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Measuring Body Fat -- An Essential Step

Make sure that your weight loss is fat and not lean mass

man measuring body fat with caliper

What are you really trying to accomplish?

You want to lose weight. But there is more to that.

But your real goal should be fat loss. And muscle gain.

If you had a magic wand that could add extra pounds of muscle instantly you would know what I mean.

With extra muscle, even if you weigh more, you feel better and look better. Those flabby arms wouldn't be as flabby. That sagging belly wouldn't sag as much.

With more muscle you feel healthier and look healthier.

So your goal should be to keep all the muscle you can while losing the fat.

Are you losing fat? Or losing muscle?

But how do you know if you are losing fat or losing muscle? The only way is to test your body fat percentage. Then you can keep track of how much weight you are losing as fat and how much you are losing as muscle.

If you lose too much muscle you will have a lower metabolism, and you will gain your weight back faster. That is the nightmare of the "yo yo dieting." Of diets that don't work.

How to do it the hard way

There are a lot of ways to measure body fat, but many of them are not very practical.

For example, the most accurate way to test body fat is hydrostatic weighing (hydrostatic weighing means water weighing.) To do this you need to go to a research lab, and they put you completely underwater. So that is not something that you can do very often.

How to do it the easy way

There are two methods that are quick and easy and not too expensive.

First, there are machines that measure body fat. How? By sending a small electrical current through the body. Since fat is a good insulator, the signal changes depending on how much fat you have (it is called "bioimpedence.")

A computer gives a printout of your body fat and lean mass. This can be done at a gym, or you can get a home unit. The best home units are made by Tanita.

Second, the most common way to measure body fat is with a skinfold caliper. These pinch the fat rolls to see how thick they are. They measure the fat under the skin, because that is where most of your fat is.

To do the measurement you take measurements of the skin and underlying fat in various areas of the body. A chart then tells you how much body fat you have.

The skinfold caliper can be done at your gym. They will usually measure between 3-9 areas of the body.

Cheap and easy. And it works.

The easiest way to measure body fat, and the cheapest, is with the Accu-Measure Caliper. This is an inexpensive device that you use at home. It only requires measuring body fat from one site, but has been shown to be quite accurate. Since you do the measurements yourself it is private.

You really should get an Accu-Measure Caliper. They are available online and in sporting goods stores for under $20. You will find the information very valuable.

You need to have your body fat measured and keep track of it as you lose weight. It is the only way to know for sure that you are losing fat and not lean mass.

The result

When you know how much fat you are losing you can fine tune your diet. You keep what you are doing when it works. And change it when it doesn't.

The result is a program that is easier and more effective. That's what you want, isn't it? So measure your body fat and get on the road to having the body you want.

Where to start:

There is a lot of information on this site. The links below will get you off to a good start.

Most popular pages:

These are some of our most popular pages. They are also some of the most helpful if you are finally ready to lose weight.

You can always reach us:

  • 28960 US Highway 19 North, Suite 115
  • Clearwater, FL 33761
  • (727) 771-8282

  • Or to use our contact form click here.

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