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Thread: Do bodyfat scales work? page

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    duckmama's Avatar
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    Do bodyfat scales work?

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    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.

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    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.

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    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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    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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    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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    Quote 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.

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    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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    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.
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    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.

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    dboxing's Avatar
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    Quote 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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