Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Body Fat % Measurement

I'm reading: Body Fat % MeasurementTweet this!
There's one thing between my 6 pack-abs and the mirror, literally. It's FAT!! I know that in order to get lean and see my 6 pack abs I need to lose that fat. The question is how much fat is there? That's where body fat measurements come in. In order to get 6 pack abs you need to have a body fat % below 10%.

If you can find a doctor or trainer to measure your body fat %, I'd highly recommend it as they are probably more accurate measures.

If you are like me and can not find a trainer or doctor that has accurate equipment (the BF measurement device you can get at GNC doesn't count) then there 2 methods that I use.

1. The web!! Yes, you can get your BF% over the web with some basic measurements. All you need is your height, weight, waist-line and age!

2. The next method you can do at home, but will need a little bit of help. It requires purchasing calipers. I recommend these: http://www.accumeasurefitness.com/

Read the directions on how to use the caliper.

You are going to be taking 7 measurements at different body locations. You are going to go through the 7 locations and then measure everything 2 more times for 3 sets of measurements. Some of these locations you will not be able to do yourself so you will need to find someone to do the measurements for you. I actually recommend that person do all of the measurements for you. In the caliper I listed above I use the millimeters side to read the caliper.

The 7 Locations:

1. The abs - This site is located 1 inch directly to the left of, and in line with, the belly
button. You’ll want to measure a vertical fold of skin, so your calipers are horizontal.

2. Triceps - Back of your arm, halfway between the elbow and the bony point on the top of your shoulder.

3. Chest - This site is located on the diagonal line between the armpit and the nipple and measure a diagonal fold there.

4. Underneath your arm-pit - is located on a vertical line between the armpit and the hip. Your vertical pinch will be on the same plane as the bony spot where your ribs meet at the center of your chest.

5. Just below shoulder blade - have your friend find your shoulder blade and pinch at an inch under at the angle your shoulder blade approaches your spine.

6. Hip - Find where you hip bone ends and go an inch above it and take a horizontal fold. The fold should align just above your belly button.

7. Thigh - Go to the mid point of your thigh, both in height and width, and measure with a vertical pinch.

Since I am going to be measuring this once a month, I am going to make sure that I measure from the same sides of my body each time I check my BF%.

The Calculation:

Once you measure each of the 7 sites take the average from each site. Then sum the 7 averages.

This sum will = 'SUM7' in the equation below

Body Density = 1.112 - (0.00043499 * SUM7) + (0.00000055 * SUM72 ) - (0.00028826 * AGE)

Once we have Body Density (BD) we can now calculate my BF%.

%BF = [(4.57/ BD) - 4.142] * 100

Now, you may be scratching your head saying "Mike, you have 2 completely different readings. What gives?"

2. Caliper 7 site calculation: 19.3%

Obviously I'd love to say that the web is right, but I know I'm not that close to 6 pack abs. I just don't look that lean in the mirror YET.

I also don't think I'm at 19% BF either. There is a lot of human error that can occur when using the calipers.

So what am I going to do? Take the average. As of now, I'm saying I have 16.5% BF. Don't worry, once I see my 6 pack in the mirror, I won't need these calculations!!

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