I just read the article on this weeks Testosterone update that mentioned the Tanita 612 bodyfat scale. Does anyone know what the purpose of the athlete mode is? I’m looking to buy one, but if the athlete mode isn’t worth it, I’d just assume save $20. Does anyone have any experience with it? What are your impressions?
Supposedly it’s more calibrated for athletes with low body fats and higher water content in thier muscles. You can get significant differences by using the “wrong” mode. Personally, I think thier a bunch of junk if your looking for an absolute number to get your BF measured. They are OK if your looking for trends, and you take the measurements under the exact same conditions every time (I heard right out of bed, after a shower is the most accurate).
In my experience a qualified trainer taking many caliper sites (mine uses 9) is just as good. About 2 years ago I tried an experiment: I got weighed underwater, got tested via a high-end bio-impedance machine, and a caliper test, all in the same day within about 3 hours:
9 site calipers: 6.3%
In contrast, Tanita always gets be at least 12% or higher, regardless of mode, although I’ve never done it under the “ideal” conditions mentioned above. It’s also easily thrown off by sodium in your last meal the night before. Once again, it’s probably OK for trends though.
My wife bought me a Tanita 622 for Christmas last year and it has the athlete mode. With the calipers I’m about 9%, but on the Tanita I get readings that range from 10% to 20% – all in the same day. I’ve tried weighing myself at the same time of the day, empty bladder, dry but right after showering, etc and I can’t get any consistency. I know the data isn’t accurate, but I can’t even get data that can I use for trending. IMHO, save your money and get some calipers for $25.
Ive run fat loss groups at a local fitness center for several years and about a year ago perfomed some tests using different methods of BF analysis. I tested BF before and after a 1 month strict fat loss program using calipers and a hand held BF tester that uses similar methods to the tanita. The bioelectrical impedence method read approx 2% higher on the majority of initial measurements with the occasional measurement varying ±4%. The measurements after 1 month of strict diet started to show more differences. The average reading on the calipers decreased by about 4% while the average reading on the bioelectrical only decreased by about1-2%. I think the bioelectrical is great for telling the average untrained subject what their approximate bodyfat is, but it fails to track changes well. I think the best bet is to buy a cheap set of calipers(they have been very consistent with more expensive varieties) and learn to use them on yourself.
I’m not sure if $25 calipers are really accurate enough (at least the ones that you “squeeze” together arent). If you can buy a spring loaded version for that price, I think that will do, with a bit of practice as to where to measure. Really good ones are spring loaded, and electronic (NOTE that the equations in these aren’t that good either though from what I’ve found, but they measure down to 0.1 mm, and you calibrate them with a barrel that comes with it). They cost upwards of $200 (how much is the cost of a Tanita 622?).
I bought some calipers on the web for $25 + $5 for S/H. They are spring loaded, but aren’t electronic. I think I found them on Yahoo! I realize that they aren’t super accurate, but I’ve found them to be consistent. I’m more concerned about consistency so that I can see how by BF% is trending. As I said in an earlier post, I can’t get any consistency out of my Tanita 622.
I’ve seen the 612 for $89.99 and the 622 for $99.99. If you’re dying for a Tanita scale I’d suggest spending the extra $10 for the 622. The 622 keeps settings for two people and has the athlete mode. That said, I’d suggest skipping on a Tanita.
Sounds like the non-electronic spring loaded ones have come down quite a bit in price, or I just wasn’t looking in the right places (more likely!). As somebody said, consistency and the ability to track changes well would be my primary goals with a set (especially if your fairly high now - you certainly dont want to get discouraged because the thing is innacurate, or tells you you’ve lost 1% of body fat when you’ve really lost 5%).
I’ve tried the Tanita Athlete model several times and have found it to be inconsistent and inaccurate. The spring-loaded skin calipers work very accurately if an experienced person uses them. I’ve even been able to follow my own fat trends pretty well by testing on myself. Other than that, I’ve found the infra-red Futrex devices to be quite accurate. I bought one for less than $100 and darned if it doesn’t get within 2% of an accurate caliper test every time.
G’day Dan, where can i get the infrared Futrex device in Australia?
Honyik, I bought my Futrex device while I was living in the States a couple of years ago. As I understand, its not available in Australia. Sorry, mate.
Have you tried one of the bf tests that you put in your waist size and you weight? True they can be totally inaccurate but I find them extremely consistent. It is far easier for me to measure my waist with a tape CONSISTENTLY versus fat calipers. Also there is a way to make them more accurate: Just take the BF% it gives you and have it compared to BF% done with calipers. then tweak the formula and there it is. For example if, like me the caliper reading show you 3% higher, just add this number to the formula and your set. I’ve been using this method for over a year now and it has NEVER been off more that 1%. Anyway I hope it helps. BTW I have a Tanita - waste of money!