What Is Muscle-To-Fat Ratio? How To Calculate and Improve It?

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Published on: 27-Nov-2023

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Anushka Tripathi

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What Is Muscle-To-Fat Ratio? How To Calculate and Improve It?

What Is Muscle-To-Fat Ratio? How To Calculate and Improve It?

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Dear fitness enthusiasts, ever thought about how the muscle-to-fat ratio plays an important role in keeping you fit? Understanding this ratio goes beyond just aesthetics; it's a key indicator of your fitness and well-being. 


In a world where quick fixes and fad diets dominate the conversation, the importance of a balanced muscle-to-fat ratio often gets overlooked. Body fat to muscle ratio goes beyond fitting into specific sizes; instead, it’s about having an ideal body that thrives at its peak condition. 


So, if you intend to gain muscle, lose fat or simply start a muscle building diet plan, this blog will give you all the information about muscle-to-fat ratio. It will also highlight appropriate muscle mass percentages, how they can be helpful, and how to calculate them. Read on! 

Table Of Contents

1. What Is Muscle Mass?

2. What Is A Healthy Muscle To Fat Ratio?

3. How To Calculate Muscle Mass To Fat Ratio?

4. Types Of Muscles In The Body

5. How To Improve Muscle-To-Fat Ratio?

6. The Final Say

7. FAQs

8. References 

What Is Muscle Mass?

Muscle mass simply means the quantity or percentage of body weight composed of soft muscle tissue. This involves the overall weight of skeletal musculature that includes both voluntary e.g., biceps, quadriceps and involuntary ones. Muscles are among other major components of a body, including fat, water and bones. It also includes the body fat-to-muscle ratio.


Higher muscle mass is often associated with increased strength, improved metabolism, and better overall health. Let’s understand muscle mass with an example. 


Imagine two individuals who both weigh 150 pounds or around 68kg. Person A has a higher muscle mass percentage due to regular strength training, while Person B has a lower muscle mass percentage. Despite weighing the same, Person A is likely to have more muscle tissue, contributing to greater strength and potentially a leaner appearance. This highlights that muscle mass is a crucial factor in shaping not only physical strength but also the overall composition and functionality of the body.


Also Read: Common Mistakes To Avoid While Strength Training 

What Is A Healthy Muscle Mass To Fat Ratio?

For a person to be healthy, it is advisable that the muscle mass percentage should fall within a range of between 70% and 90%. Your body fat percentage is between 10% and 30%. Muscle density ranges between 80-90% for men, while that of women spans the area of 70-85%. It is commonly held that the lower the percentage of body fat, the healthier.


Here is the ideal muscle-to-fat ratio mentioned below both for males and females that can be noted:

 Ideal Muscle-To-Fat Ratio

Normal Ranges For Muscle Mass

Ages 20-39

75-89% of men

63-75.5% for women

Ages 40-59

73-86% for men

62-73.5% for women

Ages 60-79

70-84% for men

60-72.5% for women

How To Calculate Muscle Mass To Fat Ratio?

It is important to assess the amount of muscle mass as well as body composition in order to possess a good body fat-to-muscle ratio. To achieve this, weigh the total amount of muscles and fat that form your body weight.


There are several methods to calculate muscle mass, including ultrasound scans, fat calliper, electrical impedance scans, BCAs and others. To determine your muscle-to-fat ratio, divide the total weight of muscle by that of fat. This can help you work as a muscle to fat ratio calculator. 


Here is the formula that can be used to calculate muscle weight with a simplified example: 


Average Muscle To Fat Ratio: Total weight of muscle/Total weight of fat


1. Muscle Mass: Let's say you have a total body weight of 160 pounds, and your body fat percentage is 20%. To find the muscle mass, subtract the body fat from the total weight:


Muscle Mass = Total Weight - (Total Weight × Body Fat Percentage)

Muscle Mass = 160 - (160 × 0.20)

Muscle Mass = 160 - 32

Muscle Mass = 128 pounds


2. Fat Mass: To find the fat mass, multiply the total weight by the body fat percentage


Fat Mass = Total Weight × Body Fat Percentage

Fat Mass = 160 × 0.20

Fat Mass = 32 pounds


3. Muscle-to-Fat Ratio: Now, you can express the muscle-to-fat ratio:


Muscle-to-Fat Ratio = Muscle Mass / Fat Mass

Muscle-to-Fat Ratio = 128 / 32

Muscle-to-Fat Ratio = 4:1


So, in this example, the muscle-to-fat ratio is 4:1, indicating that for every 4 pounds of muscle, there is 1 pound of fat in the body.

