How to Calculate Body Fat % – Everything You Need To Know…
Want to know how to measure your body fat, but don’t have the time to go to the doctor, buy a pricey scale or spend wads of money on special fat-measuring devices?
After reading this tutorial, you’ll know everything about measuring body fat and some useful tips on how to get that body fat percentage down!
There is absolutely a way you can do this. Formulas created by fitness and science experts can be utilized by you, in the privacy of your home, to measure your body fat. And, all you need is a simple tape measure.
Bear in mind that these are NOT as accurate as, say, a hydrostatic test. They are, however, a good way to get an understanding of your body fat percentage. You can plan on a margin of error of about 3%.
So, I encourage you to keep reading. We will talk about methods you can use to measure body fat using a measuring tape or calipers. We will provide a link to a body fat calculator site also.
I will also talk about ways you can get body fat measured using other methods. Perhaps you DO want to go to a doctor, or you have access to the equipment that helps you measure it. If this sounds like you, don’t worry-we’ve got it all covered.
Before you begin, be sure you have a body measuring tape or body fat calipers. These will be necessary for correct measurements of your body fat percentage.
Part 1: All About Measuring Tape Methods
This is a pretty accurate way of measuring your body fat, all things considered. Suppose a man got 16 percent body fat. He could expect the true measurement to be in the range of 14 to 18%.
If you are REALLY fit, beware. The measurements may not be so accurate. Very fit people might end up with a percentage that is about 3-5% greater than their actual measurements.
Because those who are very in-shape don’t have lots of fat in their muscles, the body fat percentage a very fit person gets from this test could be much lower.
On the other hand, if you have a person who is skinny but not in shape, they might get a number that is about 3-5 % lower than their actual body fat percentage. Skinny, not in shape people have more fat inside muscles, which is not visible to the naked eye.
Still, this method is good because it costs next to nothing, and the joy of testing yourself and seeing progress over time is really great.
Guidelines for Measuring
- Make sure your measuring tape is in good shape-not misshapen or old.
- Make sure you take measurements while you are relaxed.
- Take multiple measurements and average them out. This avoids huge margins of error.
- Take measurements as soon as you wake up, after a good night’s rest.
- Take measurements at the widest point of a specific area for the best results.
Measuring Tape Formulas For Men and Women
These are the formulas you can use with your measuring tape for calculating body fat percentage.
- YMCA Method(1) -You measure your waist.
- Dept. of Defense/ US Navy Method(2) – You measure your waist and your neck
- Covert Bailey(3) – Forearm, waist, wrist, and hips are measured
Part 2: All About Body Fat Caliper Measurements
This is otherwise known as the “skinfold” method. You pinch your fat using fingers, and then measure the thickness using a body caliper. Your reading is delivered in millimeters, and then you compare your measurements by a chart along with your age and gender, at which point you will know your body fat percentage.
There are lots of different caliper tests, and they have their advantages:
- These are dependable
- They are easy to do yourself
- You can repeat them
- Quite accurate.
The caliper, or skinfold, a method is arguably the best at-home way to get your body fat percentage. Plus, calipers are pretty cheap and work well for most.
Guidelines for Calipers
- Keep track of changes with skinfolds measurements instead of calculating them into body fat percentage. Use this to assess your progress.
- Have somebody with experience test you, or at least have the same person do it every time.
- If you MUST test yourself, you are gonna need special calipers. They have to be of the highest quality, so you get accurate results. At this time, Accu-Measure calipers are the go-to option.
- Take the reading quick-within 4 seconds-of using the calipers on your skinfold. If you delay it, the value of the skinfold will be underestimated.
- Do your measurements at the same time each day.
- Do not test right after your workout.
Body Fat Caliper Formulas For Men and Women
- Jackson/Pollock 3 Caliper Method – You measure skinfolds of your chest, abdomen and thigh.
- Jackson/Pollock 4 Caliper Method – You measure suprailiac, tricep, thigh and abdominal skinfolds.
- Jackson/Pollock 7 Caliper Method – You measure thigh, tricep, chest, abdominal, subscapular, suprailiac and midaxillary skinfolds.
- Yuhasz Method – You measure calf, abdominal, subscapular, suprailiac, tricep and thigh skinfolds.
- Parillo Caliper Method – You measure the chest, abdominal, thigh, bicep, tricep, subscapular and suprailiac skinfolds.
