Bodyfat Morons

I was just curious that when people post what their bodyfat is, who is doing the testing? Here’s why I ask: I lift at 24 HR Shitness, as I do like the facilities and distance from my place, I can do without the severely retarded staff and the people that curl at the squat rack. I have been cutting for awhile now and wanted to see where I was at. Since 24 HR will test your bodyfat for free I took them up on it. I had to make an appointment with their “expert” and yes they used the term expert when referring to this chick that was going to test me. She did a four site test and my bodyfat came to 16%. I said thank you and left laughing to myself because she was a total idiot.

Two days later I spent the 50 bucks and got my bodyfat tested hydrostatically. I was told that unless you're dead and getting an autopsy this is the most accurate form of bodyfat testing. I heard mention of some X-ray test but I digress. My bodyfat when tested in the water came to 9%.

The moral (if any) You might not be as high as you think you are. I know it’s not a numbers game and the mirror tells all but it’s always good to get a second opinion with these tests if you don’t totally trust who’s testing you.

I would love to learn how to do a bodyfat test. Where could I find information on this? To be accurate I would like to teach a friend how to do it to me. Where, how, etc, I can do the math. Anyone have any idea where to get some good calipers and how in the world to do this. I want to do the hydrostatic again and then do the calipers myself/or friend to fine tune it.

I totally hear where you’re coming from on people that are clueless on b.f. testing, bro. Six years ago I did the first big EAS transformation challenge. I went and had my b.f checked by the Futrex machine by a dietician at the local hospital. First reading I think was 11 percent. Four weeks later I went in after strict dieting, training, cardio, etc. six lbs. lighter and noticeably leaner, yet the second reading posted 14 percent. In utter disbelief, I asked her how this was possible. Her reply? Well, that happens when you put on muscle. WTF??? This is a clinical dietician telling me this shit!!!

After this debacle, I bit the bullet and bought the Lange medical calipers ($200 at the time), but they are well worth the money. I either test myself on JP 3-site, or I have my friend who’s a CFT through ISSA do a 7-site (preferred). Slim Guide is much more cost effective, and in one of Lyle McDonald’s old articles he wrote on how much difference there were between SlimGuide measurements and Lange, so he told you how much to add to the SG measurements. I think that same company makes a FatTrack electronic caliper, it’s either them or AccuMeasure. I’d go one of these two routes. Good luck!

Where did you get a hydrostatic test?

Hopefully Jason Norcross’ article regarding this subject will be published here on T-mag. As far as the calipers; the most accurate and affordable pair is the FatTrack II digital calipers. Do a search on yahoo shopping to find out where to get them the cheepest.

If you live in or near to Portland, Oregon - you can get hydrostatically tested at the Oregon Health Science University. I betcha any type of medical U can do it.

I completely forgot who I contacted to have it done. It cost me $35 (or was it $40?). Been like 4-5 years.

sb, try contacting the exercise physiology or phys. ed department of any college or university. Most have graduate students who will be able to perform the hydrostatic test for you. Some colleges may charge ~$20 while others charge nothing.

I truly understand your frustration. There are significant problems with all ways of measuring body fat, including hydrostatic weighing, skinfolds, bioimpedance and the Bod Pod. I’ve broken down all these problems before in previous posts. My views have changed over time, but I’ll bump up an old post entitled “Why you don’t like your body comp numbers”. This post is still pretty much in line with what I think, but I’ve done a lot more research and been experimenting with a Tanita bioimpedance model and I’ll bump up the most recent post on this topic, “Jason N: %Body Fat Follow UP”.

I've got an article in to TC which summarizes all of my thoughts on practical body composition, but until that is available, all I can do is recommend some of the more detailed posts and then answer any of your questions on this topic.

I can teach and explain how you can measure your body comp at minimal cost and in the most effective ways if you read through some of these posts.

Good luck and let me know how I can be of service.

I’ve posted this before, but I had the exact same experience. I got calipered with a four-site test at 24 Fitness, and they said I was 17.3. Then I immediately got dunked in a mobile hydrostatic tank. I was 10.0. I did the same thing the following year: I calipered at 17.3 and hydrostatically measured at 11.3.

Jason Norcross has been extremely helpful on these issues. I was saddened to learn from him (and Roberts and Berardi concur) that hydrostatic weighing isn’t quite the bulletproof technique it claims to be. But hydro nearly always agrees with what the mirror is telling me.

Jason, I would love to see that article published.

As for where I got it done there was a flyer on my car one time and it was for www.bodyfattest.com They travel around with this semi truck and in it are their testing facilities. I would check the site and email them to find out if they’ll be in your area. I don’t know how many trucks they have. I live in Denver and they said they come back here every 2-3 months. The print out they give you is really nice. Tell you your “exact” LBM along with your what your resting metabolism is, etc. I would recommend it and my mistake in my post, it was 40 bucks.

