What Are the Alternatives to Home Body Fat Percentage Scale?
What is body fat percentage? Simply put, body fat percentage refers to how much fat contained in your body. Judging by this, a body fat percentage scale would then refers to the tool you use to calculate the amount of fat you have in your body at the moment. And now you might be wondering about why bother calculating body fat at all if you can just keep up with your regular daily exercise and stay away from bad foods.
You can do everything right the best you can. But if you have no means of measuring the body fat percentage, all would be lost. This is because even a person who does exercise every day so rigorously can have imbalanced body fat percentage. And if that is the case, you would only be hitting the gym without actual good outcome. There is evidence that shows a strong correlation between increased risk of chronic illness and disease and body fat. Men with a percentage of more than 25 and women with more than 32 have the higher risk of all. You may argue that calculating Body Mass Index alone should be enough to keep track on your health progress but calculating body fat percentage offer an even more accurate overview for more comprehensive results.
A body fat percentage scale is a different entity from a regular scale altogether. It is tempting to think that you would not need anything specific for this purpose but a regular scale cannot offer you what such a specific one can. It goes like this: When you try to slim down, improve your fitness level, or boost your overall health quality, fat loss—rather than mere weight loss—is your goal. Fat-free mass (the lean mass) needs to be maintained. Weight loss at times comes with muscle loss—the kind of loss you must avoid. Maintained muscle mass is required for your body to function efficiently.
But a body fat percentage scale (a scale that includes the feature to specifically measure body fat percentage) is not the only thing you can rely on. You can purchase such a body scale on the market to get accurate measurement but there are other ways you can do so. You can use the TANITA body scale. Famous for its appearance on the show The Biggest Loser, the TANITA works with BIA (bioelectrical impedance). With this, the scale can measure the amount of fat, water, and lean mass in your body. It sends a current from the metal plates you are standing on up to your upper body and measurement is made by estimating the time it takes to reach given spots. This method is affordable as the scale itself is cheap. But it may not be the most reliable method.
A handheld BIA device can also act as a body fat percentage scale. The popular brand of this device is the Omron device. It basically works the same way as the aforementioned scale but it also comes with the same reliability issues. Hydration level can affect reading thus skewing things up or down. Operation of this device is easy; you just need to grab on it and hold. But it is also costly so you may want to reconsider if budget is an issue here. Another shortcoming of this device is its inability to accurately set subcutaneous fat apart from visceral fat.
The next body fat percentage scale is not a scale at all; rather, it is a strictly methodical test performed by somebody other than you, typically a personal trainer. Also known as the pinch test, a set of calipers would be utilized on the skin at any given points on the body to measure its thickness. The obtained number would then be applied to a formula that also includes gender and age as factors. While the method a more accurate result than the scales, the final number depends greatly on the skill level of the person administering the test. The method is also limited in that it can only do reading for subcutaneous fat.
The other body fat percentage scale involves the Bod Pod, a very expensive machine with high-tech appearance that professional sports teams and professional athletes depend on. The mechanism of this machine relies on the air your body displaces the moment you get into the pod. The number would then be calculated through mathematical equation to get a reading for your resting metabolic rate, lean muscle mass, and fat. As the measurement relies so much on air displacement, you would have to enter the pod wearing tight swimsuit complete with a swim cap. Any trapped air would affect the reading. This method might not be your first choice as the machine is only available on specific facility and it takes a long time to finish.
A DEXA scan offers itself as another body fat percentage scale. Short for Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry, the scanner is essentially a scale for bone mass density. You would only have to lie on a bed and let the machine work. The accuracy, however, only applies to young healthy men; other groups of individuals may not see the benefit of this machine. The DEXA scan, therefore, is not as accurate as other scales on this list.
You can take a test of hydrostatic weighing as an alternative to the body fat percentage scale. This test is arguably the most accurate of all. But it can be a little bit challenging for some people, especially those who are not accustomed to being immersed in the water. The InBody machine, on the other hand, is perhaps the best way to calculate your body fat percentage. The machine combines both hydrostatic weighing and BIA. As much as 98% accuracy can be obtained from using this machine to measure correct body composition. The machine is of fairly recent invention so it might be a bit hard to come by. It is also expensive. Look for high-profile gym centers to check on the availability of this device.