T Nation

Body-Fat Monitor vs Calipers

I have been using an Omron body-fat monitor to watch my BF% drop. Aug 6 it was 21%. This morning it is 15.7% My goal is to get to less than 12% - Not bad for a 49 year old male. I was recently talking to a Max Muscle shop owner, who said that calipers are more accurate.

Do monitors tend to read higher or lower than calipers? Doe anyone have any recommendations on a good brand of calipers and resources for using them? I see progress with the monitor so I know that I am doing it right. I just want to be accurate.

[quote]bluzfan wrote:
I have been using an Omron body-fat monitor to watch my BF% drop. Aug 6 it was 21%. This morning it is 15.7% My goal is to get to less than 12% - Not bad for a 49 year old male. I was recently talking to a Max Muscle shop owner, who said that calipers are more accurate.

Do monitors tend to read higher or lower than calipers? Doe anyone have any recommendations on a good brand of calipers and resources for using them? I see progress with the monitor so I know that I am doing it right. I just want to be accurate.

[/quote]

Honestly, I wouldn’t worry too too much about getting a pair of calipers. Both calipers and bio impedance (which is what the Omron monitors are) are relatively the same level of accuracy in terms of body fat measurement. Sure, if you get someone who really knows what they’re doing with the calipers it might be a little more accurate. But, unless you know someone who is a trained professional to do a skin fold test on you, I’d just stick with the Omron unit.

As long as you consistently use the same method, at the same time on the days that you use it (just after waking up is a good consistent time), and as long as it says that your body fat is continuing to drop, you’re doing fine.

If you really want a more accurate method, then see if you can locate a facility that has a “hydro-static weighing” device (perhaps a local university) or a Dexa scanner. Neither of these are easy to come by and both will probably require that you pay to have the tests done. But those are the most accurate methods of body fat analysis out there.

It all depends on the tester whether they read high or low, but there’s a greater propensity to read lower. And I disagree with that person, the most accurate methods are Bod Pod, among others, as they will read visceral fat.

[quote]Contrl wrote:
It all depends on the tester whether they read high or low, but there’s a greater propensity to read lower. And I disagree with that person, the most accurate methods are Bod Pod, among others, as they will read visceral fat.[/quote]

Yes, bod pod is another very accurate method. But hydrostatic weighing is the method most often used in clinical situations and I know that Berardi has stated that he likes the Dexa scans (and considers them to be the most accurate). Really any of those methods would be great if the OP has access to them.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have said “best”, but rather “among the best”.

Calipers are more accurate, bio-impedance is more precise. I prefer precision since what I care about is the direction and slope of the trend, not the actual reading itself.