Truth About Body Fat Measurements & Handheld Bodyfat Scales
As a fitness expert trainer, I hear from men just about every week who claim to have only six or eight percent body fat (the level of a professional bodybuilder). The truth is, many of those men are nowhere close to that number. So this is troubling to people that want to burn fat and lose weight. Are they getting the right answers about their progress? If not, it can really mess up their programs and nutrition plan.
These people are using handheld body-fat analyzers, which are rarely accurate and often underestimate the amount of fat you are carrying on your body.
Handheld fat monitors use a method called “bio-electrical impedance” to estimate body fat. The machine sends an electric current through your body, and that current is impeded at different rates by fat tissue and by lean tissue. Based on this, the machine calculates a body-fat percentage compared to average numbers from large population samples.
In a recent study, researchers compared bio-electrical impedance machines to more accurate methods of body-fat analysis. They found that, on average, the bioelectrical impedance measures of fat mass were 2.4 kg lower.
So if you’re using a handheld body-fat analyzer, don’t get too smug about the results. No matter what a machine says, what matters is how good you feel about the way you look in the mirror, how your clothes fit, and the inches around your waist.
A better way to track your fat-loss progress is to measure the circumferences of your upper arm, waist, hips, and thighs. With proper nutrition and a healthy workout regimen, you will see those numbers get smaller as you burn fat.