Fitness Minutes: (77,519)
11/2/12 11:03 A
I would not give up on getting my body fat % evaluated sufficiently accurately somehow. Neither weight nor BMI is an objective measure of body composition, which basically is what determines health risks.
For example, you might have too much fat, yet both your weight and BMI may be in normal range. Still, the health risks will not be at their minimum due to the high fat content of the body.
So I would keep looking for a way of getting the body fat % measured by some accurate means, either by bodpod, underwater weighing or at least by skinfold calipers (note that experience of the operator is important to get a reliable result!).
Electrical impedance devices are affected by hydration and sodium intake. So if you were holding more water or ate less sodium than last time, it can interpret that as being fatter.
Also, if you celebrated a birthday since last month, the machine figures that you're fatter since you're a year older.
I find the units are pretty decent in my experience, but it's best to check yourself weekly, since some days your hydration & sodium intake may be off. The idea with any measuring method is to see the general trend over time, and not worry too much about one particular reading.
You could use an online fat % calculator which asks you stuff like age, sex, waist measurement, wrist measurement, etc. I don't use my impedence scale anymore because it was all over the place and I didn't trust it. At least the online calculators won't vary, since the only thing to change is your measurements. But honestly if you just track your measurements, you're accomplishing exactly the same thing. As long as your waist measurement is going down, you're probably losing fat (in my inexpert opinion!).
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
46,222 10/31/12 9:33 P
These devices have been known to have a margin of error of about 10% and to me that is a rather sizable difference...just think if your scale has a 10% margin of error...for a 150 pound person, that would be a 15 pound difference. If this reading is beginning to affect the way you look at this way of living, then you may want to consider forgoing this type of measurement for a while.
I know that body impedance devices are not the most accurate way to measure body fat. And I try to have similar conditions when I measure my body fat (before a workout, reasonably hydrated, same time of day). So when I used the device at the gym this week I was a little disappointed that it showed that I was up 1% body fat from last month. I'm going to assume that this is incorrect since I have lost both weight and inches since last month and find it unlikely that this would result in increased body fat.
I do track several measurements to keep track of my improvements (weight, circumference measurements, energy levels, etc). It doesn't seem like my gym or doctor's office do skin caliper testings, so should I just forego tracking my body fat, since those results are unreliable at best?
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