Body fat - What is the easiest way to measure it?

People usually measure their weight loss progress through body weight - which in my personal view is not the best method of tracking your weight loss. If you gain muscle and lose fat at the very same time, you will either gain weight (overall) or you will not see a major change in your weight...whereas you will have made improvements to your body composition.

You should always track your weight loss through body fat measurements, as they are a lot more accurate and give you a clearer picture. There are a number of methods to calculate your body fat percentage including the skinfold method, Bioelectric body fat analyzers and height and circumference method.

There is a lot on the internet talking about what the best method is, what you should buy to get most accurate results and why all other methods are point less. I'm not going to do that. Firstly, I'll just tell you that all methods work. You don't need a 10 decimal place accuracy to track your progress, you need estimates. All the methods will give you an estimate, one way or the other, so if you have a bioelectric calculator, then stick to it. Don't throw it away just because someone said that the skinfold or pinch method is more accurate.

I recommend all my clients to use any method, as long as you are actually tracking their body fat and not weight. If someone does not want to invest any money they, they just use my inch tape. The guys measure their waist once a week to see of there have been any change and the women track their hips and/or thighs. I agree that this is not going to be as accurate as the very well researched methods but it works pretty well. Guys always lose the maximum fat from the belly and girls always lose the maximum amount from the hips and thighs. You need to make it easy for yourself. You do not have to invest in any thing to get fit and even track your progress.

Hope this helps guys. I'll start posting more frequently, so stay tuned :)

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john - from fat to fit said...

That's all I'm measuring too and I also think it's enough. Yes you could measure every single limb and get a more complete picture but why take the time if one measurement can tell the story?

Usman Pasha Siddiqui said...


Benjamin Teal said...

Usman, I absolutely agree. Most people, men and women, when saying they want to "lose weight," actually mean they want to take up less space.

What they don't realize is that if they lose weight from muscle faster than weight from fat, their metabolism slows, making it more difficult to reach their goals.

From a practical stand point, I agree on the calipers, you are really just looking for directional guidance. I usually recommend the calipers, or the US Naval estimate method, which uses waist and neck circumference with height for men, and adds waist circumference for women.

It seems to give a good estimate for me, plus I like to know where my waist size is, to it is killing two birds with one stone!

MuscleMonsters said...

Very good points. How accurate is that machine that measures body fat? Most people want to lose weight but dont realize that if they build muscle mass they may actually weigh more but look much better.

awundrin said...

Hi Usman-
Nice site. I have a site that I want to see if you will do a link exchange/blogroll with me on.
It is:
Title: Muscle Building Tips Guide

If you agree, you can just go ahead and put my link on your site, then email me your details and I will do the same for you right away.
Thanks mate-

Dieting and Children’s Health - SmartHealthShop said...

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