T Nation

scale w/bf%


I was in REI today and I saw a scale that claimed to tell weight and bodyfat%, I assumed it was bull until I read the back and hteir explanation. They apaprently send a low level electronic pulse through the foot and back, and depending on the speed and path or something like that, they can calculate bf%. Is this BS or is it possible?


Search T-mag and the forum for "Tanita."

Also read Jason Norcross's great articles on body comp. testing in T-mag.


The scale will give you an awesome reading if you grab your ankles.


I used one of those - and my bodyfat changed dramatically if I touched my toes when it did the calculations... the electric pulse goes from foot to foot - what about the rest of your body???


Jared - I laughed when I saw your post, cuz I thought it was a joke. Then Michelle chimed in. Guess you aren't always funny after all, huh?


Yeah, put the accuracy of that scale right up there with card reading or cloud viewing as a BF testing method.

Calipers all the way, tempered by some pics.


I would skip the grabbing my ankles and just go straight to sitting on it.


It's not impossible to get fairly accurate readings, it's just difficult.

Same time of day, same level of hydration, same amount of time since last meal (and last crap), same posture, same settings, clean the electrodes with alcohol...


"The scale will give you an awesome reading if you grab your ankles."

That only works if you're in a prison setting.


I've seen both sides of the coin. The scale is just a tool and a tool is only as effective as the person using it.

When used improperly (grabbing of ankles for instance) or at different times of the day or under different conditions, of course you'll get bogus readings.

Here's how to make it work:

1)Wake up and go to the bathroom
2)Measure several times until you've got consistent readings
3)Record a reading every day or at least a few times per week.
4)Average the readings from Monday to Sunday as you body fat percentage for that week
5)Compare week to week changes. There's too much variation on a day to day basis, but readings done my way are very good to compare on a week to week basis.


No, JWright, I am not always a smartass. Especially when it includes the term "grab your ankles". I'm serious about that kind of thing.

And it dropped my reading from mid-teens to 5.8%. Not a bad way to get cut. I'll write up an article.


Just because you grab your ankles and your percentage is cut in half, doesn't mean that the device doesn't work. If someone only grabs 1/2 a skinfold or grabs the wrong sites, he/she can quickly drop the body fat percentage in half.


Oh, I am sorry if I gave the impression that these scales didn't work. I was just providing a way to beat the system. :slight_smile:


I agree that they work. They are just a challenge to get consistent readings from. What I can't figure out is why a naked person would want to grab his or her ankles while standing on a scale.


Those scales don't work for shit. I have a Tanita. When I take skinfold measurements, I get a reading of about 14%. I get on the scale and it reads 26-29%. I look about 14% so I know the scale is very wrong. Get you some Fattrack calipers.


That wasn't really my point. The scale sends an electric impulse through you to read bf. Electricty travels the shortest distance possible. If you are standing on a scale the pulse goes up one leg and down the other. There is no reading taken from your upper body at all. This is fine if you carry all your weight in your ass, because it will measure that. However, if you carry signifigant fat stores above the waistline the reading is way off.

I had skin folds done a few times, and the only time the scale was anywhere near the fold numbers is when I touched my feet.


Used every day, the Tanita seemed to be useful for relative changes. I don't think the number it gives me is too far off, but that's just for me. Right now, it puts me at about 16%. There are some pics of me in the photo forum now so you can compare if you would like.