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How to determine body fat %
Old 06-18-2012, 10:31 AM   #1
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How to determine body fat %

What's the most accurate way to determine body fat %? My scale says i'm 8.5% but the trainer at the gym used a caliper and says it's 14.1%. That's a pretty big difference. 14.1% means I have 22lbs of fat on me. I'm 6'6" and 160lbs. I sure don't see 22 lbs of fat but he seems very sure that his test is more accurate than the scale. Does anyone have experience that would help determine which may be more accurate?
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:37 AM   #2
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The most accurate way is total immersion of your body in a tank of water. Very few places offer this, but if you're really concerned about it, that's the ticket. Anything else is an approximation, although for most people it's good enough.
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:41 AM   #3
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I Googled the question and found a site that says the calipers are much better than scales for measuring body fat percentages, but that you can't get an accurate percentage if you try to use the calipers on yourself.

Do home scales accurately measure body fat percentage? - Anytime Health
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:51 AM   #4
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My guess is any method can be useful to track changes even if the exact % isn't perfect. I think i'll continue to monitor changes at least weekly on my scale since it's convienent and have a caliper test done maybe quarterly.
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:16 AM   #5
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At 6'6" and 160 pounds why worry about it? Much skinnier and people will start kicking sand at you on the beach. I am 6'0" and hit 166 recently and don't want to go much lower. At 160 I would start adding more carbs to my diet.
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:24 AM   #6
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At 6'6" and 160 pounds why worry about it? Much skinnier and people will start kicking sand at you on the beach. I am 6'0" and hit 166 recently and don't want to go much lower. At 160 I would start adding more carbs to my diet.
Well the reason I started going to the gym is to gain weight not lose but it's still nice to keep track of body fat % to make sure i'm not gaining too much fat. I guess a mirror works well enough My goal weight is 200lbs but I want to stay under 15% body fat.
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:41 AM   #7
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I use the U.S. Navy Circumference Method.

I enter my data into the following page and it spits out a calculation for the percent body fat.

Diet Calculator, Body Fat Calculator

I started with 20% body fat at the beginning of the year and now have about 12% body fat. My waist has shrunk by four inches and I have what looks like 2/3's of a six pack. I'm guessing that a six pack would not show up until 8-10% body fat is attained.
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Old 06-18-2012, 12:09 PM   #8
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I use the U.S. Navy Circumference Method.

I enter my data into the following page and it spits out a calculation for the percent body fat.

Diet Calculator, Body Fat Calculator

I started with 20% body fat at the beginning of the year and now have about 12% body fat. My waist has shrunk by four inches and I have what looks like 2/3's of a six pack. I'm guessing that a six pack would not show up until 8-10% body fat is attained.
That measures my body fat at 11.3% which is EXACTLY in the middle of the scale and the caliper tests which where 8.5 and 14.1 respectively. That works for me
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:07 PM   #9
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I use the U.S. Navy Circumference Method.
I use the DW circumference method. When she can't get her arms around me, it's time to go on a diet ...
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:20 AM   #10
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I use the DW circumference method. When she can't get her arms around me, it's time to go on a diet ...
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:37 AM   #11
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I use the U.S. Navy Circumference Method.

I enter my data into the following page and it spits out a calculation for the percent body fat.

Diet Calculator, Body Fat Calculator

I started with 20% body fat at the beginning of the year and now have about 12% body fat. My waist has shrunk by four inches and I have what looks like 2/3's of a six pack. I'm guessing that a six pack would not show up until 8-10% body fat is attained.
The calculator, using my current weight & measurements, says 22.2%. I had my fat percentage measured at a health fair back in April. I weighed a few pounds more then than I do now. That said 25% body fat. The device used at the health fair was a gadget with two handles, sort of like a king-sized tuning fork. I tried to find out the principle behind it by searching online. As near as I could figure out, it measures the electrical resistance through your body, and calculates how much water & how much fat from that.
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Old 06-19-2012, 05:39 AM   #12
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OP: here is a site that discusses ideal body fat. Note that it increases for age so you should only focus on 15% if you are in your 30s. I just hit 18% and according to this at age 63 I should probably call it quits on weight loss.



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Old 06-19-2012, 06:44 AM   #13
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The best method of all IMHO is look at yourself in the mirror, and take pics of yourself every few months. Thats all you should need
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:35 AM   #14
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The best method of all IMHO is look at yourself in the mirror, and take pics of yourself every few months. Thats all you should need
My mirror must be defective, it is showing someone who is clearly not me.

Ha
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:41 AM   #15
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My mirror must be defective, it is showing someone who is clearly not me.

Ha
Say three times, mirror mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all, and then relook and see if shows the real you
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:46 AM   #16
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The best method of all IMHO is look at yourself in the mirror, and take pics of yourself every few months. Thats all you should need
That's what DW tells me. Unfortunately, I can't figure out if that means I should gain or lose weight!

My body fat scale says I'm at about 14%. But any fat I lose or gain is at the waist and is pretty obvious to me. I just try to keep my belly from sticking out.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:11 AM   #17
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That's what DW tells me. Unfortunately, I can't figure out if that means I should gain or lose weight!

My body fat scale says I'm at about 14%. But any fat I lose or gain is at the waist and is pretty obvious to me. I just try to keep my belly from sticking out.
I wouldn't get too hung up on a number so much. Do you like the way you look and do you feel physically fit? If the answer is yes, your probably fine BF wise, unless your competing in a body building contest and want to get down to 4% BF. In fact, staying at anything below 8% for an extended period is probably not good for you.

Also, you can't target reducing fat solely around the waist or any specific body part by itself, so if you are seeing belly fat coming off, you are also losing fat everywhere.
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