Written by: Jonine Möller, M.Sc. in Sport Science
In the world of sports and fitness, body fat percentage is a metric that enjoys a lot of attention. Body fat percentage refers to the amount of body weight composed of fat instead of lean mass (muscle, bones, organs, etc.).
A low body fat percentage for athletes and fitness enthusiasts is often desirable as it can improve athletic performance and physical appearance. However, the ideal body fat percentage varies depending on factors such as age, gender, and sport.
While diet and exercise significantly determine body fat percentage, genetics also plays a role. Some people naturally find it easy to maintain lean body composition, while others tend to stay “well-insulated” even though they eat healthily and exercise a lot. Of course, many factors (of which the most significant is diet) are involved, but genetics plays a definite and large role.
Why may it be important to know your genetic predisposition to a higher or lower body fat percentage?
Someone genetically inclined to have a higher body fat percentage will find it difficult to maintain a very low fat mass. These individuals will likely have to go to extreme lengths to compete in aesthetic sports. The contrary is, of course, also true.
Thus, your genetic predisposition to a higher or lower body fat percentage may be important when considering which sporting activities to invest your time and effort into. However, it's also important to note that while genetics may impact body fat percentage, it is not a determining factor. With the right diet and exercise regimen, anyone can improve their body fat percentage and reach their fitness and health goals.
In conclusion, body fat percentage is valuable for health, fitness and sports performance. While genetics plays a role, it should not be considered an excuse for unhealthy body composition. Proper nutrition and exercise can help anyone achieve their desired body fat percentage and fitness goals.
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