T Nation

Who Measures Your Bodyfat?


Does anyone have their BF tested by someone besides themselves? I have been doing my own measures lately, but wondering if it would be worthwhile to get it tested by someone at a gym?

I have been testing for the last few weeks, and don't seem to be losing BF though my weight has decreased. I assume that I am not losing muscle, because my strength has increased and I have been taking HOT-ROX to help preserve LBM? Any thoughts?


I test my own and seem to have a real issue with getting consistant readings.. They are all over the place. Is there a method to doing it correctly?


Follow the directions that come with your calipers. Make sure you test the same sites each time (a couple of inches off can make a huge difference).

Also, you can take it 2 or 3 times each time you test and take an average.

Just keep practicing until you get a consistent reading on one day, then hopefully it'll be consistent next time you test.


I am having the same issue with consistenty which is why i asked the question. When you are dealing with mm it is easy to have a small error affect your final reading.

When I do it, I usually take all three sites 3-4 times.


I agree, I have an extremely hard time even pinching my leg.. I had two days in a row it was 14.6 then the next day it was 18%, I don't think it could have shot up that fast.. I'll try to keep up with it.


I went to a local heart center. There was a thereapist there who regularly did caliper tests. As I recall it was a 4 point test. Two training cycles perfomed one year apart, both ended at 4.7% bodyfat. Apparently, that was my body's limit at the time.

A person with experience with a set of calipers is your best bet.


Who measures my bodyfat?

My belt.

When the holes run out, it's time to cut.


I have mine tested by the head nutritionist at Penn State using the BodPod. It has always been free since I played footall there, but I'm not sure what it costs to have one of those higher-level tests taken (BodPod, Underwater weighing, etc.) I just feel better having a truly precise test judge my progress, although like I said, the cost of one of these might outweigh the peace of mind...


My jock strap. When the waistband folds over by itself, it's time to cut the fat.

You can measure yourself with the calipers, and like what was mentioned above, take three measures at the same site and average them. Over time the averages will have some meaning.


where can you pic up a caliper, GNC???


I guess for me the concern is trying to hold on too as much LBM as possible during a cut.

The mirror is a good tool, as are belt, pants fit, etc, but they will only give you so much info. BF% is really the only way to now if you are gaining/losing muscle and fat.

I just want to be sure that I am losing fat when i drop in scale weight and not muscle


Probably. They're available at my local healthnut food store.


Mark the spots where you take skinfolds with an indelible marker to make sure you're getting the same spot each time.


I'm trying to shed some fat as well, and using the calipers can be a pain in the ass. I usually have my wife take the measurements. I just make sure we take the measurements the same exact way every time.

I try not to get too caught up in what my bodyfat percentage is after I plug the measurements into the formula. Most of the time those formulas aren't too accurate, but at the same time I need to use some sort of objective reference point. I just look for consistently decreasing measurements while my bodyweight doesn't drop too drastically.

To assess how well my "shedding" phase is going, I'm using bodyfat percentage AND photos. To me, the photos will be the key in showing how well I have progressed.


I have mine done at the gym but I know the margin of error is 3% with calipers. I tested the same in December as I did in May (by the same person) and was noticably leaner for the later. I am using the mirror as my guide. Percentages look different on different bodies anyway.


All good points so far. I guess I am just worried that my weight loss, so far, has had no effect on my BF%.

I take the measures in the morning the same day each week, guess I could chalk it up to human error in the measuring process since I look leaner and my clothes fit better than they did a few weeks ago. Just hoping it's not muscle loss.


I think the gym staff would be similarly inefficient or worse (whereas you can train yourself and have confidence in the reading). Also, they may lie so you will buy more of their services. "Yes sir, you are 47% body fat. Please drink more of our Fitness Shakes and eat our Flabloss Bars..."


You may be leaner and you probably have lower bodyfat because you may be loosing the fat in the abdominal area. The fat there is different from others it goes in between and around organs. That's why leaner guy will have a better heart rate then bigger guys. That's why skinnier guys can eat more then fat guys (some).


I've managed to get consistent measurements with my calipers, except for the quad, I find it really difficult to pinch properly. I can get anywhere between 11-18mm for the quad. WTF?

In any case, my bodyfat according to the Fat Track II is 5.9%. This is BS as my top 4 abs are barely visible at the moment. I don't know where these people get their numbers from! I still use them cos the millimeters tell me whether I'm going up or down in fat, but it would be nice to have a realistic value for my bodyfat.

Anyone else have issues with bogus fat percentages from calipers?


In my opinion, knowing your current level of bf% isn't as important as being able to accurately assess changes in your bf%.

In that respect, the most reliable method I have found is the one used by US Armed Forces.

You need three measurements and a formula.

The measurements are Height, Waist (at navel) and Neck.

(The Neck is measured at the point just above the collar bone.)

Then plug those numbers into the following formula:

BF% = 495/(1.0324-0.19077*(LOG(Navel*2.54-Neck*2.54))+0.15456*(LOG(Height*2.54)))-450

The above formula requires the measurements to be in inches. If you want centimeters, just delete the parts where the Neck, Height and Navel are multiplied by 2.54.

I have found the results to be as accurate as any of the fancy X point caliper tests, and, imo, leave less room for "cheating".