Body Fat Percentage

  • Hello everyone!

    I am wondering if anyone knows the proper method to determine your body fat percentage with calipers and whatnot, or where I can find that information.  The 'calculators' on the internet only ask for heigh, weight, and gender which isn't accurate at all.  I called around to a couple gyms to see what they charge for this, and on average it's around 100$.  So, I would love to be able to do this myself.  Any help is appreciated!

    Take care and keep at it!

    I can do anything, if I want to.


    I use the Parillo method just because it has the most areas to measure. Main thing is to be consistant with whichever one you choose.

  • Thanks so much looks great

    I can do anything, if I want to.

  • My gym has the calipers and this other deal (not sure what it is called) that you enter in info and then you hold it.  It scans your body and give you a number.  I have often wondered how accurate this is.  I do hate people pinching me in all those lovely spots.  Is there a way of doing this at home?


  • LDPower: Buy yourself some calipers. Here in Canada they were $8.00.

    The hand held BF measurerererers (he he) send a signal through your upper half only. As do the ones you stand on - only the lower half of body.

    I am lower body heavy so my numbers off both those devices vary alot. Calipers are kinda cool and cheap. The bodpod is supposed to be very accurate if you can find a place that has them. Just google "bodpod".

  • An interesting fact here.  Last year I had my body fat tested (the underwater method) which is supposed to be the most accurate.  I came in at 18.5%.  I went to the gym that same week and had them do my BF measurements with the handheld, as well as the calipers.  The calipers had me over 20%, whereas the handheld had me exactly the same as the underwater testing.  I didn't expect that accuracy from that.  Also, they punch in your age, which always scews the results.  I had them put in my regular age (41 at the time).  I then had them put in all the exact info, but make me 35 instead.  It changed the reading by nearly 2%.  

    "The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday!"

  • BDMom: that is interesting. So is your BF distributed evenly over your body do you figure? Now Im curious. Maybe that is why the hand held is same as underwater? I have no clue, just curious. We all have different body types and I just assumed readings would vary with everyone. Hmmm.

  • I have the scale that you stand on. It seems to read around 4% or so higher than the calipers for me. I don't care at this point what the number is as long as I see it going down. As I get closer, I may go and have a professional take my reading just to see an accurate number.

  • Legs:  My beginning pictures are on my profile (minus my head, until I feel more comfortable putting my body with my face on here - ha).  I think my weight is pretty evenly distributed.  You can take a look and make that call though.  I was surprised as well; I never thought they were that accurate.  

    "The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday!"

  • These are a impedance device, my husband hates these with a passion as they are so susceptible  to body fluid levels and are completely inaccurate if your more muscular than average. Callipers are best and cheap  accu measure are very good but beware of cheap makes.  

  • I can't believe a gym would charge you $100 to get a bf analysis!  I am a trainer and offer this service for alot less.  You definately want someone to do the calipers for you.  It's impossible to do yourself and be accurate.  Also, I agree the hand held devices are very inaccurate.  My handheld said my bf was 10% lower than my caliper assesment!  Try a Fitness 19 gym.  They will often give you a complimentary orientation with a personal trainer when you sign up at their gym.  Ask them to give you a bf analysis with the calipers.

  • This thread has been an education as I am trying to accurately measure my BF now before I begin my first challenge. Have any of you found a decent read from a scale & if so, which one?


  • I just had my body fat tested using a Hyrdrostatic method.  They weigh your body weight in water, using water density, temp yada yada yada and they come up with your percentage.  Fat weighs less than muscle so you weigh less.  I had a measurement of 28%.

    They then measured it using an impedance method - a small electrical current travels from one hand to the other and through this machine.  It measures the resistance between the two.  I guess fat has a different resistance than muscle.  This one measured at 27% body fat and a BMI of 30.1

    They then used calipers and did the skin fold test on my chest, 1 inch away from the nipple.  Then 1 inch away from the belly button, then half way between the knee and the hip.  This was done three times and they came up with 19%.   I am going with the two top methods as they are typically more accurate.  I am sure it has something to do with the person doing it.

    good luck.


  • They also have scales that you step on bare foot, and hold a sensor in your hands....I would assue that would be more acurate than just the hand one.

    Today's Mighty Oak is yesterdays Nut that held its Ground!

  • I would think that the hydro method and the scale/handheld method read the total fat in your body. We have fat stores around our organs for protection correct? This alone would make the numbers higher than calipers. The calipers only measure the fat under the skin. Regardless of what method you use, it is just a number and as long as it is getting lower you should know you are making changes. I think the mirror method is the one that counts for me. I do have scales with BF measurement though and have seen th numbers go down slightly so I am on the right track hopefully.