T Nation

Measuring BF%


I only train at home and at the dojo where they certainly don't have any equipment for measuring body fat percentages. Is there a fairly simple way to determine my BF%? I remember caliper tests, water dunks, etc. from high school, but don't quite now where to go for those.

I suppose that leaves me with the bathroom scales from the hardware store although I imagine that those are for rather loose estimates.

Where does one get their BF% measured anyway? Does it cost a lot?


Are you overweight?


You can go to a gym to "try it out" and get a trainer to use the calipers. The accuracy will depend on the experience and skill level of the trainer and your own body type. I have a Tanita brand BF scale that is fairly consistent (within 1%)with the readings I get from calipers. It cost about $60. I had another model that was cheaper, but it was way off (3%+).


Who cares?


Well, me. And given that most of the progress photos have someone asking abotu BF%, I'd say it's at least of passing interest.

Prof: I'm actually quite skinny. Perhaps even laughably so.


Which leads me to telling you that it DOES NOT MATTER. Yes, many people ask that question. It doesn't make the answer any more important. Guys getting into weightlifting worrying about what number they are at instead of the gains in strength they are making are not doing themselves any favors. It doesn't matter what your body fat percentage is...not even in the slightest way.

The ONLY time this may be important is if you are dieting and the goal is to hold onto as much muscle as possible. Even then, however, it can set you back as body water held intramuscularly can also be counted as lean mass causing many to believe they are losing muscle when they may not be.

In other words, gain and forget what number you are. It means nothing for most people.