What is lean body mass?
Lean body mass (LBM) is a calculation of the amount of weight you carry on your body that is not fat. It is the combined weight of your muscles, bones, connective tissues, and organs. Typically 60 to 90% of your total body weight is LBM, meaning a total of 10 to 40% of total body mass is fat. This specific component of body composition does include some fat, about 3% in men and 13% in women, which is found around the brain, spinal cord, bone marrow, and organs. This fat is known as essential fat and is higher in women due to sexual characteristics related to child bearing.
There are benefits of maintaining and even increasing lean body mass.
Calculating your LBM
To calculate your LBM, you must first know your body fat percentage. Body fat along with height, weight, gender and age are required. Gender and age are required because women typically have a lower lean mass than men, and after age 60 lean muscle mass and bone density decreases leading to lower lean mass of your body. You can reduce this loss of LBM and bone density as you age by performing resistance training with free weights or weight machines.
Why is it Important?
LBM is important to know when you are attempting weight loss, because when you lose weight you want to ensure you are losing fat, not muscle. The healthy range is 80 to 90% for men and 70 to 80% for women. There are benefits of maintaining and even increasing this specific mass of your body. These benefits include increased metabolism because muscle burns three times more energy than fat and reduced inflammation. Increased LBM also reduces inflammation because fat secretes inflammatory hormones that in excess contribute to the development of obesity-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Speak to your healthcare provider for advice about health and wellness strategies.
How to use your LBM score
So how lean are you? Are you lean and mean, meaning that your lean body mass is in the healthy range of 80 to 90% for men and 70 to 80% for women? Or are you lean and not so mean, meaning that your lean mass falls outside of these ranges? Do not fret if you are not lean and mean because LBM can be increased through resistance training and healthy diet and body fat can be reduced by the same activities. Speak to your healthcare provider for advice about health and wellness strategies.