It is not easy to measure your body fat accurately. In fact even experienced measurers will get different results while using the same tools. The secret to getting useful results is not in the accuracy but the consistency of the results. You will then be able to track changes in your body fat as you do your workouts. The results for most expert measures will vary by about 8%. Yours could vary by about 16% from theirs.
What You Need to measure body fat
- Someone to help you, a requirement for women and recommended for men.
- Measuring calipers designed to measure body fat.
- A body space profile page for you to keep and track the measurements.
- Get a paper and pen for writing down the measurements.
Three-Sided Measurement Method
In this method, you pinch and pull the skin slightly away from the body. That separates the fat layer beneath the skin from the rest of the underneath tissue. While still holding the pinched skin, measure its thickness using your calipers. You should gauge the thickness of the pinched skin at one centimeter from your fingers. The measurement markings have increments of two units. For example, if the 20th mark gets hidden, the mark below it is 18.
Where to Test
The best site to test is one that is consistent one almost every other person. The nipple or navel is an excellent example of such a site. Those sites are good because you can find them on your body as well as on your measuring partner.
Best sites for Men
You should imagine a line that runs over your nipple vertically. Now look at the surface between that line and the crease of your armpit. This space is the one you should pinch and measure. You can also ask a friend to do it.
This test site requires you to make a fold one inch away from the navel. The fold should be vertical or horizontal. Watch how you have done it and be consistent from there on in making the fold and measuring it.
The best point is the midpoint between the knee and the hip. You should only make a vertical fold. It is best to use a tape measure to get the midpoint or at least your hand, juts to be consistent. Please do not use your eyeball to estimate the midpoint.
Best Sites for Women
Your helper should locate the midsection between your elbow and the acromion process. The acromion process is the bony joint on top of your shoulder. Let your partner take a vertical fold and measure.
Suprailiac is the surface directly below the armpit but slightly above the hip bone, also called the iliac crest. Trace the iliac crest by going over the hip bone first. Make a diagonal fold just above the hip bone and measure.
Just like in the case of men, use the site that is exactly between the hip point and the knee. Use a tape measure to the tip of your thumb and pinky. For most people, that will give them a midpoint. Measure that vertical fold.
You can now use those measurements on your body fat calculator to get your body fat deposit calculations. Repeat after every three or four days and be consistent in the way you take your measurements.