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How to measure (and track) % of bodyfat?

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  • How to measure (and track) % of bodyfat?



    Sorry if this has been posted before but I searched and couldn't find the answer.


    What is the most practical way to measure % of bodyfat with a reasonable level of accuracy? I currentlly have one of those Tanika scales that measures both weight and bodyfat%. Here's what it says about me:


    My height is 5'9.5" (female, small frame)

    Weight: 158

    Bodyfat% 36% (this was 34% until I'd been on PB a few days, then it went from 34 to 36%)


    Now, if I were to lose 16% (25 lbs) of bodyfat (as if I could lose only bodyfat and no muscle), I would be at 133 lbs and I would look extremely thin. I was there back in my run-every day phase. That was a long time ago and I don't think being that thin would look good on me now.


    Is the Tanika scale a good enough tool to use for this purpose?

    I'm a quitter...but I'm back now.

  • #2
    1



    Mine seems to be at least consistent. It has always been within 0.5% of what it said the day before or after. I'm not sure how accurate it is though.

    --

    I'm back

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    • #3
      1



      Does your goal really need to be 16% body fat? I think no matter what your tools, it's hard to predict what your ideal weight will be until you're very close to it.

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      • #4
        1



        My BF scale changes by ridiculous amounts in the course of a day. I never trust it. I used to have calipers, but found this method to be almost as accurate, and twice as easy. Just make sure to hit the "Female" tab, the calculations are different.

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        • #5
          1



          There are several body fat calculators online, where you put in measurements and whatnot and it calculates a percent for you. There are 15 percentage points between the one that shows my lowest % and my body fat scale. I figure if they're all going down, that's the best I can hope for.


          I threw my HealthOMeter body fat scale away because according to that scale my weight would go up and down by as much as 3 pounds in the time it took me to take a shower. The fat percentages were just as wild. Now I have a Tanita, and it's much more consistent. Have no idea if it's correct or not, but it's consistent and it tells me my body fat % is going down. Good enough for me. There must be a way to accurately measure body fat. I don't believe a scale is it.

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          • #6
            1



            I use this link:

            http://www.linear-software.com/online.html

            with a tape measure.

            Probably OK for relative measurements of tracking body fat loss (or gain).

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            • #7
              1



              Allbeef...I didn't know those scales have an option to select "female" somewhere! I wonder if that's in a later model than the one I have. I'll check though.


              Primal...wow, that's a huge gap between your scale and the other method. That's what I was wondering about.


              Thanks everyone for the links to online tools. I'll give that a go and see how it turns out.


              Avocado, my goal is not to be 16% bodyfat. I was putting that number out there as a hypothetical, that if I lost 16%...which would put me at 20%. That's not my goal either. I just want to look good, and fit. Like the woman who played the Terminator in Terminator 3. Strong. I remember reading that she put on 15 lbs of muscle in order to play that role. :-)

              I'm a quitter...but I'm back now.

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              • #8
                1



                I'm sorry, I meant to post a link, but I'm an idiot. It defaults to the male method. The female method is a bit more involved.


                http://www.drsears.com/ZoneResources...4/Default.aspx

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                • #9
                  1



                  oh, okay...I get you now. Thanks for the link.

                  I'm a quitter...but I'm back now.

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                  • #10
                    1



                    I have a body fat monitor by Omron (this thread made me remember it in my closet, I have never used it before) it is one you program in your age, height, weight and activity level. you hold it in your hands and it runs an electrical charge thru your body (not one you can feel) and calculates your body fat and BMI.


                    My floor scale calculates bodyfat and has mine at 25% (I am 5'6" 125 pounds that CANT be right when my BMI is around 20?) the handheld one has me at 19.1%


                    does anyone know how accurate these handheld ones are?

                    Holly and the Greyhounds-Cabby, Bully, Nelson, Stepper, Streamer and Fiona
                    Adopt a greyhound! www.GALTx.com An ancient (Primal?) Breed

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                    • #11
                      1



                      The hand held one measures more of your upper body fat and the scale, your lower body fat (unless like me you have something like the Ironman tanita which does both.) I find one is nor more accurate than another. You are probably somewhere inbetween the two readings depending on where you retain your fat.

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                      • #12
                        1



                        While some of these methods of measuring body fat *might* be accurate for your body type, there is also a good chance that it is wildly inaccurate. I would recommend trying to find one of these machines if you're interested in an accurate measurement:


                        http://www.bodpod.com/bodycomp


                        Many universities have them and will test you for a fee. My local university has one, and they charge $100 for a pair of tests (baseline and followup). If you're in the US, this link might be of assistance in finding one:


                        http://www.bodpod.com/clients/locator

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                        • #13
                          1



                          My old Tanita scale is whack.

                          I'm 5-9, about 150...I can get a reading of 34% BF in the morning, then 30% half an hour later after drinking some coffee.


                          Last caliper at the gym, 24%.


                          I hate the Tanita. It's going in the trash ;-)

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                          • #14
                            1



                            If you have a well rated impedance scale you should be able to get consistent numbers, but most likely not accurate.

                            People mention using there scales and then the results changing within a short time span, but they also mention, eating, showering, or activity, which even according to the manufacturer will give you varying results. All activity, time of day, surface conductivity, should be kept consistent between measurements to get consistent readings.


                            I've had a Tanita scale for a couple yrs and the readings are pretty consistent, but the absolute number is definitely off. Also, most manufacturers recommend taking an average of 3-5 weekly readings with consistent testing procedure to get a good reading that week. Then you can compare this to the following weeks average reading. Another issue is the surface condition of your skin, so a quick rub of your feet with water should give you a more consistent surface. One last note, I've noticed women will have even more trouble in keeping testing circumstances consistent due to all the rapid changes that they can incur in a short time span.


                            From my experience I've found the most consistent time to keep controlled and in terms of body resistance is in the morning after waking up.

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