February 23


Body Weight vs Body Composition: The Difference and Why It Matters

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We've discussed scale weight and body composition before. But we've never actually compared the two. So if you're confused by what your weight means and how it's different from body composition, read on.


First off, if you haven't already, you should familiarise yourself with taking an accurate body weight measurement. Knowing how to weigh yourself properly will give you a much better indication of where you are at.

What we mean when we talk about scale weight vs body composition

When we measure body weight, we simply measure your body's total mass. Body composition, on the other hand, is what your body is made of - muscle, fat, bone and water.

Also, we mustn't confuse body composition with body mass index or BMI. BMI is another term used when discussing weight and overall health and it looks at the correlation between how much you weigh vs your height.

So why should you be interested in your body composition?

Well, like any aspect of fitness, you have to know where you're starting so you know which direction you want to go.

Below, Accredited Perth Sports Nutritionist Paul Stokes shares how knowing body composition can help you in your fitness journey.

Why knowing your body composition can be an advantage over just knowing your scale weight

Ideally, it's good to know your weight and your body composition. But often, people get hung up on weighing themselves without really understanding what their weight means.

If you also have an idea of your body composition, you're in a better position to make progress.

Healthy Body Fat Percentages for Men and Women: Understanding Body Composition and What Scale Weight Means

Body Composition Gives a Better Idea of Your Overall Health

These days, it's common for someone to be a healthy weight (with reference to their BMI) but still remain sedentary and inactive.

In fact, 55% of Australians don't get enough physical exercise. Furthermore, 2 in 3 adults (that's 12.5 million people) were classed as overweight or obese.

Being overweight can lead to a range of health conditions like type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Not to mention Australia's single leading cause of death, coronary heart disease.

Body composition indicates whether your body fat levels are within a healthy range. Additionally, if you're after an appearance-based goal, body composition gives a clearer picture of where you are.

Healthy Body Fat Percentages for Men and Women



















Adapted from Jeukendrup A, Gleeson M. Sport Nutrition. 3rd ed. Human Kinetics; 2019.

Knowing Body Composition Helps You Decide What To Work On

People are individuals and fitness can be a very personal thing. After all, that's why we call it 'personal' training.

Once you know your body composition, you or your coach can determine the best exercise approach to take.

For example, if you have good muscle mass but high body fat, you might benefit from more cardio-based activities. On the contrary, if you have healthy body fat levels but low muscle mass, you might want to work on strength and hypertrophy-based workouts.

Body Composition can help predict sports performance

Body composition and ISAK skinfold measurements are often closely monitored in high-level sport.

For good reason. Sports performance is based on how well adapted your body is for that chosen activity.

Some sports require a high degree of athleticism. Think high muscle mass, low body fat.

Other sports are better suited for people with higher body mass (fat and muscle). Think powerlifting and some contact sports such as rugby.

Team sports will often require slight differences in body requirements across various positions. Some positions may require players to be more lean and athletic. Others may require them to just be more big and solid.

Body composition can help determine which sport you might naturally be better suited for. Additionally, it can help you decide what aspect of that sport you should play.

Summing up knowing your weight vs body composition

Above, we've discussed how knowing your body composition helps give you an idea of:

  • overall health;
  • what to work on;
  • sports performance tendencies.

Now you know the benefits, what happens next?

If you'd like to discuss your body composition goals you're welcome to get in touch. If you're based around Perth, Western Australia I offer skinfold and body girth measurements out of my home office. You can schedule an ISAK profile, skinfold and body composition assessment today.

Paul Stokes Perth Personal Trainer Sports Nutritionist Group Fitness Instructor Massage Therapist

About the author

Paul Stokes

Paul Stokes BSc (Hons) is a Certified Personal Trainer, Accredited Sports Nutritionist, qualified Exercise to Music Instructor, Precision Nutrition coach, Massage Therapist and teaches 8 of the Les Mills Group Exercise programs.

He currently works in the Oil & Gas industry as a Wellness Coach, imparting his vast knowledge and experience to improve the quality of life of several hundred offshore workers.

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