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Old 02-15-2006, 12:14 PM   #1
Tim McFarland
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I have been reading "Enter the Zone" and I am wondering about his method of determining bf%. According to my calipers, I am around 15%, and I know that they have a statistical variation of +/- as much as 8%. According to Dr. Sears' book, I am around 21%. How accurate is that? Looking in the mirror, I see striations in my deltoids, definition but not striations in my pecs, and I see 4 abs semi-clearly. Based on the mirror, I would guess anywhere from 13 to 16, but I don't know...
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Old 02-15-2006, 12:33 PM   #2
Peter Queen
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I know what you mean Tim. I posted "Speaking of Body Fat Check" under the Fitness category and got some real good responses on the use of calipers vs. everything else. It really is a judgment call based on the tester and post and pre exercises, ect.. I am thinking about getting it done again next month just to see how much of a variation there is. I was told that my count was 5.7%. Now like you I can see good results in my body but I am still a bit perplexed of the whole +/- deal also. I guess for now a caliper test will have to be my only gauge since the water test is too expensive for my local gym to use. Besides I question their skill.
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Old 02-15-2006, 01:22 PM   #3
Tim McFarland
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Yeah. I always do it myself, and I question my own skill. I take 10 measurements and then average since my bf% (apparently) can go up by 5% in 30 seconds...

I'm trying to get the diet really dialed in right, and my lean body mass determines how much protein I should be getting and therefore how much overall calories, and so forth. I just wonder about the accuracy of Dr. Sears' method. Anybody know the statistical variance on that?
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Old 02-15-2006, 02:40 PM   #4
Nick Cummings
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I would suggest you use your calipers as honestly as possible to measure progress from your starting measurements. This way you have progress you can see and although you are not certain your bodyfat percentage, you have an outcome to measure. Also, if you are below like 10% bodyfat you should know it. If you are a guy how much can you pinch on your stomach? How much on your butt? When those two areas start to pinch out like your arm you are on the right track. That is if your goal is like 6% bodyfat.
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Old 02-15-2006, 02:45 PM   #5
David Stegman
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What is a decent "target BF %" for an athletic male? Is there a standard? Anything under 15%? 10% etc?
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Old 02-15-2006, 03:17 PM   #6
Veronica Carpenter
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"Athletic Male" comes in many shapes, sizes and BF%'s. A wrestler or runner will have a much lower "working" BF% than a mid-heavyweight Olympic lifter.
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Old 02-15-2006, 03:27 PM   #7
David Stegman
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True and I totally understand that. However, I wasn't considering an Olympic lifter as an "athletic male". That would be more elite athlete.

I just wondered what some of the guys here set as a target BF% based upon their crossfit routine and diet. Of course everyone is different size etc...but in general I would think below 15% would qualify as "athletic" for most body types...but again I'm not sure if 15 is a good percentage etc.
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Old 02-15-2006, 04:20 PM   #8
Peter Queen
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David, your use of the phrase "Athletic Male" is good in the context of fitness. However, there are those with very low body fat due to good genetics or other factors even if they are lazy couch potato S.O.Bs. I know a few people that the last time they saw a gym was in high school gym class which usually is no more than an unused basketball court during school. And they are walking skeletons even at 40+ years. A lot of this however is due to drug abuse, hard drinking and heavy smoking mind you. If that is what it takes to be lean I welcome the couch.

Anyway, anything below 15% is always better depending on your goals.
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Old 02-15-2006, 04:57 PM   #9
Larry Lindenman
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To get the most out of CF I would shoot for 6-7%, no use carrying around the extra dead weight.
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Old 02-15-2006, 05:22 PM   #10
Tim McFarland
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I have been keeping measurements of myself...chest circumference, bicep, belly button, thigh, & calf. I know I'm moving in the right direction (ever so slowly) since my chest & bicep keep getting bigger and belly keeps getting smaller. Thigh & calf haven't changed much in terms of circumference but have achieved definition. Abs are starting to poke their shy little heads out. It's just slow slow slow and I want to accelerate the process. I think doing these insane workouts will help a lot, but of course diet is key. That's why I'm wondering about the accuracy of different measuring techniques - LBM dictates how much I should be eating. I don't want to eat enough to support the fat.

On the other hand, maybe I should just calm down about it and continue as I have been, accept that it will take time.

On the other hand, I do think the question of how accurate the different methods are is interesting, and I would like to know just for the sake of knowing.

That's a lot of hands...
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