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Old 11-15-03, 03:15 AM   #1
oxologic
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Body Fat

I'm a pretty skinny fellow, but I tried the body fat scale yesterday, it told me off at 19.3%, that is like one fifth of my body weight is fats!! Arghh, haha, I was like slightly disappointed, thinking it might be in the low 10%. My diet is usually low fat, but lots of carbohydrates. I just eat a lot, but still I do not understand why is the body fat level quite high. I eat when I'm hungry, is it the right way to do it? I exercise pretty much too. Could it be the body fat scale at the wrong settings, it was using the standard male settings, should I be using the athlete's setting since I'm pretty active?
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Old 11-15-03, 04:07 AM   #2
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Those scales are a fantastic tool for plotting progess and change over time but absolute readings are meaningless.

The only way to get a true bodyfat number is to got to a lab and get a submersion test done.

Also, bodyfat percentages are basically ratios of fat to muscle (the two main variables in the body, plus water). A skinny person will always have a higher body fat ratio due to the lack of muscle. It's not the greatest way to compare yourself to others.
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Old 11-15-03, 08:26 AM   #3
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If you do not have the money for a submersion test, calipers are the next best. The scales youe stand on or the ones you see chiropractors using some times at gyms can have huge variances in readings.

The amount of caffeen or alchohol you have had, when you last ate, before/after exercise and for women, is it that time of month. There are strict guide lines that need to be followed and it usually begins 4 days or more before you take your readings.

Go out and get a 30 or 40 $ caliper set. Will work better then your scale.

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Old 11-15-03, 05:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dirtbikedude
If you do not have the money for a submersion test, calipers are the next best. The scales youe stand on or the ones you see chiropractors using some times at gyms can have huge variances in readings.

The amount of caffeen or alchohol you have had, when you last ate, before/after exercise and for women, is it that time of month. There are strict guide lines that need to be followed and it usually begins 4 days or more before you take your readings.

Go out and get a 30 or 40 $ caliper set. Will work better then your scale.

If you are going to go with the caliper route, get someone that is experienced with them to do it. Becoming proficient and reliable with calipers takes years. It is all about 'feel', which is one of those things you just can't teach.
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Old 11-16-03, 04:24 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by oxologic
I'm a pretty skinny fellow, but I tried the body fat scale yesterday, it told me off at 19.3%, that is like one fifth of my body weight is fats!! Arghh, haha, I was like slightly disappointed, thinking it might be in the low 10%. My diet is usually low fat, but lots of carbohydrates. I just eat a lot, but still I do not understand why is the body fat level quite high. I eat when I'm hungry, is it the right way to do it? I exercise pretty much too. Could it be the body fat scale at the wrong settings, it was using the standard male settings, should I be using the athlete's setting since I'm pretty active?

Well, I think by "skinny" you are talking about "slight". Some people are tall with a rather narrow build and are called "skinny". I never ever look "skinny". I knew a guy who was 6'2" and he looked much thinner then I do, but his percent body fat was much higher then mine.

There are ways to estimate percent body fat. The scales you used would have used the electrical impedence method. Other methods are calipers and immersion. All of the methods have margins of error. The only direct measure I know of is to grind up the person and skim off the fat from the resulting liquid. But most people are not interested enough in an accurate number to want to use that technique.
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Old 11-16-03, 08:40 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Pat
Well, I think by "skinny" you are talking about "slight". Some people are tall with a rather narrow build and are called "skinny". I never ever look "skinny". I knew a guy who was 6'2" and he looked much thinner then I do, but his percent body fat was much higher then mine.

There are ways to estimate percent body fat. The scales you used would have used the electrical impedence method. Other methods are calipers and immersion. All of the methods have margins of error. The only direct measure I know of is to grind up the person and skim off the fat from the resulting liquid. But most people are not interested enough in an accurate number to want to use that technique.
Potatoe Potaaaato (you get the drift).

With a full submersion test, you can now add in MRI and ultrasounds to estimate water % (checkinig off against specifiic gravities etc) and get very accurate results. The other methods aren't in the same league.
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Old 11-16-03, 02:17 PM   #7
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Very true, Croak, but unless they find a university study with an MRI and ultrasound machines, it's about as likely a method to use as Pat's method he described.

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Old 11-16-03, 08:11 PM   #8
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Very true, Croak, but unless they find a university study with an MRI and ultrasound machines, it's about as likely a method to use as Pat's method he described.

Koff
They all do it, most for free. Take part in a study and they may even pay you!
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Old 11-16-03, 09:00 PM   #9
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Yes, I know. What I meant was if someone were to go to a performance lab or a hospital for testing.

Everyone knows the universities are free- I did a performance test at a university and got a 30 page write up on everything from bodyfat measured in about 5 different manners, besides a VO2 max test, a lactate threshold test, a max hr test, and some other medical tests they do for athletes.

What I meant by saying it's unlikely to use the tests you perscribed is that a normal person couldn't possibly afford to pay for the tests you suggested unless they participated in a university study, where they would get the tests for free or get paid (in some rare cases).

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Old 11-16-03, 09:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by oxologic
I'm a pretty skinny fellow, but I tried the body fat scale yesterday, it told me off at 19.3%, that is like one fifth of my body weight is fats!! Arghh, haha, I was like slightly disappointed, thinking it might be in the low 10%. My diet is usually low fat, but lots of carbohydrates. I just eat a lot, but still I do not understand why is the body fat level quite high. I eat when I'm hungry, is it the right way to do it? I exercise pretty much too. Could it be the body fat scale at the wrong settings, it was using the standard male settings, should I be using the athlete's setting since I'm pretty active?
Just wondering, Oxologic- do you drink a lot of water? Despite that you think you're a skinny guy, are you skinny and wirey (lean muscular) or just straight up skin and bones (for lack of a better description )?

The reason why I ask is because those scales are sometimes waaaaaay off if you retain more water than normal (do you eat a lot of salty foods, btw and find you retain water or do you just drink a lot of water?). If you have a lot of muscle, the electrical current will run a little slower than normal too, and those two factors can sometimes lead to higher readings.

Better to have someone at your local gym do a bodyfat caliper analysis. The more sites they pinch from, the better the accuracy, although if they don't know what they're doing, I guess it won't matter if you have a caliper assessment anyway. If you do go to the gym, find out which certification your trainer is certified under, how long they've been training for, how long they've been doing caliper measurements, and how many sites they pinch you at. If they answer positively (as in, they've been doing it for a while and are certified by a legitimate personal training organization, and they take from at least 5 sites) I say go for it!

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Old 11-17-03, 05:00 AM   #11
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I guess I drank quite a bit of fluids, I took the accelerade and after that lots of plain water. I wouldn't say all bones, quite a bit of muscle, definition is clear enough at the calves, other than that, there are flats around, definition is clear at the abs too I guess. Some fats in my inner thighs, but it shouldn't weigh too much ...

Hah, I'm just waiting to get a gym membership ... but pinch?? Does it hurt? haha, I'm serious, does it hurt?
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