It’s always surprising to me the number of people who train hard to lose weight, or gain muscle, etc, but don’t test their body fat, or know what their body fat is. Below is a list of reliable gadgets for testing your body fat. This vid covers that important topic. If you don’t test your body fat, you really have no idea what is working and what is not in your plan if attempting to lose fat and or gain muscle mass!

Inexpensive accurate body fat testers:

  1. makster 13 years ago

    Good advice Will. Calipers are a great tool. It is a little difficult at first to get the hang of using them. I found it worked best to have someone that was skilled in there use show me how. Then it was a lot easier.

  2. Joe Lenihan 13 years ago

    Great info! There has been some talk lately about bodyfat testing methods being more inaccurate than once thought (even hydrostatic weighing and the "bod pod"), but I think many people are missing the point that the number itself does not need to be accurate, as long as the methods are consistent enough to show progress/lack of. I still use calipers along with photos and girth measurements.
    Thanks for another great post!

  3. Leslie 13 years ago

    Have to agree completely, it is not the numbers you get but the changes that are important. I am qualified to measure people's body composition and do so regularly… things I would recommend are:
    1. have someone else (partner, friend or professional) do the measuring for you because it is difficult to measure yourself in the right places and read the calipers at the same time.
    2. Make sure that you measure at the SAME place each time because even half an inch higher or lower can make a big difference in results
    3. use a combination of skinfolds and girths to track changes in your body composition, and
    4.. do not measure yourself weekly and expect measurable results – it is suggested that every 3 to 4 weeks will give accurate changes.

    • Author
      willbrink 13 years ago

      Leslie, I agree with your comments. However, using accumeasure type calipers, it's easy enough to do it yourself accurately. If people have someone who can do it for them regularly, I'm all for it, but they should not be discouraged from getting some the calipers listed above and doing it themselves. On the BBR/FLR forums, we have countless people doing it themselves without issues. Sure, it takes a bit of learning to get the correct spot, etc, but it's not difficult to do once learned. 😉

  4. Brad 13 years ago

    I use an accumeasure calipers to test my body fat weekly. My current body fat percentage according to the caliper and the chart is 8.5%. I checked my body fat regularly from 25+% body fat until 8.5% (measurement at 8mm, age 20) I do make a small marker pen mark on the spot that I use to measure just to make sure I measure at the same spot all the time. However, even at 8.5% I still feel very soft and flabby even though the measurement on the caliper shows that I am quite lean.
    I tried on my bro and his body fat percentage is 9.5% (measurement at 8mm, age 21, he is always skinny though) but his belly seems to be way more solid and firm. Even though the skinfold shows that I have less body fat but my bro seems so much leaner than I am (I have like 20lbs more muscle mass than him too). I am wondering if the measurement with the accumeasure caliper is really accurate to track my body fat because I really don't seem like someone with that low body fat percentage as I heard most people would be quite ripped at that body fat percentage while I don't look anywhere close to that (I am not very fat though, just feel like my belly still looks soft and flabby even though the skin fold measurement is low).
    Any thoughts on this? Thanks a lot in advance for any comment.

    • Author
      willbrink 13 years ago

      Brad, you might want to find some one experienced with calipers and have a full 7 sites done and see if it matches what you are getting, or even look into under water weighing some place, usually done at some colleges, etc. It's possible you are not pinching the site you use correctly (you have to really pinch it!) or you may simply be around 8.5% (remember, there is a margin of error +/- a few %) and it does not look on you as you might expect, which could be due to other factors.

  5. Lacey 11 years ago

    I have a pair of those, but admittedly the directions were not clear on how to measure correctly. I was hoping for a demo of how to use them.

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