T Nation

BF% estimate

OK, I need some help here. I don’t have access to bf% measurement methods, so I need your help, guys. The measurements of skin pinch thickness are as follows: forearms, 1.8 mm, upper arm in, 1.3 mm, upper arm out, 2.0 mm, calf, 2.7 mm, abs 4.3 mm, inner thighs, 2.1 mm. I am 26 yo, 5 ft 11 in, 197 lb and I’ve been lowcarbing since NY. What do you think my bf% could be? Tnx.

Post the girth measurements of your calf, thigh and arm and I can try to estimate it. Also will need your ethnicity, and I’m assuming your male.

Hey, I think-I know- I can help you out. I have an electronic skin pinch bf% indicator. Just tell me your pinch size (mm) in your outer chest, lower stomach (pinch either the left or right side, not the center), and middle thigh. I’ll respond with a fairly accurate measurement of your bf, but please be sure you measure correctly.

Tnx guys! I’ll post my measurements as soon as I come home from work. Anyway, I am Caucasian male of Middle European origin. :slight_smile:

Here it is, guys… outer pec, 4.0 mm, inside thigh, 1.9 mm, lower abdomen, 3.7 mm… of course, 1"=25,4 mm, if you are not into metric system… so, what’s the verdict? :slight_smile: Tnx again.

Sasa: Actually, the calculation that I have measures your muscle mass, minus any water (an estimate), and bone mass. It’s based on an article from American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that supposedly (according to the authors) matches very well with analysis from MRI’s. So, the number it gives you is a much lower muscle mass then you’d expect (or a very high “non-muscle mass” percentage). For example, for me I get about 6% BF using a 9 site caliper method which is seems to be pretty well correlated with underwater weighing. This calculation says that 47% of the total weight is muscle, the rest is as they say skin and bones (and H2O).

Anyway, if you’d still like me to do the calculation, I’d be happy to, but I need the girth measurements (i.e. tape measurements) for the arm, calf and thigh. These get combined with the skinfold measurements you gave already, and your hieght, weight, age, sex and race.

C’mon guys, I could use some help here! :frowning:

Stevie, thanks for your effort. Anyway, I am 26, 5 11", 198 lbs, white male. My calf is 40 cm, arm is 38 cm and thigh is 60 cm. I hope you have enough data now. According to some other estimates, I should be around 16 %.

Sasa: Your skinfold measurements are really low! You must have very thin skin. Anyway, my calculation came out to be 49% SM (skelatal muscle). Remember, this takes out bones at fat. My understanding is that “normal” is 40-50, which puts you on the high side of normal. My guess is that you are running alot lower then 13%, assuming that you don’t carry everything in the gut. BTW, my fitness book calculates it to be 3%, which I know is a total crock of shit (it only uses 3 measurements, no factor for your BW - I find it to be grossly innacruate. Anyway, if you have that low measurements, you must be looking damn lean by now. Be proud!

Stevie, man, tnx heaps! You see, my skin is thin, but the problem is that I live in oversized skin! I was grossly overweight, started dieting and bodybuilding a year ago or more and had great results. That’s why it’s so hard for me to evaluate my progress. :frowning: My skin is paper thin, but I have a “fold” of skin on my belly… I guess I am somewhere from 10 to 13 %.

Allright…sorry about the long time. I took these measurements and I found it to be pretty damn low (<5%). I did this to myself before and mine where also <5 ( Im 6ft 145). I’m sure that there might be some error in it, but you seem to be comfortably under 10%. I don’t know if this helps.

Tnx a lot guys. My bodyfat is very unevenly distributed, I carry it mostly around my waist and I also have excess skin “fold” - it’s a heritage from being obese for 25 years, dieting and losing 56 kgs in 5.5 months. The skin on my arms and legs is very thin, but OTOH, the skin on my back is very thick. I guess the mirror is the only judge for me because every measurement based on skin thickness is grossly inacurate for people like me. I guess I could be around 10 % or more… overal… Tnx again for helping.

