T Nation

Tiny Skinfold, but High Bodyfat Percentage

Hi guys,

I just had an argument with some guy I know from the gym. He told me he measured his skin folds by caliper.
His measurements: Chest 6mm (0,24 inch) Stomach 20mm (0,79 inch) Leg 8mm (0,315 inch)
I know his weight and his age and so I put this measurements in some online bf-calculator. The bodyfat percentage should be around 10-11%

Optically this guy is at least around 15% plus. You don’t see any separations, nothing. I told him he measured wrong, because such a difference is ridiculous. He said, that all those calculators are rubbish and often people look like 2% bf more than they actually are.
Who is right? I always thought and experienced that a properly done caliper measurement is fairly exact.

greets

[quote]BudSpencer24 wrote:
He said, that all those calculators are rubbish
[/quote]

this…

Mat’

[quote]BudSpencer24 wrote:
Hi guys,

I just had an argument with some guy I know from the gym. He told me he measured his skin folds by caliper.
His measurements: Chest 6mm (0,24 inch) Stomach 20mm (0,79 inch) Leg 8mm (0,315 inch)
I know his weight and his age and so I put this measurements in some online bf-calculator. The bodyfat percentage should be around 10-11%

Optically this guy is at least around 15% plus. You don’t see any separations, nothing. I told him he measured wrong, because such a difference is ridiculous. He said, that all those calculators are rubbish and often people look like 2% bf more than they actually are.
Who is right? I always thought and experienced that a properly done caliper measurement is fairly exact.

greets[/quote]

Optically? Honestly, unless you happen to be a personal trainer, have been one, or have been a die hard bodybuilding fan for years, I would not expect most people who haven’t been training for several years to be able to visually accurately assess someone’s body fat.

Online calculators are shit.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

[quote]BudSpencer24 wrote:
Hi guys,

I just had an argument with some guy I know from the gym. He told me he measured his skin folds by caliper.
His measurements: Chest 6mm (0,24 inch) Stomach 20mm (0,79 inch) Leg 8mm (0,315 inch)
I know his weight and his age and so I put this measurements in some online bf-calculator. The bodyfat percentage should be around 10-11%

Optically this guy is at least around 15% plus. You don’t see any separations, nothing. I told him he measured wrong, because such a difference is ridiculous. He said, that all those calculators are rubbish and often people look like 2% bf more than they actually are.
Who is right? I always thought and experienced that a properly done caliper measurement is fairly exact.

greets[/quote]

Optically? Honestly, unless you happen to be a personal trainer, have been one, or have been a die hard bodybuilding fan for years, I would not expect most people who haven’t been training for several years to be able to visually accurately assess someone’s body fat.

Online calculators are shit.[/quote]

x2. Also, OP, as you said, “a properly done caliper measurement is fairly exact.” That means, someone experienced, doing the caliper measurement accurately, can generally get it within a couple percent. It’s pretty easy to mess up though.

And, as these threads always lead to, who cares what the actual number is anyway? Is he going to say “you may look leaner than me, but my bodyfat percentage is lower according to this caliper reading, so I win!”

ALL bodyfat calculators are shit, and knowing your bodyfat % is pointless

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
ALL bodyfat calculators are shit, and knowing your bodyfat % is pointless[/quote]

I disagree, somewhat. Knowing your bodyfat % is a good way of knowing your progress or lack there of. I simply use mine as a marker every couple of weeks along with the weight scale, and progress pictures. I’m not stuck on a number though, so in a way you’re right. Just watching if that number increases or decreases, which depends on the goal at the moment.

And from what I’ve learned in class, the SEE/standard estimate of error of using body fat calipers varies on a lot of factors (Was the skin flush with blood, did the person eat prior to the test, did the person just walk out of a sauna/high temperature area etc) And even down to the experience of who’s doing the measuring. If you guys did this in the gym after working out, after a long day of being active the results will most likely be skewed.

[quote]jldume wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
ALL bodyfat calculators are shit, and knowing your bodyfat % is pointless[/quote]

I disagree, somewhat. Knowing your bodyfat % is a good way of knowing your progress or lack there of. I simply use mine as a marker every couple of weeks along with the weight scale, and progress pictures. I’m not stuck on a number though, so in a way you’re right. Just watching if that number increases or decreases, which depends on the goal at the moment.

And from what I’ve learned in class, the SEE/standard estimate of error of using body fat calipers varies on a lot of factors (Was the skin flush with blood, did the person eat prior to the test, did the person just walk out of a sauna/high temperature area etc) And even down to the experience of who’s doing the measuring. If you guys did this in the gym after working out, after a long day of being active the results will most likely be skewed.[/quote]

The reality is, that is its only real useful purpose…other than to give internet warriors something to brag about when the muscle is missing.

If You can use it accurately to judge progress in muscle growth and fat loss, fine…but those using this as some definitive line in the sand to judge all progress by (like those acting like 10% should be the goal itself) are way off base.

[quote]jldume wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
ALL bodyfat calculators are shit, and knowing your bodyfat % is pointless[/quote]

I disagree, somewhat. Knowing your bodyfat % is a good way of knowing your progress or lack there of. I simply use mine as a marker every couple of weeks along with the weight scale, and progress pictures. I’m not stuck on a number though, so in a way you’re right. Just watching if that number increases or decreases, which depends on the goal at the moment.

