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View Full Version : Are any of the bodyfat % scales any good?



StLRPh
03-10-2011, 11:45 AM
I want something easy and quick to use to keep track of my bodyfat %. I have an old Tannita (over 10 yrs old) and it's crapped out completely. I have a regular scale to track my bodyweight. I'm not necessarily worried about the actual number so much as getting a consistent reading so that I can track changes.

Any suggestions?

Are these any good?
http://www.amazon.com/Omron-HBF-306C-Loss-Monitor-Black/dp/B000FYZMYK/ref=pd_sim_hpc_4

thanks in advance,

matt

Behemoth
03-10-2011, 04:47 PM
Anything digital is a waste of money. Buy a caliper and use it to track gains and losses in bf in different areas, the % is really irrelevant and means nothing.

Spiderman
03-11-2011, 08:13 AM
Anything digital is a waste of money. Buy a caliper and use it to track gains and losses in bf in different areas, the % is really irrelevant and means nothing.

I would dissagree with your statement Behemoth. Digital bodyfat measurement is referred to as "Bioelectrical Impedance." Although studies have shown that field measurements via indirect means such as anthropometry (skin fold) and Bio-electrical impedance are less accurate than those done within the confines of a lab controlled environment, they can still prove usefull for everyday means of gauging progression. Even a caliper purchased should not be used by the individual on themself. It should be measured by another individual. (On the right side the body) However, often, the degree of deviation in accurate measurement has simply to do with the expertise of the person measuring.

Bioelectrical impedance lacks in accuracy due to levels of hydration. If the body is in a state of "euhydration" (normal state of body water content) then this method will be closer to accurate. However, impedance tends to have a standard error of 5%. In addition, to measure ones hydration state, you must check the specific gravity of your urine. Since this cannot be achieved outside of a laboratory, most choose to use the Tanita scale as a means of gaugin progression in losing body-fat.

StLRPh, if I were to purchase a bio-electrical impedance measurement device, it would not be a hand held. In my experience with THAT specific device you linked to, it's not very good. I would stick with a body fat scale that measure from the foot. This will help with the accuracy of measurement. However, you still need to undestand that the accuracy will be off by some degree. Good luck.

StLRPh
03-11-2011, 08:55 AM
StLRPh, if I were to purchase a bio-electrical impedance measurement device, it would not be a hand held. In my experience with THAT specific device you linked to, it's not very good. I would stick with a body fat scale that measure from the foot. This will help with the accuracy of measurement. However, you still need to undestand that the accuracy will be off by some degree. Good luck.

Thanks Spidey, I'm aware that's not the most accurate but at the moment I'd be testing myself and that doesn't seem like a good option. Also the scale is way more convenient. I'm guessing that the best bet for a consistent measurement is first thing in the AM. Is that correct?

I appreciate everyones input.

Behemoth
03-11-2011, 11:03 AM
+/- 5% isn't what I consider accurate. To each his own.

I've used many and never once been given consistent results throughout the course of the day. Unless you actually need to know the % for some reason, simply calipering different spots on a regular occasion is a much more effective way to track bodyfat gains or losses.

Spiderman
03-11-2011, 11:18 AM
Thanks Spidey, I'm aware that's not the most accurate but at the moment I'd be testing myself and that doesn't seem like a good option. Also the scale is way more convenient. I'm guessing that the best bet for a consistent measurement is first thing in the AM. Is that correct?

I appreciate everyones input.

As for consistency, yes, this would be the best time to measure. If you want a closer to accurate result, perhaps wait untill some water has passed through your system so that you're hydrated.



+/- 5% isn't what I consider accurate. To each his own.

Behemoth, if you recall, I stated that it is "closer" to accurate, and has a standard error of 5%. Please read below.

Bioelectrical impedance lacks in accuracy due to levels of hydration. If the body is in a state of "euhydration" (normal state of body water content) then this method will be closer to accurate. However, impedance tends to have a standard error of 5%.



I've used many and never once been given consistent results throughout the course of the day. Unless you actually need to know the % for some reason, simply calipering different spots on a regular occasion is a much more effective way to track bodyfat gains or losses.

This is simply untrue. Taking bodyfat calipers to different spots of your body will not be an effective way to track bodyfat gains or losses. It may help aid in determining how much subcutaneous water you're holding throughout the day, but that's about all. Without proper measurement skinfold sites and done in the proper technique your suggested method is carries no merit.

gmen5681
03-11-2011, 05:07 PM
honestly just save your money and look in the mirror. take pictures to track your progress.

Behemoth
03-11-2011, 05:08 PM
I'm not advocating one try to take the meausrements for the factors in an equation to produce an arbitrary percentage. The percentage is completely unnecessary to one tracking simple gains and losses.

Skinfold is more accurate than bio impedance and far less effected by subcutaneous water. Not to mention electrical calipering only measures at one site.

I would encourage anyone who is thinking about buying a digital scale to first try one. Two of my gyms have them as well as I've used them in stores. I can step on and back off and get a reading 2% different within minutes and fluctuations of 3-4% daily are of the norm. My skinfold I track between half millimeters and has proven to be vastly more effective at measuring bodyfat gains and losses.

Behemoth
03-11-2011, 07:01 PM
For reference this is how I personally advocate one track their gains/losses. This is pulled from my journal while dieting last year.

I weigh, I measure, I caliper. When I caliper I pinch each spot about 10 times, there are discrepancies between some of the pinches yes, but there is always a very predominant number when doing it many times. It is very easy to get the hang of.

The data is logged and compared against both my last reading, and against a "starting point" reading. The "starting point" for this set of tracking was the beginning of this diet 118 days prior.

To me, this is very effective at tracking very minor changes (especially when compared with additional date of weight and measurements). And like I said in my post above -- when I use digital calipers they I can get 2-3% discrepancy in one day alone. Consider it takes me roughly a month to actually lose 2-3% this electronic data is completely useless to me unless it were compared on a very massive scale. IE going from 30% bodyfat to 12% bodyfat.

"Location - measurement - loss/gain in relation to last reading (23 days ago) - loss/gain in relation to first reading (118 days ago)

Weight - 180, (-3), (-37)

Waist - 31 3/8, (-1/4), (-4 1/8)
Neck - 15 1/8, (+1/8), (-1 1/4)
Arm - 15 15/16, (-3/16), (-1 3/16)
Chest - 43 5/8, (+1/2), (-1 1/4)
Glute - 37 1/4, (-1 1/4), (-4)
Thigh - 24, (-1/4), (-2 1/4)
Calf 14 5/8 (-1/4), (-3/4)

Subprailaic - 3mm, (-0.5), (-8)
Lower ab - 7mm, (-1), (-15)
Chest - 4mm (same), (-8)"

StLRPh
03-12-2011, 06:09 AM
thanks for the info everyone, not sure what I'm going to do yet but this definitely helped