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How to Measure Body Fat Percentage without Calipers

Having a normal level of body fat percentage doesn’t only show that you are maintaining a good health and that numerous diseases, especially cardiovascular ones, aren’t a threat to you, but it shows that your body is fit as well. Thus, it’s important to keep the body fat percentage in check to not only feel good but to look good as well. The classic method of checking the percentage of fat in your body is to use skinfold calipers. While it’s a rudimentary method to go with, it provides effective results, this being the reason why many people still use it. Nonetheless, there are other methods to calculate what it the percentage of your weight that comes from fat, and in this article, we will present you with these alternative methods that just as effective as calipers, some of them being even more accurate.

Use a Body Fat Analyzer

The definite must-have tool for measuring body fat percentage is the body fat analyzer. What the innovative scale does is that in addition to displaying your body weight, just like regular scales do, it displays other parameters that influence your weight and that are linked with your overall health. A high-quality body fat scale should display, besides your weight, elements such as BMI, BMR, metabolic age, body fat percentage, bone mass, water level, and muscle mass. Another aspect that makes the scales appealing is the fact that they are very accurate, so as long as you make sure to spend your money on one of the better-rated models on the market, you are ensured to receive reliable information. Additionally, since it’s basically a scale, all that you have to do to use it is to step on it and wait for the information to be displayed, no other action being required from your part.

Calculate Your Body Mass Index

If you don’t have skin-folding calipers around the house and if you don’t have a body fat analyzer either, there’s another method that you can turn to, and that is to calculate your body mass index or BMI. The BMI represents the ratio of your height and weight. It’s not a rating that directly correlates to the body fat percentage, but it shows in what weight class you classify, allowing you to effectively monitor your overall health.

Required Measurements

In order to calculate your BMI, you first need to measure your height and your weight. When measuring your height, take off your shoes and stand tall with your back straight. When measuring your current weight, make sure that the scale you use is calibrated. Also, if it’s possible, take off your clothes so that they won’t affect the weight displayed on the scale.

BMI Table Comparison and Understanding

Now that you have the height and weight measurements, find a credible BMI table online. Then, locate where your height and weight measurements intersect on that table to find out what your body mass index is. If the BMI value that results is under 18.5 it means that you are underweight, if it ranges from 18.5 to 24.9 it means that you’re in the normal category, if it’s between 25 and 29.9, it means that you are overweight, and if it exceeds 30, you are obese.

Measure the Circumference of Your Waist

Another effective method to turn to is to measure the circumference of your waist. You must first strip down to your underwear or completely strip down if it’s possible. Using a flexible measuring tape, put it around your waist, just above the crest of your hip bones. When wrapping the tape around your waist, make sure that it feels snug without being too tight. Monitor the size of your waist daily in order to check whether the percentage of body fat is going up, down, or if it remains stable. Also, when repeating this measurement, make sure that you maintain consistency, meaning that you are either naked every time you measure the waist or that you wear the same clothes. In case you’re a woman who’s not pregnant and the size of your waist exceeds 35 inches, you’re probably obese and in danger of developing serious health issue. The same goes if you’re a man and the size of your waist exceeds 40 inches.

Turn to the US Navy Method

The last method that we are going to talk about is used by the US Navy, so it’s clear that it’s a reliable solution to go with when calculating body fat percentage. What you must do is to first measure your height. Make sure that you’re not wearing shoes and that you stand in a tall and straight position. Next, measure your waist. If you’re a man, measure it at the horizontal level around the navel, and if you’re a woman, measure it at the level with the least width. Now, measure the circumference of your neck by placing the tape below the larynx. Also, in case you’re a woman, measure your hips at their largest horizontal point. Use the measurements in inches that have resulted in the following formulas:
  • For men: % of fat=86.010 * LOG(abdomen-neck) – 70.041 * LOG(height) + 36.76;
  • For women: % of fat=86.010 * LOG(abdomen-neck) – 70.041 * LOG(height) + 30.30.