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Old 08-17-2015, 02:30 PM   #1
Andrej Seluka
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1
Default a good approximation of body fat percentage

Hello all.
Let me get straight to the point.
I'd like to ask whether it is possible to calculate approximate body fat percentage? (I know that it is impossible to calculate accurate number as no static formula can take into consideration different body constitutions, muscle mass, water amount, bone density etc.). But I need a fairly good approximation. I need this information to begin planning my diet (my instructor needs my body fat percentage).

Thank you in advance.

Thanks a bunch, I've found a body fat percentage chart and calculator here.

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Old 08-18-2015, 04:55 AM   #2
Gary Echternacht
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 101

Probably your best bet is to buy some body fat calipers. I'm pretty sure you can find them for sale on the Internet. You can also do BMI (body mass index) calculations though I'm not a big fan of that approach. Again there is a lot of information on the Internet about that approach. If you happen to be close to a university that has an exercise physiology program you might luck out and they will do all the work for you.
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Old 09-30-2015, 01:50 AM   #3
Blair Lowe
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 601

Can you find a place to do hydrostatic (water tank) body fat test? You can find DEXA at some universities or some gyms now have BodPod (measures by air instead of water).

It seems like bodyfat calipers are pretty cheap. $5-15 via a google search. Hrvk, I should order myself a pair to along with a balance scale and mirror check.


You can use this. I tested far lower on a 3 site caliper test because my thigh and tricep were under 10% but my abdomen was 20% (which is about what I tested on the tape test). Tape test was 20 but 3 site was 13ish and I think a 7 site would have been less since most of my bodyfat would be on my abdomen and suprailliac (lovehandle).

Note, I tested my bodyfat when I weighed about 84-85kg. I bumped up to just under 82 yesterday but should go back to 81 once I normalize from a carb binge. I'm sure I would have tested at even less when I made weight at 77 a few weeks ago.
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Old Yesterday, 10:24 AM   #4
Austin Phillips
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 2

There's a huge margin for error for both calipers and pretty much any algorithm you can find online; they certainly don't give an accurate assessment of body fat %, although it does give you a ballpark figure. I remember doing a 7-site skin fold test in my first year of university and was measured at 1% body fat ... Unfortunately there's no real way to get a completely accurate measure of body fat % without literally dissolving the body into its fat free and fat mass components. While hydrostatic weighing used to be something of a gold standard for body composition assessment it's a bit irrelevant now with the advent of the DEXA scan, but DEXA is often quite difficult to access and expensive as hell.

If I were you OP, depending on how important a very accurate reading is to you I would try and find a DEXA near you, sometimes hospitals will have them depending on where you live. Otherwise, BodPod is a good alternative. And for the skinfolds, while they certainly won't give you a precise measurement of body fat they WILL give you an idea of your starting point, after which you can return to your measurements and remeasure at the same sites periodically to gauge your progress, which can be an extremely valuable tool.
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