Measure Your Body Fat With These 4 Methods
As you move through your weight loss program, there comes a time when assessing your body fat is important.
While you can use the scales as a gauge of progress, realise that the scales aren’t always accurate.
The scales are not going to tell you whether you’ve lost fat or muscle mass, and for those who are just starting, it’s very possible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time.
So even though the scales may not be moving, this doesn’t mean you aren’t seeing results.
As such, using a body fat assessment is a far better gauge to go by. This way, you know precisely what your body weight is doing.
Let’s go over four different ways to assess body fat so you know how you can get this done.
The first way to assess body fat is to simply look in the mirror.
While this is not a technical solution and isn’t going to tell you a raw number of how much body fat you have, it can tell you quite accurately whether you’re going in the right direction.
Rather than stepping on the scales, simply look at yourself. Do you look leaner? If so, you are making progress.
The next way to assess body fat is with a pair of skin calipers.
This is a special tool that you can get for a relatively low price that allows you to pinch various spots on your body and measure the thickness of that skinfold.
You then plug these numbers into an equation (the equation will depend on your chosen method of skin fold testing) and that will approximate your total body fat level.
This test is nice since it does give you an estimate of your percentage of body fat but it still isn’t going to be 100% accurate.
There can be errors since the test is only measuring subcutaneous fat, which is fat found directly under the skin, not accounting for the fat that’s found inside the body (visceral fat).
While this is taken into account during the equation, it’s never going to be completely accurate.
But either way, what you can see very well with this method is again, whether that thickness of your skinfold is going down. If it is, you know you’re losing body fat.
As you simply can’t ‘pinch’ muscle like you can fat, you won’t see an increase in thickness if you have gained lean muscle mass.
Hand Held Devices
The next way in which you may measure body fat is with a hand held device or electronic scale you step on. Take caution on these devices.
They are very often inaccurate and can be swayed by something as simple as drinking a glass of water.
While they also tell you how much percentage of body fat you have, they are simply too inaccurate to be using regularly.
Finally, the last method is considered the ‘gold standard’ method and involves a dexa scan, which is typically done in a local hospital.
This scanner will tell you not only how much fat mass and fat free mass you have, but also how dense your bones are.
As such, it’s often utilised for medical purposes. Both cost and availably prohibit the average person from using this test however, so it’s not one that you can likely even consider.
So there you have a closer look at the most common methods for assessing body fat percentage. If you want to be more accurate in your results assessment, this is what you want to be measuring.