T Nation

BF% Confusion


When I do a tape test the calculations have my bodyfat around 18%, Using calipers my bodyfat is around 19% and the electric scale as me at 24%. I do not have anyplace near me to try a more accurate method. I am wanting to see my upper abs and I am told that happens around 15% bodyfat. I am curious what bf% you all think I am? My stats are 275lbs, 6'2.


Easily above 20% would be my guess. However, the more important point is this: It doesn't matter. If you ask this to know how much weight to lose to see your abs, I'm sorry to disappoint you but that's nearly impossible to predict. Most people also lose a fair bit of water, glycogen and a bit of muscle while dieting so they always end up having to lose more weight than they thought they'd have to. Time to go to work.


Are you happy with your leanness? If you are, no need to worry. If you're not, then time to get to work.

Focus of the important things, not meaningless numbers.


Use the tape measurements to track progress. You have a starting point and all you need to do is continue to improve relative to that baseline. Knowing the exact percentage won't change anything.


I am wanting it so I can have an educated guess on how much body fat I am going to need to drop to meet my goal.




If that's true, you want to get it professionally measured. Eyeball estimates are the worst measurements you could employ in this regard. I estimated my own bodyfat% to be almost twice what it actually was.


I live out in the middle of nowhere so I will have to drive 2.5 hours to the closest facility for hydrostatic weighing. I think I am just going to have to keep on my current path and realize when I can see my abs I can see my abs. I just like to put timetables on things and if I loose 1 lbs of fat per week and I am currently 19% body fat, it will take me 10 weeks to get down to 15%. But if I am 24% it will take me 24 weeks to get down to 15% bodyfat.


There is also no guarantee you will see your abs at 15% bodyfat, so you have that wrench in your timetable to factor in.


I've never understood why this matters. General discussions about it are ill informed to a degree bordering on absurdity (XYZ NFL player is walking around at 3% bodyfat!!!).