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Thoughts on electronic body fat caliper from performance?(3 posts)

Thoughts on electronic body fat caliper from performance?shawndoggy
Jan 21, 2003 11:55 AM
I received one of these as a birthday present over the weekend. Boy doesn't that show I'm a geek... a blinkie light, tour videos and a body fat caliper ... certainly not the all american 32 year old's version of a killer birthday haul!

But I digress. Anyway I'd like some thoughts about the accuracy of this caliper and maybe some guidance on getting accurate results. I've been using a Tanita scale for the past 3 years (the cheap one without the athlete setting). I was very pleasantly surprised to see my measured body fat decrease from 15% on the Tanita to 8% using the calipers. I'm a little sceptical of the calipers' reading though, as I can still "pinch an inch" right on my gut (or I've just been scarred by the 70's add campaign for special K).

So anyhow... does anyone have any opinions on the accuracy of these things? Any thoughts on how to make sure I'm actually using it appropriately?

Thanks mucho,

Shawn
re: Thoughts on electronic body fat caliper from performance?jjdbike
Jan 21, 2003 5:35 PM
In my humble opinion, I would say that the calipers are much more accurate than the scale. As far as I know, the major sources of tester error for calipers are 1. not applying the proper tension on the pinch 2. not pinching the right spot 3. not pinching properly (i.e. not lifting the skin and/or holding the pinch too long before measurement is taken. I believe that #1. is takent care of for you with the electronic calipers isn't it? I would just pinch firmly, lift , and take your reading immediately. I also like taking the measurment 3 times and averageing them. If one of the measurements are off, then disreguard and repeat.
You have to allow for some error, but use it as a point of refferance.
About pinching an inch, you are probably reffering to one location (e.g. belly). The % is for your whold body (actually an estimated based upon norms)not just that one spot. I am a 37 yr old male and I carry most of my fat in my belly, even if I am very lean, I can pinch an inch.
8% is a great body composition.
Hope that was some help.
JD
Operator training requiredKerry Irons
Jan 21, 2003 8:43 PM
From what I'm told, it takes some training to operate calipers properly, and you should take measurements from several places on the body and then plug that into a formula to get the accurate numbers. I wouldn't believe that 8% number unless I had some visual support - can you see every muscle in your legs/arms/etc? Likewise the body fat scale is only good to give you trends, not an absolute number. I'd suggest you get to a nutritionist or sports center and get a good body fat number from them - then you can use that number as a calibration on your home tools.