How to accurately measure bodyfat %?

  • Tyinstl

    Posts: 353

    Sep 05, 2009 10:20 PM GMT
    I need a way to gauge my progress as I lose weight or I'll lose motivation.

    The problem, though, is that caliper testing has proved inaccurate. I recently tested at 8% bodyfat, which is retarded because I would be seeing a six-pack right now if that were true, not to mention i'm not in as good a shape as when i tested 10%.

    Think I could do a water immersion test in my bathtub if I measured how much water got displaced?
  • UFJocknerd

    Posts: 392

    Sep 06, 2009 1:53 AM GMT
    I don't think your homemade hydrostatic test will accomplish your goal of reducing error.

    Don't let the night front desk staff at the gym do the caliper test; the caliper test done by someone with good training is reasonably accurate and economical if you intend on checking regularly.
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    Sep 06, 2009 2:10 AM GMT
    Tyinstl saidI need a way to gauge my progress as I lose weight or I'll lose motivation.

    The problem, though, is that caliper testing has proved inaccurate. I recently tested at 8% bodyfat, which is retarded because I would be seeing a six-pack right now if that were true, not to mention i'm not in as good a shape as when i tested 10%.

    Think I could do a water immersion test in my bathtub if I measured how much water got displaced?

    Here's a description of hydrostatic weighing. I've had it done to me, and what you do is sit in a chair or sling suspended on a boom with a scale attached to it. It's not the water displacement, but rather comparing your dry weight with your submerged weight, using the Siri equation.

    http://www.topendsports.com/testing/tests/underwater.htm

    I was part of a study in 1984 to evaluate a new body fat measuring method using radioactive materials injected into the body. I was first tested hydrostatically, and also with calipers, to get a baseline percentage, then using this experimental method. I tested around 9% on all 3.

    And I didn't have a 6-pack, either, at age 35. You need to develop that specific set of muscles, it's not merely a matter of body fat percentage, plus genes help, too. Interestingly, I was an Army Major who taught physical fitness, and did tons of sit-ups. For the PT test I could do 80 full, regulation sit-ups in 2 minutes, for the maximum 100 points score for my age group, and I had no 6-pack.

    You might try getting an electronic home scale that gives body fat percentage, as well as BMI, water percentage and other values. Not terribly accurate compared to more direct measurements, but you could at least plot changes, to determine what approaches worked and what didn't.
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    Sep 06, 2009 2:35 AM GMT
    Yeah, water displacement won't tell you your body fat percentage.

    Ask your gym where you can get hydrostatic body fat testing. They might be able to point you in the right direction,

    At my gym, maybe once or twice a year, there's a mobile hydrostatic testing truck that comes by and offers their services for ~$30. Maybe you can convince your gym to do the same.