And from what I’ve learned in class, the SEE/standard estimate of error of using body fat calipers varies on a lot of factors (Was the skin flush with blood, did the person eat prior to the test, did the person just walk out of a sauna/high temperature area etc) And even down to the experience of who’s doing the measuring. If you guys did this in the gym after working out, after a long day of being active the results will most likely be skewed.[/quote]

if it works for you then fair enough, but could you not just look at yourself in the mirror and achieve pretty much the same thing?

but like I said, if it works for you then I wouldn’t change anything.

On a side note: has anyone else noticed that in internet land nobody is ever above 12% bodyfat, with 8% being the norm?

[quote]jldume wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
ALL bodyfat calculators are shit, and knowing your bodyfat % is pointless[/quote]

I disagree, somewhat. Knowing your bodyfat % is a good way of knowing your progress or lack there of. I simply use mine as a marker every couple of weeks along with the weight scale, and progress pictures. I’m not stuck on a number though, so in a way you’re right. Just watching if that number increases or decreases, which depends on the goal at the moment.

And from what I’ve learned in class, the SEE/standard estimate of error of using body fat calipers varies on a lot of factors (Was the skin flush with blood, did the person eat prior to the test, did the person just walk out of a sauna/high temperature area etc) And even down to the experience of who’s doing the measuring. If you guys did this in the gym after working out, after a long day of being active the results will most likely be skewed.[/quote]

If you are talking about the increase or decrease in a specific reading; then I agree. If you are iplying that the BF% calculated from those reading is acurate in any way, then I do not.

“Awww yeah I used to be 2% bodyfat back when I played football”

Oh really now? Lol.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

[quote]BudSpencer24 wrote:
Hi guys,

I just had an argument with some guy I know from the gym. He told me he measured his skin folds by caliper.
His measurements: Chest 6mm (0,24 inch) Stomach 20mm (0,79 inch) Leg 8mm (0,315 inch)
I know his weight and his age and so I put this measurements in some online bf-calculator. The bodyfat percentage should be around 10-11%

Optically this guy is at least around 15% plus. You don’t see any separations, nothing. I told him he measured wrong, because such a difference is ridiculous. He said, that all those calculators are rubbish and often people look like 2% bf more than they actually are.
Who is right? I always thought and experienced that a properly done caliper measurement is fairly exact.

greets[/quote]

Optically? Honestly, unless you happen to be a personal trainer, have been one, or have been a die hard bodybuilding fan for years, I would not expect most people who haven’t been training for several years to be able to visually accurately assess someone’s body fat.

Online calculators are shit.[/quote]

Agreed. And no mention of him holding a shoe.

Someone taking their own skinfolds could pose multiple means of error as well.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

[quote]jldume wrote:

[quote]rds63799 wrote:
ALL bodyfat calculators are shit, and knowing your bodyfat % is pointless[/quote]

I disagree, somewhat. Knowing your bodyfat % is a good way of knowing your progress or lack there of. I simply use mine as a marker every couple of weeks along with the weight scale, and progress pictures. I’m not stuck on a number though, so in a way you’re right. Just watching if that number increases or decreases, which depends on the goal at the moment.

And from what I’ve learned in class, the SEE/standard estimate of error of using body fat calipers varies on a lot of factors (Was the skin flush with blood, did the person eat prior to the test, did the person just walk out of a sauna/high temperature area etc) And even down to the experience of who’s doing the measuring. If you guys did this in the gym after working out, after a long day of being active the results will most likely be skewed.[/quote]

The reality is, that is its only real useful purpose…other than to give internet warriors something to brag about when the muscle is missing.

If You can use it accurately to judge progress in muscle growth and fat loss, fine…but those using this as some definitive line in the sand to judge all progress by (like those acting like 10% should be the goal itself) are way off base.[/quote]

Agreed again.

You are young, and you are TOTALLY wrong. You entered in a situation you cannot win, so you wasted your time and ours. With a little luck you will get old, with more luck you will get wiser. You could have told him he was lucky to be able to afford all that fat. With your poor family you were limited to 1 %.

20mm skin fold on his stomach and 11%?

Please.

[quote]BudSpencer24 wrote:
Hi guys,

I just had an argument with some guy I know from the gym. He told me he measured his skin folds by caliper.
His measurements: Chest 6mm (0,24 inch) Stomach 20mm (0,79 inch) Leg 8mm (0,315 inch)
I know his weight and his age and so I put this measurements in some online bf-calculator. The bodyfat percentage should be around 10-11%

Optically this guy is at least around 15% plus. You don’t see any separations, nothing. I told him he measured wrong, because such a difference is ridiculous. He said, that all those calculators are rubbish and often people look like 2% bf more than they actually are.
Who is right? I always thought and experienced that a properly done caliper measurement is fairly exact.

greets[/quote]

It doesn’t really matter who is right since body fat measurements mean absolutely nothing by themselves. They are useful when you use them as a guideline to gauge your progress aka is my weight going up and my skinfolds staying the same? That would mean you’re gaining muscle instead of fat. It doesn’t matter in the sense that even if someone is measured at 10% bodyfat but looks 15%, well, they look like they’re 15% and hold fat in a different way than someone who looks leaner than what their measurments indicate. Another thing that might be going on is that you might be seeing him only with a sleevles shirt on so that won’t really tell you anything at all, but that is just speculation from my part