Measure Body Fat
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How to measure body fat percentage using weight or skin fold test.
Body fat measurement can be an important tool in creating the right motivation for body fat loss. Typically, folks use their body fat percentage or measurement to gauge success in weight loss and to determine short and long-term goals. Body fat measurements are expressed in different ways - described as "body fat percentage" or "body fat percent", body fat measurements expressed as a percentage of body fat is the amount of body fat as a percentage of total body weight. If your total body weight is 200 pounds and you have 30 pounds of fat, your body fat percentage is 15 percent.
While the numbers can make folks feel a bit frustrated, the idea is to set a standard and work toward a numeric goal. Remember folks, they are just numbers. These simple numbers can, in part, reflect better health as they fall into ideal ranges. There are several ways to test or calculate your body fat percentage including, Bioelectrical Impedence, Bod Pod (Air Displacement), Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA), Near Infrared Interactance (NIR) Futrex 5000, Skinfold Measurements, and Underwater Weighing (Hydrostatic Weighing). For today's dicussion I'll cover briefly two methods:
Skinfold Caliper: Measure Body Fat
Measuring body fat with a device called "body fat calipers" or "skinfold calipers" may be the easiest, most cost effective, way to determine fat levels. But it's important to use skinfold calipers correctly. Have a professional take several skinfold measurements (typically 3 or 7 sites of the body) using a skinfold caliper set. Consistent accurate measurements can be a guideline for goal setting and can be used as a benchmark for success in body fat loss.
Hydrostatic Weighing: Measure Body Fat
Hydrostatic weighing (underwater weighing) is thought to be the most accurate way to calculate body fat. The test is conducted using a water tank of sorts and requires that the subject be submerged completely underwater. Typically, universities and clinics offer this service to participants in studies related to body fat. You may want to check in your area for this service. Hydrostatic weighing allows the tester to calculate body fat by calculating your body density measuring the amount of water your body displaces when you immerse your body in water. Then a formula is used to calculate body fat based on your body density.
Published Healthy Body Fat Guidelines (ACE)
Women (% Fat)
Men (% Fat)
Body Fat Calculation and Health
The higher your measured body fat percentage above average levels, the higher your health risk for weight related illness, like heart disease, high blood pressure, gallstones, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and certain cancers. Also, the higher your percentage of fat (and the smaller your percentage of muscle) fewer calories are needed to maintain your weight and therefore it is much easier to gain weight. The reason you need fewer calories is simply because muscle requires more calories because of its density vs. less dense fat tissue. Get a personal trainer for motivation, injury prevention, greater strength & safe weight loss.