T Nation

Body Fat?

Hi Guys,

How do you measure body fat percentage? I’d like to know how much I’ve got, but don’t know how to go about it.


The two most common forms of bodyfat testing are bio-electrical and skin fold calipers. I find that the skin fold tests are more accurate, especially if you are already quite lean. I suggest going to a gym and asking for a bodyfat test using the calipers. If the trainer doing the test is knowledgeable and cooperative, ask him to show you how to and where the pinch sites are and how to calculate the percentages from the charts (unless they use the Skyndex automatic caliper). Then, go to any exercise/fitness store and buy your own calipers. I prefer the Slimguide caliper, only $25 and it does as well a job as the $300 Lange caliper. It should come with directions and the percentage charts, if not, get ahold of the ASCM charts and make a copy. You can then do your own bodyfat tests at home or teach a signifigant other to do them on you.

Go stand in front of the mirror. If you can’t see your abs, you’re too fat.
Seriously, people get too carried away with bodyfat measurements. I knew a guy who got really depressed because he was at 9.8% and wanted to be at 9.1%. Besides, it all depends on the testing method, experience of the tester, and a bunch of other variables. The mirror is still your best bet.

You can also make up your own bodyfat measurements. All you need is some cheap calipers and a calculator. Pick four or five of the fattest places on your body (i use my hips,front of the stomach,chest,and a caliper length below my chest)I pinch each part three times (don’t fool yourself pinch it!) and average them, divide that number by the number of sites you pinch and then divide by two. This is not anywhere close to scientific but it does tell you whether your still losing even if the scale doesn’t and it’s encouraging seeing the number go down. I use this as just a general measurement to mark progress ( or lack of) so when my number gets above twelve i stop bulking and hit the diet again. What’s my real %? Who fuckin cares, i have abs! Try it out.

Boy…you need to read "If They had balls"Issue#119 by Ron Harris.It may not be “P.C”,but it provides a great answer to your question.Give it a read,and be prepared to laugh your ass off the seat.HA,HA,HA,HA,HA. Great article RON!

BONE is right on the money. Body fat tests are important to see if you are really progressing. Lean mass up, body fat down. The scale can’t tell you this. ALSO…you need your lean mass to figure out how much protein to eat!!! We feed our LEAN MASS !..NOT OUR FAT !!!Taking a percentage of your total body weight is FEEDING YOUR FAT! Close possibly but not as exact as ‘hard core’ lifters need! And by the way …PROTEIN CAN BE STORED AS FAT!