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Healthy Body Fat Percentage for Females

Question: I am 29, 5'2, 113 lbs, 17% body fat. I've been working out off & on for years, but have recently decided to get serious. I want to be 13% body fat and slightly more cut by the time my 30th birthday arrives (April)! What do you recommend as a weight training routine/cardio routine to help me reach my goal? Should I be doing my cardio workout before or after weight training? Thanks for your help!! Shelley

Answer: Dear Shelley, I think your goal may be too severe. Even for a small-framed woman, your current weight and fat percentage are healthy. Studies show that women need a certain amount of fat in their bodies to function the way they're supposed to. Ideal fitness fat percentage for women is between 16% and 25% body fat. Look at yourself as someone who is already in good shape and focus on being consistent with your exercise. I would recommend full-body weights workouts two times per week and cardio workouts four or five times per week. It doesn't really matter if you do cardio before or after weights, just try it both ways and stick with whichever feels best to you.

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