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Do bodyfat scales work?

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  • Do bodyfat scales work?

    Just curious if any of you have/use a home bodyfat scale on a regular basis. Do they work? Are there any brands or models in particular that are better than others? I would love any recommendations or suggestions.

    I'm very curious to be able to track my BMI and see what kind of progress I'm making at building muscle and reducing body fat.

  • #2
    i used to use one of those handheld body fat measurers...then i got rid of it and just started relying on mirrors, photos, belts, etc instead. i think bodyfat scales are probably decent at showing progress only, and only if you're staying off of them for at least a month at a time. there are so many things that can affect your weight and body fat measures that checking in too often can actually be a deterrent.
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60178.html

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    • #3
      They tend to be wrong, but at least they're normally wrong by the same amount; so, if you lose 10% bf on the scale, you probably have lost about 10%.
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      • #4
        I have a Tanita and am reasonably satisfied. That said I have never correlated its values with other testing like underwater, calipers, etc. But to track progress and body comp I find it helpful. This year I have amped up workouts so curious to track progress; and it is nice to see that the higher weight is indeed muscle.

        To make best use, you need to compare weight / body fat at the same time (like on rising) once a week; once a day is probably a bit neurotic, or whatever other interval you want. The values change over the course of the day just due to water weight meaning an evening value for me will be a few pounds heavier and up to 1.5% difference in bodyfat compared to a morning reading due to food eaten and water consumed.

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        • #5
          The only (truly) accurate way is hydrostatic. Here's some advice to save yourself time and money. How do your jeans fit? If they are loosening-up, you're moving in the right direction. For men, jeans test works, but lift shirt test works also. Lift shirt, no visible abs, too fat. You could also measure the circumference of your hips if female and waist if male. Start tracking the inches lost.

          I see too many people hung up on bodyfat measurement for the sake of bodyfat measurement. There's no discernable difference between someone with 28% and someone with 30%. However, there is a noticeable difference between someone with 15% and someone with 30%, and you don't need any instrument but your eyes to tell.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by dboxing View Post
            The only (truly) accurate way is hydrostatic. Here's some advice to save yourself time and money. How do your jeans fit? If they are loosening-up, you're moving in the right direction. For men, jeans test works, but lift shirt test works also. Lift shirt, no visible abs, too fat. You could also measure the circumference of your hips if female and waist if male. Start tracking the inches lost.
            I loved this from stumptuous.com:

            Autopsy is the most accurate and effective means of body fat assessment. And, guess what, it’s a little inconvenient for most of us.
            My journal

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            • #7
              Our home scale (a Tanita) computes body fat %. I never put much thought to what it computed. Last week, I had the "Bod Pod" done. It calculated a body fat % that was about 1% lower than what the home scale calculated. It would appear that my home scale isn't too far off for my body. We have nothing to compare my wife's numbers to. My plan is to use it as a trend indicator. As long as the number it comes up with keeps getting smaller while what I see in the mirror gets better, I will assume it's not terribly inaccurate. In the end, I don't really care what my actual body fat % is, as long as I feel better and look better.

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              • #8
                i had been using a Taylor scale. i wasn't that concerned with weight and I knew the BMI was not precise. I tend to retain water because of mild congestive heart failure.

                The scale had be showing BMI of about 24. Since I had lost lots of fat (everything loose - pants, hats, rings, etc.), and I had no love handles, I figured it wasn't too far off. The water percent was fluctuating from 53 to 56%. Suddenly, the scale was showing BMI of 35 and water of 47. It is an old scale, so i figured it was broken. So I bought another Taylor. Same readings. Now I'm stumped.
                Ancestral Health Info

                I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

                Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.

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                • #9
                  We used to have one, before my children swamped it after a rowdy bath. I was evaluated in a BodPod and it was only about .5-1% off from the home scale. I would say it was fairly accurate.

                  You have to be well hydrated and should wet your feet before you use it. I would always use it after I had showered, that way it was always the same.

                  If you use it under the same conditions each time, same clothes (or lack of), same time, same hydration level, etc. it will give you a fairly accurate assessment of how much you lost. You know even a sale that weighs you as 10 pounds more than you really weigh, will still show that you lost 10 pounds if you do.
                  Meghan

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by svelting View Post
                    I loved this from stumptuous.com:
                    Cute. I suppose, to be precise, I should introduce remarks with "Presuming you are alive,..."

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                    • #11
                      Here is a related comment from one of my previous posts. My BF scale has an "athlete mode" that is more accurate for me. I can actually see my abs....and when I don't use athlete mode it calculates me at 21% (I am male, so this is impossible) Athlete mode has me at 9.8%. This agrees within a few percent with the YMCA calculator shown below.

                      Here is a link to a BF calculator that is actually pretty darn accurate.
                      http://www.weightlosscalculators.org...alculator.aspx
                      All you have to do is measure your waist (going around your belly button.) Use a tape measure or a piece of string and a marker. As long as you make the measurement consistently, the measure will be useful for measuring progress. Also, do it in the morning when you are probably the least hydrated. The formula is actually from the YMCA. I have no idea why this isn't used by the medical community because BMI is complete crap! Just fiddle with the numbers and you'll see what I mean. Take a guy that has a 32" waist and weighs 150 vs a guy that has a 32" waist and is 210. Guess what...that 210 guy must be pretty lean.....and this calculator will indeed reflect that. Meanwhile BMI might say he is obese depending on his height.

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                      • #12
                        Hey all, this has been an interesting read for me--I've never had a scale that measured bodyfat (or used any of the more high-tech measurement devices), so it's something I've been curious about.

                        Originally posted by DPB67 View Post
                        Here is a link to a BF calculator that is actually pretty darn accurate.
                        http://www.weightlosscalculators.org...alculator.aspx
                        I gave this calculator a shot and got 25.7% (based on 165.2 lbs and 32"), but I feel dubious that this formula understands just how wide my hips are (44.5", for a .72 waist/hip ratio). I'm wondering what they're picturing as a typical female weight distribution for this formula...
                        Last edited by Kaytoo; 01-27-2011, 08:22 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Based on that link my body fat is 17%. I do not think that is correct. I am 5'5" and weigh between 147-150 depending on the day. I have a small waist and carry my weight in my butt and thighs so I don't think that is an accurate calculator even though I'd be very happy if it were true.

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