When people think of getting in shape and toning up, they think of weight loss and the scale dropping. This isn't necessarily the case. Body fat percentage is the real figure you should be paying attention to. Let's just think about it for a minute. If the scale dropped 10 pounds and your body fat percentage stayed the same, you would have lost a majority of muscle. Muscle is the component that gives us that nice shape. There are many ways to test your body fat percent.
In this article, I will give a brief explanation of each measuring practice. Soon I will add more in depth articles of each method.
Underwater Weighing - A.K.A. Hydrodensityometry Weighing
This method is known as the most accurate. It measures your body density by determining your volume. The person is first weighed outside of the tank. Then they are weighed again completely submerged under water. The density of fat is lower than water while the density of muscle and bone is higher than water. They can determine the body density by using standard formulas.
Underwater weighing may still have its flaws. Athletes tend to have denser bones and muscles than non-athletes, which may lead to a lower body fat percentage than is accurate. While the body fat of elderly patients suffering from osteoporosis may be overestimated. This is still the best way to test your body fat percent.
Skinfold Measurement - Calipers
Calipers are a hand help device used to measure several skinfolds. The measurements of these skinfolds are entered into an equation and your body fat percentage is determined.
I've always been a big fan of calipers. They are cheap and they are easy. I have used an electronic caliper for years. It only asks for 3 sites instead of the standard 7, but I find it gets me a solid consistant number. The accuracy of the measurements are going to depend highly on the person actually using the calipers. It takes quite a lot of practice to find the right areas to measure. This is the most convenient way to check body fat percent.
Total Body Electrical Conductivity
This method sends a weak electromagnetic pulse through your body. The pulse reacts to the amount of water in the person's body. This measurement is based on lean muscle tissue being a better conductor of electricity than fat.
Bioelectrical Impedence measures the electrical signals throughout the body as they pass through muscle, fat, and water of the body. With the readings given and proven scientific formulas, body compositions can be determined.
Which methods have you guys tried?