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How to Measure Body Fat

Most people associate their fat with what the scale tells them. If they are heavy they automatically assume they are fat, and if the scale reading is low then they assume they are thin.

While this system would be simple and easy for everyone, an ordinary bathroom scale cannot tell you how fat you are.

When you step on the scale, whether at home or at your gym, it will tell you one thing only — how much you weigh on that specific date. Notice I said it will tell you what you weigh, not how fat you may or may not be. The two are completely different.

Scales are only effective at calculating your body mass as a whole. Within that mass weight you will find muscle mass, fat weight, water weight as well as your organs and bones. That number you’re seeing on the scale is the measurement for all these things combined. So, when you think about it, a scale is a pretty lousy way to tell you whether you are fat or not. Right?

There are many ways to determine body fat. The most accurate of these, which also happens to be the most impractical, not to mention most uncomfortable system, is called Hydrodensitometry Weighing. This system basically emerges the body in water using a specialized, sophisticated machine that looks like a stainless steel chair that has been mounted on a stainless steal tank, with under-water scales attached to it.

This system is considered the “gold standard” of body fat measuring, but due to its complexity, it is very difficult for the everyday man and woman to consider using this machine.

The next best thing is the Anthropometry System. This system uses specialized calipers which measure the skin fold of an individual. These calipers are used by most dietitians and personal trainers to help them determine the body fat of their clients.

These calipers, although not 100% accurate, are able to help the person measuring get a good idea of his client’s body fat, and more importantly, provide a system to measure results of the fat reading over a given period of time.

The calipers are used on various sites and then worked into a formula to give the reader a percentage of body fat. Knowing this percentage will help you identify just how fat you really are and whether or not your new diet or exercise regime is helping you burn off fat and not just making you lighter.

Author: Dimi Ingle.
Copyright 2009: Remedium. This article may not be copied, in whole or in part, without the written consent of Remedium.

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