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How to measure body fat?

The best 6 ways to measure body fat.

Losing weight actually means losing body fat. Many people use the scale to measure their weight, which is okay, but not accurate. The scale gives you the overall weight, which includes muscle, bones, organs, and water, not only fat.

Measuring your weight using a normal scale can be tricky because it’s not static. Sometimes, you drink a lot of water or gain muscle (which is heavier than fat) and you see that you’ve gained weight, while in fact, that weight is healthy, and, essentially, you’re not fat.

To help you understand how to make the difference and learn how to measure body fat, we dedicate this article to the best 6 ways to measure body fat. 

What is the ideal body fat percentage?

Before we show you how to measure body fat, check out this chart that will demonstrate to you the ideal body fat percentage that you should aim for.

 womenmen
Athletes14%–20%6%–13%
Fitness21%–24%14%–17%
Acceptable body fat percentage25%–31%18%–24%
Obesity (warning)>32%>25%

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6 Ways to Measure Body Fat

It’s very hard to measure body fat. The methods that we will present vary in their accuracy and expenditure. Usually, the more expensive methods are more accurate, but there’s always a margin of error. 

It’s very hard to measure body fat. The methods that we will present vary in their accuracy and expenditure. Usually, the more expensive methods are more accurate, but there’s always a margin of error. 

1. Tape measure

The tape measure is the most basic method. All you need is soft tape like the ones tailors use. You also need to know your height.

Men

                Men should measure the circumference of their neck and abdomen. They should measure the largest part of each area. To calculate the percentage, they subtract the neck value from the value of the abdomen to determine the circumference value.    

Women

                Women should do the same thing only they should measure the circumference of their waist and hips. They should add the measurement of their waist to their hips and subtract that from the neck measurement.

 

2. Calipers

            Calipers are used to do a skin-fold test by pinching different areas of the body. This method is very quick and doesn’t cost much. You can buy calipers online for less than $7. When performed accordingly and the calculations are right, this method can be quite accurate.  

Men

                Men should measure fat on their chest, abdominals, and thighs. The calipers come with instructions that tell you how to do it.

Women

Women do the same thing, only in different areas of the body. They should measure triceps, fat right above the hip bone, and the thigh.

3. Body fat scale

Body fat scales are great. They use a technology called bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). The scale conducts an electrical current through your legs that can measure body fat; this is possible because fat conducts far less current than muscles and water. When resistance is big, it means that there’s fat. Then, the scale does all the calculations and provides the percentage. However, it’s not very accurate because some variables like hydration level and exercise might influence the results and give you inaccurate measurements. 

                You can get the body fat scale for less than $50.

4. Hydrostatic weight

Hydrodensitometry is one of the most accurate weighing methods. You need to find a special facility that does it. Essentially, you sit in a chair underwater, and since fat has a floating effect, the scale underneath you measures your weight while underwater to determine your fat level. The specialist will do all the calculations for you. 

5. Plethysmography

Air displacement, plethysmography is another great method. This method uses a computerized, egg-shaped chamber, called a BOD POD, which encloses your body. The machine uses this data from the weight and volume to calculate your body fat percentage. It’s a very accurate method that needs to be done in a professional setting with a specialist

6. CT scans

The most accurate method for determining body fat percentage is computerized tomography (CT) scans. The machines take cross-sectional images of the body to see the fatty parts.

This test is not only used for measuring body fat. It’s used for many measurements and they are very expensive.

Conclusion

                Depending on your pocket, you might want to use different methods. But it’s not necessary to choose the more expensive ones. Sometimes all you need to do is to take a look in the mirror.

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