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Old 03-23-2005, 01:19 PM   #1
Brent Hammond
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I see that The Zone is very popular here. I was wondering if anyone can attest to the accuracy of the body fat calculator on Dr. Sears' website. I am a 36-year-old male. My height is 5'10", waist is 36", and wrist is 7". According to Dr. Sears' calculator my body fat is 16%, or just over 34 pounds. I have gotten fairly consistent readings from my digital calipers that puts my body fat at 23%, or about 49.5 pounds. After checking a few height/weight charts, I see that I'm more than 50 pounds overweight.
My original goal was to try to lose around 40 pounds of fat to get to 175. Of course that doesn't take into account any muscle weight I would like to gain. If I follow Dr. Sears' calculator, my original goal of 40 pounds of fat lost will be too much. Am I missing something here? Is 40 pounds too much for me to lose? Do I need to readjust my goal, or am I just thinking about this all wrong?
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Old 03-23-2005, 01:57 PM   #2
Patrick Walsh
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this probably won't help much, but the Zone calculator tells me I'm @ 10% BF. My Tanita scale tells me my BF is ~16%.

I'm 6'1" 182lbs w/ a 32 inch waist and a 7" wrist.

I don't know which is more accurate, but I shure hope it's the zone calculator :-)
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Old 03-23-2005, 05:06 PM   #3
Beth Moscov
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Tanita scales are notorious for being off by as much as 10% or so. I don't know about digital calipers. The zone calculater is limited by the quality of measurements you take. It is really easy to pull that tape a bit tighter around the waist when you subconsciously don't want to see the actual size of your stomach! The most accurate body fat measurement is underwater weighing. The best thing to do is to stick with one measurement to moniter that your body fat is going in the right direction. Then if your really worried about it, get an underwater weighing and compare it to your favored measure to keep track.

Ultimately, none of them are perfect so you need to keep good records of your results from the zone diet on a daily basis. This becomes the "art" part of fitness - learning how well your own body responds to various diets, exercises, etc. And you can only tell if you keep records - at least occasionally - cause we tend to not remember correctly or at least not everything.
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Old 03-23-2005, 05:33 PM   #4
Veronica Carpenter
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Hydrostatic measurement is only as accurate as the subjects ability to expel all his/her air while underwater. It's not so easy.

Tanita or bio-electrical impedence scale measurements can vary depending on your hydration levels.

And since fat is distributed differently in each person, the more caliper sites measured the more accurate BF% measurement will be.

The most effective way of measuring BF% would be to track your measurements over time to see if there is a reduction. Do this by employing the same method with the same person taking the measurements. This is assuming the person knows how to take measurements.

I prefer looking in the mirror and seeing how my clothes fit. The only numbers that matter to me are my competition totals and occassionally the scale if I'm trying to make a weight class. :biggrin:

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Old 03-23-2005, 07:31 PM   #5
Steve Shafley
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You can find cheap calipers.
Take 3-4 measurements at standard places, track these, along with bodyweight, and you'll get a nice snapshot of what's coming off where, and if you are still losing fat.

The combination of calipers, the scale, and the mirror make it hard to fool yourself. But not impossible.
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Old 03-24-2005, 02:20 AM   #6
Steven C. Herndon
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Ignore the height/ weight charts, goverment b.m.i. chart, etc. These do not take into account a heavily muscled person. I recently saw a list celebrities that are considered overweight by the b.m.i. list, and it included people like Vin Diesel, The Rock and Tom Cruise.From what I have read, I would go more by either calipers or tape messure and especially the mirror and how your clothes fit.
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Old 03-24-2005, 10:14 AM   #7
Robert Wolf
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If one is doing serious strength training the obliques and trunk muscles are going to be more developed than what these tables take into account. The Sears site puts me at 20%!

Despite this the Sears site is only 1 block off of what I need so it is interesting that a farily large dicrepancy in actual BF% does not alter the prescription that much.
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Old 03-24-2005, 02:00 PM   #8
Brent Hammond
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Guess I was missing something after all. I was basing my calculations on the waist measurement of my pants. When I actually measured my waist, the results were much different. My new calculations showed 24% BF, or 51.6 pounds. That makes more sense. I guess when all else fails, try doing it the right way.:uhoh:
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:50 AM   #9
Larry Lindenman
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Just a note: Robb is about 5-7% BF based only on his pictures...if not lower! He is ripped. That being said, 36" waist at 5'10" would probably put you in the overfat range. If you could see a six pack go with 5-7% a 4 pack 10-12% a no pack >15. Not scientific but what the heck. Check the search engine, I posted an article on bodyfat testing about 3 months ago.
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