Most of us can slot our overall build into one of three general categories (recognizing that there are a wide variety of shapes and sizes even within these categories).
Body composition is liberating because it gives you something to focus on in a good way—lean body mass. No matter what the scale says, if you're in a healthy body-composition range, you're all good! Your ideal body composition depends on your goals. If you're a competitive athlete, your aim is likely the lower end of the body-fat percentage scale (again, taking your somatotype into consideration), but remember that you are never gunning for zero fat, and lower is not always better.
Women naturally have more fat than men, as we have a greater amount of essential fat (fat needed for bodily functions, from forming reproductive tissue to aiding the absorption of vitamins consumed in different foods). The body-fat ranges for optimal health are 14 percent to 30 percent for women and 6 percent to 25 percent for men. Don't get too hung up on trimming every little ounce, however. If you're at the lower end of the body-fat spectrum but your fitness level falls under general fitness or athlete, you're not going to gain performance benefits by focusing on fat loss. And you might just make yourself sick.
So first, start by identifying your body type. Here's how to begin: