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Body fat scales

Old 06-05-24, 06:37 AM
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Body fat scales

I'm 78 and about 5'9" and 188 lbs. I did a little searching and bought a decent scale that measures body fat. Today my body fat was 16.1%. I thought that was really good. But, then I saw that these scales measure your body fat only below your waist/hip area. Is that true? Do I need a DEXA scan to get a full body reading?
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Old 06-05-24, 08:08 AM
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Any body fat measurement is going to be a rough estimate. Body fat scales (that you step on) and body fat measurement devices that you hold in your hands measure body fat by putting a small electric current through your body and measuring the resistance. The resistance of fat is different from that of lean tissue, so a calculation can be made regarding the percentage of one to the other. This, along with your weight, height, age, and other factors that you are asked for during setup, are used to come up with an approximation of your body fat. While the exact percentage is a rough estimate, if you use the same scale consistently, you can track changes in your body fat composition over time somewhat accurately.
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Old 06-05-24, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19
I'm 78 and about 5'9" and 188 lbs. I did a little searching and bought a decent scale that measures body fat. Today my body fat was 16.1%. I thought that was really good. But, then I saw that these scales measure your body fat only below your waist/hip area. Is that true? Do I need a DEXA scan to get a full body reading?
That's pretty much correct, since the gizmo can only measure the impedance between your two feet and the majority of that current will flow via the shortest pathways. However, on the assumption that a change in body composition will be reflected throughout the body (e.g. on your ass), you can use your scale's readout over time as a relative measure. If you want an accurate absolute number, yes, you need a DEXA or an MRI. However, if you're anywhere near 16% you've got nothing at all to worry about in that department.

Also, be aware that exercise and hydration status cause pretty significant shifts in impedance.
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Old 06-05-24, 09:31 AM
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Just post a picture and we will tell you if you are fat or not. Mo Alpha answered the question though.
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Old 06-05-24, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha
That's pretty much correct, since the gizmo can only measure the impedance between your two feet and the majority of that current will flow via the shortest pathways. However, on the assumption that a change in body composition will be reflected throughout the body (e.g. on your ass), you can use your scale's readout over time as a relative measure. If you want an accurate absolute number, yes, you need a DEXA or an MRI. However, if you're anywhere near 16% you've got nothing at all to worry about in that department.

Also, be aware that exercise and hydration status cause pretty significant shifts in impedance.
Thanks. My weight & body fat is done at the same time of the day, every day. Usually around 6 AM before eating, exercise or coffee. What I am concerned about is visceral fat. I've heard you can look thin (I don't) and still have visceral fat. I'm not obsessive about this stuff but I love the science of it. Should have studied Science instead of a BA in Pol. Sci.
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Old 06-05-24, 10:09 AM
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Age 75. I use the In Body at my gym that measures impedance via feet and hands. It provides a full report including visceral fat. My BF was 8.2% by the device and low visceral fat. The test was in the middle of the day after lunch. My weight was up and is tracking 160 pounds in the morning.

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Old 06-05-24, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19
Thanks. My weight & body fat is done at the same time of the day, every day. Usually around 6 AM before eating, exercise or coffee. What I am concerned about is visceral fat. I've heard you can look thin (I don't) and still have visceral fat. I'm not obsessive about this stuff but I love the science of it. Should have studied Science instead of a BA in Pol. Sci.
I have heard that too, but the gold standard for distinguishing visceral from subcutaneous fat is imaging with MRI or CT. Bioelectrical impedance seems to be able to do an okay job, but only under rigorously controlled (laboratory, not the gym) conditions. As far as I know, DEXA models all fat as one "compartment," so it's not useful for that purpose.
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Old 06-05-24, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark
Just post a picture and we will tell you if you are fat or not. Mo Alpha answered the question though.
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Old 06-05-24, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19
You want a Hot or Not rating?
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Old 06-05-24, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha
You want a Hot or Not rating?
No. Dear God, no.
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Old 06-05-24, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19
No. Dear God, no.
The bike; I meant the bike!
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Old 06-05-24, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19
I would say that you are excellent compared to most guys your age I know. That doesn't mean you might not have visceral fat. Just get the proper test and you will stop worrying. I'm the same weight as you but 56 years old and 6'2" tall. I would like to be 10 lbs. lighter.
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Old 06-05-24, 04:15 PM
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I think he can make 546 watts for a least one second.
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Old 06-05-24, 04:34 PM
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Really! I bet with a little sprint training, you could put out a lot more than that. Gotta find just the right steep hill.

