Body Fat %

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 03, 2007 8:03 AM GMT
    Good morning. 34 going 35 yo active male, runner, weightlifter. Bought one of those scales that provides weight, BF%, and H2O make up. 204 lbs, 16.9% bf,and 60% H2O.
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    Apr 03, 2007 5:47 PM GMT
    I bought one of those scales (a Soehnle from Germany), and the readings can vary so much from day to day that I don't even bother using the fat percentage function any more. I just don't believe that my percentage of body fat can change 3-4 points in the space of 24 hours.

    According to my trainer's digital body fat calipers, I have 16% body fat at 187#, 6'1". That's way more body fat than I'd like, but that's what my 45 year old carcass likes to hold on to, and so far, I haven't been able to get it any lower than that. Oh well, it won't kill me if I never have six-pack abs.
  • OptimusMatt

    Posts: 1124

    Apr 03, 2007 7:34 PM GMT
    There are a couple of things that can cause these scales to have a wide variance. A major one is hydration. Basically, if on average you maintain hydration you should start to get an average value. Second, from what I understand you have to be measuring yourself pretty close to the same times every day, in the same conditions. They aren't perfect, but standardizing your measurements will give you a value much closer to your average.
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    Apr 03, 2007 9:06 PM GMT
    It must have been hydration levels, because I always weigh myself at the same time of day (first thing in the morning, nekkid, after going to the bathroom).
  • atxclimber

    Posts: 480

    Apr 03, 2007 10:24 PM GMT
    I've always heard that a bunch of factors affect the readings of electrical body-fat-percentage measurement. In particular, tissue density -- if your muscle tissue is flush with blood, it'll read differently. If you've had caffeine, it'll read differently. Etc.

    And despite all that, controlling by always doing it first thing in the morning like you, my foot scale gave widely varying results.

    I bought a cheap handheld device, my theory being that the tissue density down my arms and across my chest will vary less than that in my legs, since even just walking around my house changes the density of my legs.

    It totally worked -- my meter gives me readings with a maximum of maybe 1% variance (and usually less) doing it handheld, using it in the mornings or when I haven't been exercising recently.
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    Apr 03, 2007 11:20 PM GMT
    Thanks guys! I'm new here. Great to see the feedback. Looking to drop to 15% and throw on more muscle. Lift 4x a week and do cardio 3 x.
  • duglyduckling

    Posts: 279

    Apr 04, 2007 3:23 AM GMT
    I am obsessed with weighing myself in the morning, however I skip the body fat, etc part. I just do that once in a while...

    however, when I see myself going up in weight by 1 or 2 pounds, I freak out. LOL But I do find it to be a good way to help me stay on track of maintaining my weight.
  • atxclimber

    Posts: 480

    Apr 04, 2007 5:42 AM GMT
    I recommend getting a body fat monitor and ditching the scale. What if you put on some muscle? What if it's just water weight? No point in fretting about that. You don't need to care about how much you *weigh* so much as how much body fat and muscle tissue you're carrying around.

    Sadly my body's happy with an equilibrium at 12%, and I'm having to really fight with it to get it down closer to 7% where I'd love for it to be. At least the body fat monitor lets me know where I am. Which, uh, has been 12% for the past few years. Hmmph.
  • duglyduckling

    Posts: 279

    Apr 04, 2007 9:45 PM GMT
    yeah... I seem to be stuck at about 10% or so... My lowest was about 9.6% or something, but now it's around 10%... I wish I could lower that percentage some more...

    but the weight number seems to keep me in check. As long as it's within a certain number, I am satisfied.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 08, 2007 8:47 AM GMT
    I'm looking to reduce it, this month (April), to 15%.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Apr 08, 2007 9:58 AM GMT
    There are a few ways to determine
    overall BF% calipers...depend on whoever's doing it..and their expertise
    The scales...and the way they determine it makes me think they aren't that precise
    and finally the dunk tank method which is the best...and most precise but you can't make an appt and get immersed in a tank everyday
    ...but I don't worry too much about it
    really the best thing to use is a mirror