I have had it with body comp measurements and I really don’t care what my measured bodyfat % is! So, I just take a ab skin fold and see how much it shrinks or grows. I tend not to carry any fat on my arms, legs, scapula, iliac crest, or any of the other sites (approx. 1 - 2 mm) but I carry all my fat at the waist. So I cannot brag about my bodyfat but could tell you how lean my abdomen is in mm.

I checked out the website, but they are behind on the research. I think it is a great experience for people who have never been dunked to go out and get in the hydrostatic weighing technique. I have got to use almost all of the current body composition tools, so I forget that the experience is still fun. Although, I still think that the data is not all that helpful. They still claim that Hydrostatic Weighing is the “gold standard” of body composition. I understand that they are selling a product and have to make a living, but this is a false statement.

Aside from dissection, the current gold standard is a 4-Compartment model. Let me explain.

Hydrostatic weighing measures body density and then uses equations based on cadaver dissection to split you into 2 compartments: fat mass and fat free mass. But the fat free mass compartment is further split into 3 other primary components: water, mineral and protein.

A 4-Compartment model uses hydrostatic weighing to measure body density, but combines this measure of body density with a measure of bone mineral content from Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry (a complex technique that most do not have access to, so I won't go into much detail unless someone asks) and total body water via deuterium oxide isotope dilution.

Instead of then relying on the standard assumptions that the fat free mass compartment is composed of 73.8% water, 19.4% protein, and 6.8% mineral, you actually measure and calculate the real percentage of water and mineral. This makes for a much more accurate measurement.

So unless you are participating in a research study using a 4 compartment model, you are still going to have questions about accuracy. Finally, although I said that the 4 compartment model is the current gold standard, it is not fool proof. There are still problems with measurement techniques and also there are assumptions that still have to be made.

Bottom line, figure out a way to track the changes to your body composition via skinfolds or bioimpedance because accuracy is not practical. Whereas reliablity and convenience are king.

BTW, make sure you read those posts that I bumped up if you haven't yet.

I read that calipers are +/- 3% accurate. What’s more important is consistancy; i.e. have the same person measure you using the same method and equipment. The Lange calipers are the best. I got tested at 24 hour once, it came out around 7%. The trainer told me she could put me on a program to increase it! I told her I could handle that one myself, thank you…

Thanks for the info, whereas I’m not a newbie I’m not too familiar with “Bump” I see it here and there but don’t get it? What’s the deal?

If you have not noticed yet, the most recent threads that people have posted to come back up to the top of the forum. If no one posts on a thread, it slowly makes it’s way from the front page to page 2 and then eventually into the dreaded “forum search engine wasteland”.

When you see the word "bump", the person is taking a thread that was down the line or in the wasteland and "bumps" the thread back to the front of the line.

This is what I did for you by bumping up some of the past threads where I have gone into great detail explaining body composition. Have you got a chance to read those threads yet? The titles are in my intitial response. If you really want to learn about body composition, I really suggest taking a look at what I wrote.

Just ask if you need more clarification.

24 hour fitness SUCKS at taking bf %!!! A week ago I got mine taken with a caliper device. I was like 10% then this week they tell me I’m 13 1/2% and I know thats total bullshit! I’ve only gained one pound and @ 5’10" 185 one pound DOESN’T equal 3 1/2% bf. I have a well defined six pack (working one the last bit on lower abs) and I’m starting to see some striations on my obliques. I really need to get hydro’d.

WHOA, guys! I don’t know squat about 24-hour fitness, but as we’ve discussed “AD NAUSEUM” on this site (actually, I don’t think that we can discuss it enough), SERIAL readings, overtime, irregardless as to the method, lead to greater accuracy.


So…KRAK…I TOTALLY agree with getting a friend in order to “fine tune” the process AND/OR suggest to 24-hour fitness that a “reading” consist of a series of readings, done by the same person, and THEN I think they’ll be okay.(And they won’t have such disgruntled patrons!)


(P.S.I use impedence devices…so no real recommendations on calipers.)

I like the calipers from Parrillo Performance. They have pretty good instructions. Definetly go with the hydro weighing long before you have some moron doing the calipers. There is too much room for error especially if they dont have the experience with them. Its funny how these trainers need trainers themselves

I was on the Luxor Vegas website looking at their spa when I came upon the “Futrex 5000 Body Composition Analysis” using “near” infrared light to measure body comp.


Anyone know about this?

Hey Krak,
Better Bodies uses a device to measure body fat % (plus a couple of other metrics) that you hold with both hands. I think it is made by Omron. I wonder how accurate those types fo devices are. I was thinking of picking one up just for reference. If I measure at 10%, than I am at 9% the next week, I know I am going in the right direction. Speaking of going in the right direction, everyone could see that your pants are too big at the boxing gym last night. I feel sorry for the poor saps you will be fighting at the Sabaki later this month. Scotty