2

votes

What is the most accurate way to measure BF% at home?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 13, 2010 at 10:26 PM

My scale says I'm 20% body fat, but looking at example pictures, I look nothing like the guys with 20%. I'd say I'm probably closer to 17% or 18%.

So obviously, something is off. Does anyone have suggestions for getting my BF% more accurately?

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on May 17, 2010
at 01:51 PM

Hey Ed, you didn't have to do that! I thought your answer was great and had the added advantage of being nice and short. :) But thanks for redirecting people to the first thread!

1340fe0b7e7b01683ea33042092e05d6

(1693)

on May 14, 2010
at 04:50 PM

I dont think they are even that sensitive. I've seen the same machines spit out different body weights on the same person that varried +/- 10lbs.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 14, 2010
at 03:54 PM

I have a caliper at home. The problem is that I hold my weight right around the waist line. So the measurement is off for overall body fat.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 14, 2010
at 03:53 PM

It still has to be ok for _relative_ changes. Like "I've gone down 1% according to this scale". That's still down /shrug

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on May 14, 2010
at 10:21 AM

I have deleted my answer because it was too similar to Jae's excellent answer here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/1573/how-can-you-track-your-body-fat-percentage . I have retagged the questions so that they have common tags.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on May 14, 2010
at 02:32 AM

Sorry Jae. I had forgotten about the earlier thread. I wasn't trying to plagiarize you. Cheers,

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on May 14, 2010
at 02:06 AM

We get this question every month. Ed, you said pretty much exactly what I said in this earlier thread: http://paleohacks.com/questions/1573/how-can-you-track-your-body-fat-percentage/1598

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on May 14, 2010
at 01:05 AM

Yup. It's more valuable to measure changes than actuals, I think.

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4 Answers

3
6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on May 14, 2010
at 01:04 AM

Any bodyfat measurement can go awry. A "state of the art" hydrostatic measurement of Mark Sisson last year pegged him at 16.9% BF, while the average guess in his "guess my bodyfat" contest was 6.7% ( http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-value-of-lab-values/ ).

The most important factor in measuring your bodyfat is directional--is it going up, down, or sideways? Most types of measurement are consistent enough to give you a directional indication, even if the actual number is off.

I use two indicators to estimate my bodyfat: (1) a mirror and (2) an online calculator ( http://www.bmi-calculator.net/body-fat-calculator/ ). It's probably not accurate, but I know which direction I'm going.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on May 14, 2010
at 02:06 AM

We get this question every month. Ed, you said pretty much exactly what I said in this earlier thread: http://paleohacks.com/questions/1573/how-can-you-track-your-body-fat-percentage/1598

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on May 14, 2010
at 02:32 AM

Sorry Jae. I had forgotten about the earlier thread. I wasn't trying to plagiarize you. Cheers,

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on May 14, 2010
at 01:05 AM

Yup. It's more valuable to measure changes than actuals, I think.

1
0d821bf7d4028b84a6838062db0e9ce0

(754)

on May 15, 2010
at 04:34 AM

about.com Body Fat Calculator which uses the navy method works pretty good, and is supposed to be comparable to calipers, best part is all you need is a measuring tape or something you can wrap around yourself and than measure.

Granted, consistency in the spot you are measuring is key, but its always worked out to be the same measure as other methods for me.

found another one via Marks daily apple that not only has the tape/navy method but several caliper methods as well so there's a couple to try and get consensus if you have the time.

Online Body Fat Calculator for Men and Women

1
1340fe0b7e7b01683ea33042092e05d6

on May 14, 2010
at 01:12 AM

If you are unable to find a hydrostaic body fat setup to get an accurate %, try to find a trainer/coach/anyone with EXTENSIVE body fat testing experience using the skin calipers.

I have seen most of the electronic systems that you hold in your hand, or stand on, and I have seen people go mad chasing those #s. Gimmicks at best in my honest opinion.

If you know someone who can do skin caliper testing accurately and methodically, I'd venture a guess and say that that is the most accurate "home" system you can get outside of the hydrostatic dunk tanks.

1340fe0b7e7b01683ea33042092e05d6

(1693)

on May 14, 2010
at 04:50 PM

I dont think they are even that sensitive. I've seen the same machines spit out different body weights on the same person that varried +/- 10lbs.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 14, 2010
at 03:53 PM

It still has to be ok for _relative_ changes. Like "I've gone down 1% according to this scale". That's still down /shrug

1
D251185e140e7f3d8df603a08fdbeabd

on May 13, 2010
at 10:51 PM

The electrical impedance based testers can be off by about 3%. I have used one by Omron & it tends to be at least 3% higher than a caliper based (skin fold) test. Here is the first body fat calipers I found online: http://www.accumeasurefitness.com/products/fitness3000.html $20

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 14, 2010
at 03:54 PM

I have a caliper at home. The problem is that I hold my weight right around the waist line. So the measurement is off for overall body fat.

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