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Old 03-03-10, 09:43 PM   #1
Chris R.
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Tanita body fat scale and settings...help.

So I bought a BF scale last week and have been using it for the last couple of days with very different results depending on how i set it up.
At first I set it up for me in "athlete" mode since I ride and race road bikes. In that setting it says I have 13% body fat and a larger % water and more bone mass. In setting "3" which is a highly active person, I have 20% (!!) body fat and lower % water and bone mass.
I'm 5'10" and 172lbs in winter mode. I do about 6 hours of training per week....
What setting is more"accurate"?
Anyone have a scale like this and have any advice?
Thanks
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Old 03-03-10, 09:47 PM   #2
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Athlete mode assumes you are in great shape and have lots of muscle mass therefore lower % of fat. Highly active mode assumes that you are good shape and active but not necessarily muscular.

I have never met you so I can't tell you which is correct.

The best way to find out for sure is to use a set of BF calipers and get a accurate reading then use the setting on your scale that matches.
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Old 03-03-10, 09:54 PM   #3
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Agree w/Karl - but the way I use it is just pick one and use it to detect changes, rather than relying on the absolute number.
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Old 03-03-10, 10:26 PM   #4
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Neither is accurate, those scales are BS
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Old 03-04-10, 12:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by umd View Post
Neither is accurate, those scales are BS
Exactly. With these devices, it is very difficult to accurately estimate body fat % because distributions do vary quite a bit; without a sex selector, they are useless because they have no way to differentiate between android and gynoid fat distributions. Even then, they are guesses. The typical skinfold assessment is comprised of about 7 sites for a reason.

Impedance devices are highly skewed by hydration status, as well.

reminds me of the time I had a free "health assessment" as part of a new gym membership. The impedance device told me I had 3% body fat. Uh huh. Tell that to the DXA that just told me 8%.

Last edited by tadawdy; 03-04-10 at 01:02 AM.
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Old 03-04-10, 01:01 AM   #6
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I have one of those Tanita scales too. It's about 4% low in athlete mode compared to a recent skin fold test. So I always mentally add 4% to the reading. And as tadawdy says, it's pretty easily skewed by hydration. The best thing to do is use it to keep an eye on trends. As you get fitter, the number will go down. And that's about all it's good for.
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Old 03-04-10, 01:25 AM   #7
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They are as useful or as useless as a scale. Body wt and body fat % means nothing other than a way to measure change or progress. It doesn't matter what you use as long as you use the same method every time. They are no more or less accurate than any other method. The only change that matters is in a mirror. Don't get hung up on body wt of fat percentages. I usually tell people to toss all scales in the garbage. It is useless information and usually only depresses people & destroys there motivation. I have one and haven't set foot on it in years. Make sure your feet are clean if your going to use it though.

Here is a scale for you if your a male. If you can see your abs your around 11%, If you have deep cut in your abs & clear separation your around 7%. If your skin is transparent your around 4% and kicking the crap out of you immune system. If your percentages are higher than 11% it doesn't matter. These numbers only mater to ego & gym bragging rights
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Old 03-04-10, 04:28 AM   #8
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I have one of those Taylor BF and Water % scales and as far as I can tell it's pretty inaccurate. I'm beginning to think that the only useable measurement is waist measurement.
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Old 03-06-10, 08:42 PM   #9
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I have a tanita and don't really care if it's accurate. I'm only interested in trends. In my case, I got a little frustrated with the erratic readings and so tracked weight and BF% for several weeks in Excel. For me, I need about a 2% change in BF% to assume it's statistically significant.
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