T Nation

Body Fat Percentage

Hi. How can you measure,or at least reasonably guess, your body fat percentage?


How about this? Or you could buy one of those plastic calipers.



Visually measuring it is almost impossible to do accurately, and even when professionals measure it, it’s more like an estimate. There are a variety of tests they do that can vary by several percentage points.
If it’s for your own personal journey, it’s probably better to just measure certain areas of your body, like your waist, over time. People have different body fat distributions, and it’s not really worth it to focus on an arbitrary number.
Otherwise, you can get a scale that’s probably inaccurate and just look for changes over time.
It’s probably best to just not worry about it, as annoying as that may be.

I recommend the following system:

  1. Look in the mirror
  2. Ask: Am I too fat?
    3a. If you answer yes, then your bodyfat is too high
    3b. If you answer no, then your bodyfat isn’t too high

You can try more advanced techniques:

  1. Find a bodyfat measurement technique
  2. Find someone to perform that test for you or do it yourself
  3. Take the test/do the test on yourself
  4. Get back the reading
  5. Look that reading up on a chart and let the chart tell you if you are too fat or not.

The second approach has a few flaws.

  1. It is far more effort and possibly costly than the first approach
  2. The information/reading isn’t available to you as fast as the first approach
  3. If you look like a lardo but you read 2% bodyfat you are unlikely to convince yourself you are not a lardo
  4. If you do want to convince yourself you are not a lardo, you’ll keep testing until you get the result you want