Training & Nutrition - Body Fat Weight Scales
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anybody have any experience with the tanita body fat weight scales? i'm thinking of springing for one to get a more accurate idea of my body fat while i'm trying to lose fat this winter and upcoming spring. do they really work? is it just a sham? if i'm wet from the shower and step on it, will it electrocute me? or are they actually a good training aide to help lose fat? inquiring minds want to know
now i find out there's a model that measures visceral fat. i thought the fat deep in your body was good fat; my understanding was that it provides padding and protection for the organs. guess i was wrong:
March 31, 2003 (Chicago) -- Though extra fat often gathers just under the skin, it's the deeper, underlying fat that is most likely to increase the risk for heart attack, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore.
There are two different types of fat, says Kerry J. Stewart, EdD, professor of clinical exercise physiology at Johns Hopkins. "The fat that is just below the skin is called cutaneous fat, but the really worrisome fat is visceral fat. This is the fat that is found in the [abdomen] and surrounding vital organs."
so should i get a body fat weight scale that measures this stuff? and how in hEll would a machine know the difference? more and more, i'm thinking this thing is a marketing gimmick
The current is extremely weak, so there's no risk involved, unless you have some kind of medical condition, like if you have a pacemaker or something.
You can't actually feel anything during the measurement process.
They're not that good for absolute fat percentages, but they will help you show trends very well. If you start out with a measured 28% fat and you end a weight loss episode at 18%, you'll most likely have dropped approximately 10 percentage points of body fat. But there's no way of knowing, based on these numbers alone, that you're actually at 18% body fat. It could just as well be 15 or 22.
So, the best option is probably to have someone measure your body fat % accurately (caliper test by an experienced tester, various density measuring devices and so on) and then see what you body fat scale tells you. If the scale says 25% and the accurate measurement says 28%, then you could just add 12% to the scale's results. Multiply by 1.12, that is.
12-02-05, 12:33 PM
The Tanita scale is a great training tool. It gives you an idea . . . pretty accurate, but most importantly you have a relative number to measure your progress.
Mine is just body fat%, but Tanita now has scales to measure water weight as well as those that consider the higher muscle mass of an athlete.
If you're wet, you won't be electrocuted when you stand on it, but it may not register. I have found it more helpful than the regular scale. When I was actively losing weight, the number wouldn't budge, but I could watch the fat% continue to go down. Also, measure the same time each day . . .big differences between morning and evening. The instruction book suggests something like 5-6pm as the ideal time to weigh, but it works better for me to measure first thing.
Also, measure the same time each day
This is the most important point. My suggestion would be to weigh yourself right after you get up (void your bladder first) in the morning. This should give you consistent measurements to compare on a relative level. Again, on an absolute level, these scales are not necessarily correct.
They don't work as well for athlete's with above avg muscle mass. I'm 6' 5" and used to be a gym rat. It showed as high as 23% bf when 15% would be more accurate. Now that I've started riding religeously I've dropped roughly 30 lbs (combo of riding and no heavy lifting) and my bf is aprox 12%. I'm guessing this is more accurate as I mentioned the monitor sensors are confused by big muscles. If I remember right is says something to that effect in the manuel or the web-site.
These scales tend to be sensitive to your level of hydration and the fat measurement will vary during the day. The scale will typically measure the highest fat % in the morning when you wake up and is probably the most inaccurate time to measure. Nonetheless, if you get one, I recommend you take fat % measurements at the same time each day under similar conditions. Don't come home after doing a century, hop on the scale and expect an accurate reading!
As was already mentioned, these scales are best used to track changes in fat % over time, not absolute fat %. Be aware that daily measurements will have significant variation so don't freak out the day after you get the scale.
12-21-05, 03:31 AM
The only really accurate way to measure body-fat% is the dunk test. The pinchers and scales will be fine to gauge relative changes over time though. Personally, I only weigh myself once a week at the same time. Due to the periodization of training with varying mileage each day, my weight will fluctuate +/-5 lbs over the course of a week. So I weigh myself only on Tuesday mornings after a rest/recovery-day on Monday, which gives me a good baseline weight for the week.
Actually Water testing or testing in a Hydrostatic Water Tank is the most acurate method especially above 30% body fat. Calipers can be inacurate above this figure but are considered more acurate below 10% body fat when compared with the Dunk tank. Generally the lower your bf% goes the less acurate Water testing becomes. When using calipers it's important to have the same person perform the test same day, same time, week after week for the most accuracy.
Calipers will most definitely be inaccurate above around 30% BF. It becomes obvious if you use the formula that is usually used with them. If I remember correctly, it peaks at 31-32%, and goes DOWN above that!
12-21-05, 03:39 PM
And when using calipers, you also have to consider the person's race as well. Being Asian, I have thicker skin and they have to look up a different chart for me. :)
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