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Thread: the usual i need real help! questioning bodyfat scales

  1. #1
    Wannabebig New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    the usual i need real help! questioning bodyfat scales

    heres a long post
    i was a fat kid, teen, guess very endomorphic, max weight had been around 280lbs, but i lost most of it quick by mid 20's and went down to 175#, started exercise, i am in mid 30's now, i have been working out religiously for the past 3-4 yrs, 2 hrs a day almost every day of the week, i do cardio for at least 1 hr in every session and i do lift most of the days too, i have good strength, great legs (as most ex-fat guys do) and a somewhat flabby looking upperbody (that doesnt look that bad with clothes for my age), however i have a BIG SCARY question

    yesterday for the first time i bought a scale for my home, is one of those that has bodyfat analyzer too, before that in the past 3-4 yrs i had test my bodyfat like 4 times, always with calipers at some gym, first time it was 15% (i was around 192lbs), second time and around 10 pounds heavier i tested 15-16% again, third time i was around 200lbs and got tested with an electronic machine of the ones that point to ur body made by tanita or so, i got a 21% reading or so, the fourth time calyper again i got a 18%, i have very very very flabby skin in my abdominal area, more than u can imagine and has probably a lot to do with my ex-fat past, however i got readings of like 30mm of fat there (think it was higher), but in legs i got less than 8mm and in chest around 15mmm, those are the measurements i remember from the last time i took the test, those all test were made from gyms and from the past 4 yrs i have been working out about the same without decreasing a bit, got lots of energy and clothes fit, i dont expect to be a model but somewhat my waist has mantained and i have pants size 34 up to 36 that fit, same waist range of the past 4 yrs ( i used to have 44inch pants when i was 20 so u can imagine), i would say that with clothes i look ok for my age. however this is the BIG QUESTION
    yesterday i went on this scale made by a brand i dont remember (not tanita)
    and got a reading of 210 lbs weight, 33.5% bodyfat
    is this possible??
    i have this measurements
    chest around 44-46
    arms around 16 and look decent, not toned but big and firm, waist around 35-38 thighs around 26, calves big and shaped, i have big forearms, medium size wrist, small ankles, somewhat shaped legs, i am 38yrs old
    i have been watching my diet since forever, i am very healthy in most areas, i had tested as having excellent arm strength and flexibility, and i have lots of endurance for cardio ( only do spinning and eliptical trainers) i monitor my heart rate and is ok, can increase lots and going down somewhat fast too, but my question is i must have doing something terribly wrong!
    how on earth got this reading of 33% something bodyfat?, (this morning was 31% but still is VERY HIGH even for me, doest his mean that ex-fat guys should be tested only by calipers, do this electronic machines dont work for us?, or i have most fat in unusual places? (like thighs,butt, hips?) where calipers doesnt go?, what about flabby skin does that count as fat for this machines??, i am very disoriented, i always tought of me as fit, overweight but fit, and able to keep myself in the same weight range over this years (that was impossible when i was a teeen) any advices??? i know this is long, but i need to have drastic measures

  2. #2
    Senior Member geoffgarcia's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    calipers test subcutaneous fat
    BMI (scales) measure leg fat and the hand holders measure arm/chest fat

    water weight will impact ur readings, so if u've spent a weekend drinking u'll be off.
    Ur readings will be lower in the AM and higher in the PM. Possibly a 1-2 pounds of weight difference, and 2-4% bf difference.
    Rather than worry about a 1 time reading I recommend you take the average of a weeks worth of readings.
    I measure myself first thing I wake up, which is an artificially low reading thanks to the impact of sleeping and gravity + minor dehydration then a night readings before bed, and I take a weekly average of the two and use that to track my progress...
    Did you calibrate your new scale correctly? the scale I use takes Gender, Height, Age (obviously weight) and heart rate into account to formulate a more accurate reading.

    here is some info on measuring bodyfat and the pro's con's of bmi vs skin fold etc...
    its worth a read IMHO
    Last edited by geoffgarcia; 07-12-2004 at 09:08 AM.

  3. #3
    Wannabebig New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    thanks geoff

    thanks for your post, i dont see myself as an athlete, i understand i might have much more bodyfat and skin that most lean-since young- guys
    i always tought that my bodyfat measurements taken at gyms of 15% were really low and probably innacurate for a guy like me that doesnt look like the pics of 15% bodyfat pics of guys i have seen, but i exercise very very regularly and in physical tests i always do good, i calibrated my scale well, however that 30's % number was much more than what i expected, i dont see why a guy that by bmi standards isnt obese (close but not), and that has a 36inch waist pant size and exercises so regularly as me can have a reading of over 30% bodyfat, i have been reading a lot in the past two hours about bodyfat scales and such, i didnt know they measured leg fat, i always tought legs were the part of my body where i had less fat, even caliper readings in legs show me as very fit, so i am planning to get back to cardio at mornings and much more severe diet, at least this has motivated me to give an extra effort

    i dont

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    also, tanita scales give false reading for athletes and bbers. An example; I'm 8-9% on calipers but used a tanita scale once and was 24% on it.
    Height-5' 7"
    Squat- 360x8 DB Curl- 70x6

  5. #5
    Wannabebig New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004


    u had 20's bodyfat on tanita scales with a 28inch waist??
    something is wrong with those scales then
    do u have big legs?, i happen to have big legs but with much less fat on them than on the rest of my body

  6. #6
    Formerly Nick Hatfield SW's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Ali started a really cool thread that has this link in it. http://www.weightlossforall/TOOLS.html I tried it and think it's bodyfat and other calculators to be fairly accurate, although it may mislead you into believing you're morbidly obese, probably due to you being a bodybuilder, when you're not even in that remote area. I'm 5 10 and 250lbs. It said i was something like 20-25% bodyfat with a 42-44 inch waist. It put me in as class II obese. Lol, it's far from the truth, so I would just look at the bodyfat %. See what it says.
    "You can take control of my mind and my body, but there is one thing a Saiyan always keeps.... his PRIDE!"- Vegeta

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