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Body Fat Measurement


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Do anyone have any suggestions for measuring body fat? The health center at my work has both the hand-grip device and also calipers. The hand-grip device showed me to be significantly overweight (which I know is wrong), and the calipers seemed to be incorrect as well (showing almost no body fat in my arms and stomach [which is definitely inaccurate], but reading me as significantly overweight in my thighs [i'm a runner, and my legs are my strongest muscles!]... it could be that the nurse at the center didn't know how to correctly use the calipers). I would like to have an accurate measurement soon, as I'm just starting my training and would like to be able to track my progress. Thanks for any feedback you can share!

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melrae,

 

If you're looking to know your exact body fat percentage, no one device is 100% accurate. Still, if it's important to you to have a figure to go on, it might be worth the cost to invest in a high-tech procedure somewhere to get a closer reading. A machine will rule out human error.

 

But if you want to know your percentage to track your progress, make sure to use the same procedure over and over. This can get pricey if you choose the high-tech route. I use a Tanita Bodyfat Scale. It's probably way off but at least it's consistent (and free!) It will tell me how much I differ from last month or last year, which is what I truly want to know.

 

It's like when you weigh yourself at a friend's house and the scale says something different than yours. Which one is accurate? Who cares: if you have goals, all you need is an accurate measurement of your change. Three pounds or two percentages up or down are meaningless numbers if you are feeling and looking better, anyway.

 

I'm not a big proponent of using body fat percentage as a measure of health anymore because I've seen low BFP's who are weak as chicken bones on so many levels and high BFP's with perfect blood pressure and cholesterol who can out-hike me up a mountain. Plus, they are better huggers! Happy and capable is my goal.

 

Baby Herc

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has anyone tried this?

i wonder how accurate it is...

Any impedance scale like that will be affected by things like hydration. From what I've heard the three point caliper tests are the most accurate and consistent, even beating out the displacement units such as the bodpod, but it has to be read properly.

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the calipers seemed to be incorrect as well (showing almost no body fat in my arms and stomach [which is definitely inaccurate], but reading me as significantly overweight in my thighs [i'm a runner, and my legs are my strongest muscles!]... it could be that the nurse at the center didn't know how to correctly use the calipers).
The caliper test involves pulling the skin and fat away from the muscle and measuring the size to pinch it. I've only measured my belly with calipers (on my own) and after a few times it becomes obvious if there's much fat under there just by what you're pulling away. If they didn't pull the skin away properly the numbers will be wrong.
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