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Thread: Best way to measure body fat page

  1. #1
    Traderjodie's Avatar
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    Best way to measure body fat

    Primal Fuel
    Hi everyone,

    I am looking for an accurate way to measure body fat at home. I want to change my body composition far more then I want to change my actual weight -- In my case, I'm sure that will entail losing fat as well as gaining muscle but I just dont want to measure by the scale any more.

    Are there any good ways to do this conveniently at home? I don't belong to a gym and can't afford to do so, but I would not be apposed to buying a device if it will really work. I have tried calipers but can't really figure out how to use them right so any suggestions there would be of great help as well.

    Thanks for any suggestions you can give me.

    Jodie

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    Tribal Rob's Avatar
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    Body fat calipers are fairly cheap for nasty plastic ones, and probably more for good ones, I kinda think you need an assistant to get good results and it's hard to measure the back of your shoulder-blade yourself, or even your tricep for that matter, and the more measurements you get the better. You can get a rough idea just from waist fat measuring, but to be honest you are probably as well to just look in a mirror

    There are also sights on the internet where you plug in your weight, height, gender, age and then a load of other measurement, like waist, calf, thigh, wrist, etc etc, the more the better and it calculates your bodyfat, I don't any to reccomend, and I'm sure you are just as as capable of using google as me, maybe even better as most people can spell better than me
    You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

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    Kochin's Avatar
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    Good quality scales have a low error margin assuming normal hydration (not dehydrated or retaining). Calipers are second best to clinical tests, but you may want to find a formula specific to your ethnicity, due to differences in fat distribution and density.
    Tony Gruber and US Navy Circumference calculations are OK for an idea of where you are, but can make quite large errors, especially when the person in question is naturally wide in the hip and rib areas due to slightly wider bones and less dense musculature (like Eastern European populations are, for example).
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    For example: my scales put me at 23.3% (+/-2%), Gruber at 25.9% (+/-3%), Navy at 25.4% (+/-5%). I've done a provisional finger-pinch test while I'm waiting for my calipers and that put me at 20.3% (+/-5%). I have a feeling calipers will put me somewhere between finger-pinch and scales.
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    jmsmall's Avatar
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    The "gold standard" is a DEXA scan at a local radiology place. You have to be a bit careful to get the body composition DEXA rather than the bone density DEXA which is a lot more common. It is an Xray so probably best not to get it too often, but this is the most accurate of all.

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    magicmerl's Avatar
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    I'd just visually estimate it from a site.
    Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cierra View Post
    Aside from struggling with confusing calipers, you could purchase a measuring tape and just go by that!
    I agree. Or go by how many fingers you can fit in the waistband of your favorite pair of pants. Anything's more accurate than home-measures of body fat percentage.

  9. #9
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    The Tanita body scales are not perfectly accurate but they tend to be reasonably precise. If you use them at the same time daily under similar hydration conditions you should be able to note trends over time. Combine that with taking regular measurements and photos and you should be able to reasonably track changes in body composition. I take daily measurements but I only pay attention to changes week over week and don't get caught up in the daily fluctuations.

    ETA: And the Tanita scales hold up very well over time. I've had mine for over 20 years and it still works great!
    Last edited by PeaceKaren; 03-04-2013 at 06:07 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceKaren View Post
    The Tanita body scales are not perfectly accurate but they tend to be reasonably precise. If you use them at the same time daily under similar hydration conditions you should be able to note trends over time.
    Yeah, but it's hard to remember that you're noticing trends over time when you can visually see and physically feel your body composition improving, but the Tanita scale says you're up 2% body fat. It's an imprecise tool at best. Oh, and if you have one for all those years, it will adjust its calculations way too grossly as you change your age. Having a birthday does NOT make my body fat increase by 3% overnight.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceKaren View Post
    Combine that with taking regular measurements and photos and you should be able to reasonably track changes in body composition.
    Or just take regular measurements and photos. Why buy an expensive tool that doesn't work all that well and doesn't really tell you what you want to know when you can judge better with a tape measure and the fit of the clothes already in your closet? Neck to waist ratio, or just plain old waist size is probably a far more useful metric for most regular people who aren't figure competitors or whatever.

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