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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 06-28-2011, 08:51 PM   #1
Bill Simon
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Body Fat Percentage

What is the best way to measure it (like once a month or so)
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:00 PM   #2
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Body Fat Percentage

Best measurement: don't bother. Watch the mirror instead.

Second best: find a university that can weigh you in water, or get a bod pod measurement.

Everything else is a distant third because other methods are wildly inaccurate.

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Old 06-28-2011, 09:00 PM   #3
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Body Fat Percentage

First, why do you want to measure it every month? A reliable testing method (hydrostatic, DEXA, or bod pod) will be pretty pricey...at least $50 for hydrostatic testing and more like $100 for the other two methods.

You should be able to track your progress pretty well by looking in the mirror and based on how your clothes fit. Or find someone with calipers who is experienced in using them. Or just measure your waist, chest, and thighs....generally, a smaller waist means you're probably losing fat and a bigger chest or thighs means you're adding lean mass, unless you were very obese to start with.
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:05 PM   #4
Alex Carey
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Re: Body Fat Percentage

The best way of measuring it is hydrostatic weighing. But it's doubtful that you'll want to do that monthly. Although it was fun to try once.

Calipers are a solution for home.

May I ask why you're interested in measuring your body fat percentage monthly?

edit: I shouldn't type so slowly

Last edited by Alex Carey; 06-28-2011 at 09:07 PM..
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:07 PM   #5
Bill Simon
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Re: Body Fat Percentage

To monitor my diet, weightloss and workout in a more objective way
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:19 PM   #6
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Body Fat Percentage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Simon View Post
To monitor my diet, weightloss and workout in a more objective way
You can get a good enough judge of bodyfat trends by looking in the mirror.

Beyond that, if you want an objective measure of your progress, go by your numbers in the gym. More weight and faster times means you're making progress.
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:25 PM   #7
Alex Carey
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Re: Body Fat Percentage

I agree with Eric. But if strength and speed aren't your main goals at the moment and physique is, and you want an objective measure of progress, calipers are probably the most reasonable method. Although you may find that as you continue training, your goals may shift from physique to strength and speed after all. And a good physique will ultimately follow.
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:43 PM   #8
Andrew N. Casey
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Re: Body Fat Percentage

for just starting out, there are some good measurement tools online. just google "body fat calculator" and you will get many free ones. most of them will be based on simple measurements of your height, age, and then measure in inches your neck, wrist, waist, etc. the zone has one on their site. this is also the way the military evaluates body fat so you will get several of those calculators to come up. they all use slightly different formulas and places to measure, use several and the average out the result. it will be fairly close. they aren't as accurate as other methods, but they are free and when just starting you will see enough progress with them. you really need the other methods the leaner and more fit you get. for an elite athlete it is worth getting the water test, but for a guy starting out you can use the online calculators for a while. i agree with the above posts that the mirror is a great way to tell. also a measuring tape around your fat spots that won't gain much muscle mass like your wrist, neck, stomach can be a good thing to track.
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:22 AM   #9
Brendan McNamar
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Re: Body Fat Percentage

I use a hand held electronic tester. I'm sure it is inaccurate but it seems to be consistent.

When I was at my lightest, 5'10" 178, doing a bunch of met-cons all the time it had the lowest readings. This was backed up by clothing falling off, having to use different holes on the belt, seeing definition in my body I had never seen before.

When I decided I need to get strong I quit the met-cons, started lifting heavy and forced myself to eat a huge amount of food. 4 months later I'm still 5'11"" but now I weigh 194. Clothing no longer falling off, back to the old belt setting, abs are a little soft and the electronic devise reads higher.

Of course I added 80 lbs to my 5 RM squat so it is all good.

The more I write this the more I think the mirror plus a scale should give you all the information you need.

We use a tape measure on the women in the gym because the often pick up some muscle early on and get worried because the scale isn't going down. Show them they took a couple of cm off their belly and they don't worry about the scale quite so much.
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Old 06-29-2011, 06:08 AM   #10
Brad Gerbrandt
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Re: Body Fat Percentage

If you really want an acurate number, even hydrostatic weighing doesn't hold a candle to DEXA scans.
That being said, go with the above advise.
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