How to Test Your Body Fat in 60 Seconds

yeah, meant to say 300m

Thanks everyone for your responses!!!

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I like the test. A lot. It’s easy, and you can even run the test with a piece of string.

Thanks! I’m sure I stole it from somewhere.

For the belly button measurement, I’d say to stay relaxed – not sucked in, but not pushed out like those guys who fake their “before” photos so they’ll look even better in the afters.

I bet your tensed method is fine. No big deal either way. As you said, dropping a few inches off that measurement is going improve health markers regardless.

My guess is that if someone has a lot of visceral fat, no amount of sucking in is going to help much.

By the away, as I wrote in the article, this method of testing is strict. Before this, the numbers were usually closer to this:

For men, a waist circumference below 94cm (37in) is ‘low risk’ , 94–102cm (37-40in) is ‘high risk’ and more than 102cm (40in) is ‘very high’.

The main thing they focused on was staying below 40". But we can do better than that.

And again, our jeans size is not our waist size. It’s really a navel measurement. We’ve all seen those guys in size 32-inch jeans with a 40-inch pudge sticking out over the top!

Good tip!


For the Velocity Diet, I encourage people to take 3 waist measurements:

  1. An inch above the belly button.
  2. An inch below the belly button.
  3. Right across the belly button.

I do this mainly for motivation. Usually that top measurement reduces first, but we tend to focus on that drop-fat area below the belly button. I don’t want people to get discouraged because it takes the fat-loss process longer to “reach” that area we hate the most. But if they can see that top measurement decreasing, they know they’re doing something right. The rest just comes down to consistency and patience.

I’m not sure that this is accurate for very tall individuals. I’m 78 inches tall which means 39 is the half way point. I measure at 31 right now and can barely see my abs at rest which means I’m likely 10% ish. If I measured at 38 inches I would most definitely be over-fat yet that would be under the cut off per this method.

Thanks, but I’m pretty sure that I stole it from Dan John.

Also Hot Shots Part Deux:

Saddam Hussein:
Now I will kill you until you die from it!

This is one to test pre breakfast, post dump.

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Ha! Highly recommended.

You sound like you’re in a similar situation to me. 47, 5"10 and 200lbs, though I’m more bulky fat than skinny fat.

It’s nowhere near as much fun as bulking but you really need to do a cut. I was stuck in a loop of “bulking” where I’d get stronger and put on weight but every time I cut, I’d feel weak and small and stop before I dropped any significant body fat.

This time, I’ve finally done a real cut and dropped 10 kg, mostly fat. There were days I felt like shit but it was worth it in the end. I feel better and look better now and am having a short break before another round.

I easily pass this test at 178cm and a waist of 81cm yet at 80kg I am technically classified as overweight. You would think that’s ok maybe it’s muscle yet my scales say my body fat is 23.5%. However I have reasonable defined abs and I’m pretty fit with a resting heart rate of 42bpm at age 51.

Those scales are pretty goofy

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For what it is worth, I bought one of the $30 Renpho scales and with it set on Athlete mode, it was within .8% of the last DEXA scan I did (both measurements taken on the same day).

Mine just keeps saying “TILT”

My doctor uses a bioelectrical scale. He was going over my numbers and blood work once and got the body fat percentage. He said, “I won’t go over that with you because you know those scales are BS. I just use it to scare my patients into losing weight.” I assume it always reads high, which was my past experience when I had one.

I do hope that tech has gotten better though. Would be handy. But in the end, why do we need to know that number? Mirror + waist measurements. Really all you need.


I do think the tech’s gotten better – I had a Tanita many years ago and its readings were all over the place. The Renpho is pretty consistent for me from day to day and has a cool app that lets you see trends over time. I agree there’s no “need” for anything beyond the mirror plus waist measurements. I’m a gadget guy though so I enjoy the scale and getting the occasional DEXA scan to make sure my eyes aren’t lying to me.

Yep, Tanita was the one I had! I know hydration levels would throw it off. It would suck to be 18% body fat in the morning, eat well all day, train hard, then be 20% at night.

I mainly worry that someone who’s doing everything right – diet and training – might get demotivated based on a device’s readings, when it reality they’re making good, sustainable progress. Or maybe they drop their calories unnecessarily low.

But if the tech has improved and it keeps you on track, I’m all for it.

This is could be a risk with the Renpho. I recall that Bill Campbell (Professor of Exercise Science at U. of South Florida for folks who don’t know the name) tested the Renpho compared to a DEXA and found that it underreported fat loss compared to the DEXA. So someone using it will probably see smaller changes in body comp than are actually happening.

Edit: Here’s the post on Instagram I remembered. It wasn’t a DEXA he tested it against. Bill Campbell, PhD on Instagram: "You’ve been patiently waiting for this! This past weekend I finished analyzing the data on a bathroom body comp scale I personally use Background: If you’re into fitness (lift weights, eats high protein)— I recommend tracking your bodyfat % to gauge your progress Scale weight alone won’t tell you if you’re losing body fat or muscle mass Because I recommend tracking bodyfat %, it’s important that we can do this quickly & accurately As much as I love research grade body comp machines, they aren’t practical Same goes for the ultrasound measures that I use in my research. I love it, but it’s not practical for most people A bathroom scale can be very practical (& quick!) but it must pass 2 tests: 1. It needs to be consistent/reliable 2. It must be able to detect changes in body fat % over time I recently got VERY EXCITED about the RENPHO home scale that I personally use because it was VERY consistent/reliable (we also used the scale in 1 of our weight loss studies) The reason I loved this scale was because every time I stepped on the scale, I got the same value for my body fat % I stepped on it once, got a 15.5% reading. Waited a minute, stepped on it again, got 15.% again. Then again. Then again. Same thing the next day, & the next day, & so on So, this scale passed my first test: It was VERY consistent & reliable [Note: the opposite of this would be if I stepped on the scale 3 times in a row & got readings of 15.5%, 19.2%, & 14.3%—this would be useless] BUT, as I analyzed longer term data with the scale, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t able to detect changes in losses of body fat % over time The machine simply wasn’t able to show losses of bodyfat % when there were clear losses of bodyfat happening Specifically, our ultrasound device detected bodyfat % losses of 1.2% bodyfat, & the InBody 570 BIA machine detected bodyfat % losses of 1.5% bodyfat What did the bodyfat scale reveal? About 1/3% of body fat % loss While it’s consistent, it simply wasn’t able to show changes in bodyfat % over time This is why I can’t recommend this scale Swipe Left to finish reading my thoughts"

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