T Nation

Tanita Bodyfat Scales

Anyway, I could swear that I read an article in the last 6 months or so that went pretty in depth into Tanita scales and how to appropriately use them. I know this is not the best way to measure bf, but I need something convenient and consistent.

Does anyone know of the article I am referring to? I looked through all the archives for 2009 and 2008, but didn’t see it. Also I searched the site with nothing. Anyone have a link to this article?

On the same note, does anyone use these scales and have any suggestions- I am looking to buy one.

Thanks for any help you all may have.

In college we did a lab entirely dealing with these scales and how imprecise and inaccurate they are. Regardless if that’s the way you’re going to go follow these guidelines:

-Cannot have worked out within past 4 hours
-Must be fully hydrated
-Must not need to take a shit or a piss
-Cannot have eaten within past 3 hours
-Cannot be wearing any jewelry
-One more silly one, cannot be wet

These machines send a small current through your body and then take the electrical impedance + time taken to be received, estimating your lean body mass then calculating your body fat. Not following the above will throw those numbers.

I have one and it doesn’t work. That is unless I’m 22% body fat.

I have one too and I follow more or less the guidelines Da Vinci mentioned above.
about a year ago or more I did the DECA measurement, the air chamber thing, that’s supposed to be very very accurate, and the numbers were consistent with the Tanita scale numbers.

[quote]esk221 wrote:
I have one and it doesn’t work. That is unless I’m 22% body fat.[/quote]

LOLZ

Yeah, I love when mine says I’ve lost 2# but my BF went from 13.6 to 17.3%

The scale is fucked, but better than nothing I suppose. Yes for sure don’t be fresh from the shower that’s when I’m 17.3%.

I’ve got a Beurer scale, what I would suggest is that you use it to gauge whether you’re up or down under similar conditions every time. ie: I measure myself every morning after a shit but before a shower.

This will give you reasonable trend accuracy even if the scale isn’t 100% accurate.

If you then get a pro measurement done you can get an idea of how far off the scale is and work appropriately.

They aren’t that great if you want an accurate measure of your body fat, however if you wanted to use one to compare you pre and post training progams then they could be used for something like that.

But like Da Vinci said, they are damn temperamental and just the slightest change in diet, activity, time etc will throw your readings right out.

My friends quotes me on average to be about 14% where by I’m actually sub 10%.

Bottom line, Id only use it as a measure of effect of training… Cause even if they quote you to high or low it should still be a relative change if you have lost or gained BF between checking.

Same results as most for BF variability within an individual for reasons unrelated to BF, with similar magnitudes of variability - the baffling thing about this is that they can continue to sell them with such magnitudes of error. Isn’t there a consumer protection mechanism that could kick these guys in the nuts until they get it right or take it off the market?

I understand the concept of it being somewhat inaccurate in exchange for convenience, and even one’s decision to cave into that to monitor changes or trends (a decision i made after reading about them a couple of years ago), but the variability within an individual’s data due to being wet, etc., leading to 50% uncertainty or more for this device, is a joke!

Each time i read one of these posts i’m more tempted to throw mine out. Does anybody have a problem with the weight measurement? I.e., I assume it’s a regular bathroom scale mechanism, and is at least that accurate (which is not the best, but not the joke that their BF readings are)?

I have some off-brand version of this (Healthometer?), which is probably inferior to a Tanita scale. When I was dieting but not training, it seemed to give plausible readings. Since I started lifting, the readings have diverged totally from reality. A skinfold measurement may say 13% bf, and the scale will say 22%. It’s almost as if it’s calculating my BMI and guessing bf% assuming I’m sedentary. That saves them the hassle of the bioimpedance measurement! I only use its weight measurement now.

when i was in the realm of ~12% before I started dieting, it kept giving me about a 17% reading, which I knew from the mirror was not true. Then, I realized I didn’t have it on the “athlete” setting. I switched it over, and viola, 12.7%.

Since I’ve been dieting, I use it at the same time in the morning, after a piss but before breakfast. It has shown a steady decrease as I’ve been losing weight, and it seems pretty accurate (± 1% BF) from where I actually am based off the mirror. Need to compare to a skinfold of DEXA test though…