T Nation

Body Fat Testing- Accurate?

Despite losing 25lbs I am still pretty fat. I weigh about 222 right now. I train Taekwondo 2x2hrs per week and weights (full body) 3x per week.

I am going to have a free bodyfat test on Tuesday afternoon.

Its a four site caliper test- bicep/tricep/scapulae (sp?)/lovehandle(technical term?!) I believe.

Is this worth doing? Will it be accurate? I am having it done at 1.30pm and the guy told me to eat and drink as normal in the morning.

Any tips to make sure it is as accurate as possible?

Thanks

In my opinion a measuring tape is the best way to measure progress when you are trying to lean down. If you do want to have body fat tests done, always stick to the same type (you will likely get very different readings from different types and this will just confuse you) And then, once you have the number, don’t worry about what the number is compared to other people, just worry about your own progress from test to test. Also (this is more for women) each time you have the test done, do it at roughly the same time of the month. Depending on the method used, the amount of water you are retaining can affect the results.

Good point about the measuring tape.
What “sites|” do you recommend?

And is it self measured or should my gfriend do it?

Thanks

Jaime

Silly question: How do you measure BF with a tape measure?

No, no, no! A tape measure is not good enough if you are really interested in tracking if your weight loss is coming from fat, muscle, or both. Caliper accuracy is mainly dependent upon the skill of the tester–that issue I can’t address. However, overall, body fat testing by calipers is very accurate.

If you have it done for you, as opposed to doing it yourself, have it done by the same person with the same method–you’ll get more consistent results.

As an alternative, Accufitness makes a great little digital body fat caliper called the “Fat track II”. You can find it, for example, at www.allsportsnutrition.com for $25.00, among many other places. It is very easy to use and very accurate.

Crowbar

http://images.t-nation.com/forum_images/5/2/520452.1100008146832.BFA_lrg.bmp

This is the one I use.

My point was just that accuracy is not important, just consistency. Some people take a body fat number and wear it like a badge. It’s kind of annoying when people are so proud of themselves because they got some great reading once and other people beat themselves up because their number is so much higher than other’s.

I’m sure that there are better tests available than I have had access to, and testers more experienced with calipers (my doctor used to do mine). All I know is that my own experience with various forms of testing has not been consistent. With the bioelectric impedance tests the numbers used to jump around like crazy and move in directions that were not humanly possible for the time period between tests. Here’s the thing. If you have been following one of the standard diet and training approaches for fat loss, your weight is dropping, you can see more cuts in your muscles, an area were you normally store fat is shrinking (for me that would be my waist), an area were you store very little fat is staying constant (for me that is my arms) wouldn’t you assume that you are loosing fat? I have been in this situation and been pleased with my progress only to be crushed by the results of a caliper test. I wasn’t implying that you could get a body fat percentage from a measuring tape, and I wasn’t implying that a measuring tape will tell you everything. I just think with some common sense it can tell you a lot. Who cares about a number anyway? What actually matters is how you look in a mirror.

But this is just my opinion based on my limited experience. I’m not saying I’m right. And maybe for a very overweight person body fat testing is important, I don’t know.

I would recomend that the person doing the testing take 3 measument of 7 differnet site for a more accurate reading. If you go to www.rustyiron.net/formmal7.htm
and print out the sites to be tested.
This should give you a better BF %.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
This is the one I use. [/quote]

Proffessor:

I have used that same device and have found that it works pretty well. How do you like it?

[quote]ZEB wrote:
Professor X wrote:
This is the one I use.

Proffessor:

I have used that same device and have found that it works pretty well. How do you like it?

[/quote]

I think it works pretty well.

I also use the omron handheld unit, bought it after Prof X recommened it thanks, and I usually get accurate numbers and not numbers all over the place.

Thanks people. I think i will print out the 7 sites and get the guy to do it like that. I am not that bothered about it at the moment as it is my first test- just be interested to see what it is. My estimate is 35%.

Is it best to wait until i can get an appointment 1st thing i.e. before i eat or drink anything?

Jaime

[quote]Professor X wrote:
ZEB wrote:
Professor X wrote:
This is the one I use.

Proffessor:

I have used that same device and have found that it works pretty well. How do you like it?

I think it works pretty well.[/quote]

I’ve used that one and found it to be about 3 to 4% high on average (as compared to true calipers).