How To Improve Muscle Mass To Fat Ratio?

For muscle-to-fat ratio improvement, you should have a healthy diet with wholesome foods and add a protein powder supplement. You should also strengthen your fitness regime with exercise. 


To augment muscle mass, consume whole foods. Whole foods are those foods that come from the field directly without a bit of processing. These foods should account for 80% of your calories. Processed foods should be limited to 20%. 


For a good muscle to fat ratio, here are some crucial points:

  • Do not skip meals or fast frequently to lose weight, as fasting slows metabolism. 

  • Take part in moderate levels of aerobic exercises, like riding a stationary bike, for half an hour every three or four days.

  • As far as your meal guidelines go stick to 65-70% of your diet should be carbs while a small proportion, about 10-15% should be fat, and 15-20% should be proteins.

  • Lose less than 1 to 2 lbs per week. You should also be wary of losing your body weight quickly because that probably means that you are either undereating or taking inadequate nutrition.

  • Eat according to scheduled time gaps and prepare your meals ahead of time.

  • To avoid overtraining, budget your time for 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. 

Types Of Muscles In The Body


The human body has more than 600 muscles in total. These muscles have different roles to play. Some may help you lift, and others may allow you to walk. Along with that, your injuries and diseases may also affect the functioning of your muscles. 


Therefore, daily exercise and balanced nutrition are required to maintain healthy musculature. Depending upon the role of different muscles, there are three major types of muscles present in the human body:

1. Smooth Muscle 

This muscle is present in the internal organs of the body. Also referred to as involuntary muscle, it is a muscle that shows no cross stripes under microscopic magnification. It consists of narrow spindle-shaped cells with a single, centrally located nucleus. Smooth muscle tissue, unlike striated muscle, contracts slowly and automatically.


Also Read: How To Start Your Fitness Journey? Get Moving! 

2. Cardiac Muscle 

This is present in the heart and performs cardiac functions. The cardiac muscle makes up the thick middle layer of the heart. The myocardium is surrounded by a thin outer layer called the epicardium and an inner endocardium. 


It contracts rhythmically to propel blood through the circulatory system, delivering oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to all body tissues. The force generated by cardiac contractions ensures adequate perfusion of organs and tissues, maintaining blood pressure and preventing organ dysfunction.

3. Skeletal Muscle

In most contexts, “muscle mass” expressly refers to skeletal muscle. Exercising the skeletal muscles in varied ways can increase the body’s mobility, balance, and strength. Keeping the skeletal muscles healthy is essential for day-to-day functioning. This may be particularly important for older adults.


The Final Say

To end the blog, having an appropriate muscle-to-fat ratio (MFR) demands a holistic program, which incorporates proper dieting and frequent exercises. In order to increase the ratio between muscle-mass-fat, you have to incorporate the tips that are mentioned above in addition to a healthy diet and exercise routine. 


However, be mindful that before starting a new MFR increase or decrease plan, you need to consult with a fitness professional or your healthcare provider. Understanding MFR will allow you to tailor your fitness goals and lead a sustainable, disciplined lifestyle. 

FAQs

1. Why maintaining a muscle-to-fat ratio is essential?

An excess of body fat leads to diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. This implies that observing a healthy MFR will also assist you in keeping away from these problems.


2. Does reducing muscle fat have any side effects?

Generally, there is no side effect of reducing muscle fat. However, in some cases, it could weaken the bodies and their functioning. Too much muscle fat reduction will be harmful causing tiredness, weakness, and feelings of illness.


3. What is the accurate muscle-to-fat ratio in men and women?

The accurate muscle-to-fat ratio differs however for a man, this should be between 10 and 20% and for a woman between 18 and 28% is good.

References

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