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

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Old 02-24-2008, 01:09 PM   #1
Will Parker
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Fat percentages

Ok not sure if this belongs here, sorry if it doesn't.

I have a question regarding bodyfat percentages and methods used to calculate bodyfat.

I have just got into the zone and gotten my parents into it aswell (also trying to get them on CF) however when measuring bodyfat we have had a few different results regarding different ways they are measured.

Firstly using the method in the book enter the zone I come in at 19% and my dad 14%.

When using some scales we have which supposedly measure fat although I don't understand how I come in at 15% and my dad is 16%.

Thirdly and finally we have another device specifically designed to measure fat, waterweight and bodymuscle. Also electronic. Now for me I get the same result as the scales 15% however my dad gets his in at 26%.

These seem like slightly big changes depending on the method especially for my dad which was done 3 times just too check. Note that my mum gets the same percentage on all 3.

Also I was at about 11% bodyfat before I went into hospital and now I have put on 4-8% but I have actually lost alot of weight-about a stone. I don't understand this as I haven't been able to eat much or move around much so why has my fat gone up and weight gone down.

Also If anyone can provide methods they measure bodyfat that would be good.
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:36 PM   #2
Ryan Whitenack
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Re: Fat percentages

Will,
If I am not mistaken this is a pretty controversial area in the world of fitness. You will see a ton of different replies to your question, and you will probably even find previous threads that address this topic.

However, my two cents.... In college, as a football player, we had to do something every year before the season started called the "Bod Pod". It was an egg-shaped space-age device that you sat in for a moment and it would measure your BF%. I have read about that method since and it seems to be fairly accurate. I have also read of a method done by submersion in water that is supposed to be incredibly accurate.

What I would tell you to do though is ask a doctor, chiropractor, or nutritionist to do it with good old fashioned calipers. Finding someone that knows how to do it right, and takes pride in doing it right is essential. They have to get the best pinch, and they must must must measure many parts on the body (I once had someone total my % without doing my legs). The guy that I go to for this stuff is trained by Charles Poliquin (http://www.charlespoliquin.com/ WFS) and it seems like a lot of attention is put into this part of the training. Maybe someone is trained well in your area.

Without doing any further testing I would just tell you to take an average of the three tests that you have done and that should give you a fairly accurate picture. Might sound a little too much like a credit score, but I think it will provide a decent baseline.
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:06 PM   #3
Steven Anderson
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Re: Fat percentages

Will, I have to receive an extensive physical every year for my job which does include body fat % reading. The company that we pay to have come in and peform it is very good and very thorough, utilizing calipers. I have had it done by the same company two years in a row with almost the exact same reading, (obviously no change in my composition). Try searching around you town, or like Ryan said, look for a doctor, chiropractor, etc who has extensive knowledge and training in obtaining an accurate reading. Scales or any other kind of "do it yourself" electrical device is usually not very accurate, neither is the hot receptionist chic or the personal trainer with his shirt too tight at your local gym.
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:25 PM   #4
Will Parker
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Re: Fat percentages

Thanks. Those are good suggestions and will be sure to try and find someone in my area if all else fails I will take the averages. Cheers.
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Old 02-25-2008, 08:29 AM   #5
Christian Mason
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Re: Fat percentages

Why is this of all that much concern? From my understanding, most common methods (electronic scales, calipers, etc..) are all pretty inaccurate for establishing real percentages. However, the ARE accurate at reflecting changes in your bodyfat, so they are a good indicator of if what you're doing is working.

I know calipers in particular tend to be based on equations for the "average" college study participant. As an example, many black athletes will come up with negative percentage readings on those equations, since they tend to carry body fat in different locations than the only semi-athletic overwhelmingly white people most university studies are based on.

For what its worth, I've had a "Bod Pod" reading, and wasn't impressed with its accuracy. It indicated I'm a good deal leaner than I think I am, so while I WISH I believed it, the mirror doesn't back it up.
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:17 AM   #6
Jason Naubur
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Re: Fat percentages

My feeling is that if you are monitoring fat loss, you want precision, not accuracy. I don't care if it tells me I'm 14% if I'm really 10% - I DO care that it ALWAYS tells me I'm at 14% at that actual BF% level. In this regard I like the hand-held / foot pad electronic measuring devices, they are easy enough to do anytime, anywhere and are consistent, provided you are consistent with them - say first thing in the morning, assuming a regular diet / hydration level.

Most won't or can't BodPod / caliper every day lessening their value in tracking changes to your composition as you tweak your diet / exercise regimen.

However, don't get too hung up on the numbers, rather the change over time. Do it regularly and plot it on a simple graph and you will spot the trend in no time.

I still put more weight (no pun intended) in to my reflection.


IMHO,

Jason
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:40 AM   #7
Roger Harrell
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Re: Fat percentages

There are so many factors that impact these readings. Water weight, bone density, organ density, fat deposit distribution, other genetic factors etc that simply can not be accounted for with current techniques. They tend to be consistent with the same person, at the same time of day so can be an indicator of direction of change, but are very inaccurate when comparing one person to the next, or comparing one method to another. Just accept that the readings can be off pretty drastically and move on. Look at performance, health and changes in these numbers, don't worry about the specific number.
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:12 AM   #8
Will Parker
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Re: Fat percentages

Im not bothered about weight loss or what the fat percentage is I just wondered why the methods produced such a variety of results. Thanks all for your input.
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Old 02-26-2008, 05:14 AM   #9
Mirza Besic
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Re: Fat percentages

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Parker View Post
Ok not sure if this belongs here, sorry if it doesn't.

I have a question regarding bodyfat percentages and methods used to calculate bodyfat.

I have just got into the zone and gotten my parents into it aswell (also trying to get them on CF) however when measuring bodyfat we have had a few different results regarding different ways they are measured.

Firstly using the method in the book enter the zone I come in at 19% and my dad 14%.

When using some scales we have which supposedly measure fat although I don't understand how I come in at 15% and my dad is 16%.

Thirdly and finally we have another device specifically designed to measure fat, waterweight and bodymuscle. Also electronic. Now for me I get the same result as the scales 15% however my dad gets his in at 26%.

These seem like slightly big changes depending on the method especially for my dad which was done 3 times just too check. Note that my mum gets the same percentage on all 3.

Also I was at about 11% bodyfat before I went into hospital and now I have put on 4-8% but I have actually lost alot of weight-about a stone. I don't understand this as I haven't been able to eat much or move around much so why has my fat gone up and weight gone down.

Also If anyone can provide methods they measure bodyfat that would be good.
See body fat percentages are very hard to use to determine how fit you are. I usually keep a higher fat percentage than I could and my abs still show through because they are huge. Sometimes when I work out hard my top abs stick out farther than my chest. Maybe I just "think" that

Regardless, there is other things that go into being cut, such as the thickness of your skin, how strechy it is etc....
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Old 03-03-2008, 05:38 PM   #10
Nate Fucile
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Re: Fat percentages

i dont think calipers can be very accurate because evryones skin has a different level of elasticity and thickness.
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