I've been using one of those scales for many years. I would say it's almost for sure not "accurate" in its measurements. Mine measures fat, muscle water, and bone. They vary quite a bit depending on what I did yesterday, but over the long term, say a week, it definitely show observable trends, stuff I can see just looking at myself or feeling how my clothes fit. It's good for mental punishment and reward, keeping my from going too far off track and giving me kudos when I do good.
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Old 06-06-24, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermes
I think he can make 546 watts for a least one second.
Yesterday hit 601 watts for at least 5 seconds on a short 15% climb. The tyranny of the power meter has begun.
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Old 06-06-24, 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha
The bike; I meant the bike!
This is the bike. For those that care about such things, it is Ultegra 11 sp mechanical w/ Speedplay Zeros..I outfitted it with an Italian Road Bike mirror, Garmin 830, Garmin Varia, frame mounted mini-pump, small tool bag, one bottle cage and a tiny front blinky light. It weights 19 lbs exactly.

https://www.canyon.com/en-us/road-bi...rahmenfarbe=GY

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Old 06-06-24, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19
Yesterday hit 601 watts for at least 5 seconds on a short 15% climb. The tyranny of the power meter has begun.
Do you pull up hard on the backstroke on hill sprints, like trying lift the back wheel off the ground? If not, try that, but don't have your pedals on the lowest setting.
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Old 06-06-24, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19
I'm 78 and about 5'9" and 188 lbs. I did a little searching and bought a decent scale that measures body fat. Today my body fat was 16.1%. I thought that was really good. But, then I saw that these scales measure your body fat only below your waist/hip area. Is that true?
There is a fancy scale that attempts to measure full-body fat. It has a little handle that you hold in both hands.

I have a simpler scale (no handle) that tells me my body fat is quite low. The absolute number doesn't matter to me -- all I really care about are the changes. And the numbers change very little.

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Old 06-06-24, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19
Yesterday hit 601 watts for at least 5 seconds on a short 15% climb. The tyranny of the power meter has begun.
Nicely done, you have been assimilated.

Training Peaks says my 5-second max is 676W (11.2W/kg). A sprinter I am not. Middling climber suits me fine.
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Old 06-18-24, 07:15 AM
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I have a short route of about 12.5 mi that I do several times a week. I've been concentrating on pedal smoothness and cadence rather than speed. I'm always in the 13-13.2 mph range. Yesterday, I went out and picked up the pace. I did 14 mph and hit 603 watts on a 15% short bump up.
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Old 06-19-24, 05:50 AM
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Ive been tracking my weight and body fat percentage on a digital Fitbit scale since 2014 and while I dont take much notice of the absolute body fat % reading, I think the trend is reasonably accurate. It certainly goes down when Im fitter and/or focusing on nutrition and up when Im not. FWIW the lowest Ive seen is 15% and the highest 22% over those ten years. My BMI ranges from 22-25 over the same period. Im currently in the middle of that range and reasonably fit.
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Old 06-19-24, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I’ve been tracking my weight and body fat percentage on a digital Fitbit scale since 2014 and while I don’t take much notice of the absolute body fat % reading, I think the trend is reasonably accurate. It certainly goes down when I’m fitter and/or focusing on nutrition and up when I’m not. FWIW the lowest I’ve seen is 15% and the highest 22% over those ten years. My BMI ranges from 22-25 over the same period. I’m currently in the middle of that range and reasonably fit.
Ditto. Mine for example gives vastly different readings depending on whether your profile is set to athlete or not and otherwise just tracks weight itself so the trend seems accurate enough.

Some numbers: [63.35kg, 18.9 BMI, 9.2%], [68.6kg, 20.5 BMI, 11.6%], [69.15kg, 20.6 BMI, 11.9%], [66.15kg, 19.8 BMI, 10.6%].

The numbers all move in the same direction, so I don't know how much value looking at body fat % gives you. Plot weight and % and you get R^2 of 99.8...

I did take pride in achieving under 10% briefly though. But I would not recommend that long term. That year I was basically 65-65.5kg for most of the summer cycling season. Those 2 additional kg were much better, feeling wise and to maintain.
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Old 06-19-24, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Nicely done, you have been assimilated.

Training Peaks says my 5-second max is 676W (11.2W/kg). A sprinter I am not. Middling climber suits me fine.
He will make an excellent drone.
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Old 06-22-24, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo

The numbers all move in the same direction, so I don't know how much value looking at body fat % gives you. Plot weight and % and you get R^2 of 99.8...
I seem to operate within a 10 kg window (75-85kg) where weight change is mainly due to my fat percentage fluctuation, although I do lose a little power at 75 kg. I feel strongest at around 80 kg which I think is my natural weight. Looking in the mirror I tend to think my scales are reasonably accurate for body fat. Im not super-lean or fat, but could lose a couple of kg off my waistline!
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Old 06-22-24, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Really! I bet with a little sprint training, you could put out a lot more than that. Gotta find just the right steep hill.
I have a short HIIT ride with a 15% bump up.Today I did it in the big ring just to see if I could. Hit a max of 670 watts.
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