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  1. #1
    Registered User lewistk's Avatar
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    Body Fat Caliper Testing

    I will be testing my clients for body fat percentage using the calipers on 5 sites on their bodies.
    My question is, what factors may affect the testing results. eg, how could someone gain an advantage to improve on the test? would high food/drink intake before the test slightly scew the results, as the excess food would not have yet been processed and stored as body fat? Would anything else affect the test?

    Thanks
    On my quest for 180 lbs...
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  2. #2
    Overcome Everything Lasharm's Avatar
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    Many things can cause unreliable caliper testing. The main ones I think of are

    1: Post-workout testing (Blood is flushed to the test sites and if client is under-hydrated, this can reduce caliper readings)

    2: After Client has been Hydrating (excess water can "bloat" the client's readings)

    3: The client "flexing", whether on-purpose or not.

    4: Over-testing (Pinching the same area over and over again can compress the fat around and cause misreadings)
    I am certified as an ISSA Fitness Instructor, Pilates Mat Tech I instructor, Form Roller Instructor, and in Group Instruction. I am an experienced Athlete, Weight-lifter, Gymnast, and have several years of hands-on experience in Physical Therapy Modalities. Check me out at www.IronLooks.com
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  3. #3
    Registered User McJimmie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lewistk View Post
    I will be testing my clients for body fat percentage using the calipers on 5 sites on their bodies.
    My question is, what factors may affect the testing results. eg, how could someone gain an advantage to improve on the test? would high food/drink intake before the test slightly scew the results, as the excess food would not have yet been processed and stored as body fat? Would anything else affect the test?

    Thanks
    Excess food does not get stored as body fat !

    Why worry ? If your client wants to 'cheat', that is their problem, not yours. Just take the measurements as accurately as you can, and keep a track of results. Remember to take tape measure measurements as well, which equally show development.
    because fitness isn't coincidence
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  4. #4
    Registered User MT1979's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by McJimmie View Post
    Excess food does not get stored as body fat !
    If the body doesn't use it for energy, what does it become then? I guess it disapears.
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  5. #5
    Banned Vince Goodrum's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lewistk View Post
    I will be testing my clients for body fat percentage using the calipers on 5 sites on their bodies.
    My question is, what factors may affect the testing results. eg, how could someone gain an advantage to improve on the test? would high food/drink intake before the test slightly scew the results, as the excess food would not have yet been processed and stored as body fat? Would anything else affect the test?

    Thanks
    I use an electronic device to measure BF on clients. Lot quicker and easier.
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  6. #6
    Registered User rloupe1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Vince Goodrum View Post
    I use an electronic device to measure BF on clients. Lot quicker and easier.
    That device is fairly inaccurate on it's readings. I got a caliper test that read me at 4.5% (which I think was low) ten minutes later I used this machine that told me 12% which was extremely high. I tend to trust the calipers over the machines. I have found the most accurate way to do it with the calipers is have 3 different people perform the test over three days and take an average of the three.
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    Originally Posted by McJimmie View Post
    Excess food does not get stored as body fat !
    That's good to hear. I'm off to Starbucks.
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  8. #8
    BRB... Eating a chicken askthetrainer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rloupe1 View Post
    That device is fairly inaccurate on it's readings. I got a caliper test that read me at 4.5% (which I think was low) ten minutes later I used this machine that told me 12% which was extremely high. I tend to trust the calipers over the machines. I have found the most accurate way to do it with the calipers is have 3 different people perform the test over three days and take an average of the three.
    I performed hundreds of readings w/ that same model of hand caliper and calipers and I would say that over 80% of readings with both methods were comparable.

    Keep in mind that my clients were older and didn't lead an active lifestyle.

    Where the Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis machines go wrong is for extremely active, lean people (such as yourself) and people who don't follow the guidelines (no caffeine, alcohol, dehydration, activity, etc.).

    I definitely think the BIA machine is a good thing to have, especially for obese people who will have their privacy and space invaded by pinching them w/ calipers.

    And if you have ever had a client who was too large for the calipers you would know that it is an extremely awkward moment which probably won't be good for the trainer client, relationship.

    This is random but I just used a high end BIA body fat scale which I created a new thread about: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?p=338628251
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  9. #9
    Registered User carl.c's Avatar
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    BIA is highly inaccurate when compared to calipers. Human pysiology causes to many errors even with morbidly obese clients its worse do to the compaction of fat and the density of older fat deposits. IF no other chose, then BIA can be used, one has to make sure the test conditions are the same. The readings will be off but if conditions are the same then the movements of the measurments will be consistant.
    On the side if your client is to large for calipers why even bother with body fat measurments, they are a waste of time and only embaress the client, better to use the scale and decreases in clothing size to motivate.
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  10. #10
    Registered User ATP-CYCLE's Avatar
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    tape mesure

    what about a tape measure with big people, 2-3 girth, men, women.
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  11. #11
    Registered User carl.c's Avatar
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    same problem as caliper. better to just use the scale to start.
    Its a judgment call by the trainer some clients don't get embasased and ashamed so do.
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  12. #12
    Registered User atm10's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by carl.c View Post
    BIA is highly inaccurate when compared to calipers. Human pysiology causes to many errors even with morbidly obese clients its worse do to the compaction of fat and the density of older fat deposits. IF no other chose, then BIA can be used, one has to make sure the test conditions are the same. The readings will be off but if conditions are the same then the movements of the measurments will be consistant.
    On the side if your client is to large for calipers why even bother with body fat measurments, they are a waste of time and only embaress the client, better to use the scale and decreases in clothing size to motivate.
    Totally agree, especially with BF% on obese clients that is embarassing for them or impossible to even take.
    Some people are like slinkies.....not really good for anything but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs!
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  13. #13
    Banned Vince Goodrum's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rloupe1 View Post
    That device is fairly inaccurate on it's readings. I got a caliper test that read me at 4.5% (which I think was low) ten minutes later I used this machine that told me 12% which was extremely high. I tend to trust the calipers over the machines. I have found the most accurate way to do it with the calipers is have 3 different people perform the test over three days and take an average of the three.

    The only way to truly measure BF is by hydrostatic water measurement. Even calipers aren't accurate. I don't find it beneficial to a clients progress as they are looking for visible results rather than a measurement reading.

    I do use it however for boosting revenue. You can give free bodyfat testing to people in the gym and when they see that they are 30-40% fat (Trust me it reads it all the time) it motivates them even more to take advantage of your services and/or products and supplements that you offer.

    Using an electronic device is simply quicker plus you can store their reading and after they use your services you can measure and keep a log of their progress
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  14. #14
    Registered User carl.c's Avatar
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    Vince: Anyone with a little practice on the calipers will be with in .5. to 1.5% of hydrostatic weighting. Besides are you going to put 400lbs perso into a hydro tank? The water displacement in the tank besides trying to get that person in and out would be embaressing enough, also there bouancy will make submerging them difficult.
    Better to stay with a scale. Trust me I've tried to get morbidly obese people in a hydro tanks its no fun.
    Don't mean to get into a pissing contest with you since i aready stated the error in bio impedance can be controled by measuring under the same conditions everytime. I just suffer from doing to many measurments in college where your forced to be as accurate as possable.
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