Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

Message Boards
FORUM:   Fitness and Exercise

Scales that measure body fat %

Click here to read our frequently asked Fitness and Exercise questions.

Search the
Message Boards:
Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

Author: Message: Sort First Post on Top

SparkPoints: (31,080)
Fitness Minutes: (12,713)
Posts: 4,110
2/5/13 8:20 A

Personally, I've found them to be complete garbage. I thought I could use them to discern trend, but even that was mostly a failure. I've had a few devices and all of them gave dramatically different readings. They are highly sensitive to hydration and moisture (example, take a reading before and after a shower, major difference). I would not put any faith in a BIA device. Save your money and sanity.

Posts: 13,911
2/5/13 6:51 A

BF scales don't measure fat directly. What they do is pass a tiny electric current through your body, and measure the resistance. On the principle that 'muscle is wet, and fat is dry', they then estimate your BF%.

Unfortunately, this makes them pretty sensitive to your hydration levels. One salty meal can make a big difference from one day to another in their reported numbers, even in you haven't gained or lost a single ounce of fat.

If you are taking measurements, then you may want to try an online BF calculator such as

Online calculators also have accuracy problems, but they are considerably less volatile in their estimates than scales.


SparkPoints: (20,346)
Fitness Minutes: (41,738)
Posts: 523
2/4/13 11:41 P

The term you are looking for is "precision"- akin to reliability.

My experience is that BF Scales are not accurate for me and are NOT precise or reliable at all. But that is just my experience. I think they can tell progress alright, but I've always had erratic readings. This is not to discredit your insanity work!! It is definitely possible and realistic to lose 2% body fat following that program.

I would suggest you get a tape measure or even better- a set of calipers. You can estimate body fat % off of those readings, but they are numbers too and are another good way to gauge your progress, even if the scale isn't budging. I use a tape measure personally because I haven't found a good set of calipers that I can afford on a college kid's budget, and I LOVE it. Much more motivating in my opinion.

SparkPoints: (158,833)
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
Posts: 46,222
2/4/13 9:43 P


Special scales that use bioelectrical impedance (weak electrical signals) can estimate your body fat percentage, but these scales can have a large margin of error (around 10% or more according to some studies). Plus, digital scales only measure fat levels in the lower body (the signal travels up one leg and down the other), so they don't provide a full picture of the fat level of your entire body.

As to how quickly one can reduce fat, depends on many factors.

Coach Nancy

SparkPoints: (6,051)
Fitness Minutes: (10,437)
Posts: 12
2/4/13 8:45 P

Okay, I KNOW they are not an accurate measure of body fat % but my question is, do you think its an accurate measure of progress? I am on week 4 of insanity and have followed the program exactly while doing Shakeology and tracking my calories. I have lost 7 lbs but most of that was right away and likely water weight. But according to the scale I have lost about 2% body fat, its pretty consistent and doesn't vary from day to day like my weight. My clothes are fitting better and I know that's the best way to measure progress but I like to see numbers.

Page: 1 of (1)  


Diet Resources: ideas for a healthy breakfast | healthy ideas for breakfast | breakfast ideas healthy