- Sloan Method
- Durnin/Womersley Caliper Method – You measure bicep, tricep, suprailiac and subscapular skinfolds.
You might wonder, “What’s the best formula for calculating body fat?”
The fact is, it varies on what suits you best. Most people I’ve encountered say that YMCA and Department of Defence methods are the most accurate.
But, others have said the Jackson/Pollock methods are the best.
It’s best to try out all the formulas if you can, and see what the averages are for each. The online calculators we provided make it easy.
Once you do this and can work out an average number, you will have a good understanding of what your body fat percentage is. But, don’t mix the methods-pick calipers or tape and stick to it.
Part 3: Using Scales To Measure Body Fat
Expensive scales that measure body fat do exist. You can buy them at most major retailers or even online.
The methodology is simple here – just step on the scale, and the work is done for you. You end up with an estimate of your body weight and fat percentage.
Sensors in the scale that are under your feet use bioelectrical impedance to measure this. A small current will go through your leg and span the pelvis. It measures the resistance from body fat.
After this, the sensors measure the level of resistance met by the current while it goes through your opposite leg.
These are not foolproof. After all, your scale can provide you with a rough estimate at best. These scales do not know about your height and weight, your gender, your age (kids should not use these) whether you are pregnant or not, and what kind of training you do.
Part 4: Measuring Body Fat The Professional Way
While many of you clicked on this article because you were looking for an inexpensive way to measure your body fat, it’s still pretty cool to learn about the ways professional athletes go about doing it.
And, some of you may have access to such resources and need to know how to get started. That’s what this portion is devoted to.
Method A: The Bod Pod
Using air displacement analysis, your body fat volume is determined. Then, the numbers are put through an algorithm, and you get the result.
- Must be operated by a trained tech
- Requires about ten minutes of your time
- Has about a 3% error rate
- Very costly
Method B: DEXA Scans
These scans use X-Ray technology to figure out your bone and soft tissue makeup.
- Must be operated by a trained tech
- You can only get 4 of these each year thanks to radiation
- Has about a 2% error rate
Method C: Hydrostatic Testing
The Archimedes Principle states that the buoyant force on an object that is submerged is equal to the weight of the fluid that is displacing the object. Lean tissue has a greater density than water, while fat tissue is less dense.
- Very time consuming
- Not used as much
- About a 2% error rate
How To Burn Fat
Burning fat is one of those things-it’s easier said than done. The basic principles are to eat a healthy diet and work out consistently.
It can be hard at first to form these healthy habits, but over time they will become part of your routine and easy for you to do.
- Get enough sleep. You should be well-rested as a means of preventing weight gain. Lacking in your sleep could change your hunger hormones, increase your appetite and lead to weight gain. Try to get at least 7 hours per night.
- Drink water. Juices and sodas contain lots of sugar that aren’t good for us. Alcohol contains lots of calories and can lead you to poor decisions, like overeating when not hungry. Water and green tea help you feel full, and our bodies sometimes mistake thirst for hunger. Drink a glass of H20 and chances are you will feel fine until your next meal (if not, reach for a healthy snack).
- Cool it on Carbs-Refined carbs like pastries, pasta, cereal, and bread are lacking in fiber and nutrients. They cause your blood sugar to spike, and thus you end up feeling hungry again sooner.
- Stick instead to good grains like quinoa, whole wheat, and oats.
Need a little boost to get unwanted fat off? We will talk about two great supplements, for men and women, that can be used as a way of helping burn off that body fat.
There’s no magic formula, but these supplements can really help!
Fat Burning Supplement For Men:
BlueStar Blade will help get that fat torched.
With a perfect five-star rating, and ingredients we know to be great tools in the process of fat burning, you will be on your way to a shredded body with this, an on-point diet, and a consistent workout routine.
Users noted that their appetites had decreased, their body temps had increased, and their energy was good while using this product. Users reported feeling focused not only at the gym but while doing other tasks.
Best of all, most users found the product to be effective in achieving their fitness goals.
Fat Burning Supplement For Women:
NLR For Her Shred
NLR For Her Shred can be your secret weapon in looking and feeling your best.
The formula touts the ability to aid you in controlling your appetite, burn up unwanted fat, and get that energy level up. This is just for the ladies and is designed to help women look and feel great…
Calculating body fat is not a hard task at all-you just have to understand that margins of error can and will happen. Take a few measurements and average them out, and you will soon have an idea of what your percentage is.
Keep working hard and see you at the next workout!