Sasa: I have the same type of problems - I’ve been lifting for about 3 years… the excess skin around the waist comes in, but really slowly (it’s not nearly all the way there for me yet either). I want from 20%+ to maintaining around 6% or so, and it still doesn’t look good. I found some topical stuff that at least makes it look better, and I believe that over a long time, they’ll help tighten the skin. Belieive it or not, Preparation H, applied on the abs, covered in saran wrap (wear a T-shirt over the whole thing) seems to work quite well. Do this 2-3 times a week. The other product I’ve used is something called Thiomucase (sp?). It’s imported from France. I use it in a similar fashion, although I’ve had pretty good results without any saran wrap too (BTW, if you do some cardio with either one of these still on, it works even better). In any case, if your skin is that thin, I think when things do tighten up, your going to look ripped to hell! Good luck, and congrats on your progress so far. Steve

BTW, my other suggestion would be get an underwater weighing, if you can (the results may suprise you), or do a calculation based on many more sites (like 9-12). I find these to be much more accurate, and take into account(at least a little) the unneveness of your fat distribution. Using 9 sites, I’m within 1% of underwater weighing, with a 3 site method, I’m ridiculously low or high (ranging from 3% up to 12%), depending on the sites.

Unfortunately, Steve, like I said, I don’t have access to bf measurement, let alone underwater method. It’s strange how tough it can be to make some things done in certain parts of the world… it isn’t a practice to measure bf% here, and that’s the only sign of progress in gym activities for me since I realized that the scale doesn’t matter and bf% does. I realized that it will take a lot of time for me to tighten the ab area, and I will probably have to do 5 or 6 short bulking and leaning cycles to increase lbm and decrease bf. I realized that the metabolism slows down very easily and starts eating muscle, at least for me, so I will have to keep a close eye on my food intake for a long, long time. Well… it’s my decision, nobody forced me to - I could sit on my ass, eat pizza and be a fat sob I’ve been during the first 25 years of my life, but I don’t that will happen again, at least not in this incarnation…

Ok, I just read your post. If you don’t have access to underwater weighing or just don’t want to have to blow out all of your air then be dunked under water, do this for me and I’ll get you the best response I can.

I input you into the BSDI Fitness Analyst which we use here at my job. It’s fairly accurate, using the Jackson-Pollock 7 site protocol as well as a quick 3 pinch measurement.
I noticed that you didn’t have a measurement from your back, I carry my bodyfat in my subscapular region so if your fat is thick there, then that will equalize your bodyfat measurement. The sites are:
Chest(outer pec) 4.0
midaxillary(under your armpit across from your nipple)
tricep 2.0
subscapular(midback)
abdomen 4.3
suprailiac(lower abs) 3.7
thigh

Anyway if you want to try it input the missing measurements and I'll post the results immediately. Stay motivated!

That Saran Wrap idea seems interesting, I need to try that with my wife. She lost a great deal of weight after the baby but three years later still has a pooch of excess skin.

Phen, I have a fatty back too! It’s around 6,7 mm. Hope this will do. Tnx in advance.

Ok. I think the issue is that your skin just needs to tighten up. I’ve seen similar cases on liposuction websites where people lose a great deal of weight rapidly.

The measurements you gave me calculated out to 4.3%. How is your muscle mass? If you don’t have enough your skin will hang off as well. If your bf is that low, you need to go on a muscle gain protocol to avoid getting sick or injuring yourself. Also I’d get off of the low carb diet for a little bit so you can ensure that you aren’t depriving your body of vital nutrients.

Post every two months or so and I’ll re do your bf. Make sure that the same person pinches you each time.

Anyway, I found Jackson Pollocks formula on the Internet, someone even made an Excel chart that automatically calculates bf % so I won’t have to bother you anymore. Thanks for useful advice.