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Body fat scale question(5 posts)

Body fat scale questionBikinCO
Sep 27, 2001 3:58 PM
After many years of trusted and valued use my bathroom floor scales have finally bitten the dust.

So my question is does anyone have any experience with the body fat scales that look like floor scales. Are they worth the money or should I just get a set of calipers?

Here are the two that I am thinking about buying.

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/Profile.html?SKU=5143
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/Profile.html?SKU=6204
I use a Tanita 612 - mixed feelings about it.Humma Hah
Sep 27, 2001 4:36 PM
I bought a Tanita 612 about a year and a half ago. In that time, I'll say that I've found I can get meaningful readings from it, but it takes consistency. I've been on a weight loss program since January, and the bodyfat is tracking weight loss, indicating that my heavy riding schedule has maintained muscle and all the weight lost is bodyfat.

The reading is not absolutely accurate. If it says 20%, it could really be 15% or 25% (but probably is closer). However, it can track changes. Get a better test done (I had a hydrostatic test done at my gym). With a good starting value to compare the scale to, you can then track changes. My hydrostatic test gave a reading 1% above my scale, which I consider excellent.

Changes in hydration throw the scale off. Maybe WAY off. You must measure at the same time (typically late afternoon), well hydrated, preferably before dinner, bladder drained.

Big rides confuse the scale for days afterwards. After a century, you may get huge swings in the readings. I typically drop a couple % in readings immediately after a big ride, then shoot up, and finally settle down.

Leg muscle improvement have a disproportionately large effect at improving the readings. Chest muscle development may show up as body fat (muscle high on the body does not read reliably on a leg-to-leg resistance measurement).

Overall, I like mine OK, tho' I had my doubts for a while. Calipers, used correctly and consistently, are probably about as good. Calipers used by a trainer at they gym probably come with a sales pitch for a program or suppliments, which is why I opted for the scale, instead.
I use a Tanita 612 - mixed feelings about it.peloton
Sep 28, 2001 6:47 PM
I agree with HH. I have the same Tanita 622, and it works well enough to get an idea of trends in body composition. I haven't had a hydrostatic test recently, but I find the Tanita's readings to be about the same as what I get with calipers. Both fluctuate some, and have a range of error. If you were going to buy a new scale, I would say spring the little extra for one with body composition like the Tanita. One thing I would add though is if you have a low heart rate, or more muscle than the average person due to an athletic background, spring for one with the athlete mode. Extra muscle, especially upper body bulk (like HH said) can influence readings, as well as a low heart rate can. The athlete mode will be a little more accurate as a result if this sounds like you.

Humma hah- An interesting note. I get higher than average readings after an intense workout, even when I know I am hydrated. The readings are lower for me on days I do nothing at all. I'm going to read up a little, it's odd we get opposite results.
re: Body fat scale questionjs5280
Sep 28, 2001 8:29 AM
I have the Tanita 622 and have been pleased with it. The results I feel are pretty consistent for both weight and %body fat. That's not to say it's accurate, I haven't had any other type of body fat measurement to validate it's results. I typically do measurements in the morning and afternoon when I return from work. The morning returns higher %body fat (usually 2-3%) because your less hydrated than the afternoon. Since the measurements seem to be fairly consistent, I think it's still a good measure of relative weight and fat loss. Probably the most important thing though is it is a motivating factor, just like a new bike. If it motivates you to get out and excercise, then it's a worthly investment. They aren't that expensive, especially if you need a need scale anyways, the cost for a digital scale plus nice set of calipers is going to be just as much I would think. I haven't seen them on sale ever, however, sometimes you'll find them on Ebay for a little less. Have fun!
re: Body fat scale questioncioccman
Sep 28, 2001 8:59 AM
I don't have one but I'm planning on getting one as well. I use calipers from a friend. Those readings vary widely too. Any of these things will require lots of measurements and the best way is to take the average of them all. That is my opinion. I don't have the means to get a hydrostatic. They're so cheap, what the heck.