Body fat % testing

Fit as Hel: The Simple Life got a question the other day on Facebook - I thought to share it here in case anyone's been wondering how to get their body fat percentage tested reliably.

By Kulchada _____________

Hi Erika,
What would be the best way to measure fat and/or muscles in body ? I did once last year with Elixia , where they came to promote their fitness at our work place. The machine was something like we stand with bare feet on, and only hold the sticks. Not sure how accurate would that be but I would really to measure again. Unfortunately, I am not their client. Are there any places you could suggest to go and try and not too pricey ? Thanks for your any recommendation in advances. ....Regards, Kulchada ....PS: I came across your blog when I searched for body fat measurement in Helsinki.


By Fit as Hel: The Simple Life

Hi Kulchada! Thanks for your question.

The bioelectrical impedance devices (scales/hand held devices...) give you a very rough estimation and I wouldn't particularly recommend them. Some give you a more accurate reading than others, but they're often dependant on so many factors you simply can't control them. I've used BodyStat in the past (it's about 1000€ for the machine), but in the end it didn't end up being very reliable either, although I was made to believe so by a gym manager.

Caliper tests (skin fold method), on the other hand, can be a better way of testing your bf% -- although this won't give you 100% accurate results either. However, it does become a fairly reliable way of tracking progress if done by the same professional every time. This method includes pinching your skin with specialist calipers and measuring the mm's of fat in certain areas of your body -- then inserting these numbers into a scientifically developed formula which comes up with an estimation of your bf%.

It's also possible to give out an estimation of your body fat percentage just by looking at your picture (where stomach & legs are visible). This is obviously not going to be the most reliable way of doing it, but for example women who've got visible abs would likely usually be below 15% body fat.

I use calipers with my clients and would happily do your measurements properly if there weren't around 2,000 km distance between us .

Did this help at all? I'm sure if you look up a qualified reputable PT in Helsinki they'll be able to do your skin fold measurements. And don't hesitate to drop me a message if you've got any more questions!

Hope you're having a great weekend.

Best regards,
Erika Helsinki

about a minute ago
Fit as Hel: The Simple Life

Oh, and I forgot to mention that it IS possible to have your bf% accurately tested by the hydrostatic method (submerging you under water), but this is a vvvvvvery expensive method.