T Nation

Body Fat Question

How much does one of those handheld bioimpedence body fat analyzers fluctuate?

Info:
I’ve been training my ass off and eating super clean for about two months. At first, I was 32% bodyfat; today, I measured at 29%. In that time, I’ve lost about 15 lbs (from 178 to 163). I was pretty dehydrated this morning when I was tested, and have heard anectdotally that hydration can alter BF readings on a bioimpedence reader (but I’m not sure if it gives you a higher or lower reading).

All my lifts have gone up, I’ve maxed at about 35 min of steady-state and 20 min of HIIT (not both at the same workout, duh) 5-6 days per week. Ate really well, etc, etc, and I certainly look significantly different.

I had an older model Tanita, until some asswipe stole the thing, arghh. The readings do fluctuate with hydration levels.

Mine definatley reflected changes because I could see them as well, how accurate was it in absoulute versus realitive I don’t know. I do know there was a double body fat reading switching from Athlete ot Normal. I’d read 9% in Athlete, and 19% in normal. I was only 175 and pretty lean and worked/worked out like crazy, so the 9 was closer.

I think the best way to use one of them is to get Hydrostatic testing done and then immediately use the Bio Electric, then it’s somewhat calibrated. Kind of overkill though.

From what I understand the readings on those things are way off (on the High side). The one thing you can use them for is to keep track of how much you’re losing. If it says you’re 32% I’m pretty sure that’s wrong but as long as you continue to use the same machine at the same time of day it should accurately tell you how much bodyfat you’ve lost over time.

Either way don’t worry so much about the bodyfat. If you like the changes you see when you look in the mirror, keep doing what you’re doing. if you don’t, try something new.

$.02

Low tech rules, buy a tape measure.

[quote]deuce2 wrote:
From what I understand the readings on those things are way off (on the High side). The one thing you can use them for is to keep track of how much you’re losing. If it says you’re 32% I’m pretty sure that’s wrong but as long as you continue to use the same machine at the same time of day it should accurately tell you how much bodyfat you’ve lost over time.

Either way don’t worry so much about the bodyfat. If you like the changes you see when you look in the mirror, keep doing what you’re doing. if you don’t, try something new.

$.02[/quote]

The handheld ones are more accurate and don’t fluctuate as much as the ones you stand on. I personally have one of the handheld ones and do think it tracks CHANGES very well even if the actual number may not be accurate. I could care less what specific number I am at anyway.