Ways to Measure the Subcutaneous Body Fat

2. 2. 2018

Home methods

1. Measurement with calipers

This is a relatively simple way to relatively and accurately determine the amount of body fat. To measure, use special tongs. This measures then the skins thickness. The measurement is performed on several locations on the body - on the rear shoulder, on the front arm, on the shoulder blade, on the waist. The resulting values are then added together and on their basis it is possible to identify the appropriate table % body fat.

Undoubtedly the price. For less than 10 euros - you get a very accurate tool for measuring body fat. Another advantage is being accurate. Measuring calipers cannot be "fooled" (if you would not try to fool it by yourselves) as a device based on a measurement of the resistance of the body. Measuring calipers is a time-tested that is commonly used by fitness trainers and doctors.

Not so convenient. To obtain the most accurate results you need to make measurements, for example, even in the back at the shoulder and to do this, you need somebody's help. If you are happy with less specific figures, you are able to take measurements yourself.


2. Smart weighing machines

The smart scale can measure not only your actual weight, but it also calculates your BMI, measures the amount of body fat, amount of muscles, bones and fat tissues, as you have water in your body, it also calculates recommended daily calorie intake and other datas.

It is convenient and fast. You do not have to count anything for you tp procure weight.

When it comes to buy your own- the smart scales are always expensive. If it is necessary to repeat such measurement several times a month and you visit a certain place where the smart scale is -it ain't any cheaper. So the device is expensive, often less accurate. Measurements based on the resistance of the body are not the best.

When drinking half a liter of water, eating, or when being slightly out of breath - the resistance can change easily. The results are often very different. 

How accurate and reliable is the Tanita scale?
It should be clear that there is only a 100% accurate method of calculating body compositions, and it is an autopsy.
Research at several major universities has confirmed that in clinical settings comes  Tanita Body Fat Monitor up to maximum of +/- 5 percents of the institutional standard analysis. Tanita reassures that its method is the most convenient and accessible to predict body composition.



If you are an adult who has about 10 hours of intense physical activity per week and have a resting heart rate of approximately 60 beats per minute or less, you probably need to use it when measuring the so called "Athletic mode".

Smart scales (such as InBody / Tanita ...) use a mathematical formula to determine body fat based on the following variables: height, weight, gender, age and resistance. "Athletic mode" uses a mathematical formula, which is different than an "Adult mode". Athletic mode was designed after studying the individuals who meet the above criteria.

Professional athletes and bodybuilders should take note that the models were not designed with the regime meant for them, there is a high probability of getting a higher result of body fat. Despite this fact, many elite athletes use Tanita or InBody or other scales to successfully monitor ther progress of fat loss.


Accurate or specialized measurement

1. Measurement by bioelectrical impedance

This method of measurement exploits the fact that the electric current circulates in different body tissues differently (bone, muscle or adipose tissue raises different resistance). This is called BIA or bioelectrical impedance. Physical examination therefore involves attaching several electrodes which emits a low current of frequency and intensity into your body. The physical examination is absolutely painless, you may feel a little tingle.

The test is relatively simple and inexpensive. The disadvantage is that the result is greatly influenced by the amount of water contained in the body.


2. Hydrostatic underwater weighing- hydrodensitometry test

It is an underwater measurement (hydrodensitometry). The body is being weighted under water using dual X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) or computed tomography (CT) or nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). This measurement is very accurate, but at the same time very little available. These  scales are operated in specialized workplaces and its expensive.


3. Bodymetrix

BodyMetrix uses ultrasound technology. When ultrasound penetrates the tissues on the borders of different tissues it leads to reflection of the ultrasound. For example, the strong ultrasonic reflection occurs on the border between fat and muscle, and the bone. The ultrasound system allows BodyMetrix to detect the actual thickness of adipose tissue at each measurement point. Making multiple measurements at multiple points of the body can determine the exact percentage of body fat. Ultrasound measurements do not affect the health and are not affected by hydration, levels of performance or caffeine intake, because the results are permanent.

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