Sunday, January 16, 2011

How To Measure Your Body Fat At Home

"You cannot manage what you cannot measure.
With more than 23 days on Tim Ferriss' Slow-Carb Diet, I can safely say that measuring my body fat helped show progress when the scale did not. As a result, readers have asked me about the calipers I use. In this post, I will share my tool with you and explain how to use it.

The Tools
It was during my Body-For-Life days that I first heard about measuring body fat at home. Based upon my limited knowledge, I assumed the only way to measure body fat was using an under water test (also known as hydrostatic underwater weighing). In 1998, one study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, revealed that Accu-Measure reported accurate body fat percentages in college aged Caucasian males and females. This meant there were other ways to calculate my body fat percentage.

Accu-Measure Body Fat Calipers
For less than $6, I was able to get my hands on the Accu-Measure Body Fat Calipers, which came with instructions and the body fat interpretation chart. As of this post, you can purchase the entire set from Amazon for $5.48. Click here to purchase.

How To Measure Your Body Fat

Step 1: The site you will use for skinfold measurement is the suprailliac (approximately one inch above the right hipbone, see picture above).

Step 2: While standing, firmly pinch the suprailliac skinfold between your left thumb and forefinger, see picture above. Place the jaws of Accu-Measure over the skinfold, while continuing to hold the skinfold with the left hand.

Step 3: Press with the thumb where indicated on the Accu-Measure until you feel a slight click. The slide member will automatically stop at the correct measurement. After reading your measurement, return the slide member to the far right starting position. Repeat three times and use the average as your measurement. Refer to the body fat interpretation chart to determine your body fat percentage and what it means.

Final Thoughts
I am very satisfied with the Accu-Measure body fat calipers and use them regularly. When combined with the tape measure, which is not included, and scale, users receive a clear status report on their weight loss effort. At this point, decisions are based on facts, not feelings alone.

Remember, for the first 2 weeks of my slow-carb diet test, I actually gained weight. Had I measured my progress based entirely on the scale, I would have been discouraged. Instead, I found that the tape measure and body fat calipers told a different story.

I encourage you to take a look at the Accu-Measure 2000 and let me know your thoughts. How did it work for you? Do you have any questions? Let's discuss in the comment section below.

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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