    ...it doesn't lie...it's readily accessible
    and it's cheap :)
    If you're like me and like being lean you know many things beside you're % affect the way you're body looks ... the amt of hydration you have...the foods we eat...time of day...the workouts we just did etc
    But for me numbers are just that...
    and they give you many time something false to obsess about
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 29, 2007 11:33 PM GMT
    yeah agree, the mirror is better than some calculating every percentage. if you feel and look good, fretting over bf% don't mean as much and you're more inclined to not focus too much energy on one area of your body.
    i used to have 5% body fat and my abs were more than fantastic though i kinda looked like a broom with an ice cube tray stuck to it and now i'm around 12% and filled in (no abs!) i look less of a gym junkie and look more healthy.

    though weight loss is something i'm not familiar with so for some it helps keep track of how you're going....
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 12, 2007 3:50 AM GMT
    People need to shy away from thinking that you must be at 5% body fat. This is very unhealthy. Generally, 3% body fat is vital: if you're below this, you're at a very high risk of death. Athletes like to be somewhere around 7-8% body fat, although I'm sure many strive for lower. What many people need to realize is that 10-15% body fat is actually very, very good. Striving for that 5% will give you a good case of the manorexia.
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    Mar 14, 2009 3:15 AM GMT
    I am a bit concerned with my body fat test results, I only do 30min cardio twice a week and 1hr weights 3x a week and my body fat went from 17% in October 08 8.4% in Jan, 6.3 in feb, to now 5.2% march 09, I started to cheat more with my meals....more pasta, rice, mcdonalds, nuts, cheese, etc so I can stop losing the body fat, but i wonder if the problem is the hand held measuring device because I feel I do not look 5.2%, that is just way too low! what % do you guys feel is unhealthy? what do you think? Thanks for your help!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 14, 2009 3:20 AM GMT
    question - can anyone get under 10 or 12% body fat if you don't do cardio?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 14, 2009 3:22 AM GMT
    Yeah, through diet.
  • dionysus

    Posts: 420

    Mar 14, 2009 3:23 AM GMT
    right. less tha 3% body fat = you die. aim for 7-8. its a good. healthy. standard. unless you're an olympic athlete. there's really no need to be much further below 7, 6 is fantastic. 5 is amazing, 4 is starting to get weird, <3. ill get you a pine coffin icon_smile.gif

  • dionysus

    Posts: 420

    Mar 14, 2009 3:26 AM GMT
    in response to main posting.

    scales are crap. too much variation. you might have had a high iron concentration in your meals that die. high metal anything, mercury, chromium, doesn't matter.
    scales work off of the electrical impedence.

    BEST WAYS:
    body fat caliper (3-point vs. 7-point) no major difference unless you're sub-6% body fat. done at a local gym

    water dunk: you strip down to a speedo and dunk yourself in water, evacuate your lungs of air and the amount of water you displace in ratio to your weight measures precisely your body fat percentage. this, if you can find it in your area, is the most accurate way of testing body fat currently.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 14, 2009 3:38 AM GMT
    thanks for the info! I will definitely look into the water dunk test, I just need some sort of accurate measurement, down to 3% is scary death haha, but you know if you saw me there is no way i would look 5.2%, i saw pics of guys who are at 4-5 and there is a big difference haha
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    Mar 14, 2009 3:50 AM GMT
    joeman72 saidGood morning. 34 going 35 yo active male, runner, weightlifter. Bought one of those scales that provides weight, BF%, and H2O make up. 204 lbs, 16.9% bf,and 60% H2O.


    They aren't very accurate, even on a good day. Take it with a grain of salt.
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    Mar 14, 2009 4:11 AM GMT
    During the summer, the local 24 Hour Fitness hires out a mobile water dunk. I don't remember how much it was, but it was affordable. Something like under $30.