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SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,445
10/10/13 6:27 P

The Bod Pod is going to be more accurate than skinfold calipers, especially b/c there's no tester error the way there is with the caliper method.

Coach Jen

RAVELGIRLY SparkPoints: (115,652)
Fitness Minutes: (74,870)
Posts: 522
10/10/13 5:37 P

Thank you everyone for the replies. Thanks for the encouragement to keep on sparking!

I do think the three areas she checks are my primary fat storage sites. I know I've got loose skin and fascia in those areas too. I think that probably skews results although the trainer says it doesn't.

Coach Jen, I read about Bod Pod and that sounds interesting to me. I will price that to see if it's within my budget. Do you think that is an accurate method of measuring body comp?

Edited by: RAVELGIRLY at: 10/10/2013 (17:38)
SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,445
10/8/13 6:55 A

You've gotten some great responses already. I just wanted to add that you could ask them if they do a 5-site test (in case you are losing from other areas), or consider something else like the Bod Pod or DEXA scan. As others have said, you are definitely making progress, so don't let this one test (or the potential error of the test-taker) get you down.

Coach Jen

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,437
10/8/13 6:30 A

Yeah, it is easy to mismeasure body fat, depending on the skill of the caliper operator.

It is also possible that you are losing fat from places other than those 3 points (although 3 points should cover most areas).

But if you are down pounds AND inches, almost certainly you are losing fat, and the most likely explanation is a measurement error.


SIMPLELIFE2 Posts: 707
10/7/13 11:25 P

That sounds very odd since you are losing both weight and inches. Also, to have it be 26.6% -- .6? -- both times seems off. Could be that those sites are your primary fat storage areas. There are additional formulas to calculate the percentage. I find the accuracy increases with the number of sites measured since it accounts better for differences in fat storage.

Perhaps she could use one of these other formulas here:

Also, if you want to eyeball it, these pics may help:

You also could ask another trainer to the body fat measurements, kind of like a second opinion, which is how I would put it.

If you live near a major university that has sports programs, they might have hydrostatic weighing, which is an underwater method. I have never heard anything about surgery to determine body fat. DEXA scans work, but they are very expensive and expose you to radiation.

And I think body fat percentage is far more significant than scale weight. Within the past year, the scale hasn't changed much but my body fat dropped another 6 percent and I went down another pants size. But, whatever you're doing, it's working. Keep it up!

RAVELGIRLY SparkPoints: (115,652)
Fitness Minutes: (74,870)
Posts: 522
10/7/13 4:56 P

I just had my body fat % measured for the third time (3 site caliper method) by the same trainer at the gym.

July 28%
Late August down 6 lbs - 26.6%
Today - down 6 more lbs -26.6%

The skin fold measurements were the same as what she got in August. I'm puzzled as to how the skin fold numbers could be exactly the same, given that I lost inches and I'm wearing a smaller size now. Even the trainer was surprised, because she said she can tell I'm smaller.

She said there is a -+/- 4% margin of error due to human error. Does that sound right?
She said that looking at me, she thinks I am closer to 24% body fat and not to get discouraged

I've been trying to use body fat % rather than BMI to set my goal weight. I was shooting for 24% body fat. Now I'm not sure how I will know when I get there!

Should I find a different place to get my body fat tested? Do I need to give less importance to these numbers?

Help! I feel kind of lost!

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