I want to gain mass and get into a competition!!!! How would one get a reading? I do lift a lot and eat a crap load of food...2800 cals a day...250 protein. Do you have any suggestions of an activity that would burn the same amount of calories as running 10 miles per hour....for 60-100 mins a day? Ive been reading up about competitions and they say that when in season you have to wake up early and do cario...and then do it again before you go to bed...
If you train at a commercial gym, any of the trainers nearby should be able to do a quick measurement for you with a calipers. If not, find a gym in your area and see if someone will do it for a few bucks - some places will charge $5 or $10 for a quick measurement session and assessment, which isn't bad if you only want to get one done every few months vs. being obsessive and doing it weekly. You CAN do them yourself, however, it's easier (and usually more reliable) to have someone else do it for you, but also be sure to have the same person do it each time to keep the readings as consistent as possible.
I've never competed as a bodybuilder and am not a diet "guru" by any means, so there are other people who may be able to shed more light on this. However, I believe it was VeggiePrincess from the board here who once (maybe about 2 years back) had been posting a lot about how she only finally figured out how to get into competition shape once she started doing only low-intensity cardio for shorter periods (again, 30-45 minutes @ 60-70% max heart rate) and that she had been in a rut for a long time while believing that intense long-duration cardio was key. Others such as xjohanx have had a lot of posts from a back a ways (about a year or so) about things such as intermittent fasting for fat loss and the success he'd had with going that route (and he was shredded as hell!). Others posted their success with HIIT High intensity interval training, doing things such as sprint 60 seconds, walk 60 seconds, repeat for something like 8-10 rounds and that's it. Lots of ways you can do it.
One thing to note, if you're after a target caloric intake for your perceived fat loss goals, there are other ways of working around it than forcing yourself to do long-term cardio to balance things out.
For example, let's say, you're aiming to be at 1500 net calories after all training has been done for the day and deductions have been made for physical activity via running and weight training. Now, say you're eating 2800 calories/day on training days, but need to run for 60-80 minutes to reach your net calorie count goal that you're aiming for. Rather than have to stuff yourself with more food to sustain the longer training then force yourself to run every day to balance out the calories, you may want to take a look back at your diet and refine from the base. Perhaps cut down the total calories by 5-10%, (maybe by doing something like cutting carbs by 10-20% and increasing protein 5-10%), that could instantly keep protein intake high and reduce a few hundred calories to reduce the time you need to spend doing long-term cardio, while still keeping you "balanced" for the numbers you want to stay at. Otherwise, it's akin to driving to a gas station that's 3 hours away vs. the local station, only to have to refuel again to make it home; you always want to find a way to work SMART, as sometimes only working HARD means doing more and getting the same or less in return than a superior approach you may not have tried yet. It becomes a bit self-defeating if you take in extra calories and then feel compelled to burn them off constantly, so it sometimes is best to refine the diet a bit from the core plan, change macronutrient ratios around a bit, and see if you can possibly make a few cuts to avoid needing to do so much cardio to achieve the balance you're after.
Last year, when I got my bodyfat the lowest it has been in a while and finally got my weight under 230 lbs. (which I hadn't done in many years), I barely did cardio, but found that what worked best for me was to cut carbs significantly, up the protein and fat, and only do a few power walks for short durations here and there. I had MUCH better results than when I try to rely on cardio as the main fat loss tool - as they say, good abs are built in the kitchen, not on the track!