Measuring Your Body Fat

You may have heard about lean muscle mass. Since muscle is denser than fat. Someone with a large percentage of their weight in muscle would look trim compared against a person of the same weight whose weight is generally in fat. So how you measure your body fat can be a crucial aspect to your health and fitness regime.

Most common techniques of measuring body fat.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – An xray “excites” water and fat molecules in the body, via a magnetic field. A computer scans a person’s body, while he or she lies inside the magnetic field. It results in quality images showing how much fat exists and where it is. The procedure takes roughly 30 minutes and is regarded as safe because it doesn’t use ionizing radiation.

Pros: Safe and comparatively correct.

Cons: The equipment, as well as the analysis of the results is costly.

Hydrostatic Weighing – This is the one which I’ve heard about as being the most accurate. First off, you get weighed in the normal way. Then you’re dunked fully in a tank of water and weighed again.

Because bone and muscle densities are higher than water and fat is less dense than water, the person with more bone and muscle will weight more in water than the person who has more fat.

The expert can then determine the volume and density of the person’s body, and therefore, the proportion of body fat.

This is one I have always wanted to try, but haven’t taken the time to find where I can find such a tank.

Pros: It gives pretty accurate results

Cons: Chances are you do not have a tank in your house and may not wish to get one.

Bioelectrical Impedance Scale – While commonly used, this is not the most accurate. A special scale applies weak electrical current throughout your body. Since fat and muscles exhibit a different resistance to the existing, the scale shows how many pounds of body fast you have matched against muscle. Fat and muscle resist the current at different rates

Pros: You can get one of these for home use from Amazon and other online market places for approximately $40.00

Cons: But a pro scale works best and starts around $1500

Body Fat Caliper – This is the one I use, but I never feel sure that I’m using it properly even though I follow the directions, You are told to nip the skin away from the muscle about one inch above your hip bone, Then you use the calipers to measure the fold, then consult a chart which lists weight according to age, to determine your body fat.

Although it is simple to use, I am never actually sure I am pinching only the fat. I understand also, that highly fat people have a tougher time of it.

Pros of this method are portability and low cost.

The cons are, as I listed above, skill of the person using it.

The technique for low body fat is to build muscle.

Gloria Reibin is a Fitness Advisor who practices and teaches the 7 Minute Workout, whereby it's possible to get in the best shape of your life by working out only 7 minutes a day 3 times each week. VIsit her Fitness Success Blog for continuing support. See what role exercise and fitness plays in diabetes.

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