Body Fat Scales

  • BlackJock79

    Posts: 437

    Jan 12, 2008 8:19 PM GMT
    Does anyone use a scale that measures body fat? It's a scale with metal strips on it, you step on it and press a button and it sends pulses through your body to measure the amount of fat you have... or something like that. I have one, but I swear the bastard is broken because it tells me that I'm 20% body fat. I did the calculations and that's 32 POUNDS of fat on me. Maybe I'm wrong... but I would be willing to bet one of my nuts that's not accurate. I can't even pinch any fat on my body except for around my stomach and there is no way in hell 32lbs of fat is around there. Does anyone know how accurate those things are?
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    Jan 12, 2008 11:26 PM GMT
    My trainer at the Y used one for me. Well, sort of one. She said it wasn't an offical body fat scale becauseone of those would involve putting the person in a water tank to measure it. So the device she uses is a small hand-held device a person holds out using both hands for a few seconds and I get a fairly accurate reading that way. I don't recall any scale using metal strips on it or anything. So I can't imagine 20% fat or 32 lbs of fat on your defined stomache either.
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    Jan 12, 2008 11:43 PM GMT
    I've got a body-fat analyzer at home. It's a platform with metal strips and a connected screen with gives to TBW, BMI, etc, etc. But, you're right. The scales aren't as accurate as a water tank...that's really the gold standard when it comes to measuring body fat.

    It's possible that your scale is just innacurate or somehow broken. But hopefully not! Usually they aren't off but such a significant amount. Perhaps try another measurement or enter yourself into the computer in a different way. For mine there's a setting for: male, female, or athletic body type. Your readings are significantly different between each of these because they take different things into account.

    Anyway, goodluck, and don't fret that you're too overweight just because a silly machine says so...you look fine icon_smile.gif
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    Jan 12, 2008 11:53 PM GMT
    the body fat measuring scales are in fact horribly inaccurate. I usually divide what mine tells me by two to get a closer guess, this then matches what the hand-held thing at school tells me. it usually tells me 15% so I assume somewhere around 7 or 8. These devices only approximate body fat however. A pinch test is slightly more accurate, and when I had that done last fall my scale said something around 12% while the pinch test yeilded 3.5%

    either way if you're happy with how you look it doesn't really matter, but if you must know the water test is most accurate and the readings from scales should only be taken with a grain of salt.
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    Jan 13, 2008 12:51 AM GMT
    I have one of those scales, manufactured by Soehnle in Germany. It will tell me I have 18% body fat one day and 21% the next. Apparently, just walking around, using your leg muscles, will affect the readings. It's an accurate scale, but I no longer waste time doing the ridiculously inaccurate body fat readings. On another RJ discussion about those things, someone said that the hand-held unit from Omron gives more accurate readings than the scales.
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    Jan 13, 2008 1:00 AM GMT
    Funny this would come up today - this month's NSCA Journal compares several methods and concludes that BIA (Bio-Impedence Analysis - the way this thing works) is essentially useless. The Total Error was far higher than calipers.

    BJ79, pinching skin around your waist doesn't tell the story, either.

    And forget the BodPod - it's worse than calipers, too.

    If you have access to hydrostatic weighing, and you really need to know your body fat percentage, do it. If you have access to the Bioanalogics system (some docs, physical therapists, and high end trainers have it) - do that.

    Otherwise, just monitor how you look and how your clothes fit.

    Joey
    NSCA-CPT
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    Jan 13, 2008 2:35 AM GMT
    Galvonometers are what they are, and they measure current flow / resistance.

    In my view, they're junk.

    When I'm in competition shape, they'll show me at 40%, which I'm obviously not.
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    Jan 13, 2008 3:24 AM GMT
    Interesting topic since I had my body fat measured in several methods just this past week. Now required for my insurance annual physical.
    My personal trainer used a tape around my my hips/butt, navel and forearm and came up with 38% body fat. He then used calipers and measured on my pecs, abs and upper thigh and got 16.5%, and then had me do a scale with these metal foot shaped areas that I had to step bare footed on. It registered 41% body fat. I wasn't happy with any of these or the wide variation, so I went to my physical therapist and he did a hysrostatic.(I had a hard time with this...I couldn't blow out all of my air and hold my breath long enough!) This ended up at 13.9%. and I finally saw my surgeon on Thursday and they had this "new" type of machine and it was some sort of "X-ray"..."DXA"? and it gave my reading at 13.3% bodyfat. So...the surgeon was pleased which is all I was worried about. I really want to caution anyone about placing too much reliance or faith in any one measurement tool, because as I had proven to me this last week, the variation can be EXTREME....WOW chucky...it showed you at 40%?!!icon_eek.gif
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    Jan 13, 2008 3:45 AM GMT
    They show Chucky on the high side because they are sensitive to hydration - when he's dehydrated for a show, the numbers go crazy.

    The DXY thing is Dual X-ray Absorption - and it uses two types of penetrating x-rays - one which goes through subcutaneous fat, one which does not - and they can then calculate the thickness of the fat layer.

    Unfortunately, that method cannot measure visceral fat at all....the fat behind the abdominal wall.
  • swimbikerun

    Posts: 2835

    Jan 13, 2008 3:57 AM GMT
    Yes they can be quite inaccurate. The amount of moisture on the feet can throw the thing off.
    I think it's just a tool and bmi is another good one.
  • BlackJock79

    Posts: 437

    Jan 13, 2008 8:26 PM GMT
    Thanks guys! The reason why I want to know my body fat percentage is kinda complicated but here goes... I wanted to know my body fat percentage to have a goal to work towards, because I (obviously) can't afford to loose much weight without looking like a crackhead. I want to stay around the same weight but I want to loose as much fat as possible and gain much more definition. When I workout as hard as I have been I can definetely see results (I'll post new HEADLESS pics soon, LOL :-) ), but I have no idea if my workouts are effective as far as dropping my body fat because I don't know what mine is. My scale bounces around so fuckin much until I rarely use it anymore. Does this make any sense to anyone? LOL, I guess I can go and get measured just to see how much fat I have to loose. Anything below 8% is not healthy right? I thought I read that somewhere...