Are your pants feeling tighter than usual? Maybe you’ve gained a couple of pounds. But what if your alarming weight gain problem is causing you sleepless nights? While there is no single method to calculate body fat accurately, here are a few ways to size yourself up.
There are three main ways to measure body fat:
1. Home Body Fat Scales
2. Skinfold Calipers
3. Hydrostatic Weighing
While each of these body fat calculation methods has certain advantages, there are a few limitations as well.
Measuring Body Fat Using Home Body Fat Scales
Claimed to be among the quickest and most convenient ways of measuring body fat, body fat scales calculate body fat percentage using the Bioelectrical Impedance method. A low-level electrical current is passed through your body, and the resultant impedance or resistance to the flow of current is measured. This result is then used in combination with your weight and other factors to calculate your body fat percentage.
However, besides body fat, many other factors can alter your body’s impedance level. Some of these are the water content in your body, your skin temperature and recent physical activity, which can all adversely affect the results of this test. Hence you must follow certain strict rules in order to get an accurate measurement of your body fat using such scales.
Measuring Body Fat Using Skinfold Calipers
The most cost effective method of determining body fat levels is by using a set of body fat calipers. But for accurate results, you need to use the calipers correctly. For instance, you can either let an expert take the measurements for you, or buy a set of Accumeasure calipers and follow the measuring instructions. Studies have shown that Accumeasure calipers yield very accurate results.
Measuring Body Fat Using Hydrostatic Weighing
Hydrostatic weighing or underwater weighing is the most accurate way to measure body fat. All you need for is a hydrostatic weighing tank. This method uses Archimedes Principle to calculate body fat. To begin with, your body density is calculated by measuring the amount of water displaced by you when immersed in water. Thereafter, your body fat is calculated using a formula based on your body density.