat)
Essential fat 10% -13% 2% -5%
Athletic 14% -20% 6% -13%
Adjust 21% -24% 14% -17%
Acceptable 25% -31% 18% -25%
Obese 32% + 26% +

Difference between measuring body fat in men and women

The YMCA Body Fat Calculator uses equations for men and women to estimate body fat, body composition, and fat category.

Male Formula

((4.15 × height – 0.082 × weight – 98.42) / weight) × 100

Female formula

((4.15 × height – 0.082 × weight – 76.76) / weight) × 100

Men and women have different body fat needs. Women naturally have more body fat than men due to their reproductive nature.

The American Exercise Council (ACE) offers a few body fat charts on its site that show the recommended body fat percentages for men and women.

It is heartwarming to know that women can and should be bigger than men. They have a totally different reproductive function and the higher fat in women supports this reproductive function.Says Barbara J. Moore, PhD, president of Shape Up! America.


While the YMCA calculator estimates body fat percentage and body composition, the body mass index or BMI does not. BMI determines whether a person has a healthy body weight for their height.

It is not always a good determinant of health, however.

If we think BMI is a rough measure of body fat, there are people – especially some highly skilled athletes – who are overweight but not overweight., has explained Steven Heymsfield, MD, director of the Center for Obesity Research at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. “Likewise, there are people who are normal weight according to the BMI scales but who are overweight. BMI is a broad and general measure of risk. The body fat assessment is much more specific to your actual fat content and thus provides a more accurate picture. “

BMI is however a useful tool, especially for the general untrained population who undergo regular check-ups.

The YMCA tool offers something similar to BMI with an “fit category” that determines whether a person has a healthy body fat percentage.

Also Read: The Most Effective Ways To Burn Body Fat Without Doing Cardio

Associated calculators:

Estimate your body fat with the YMCA body fat calculator

The YMCA Body Fat Calculator is an easy-to-use tool that can give you a quick estimate of your body fat percentage, body composition, and fat category.

It might not be the most accurate tool, but the simplicity and convenience is where it pays off over other body fat testing methods.

We recommend, however, that you compare your results to other methods and that way you can determine if they are close enough to give you something to work with.


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