There's no simple answer when it comes to the proper body fat percentage for any man. While we can easily get a general idea of what a person's body fat percentage should be based on age and gender, it is important to remember that each person is an individual with a different metabolism and lifestyle.
Average Body Fat Percentage
The average body fat percentage for the general population can be categorized by age and gender. For a man up to the age of 30 the average body fat percentage is between nine and 15 percent. For a man between the ages of 30 and 50 the average body fat percentage is between 11 and 17 percent. For the man over the age of 50 the average body fat percentage is between 12 and 19 percent.
An athletic man will find that his body fat percentage is lower than the numbers listed above. The numbers will vary depending upon the individual's age, sport, and level of activity. Most male athletes range between five and 20 percent body fat depending upon the sports they choose.
A male cyclist, for example, usually has a body fat percentage between five and 15 percent. A male weightlifter may have an average body fat percentage between nine and 16 percent. A male gymnast may have a body fat percentage ranging between five and 12 percent.
Types of Body Fat
Everyone needs a small amount of body fat in order to survive. What most people don't realize is that there are two types of body fat that, when combined, make up an individual's total body fat. These two types of fat are storage fat and essential body fat.
Storage fat is the fat you would find subcutaneously, or right under your skin's surface. Men and women have similar percentages of storage fat, about 12 percent.
Essential body fat is the fat your body needs in order to function properly. The average man has around three percent essential fat in his body.
Dangerously Low Body Fat
Individuals with significant weight or body image disorders may believe it is important to lower their body fat percentages as much as possible. Doing so can be dangerous to you if you lower your body fat percentage to a point at which you do not have enough essential fat in storage. Your body needs a small percentage of storage fat to protect your major internal organs, among other uses.
High Body Fat Percentages
Excess body fat will hinder your ability to live life to the fullest, slowing down your speed and chipping away at your endurance. Make sure you compare your age and level of activity before determining what body fat percentage you should maintain. Seek the advice of a nutritionist or personal trainer to help you determine what body fat percentage is right for you.