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  1. #1
    Registered User Betador's Avatar
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    Exclamation Body Fat Caliper, manual vs digital

    Hello guys, I have bought 2 types of calipers. One is digital and the other one manual.
    Also I have used other digital caliper type, more expensive unit, at my local Gym.

    I have measured my body fat over almost two month. Using both digital and manual

    During this time I notice following:

    Manual calliper shows my body fat reduce by 6%
    My weight reduce by 2 kg
    My muscle increase in grow.

    Same time 2 different type of Digital calipers struggle to show any improvements and keep showing the very same body fat % as I was using it for the first time (+-2%)

    Is there anyone have decent explanation? Are digital body fat really fake or just my body water stays at the same level?

    Thanks
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  2. #2
    Super Spreader desslok's Avatar
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    How many sites are you measuring? Most likely you are measuring slightly different each time. It can take a while to measure in the same spot. It also is kind of human nature to "find" lower measurements if you see one. Just have to be consistent, or better yet find someone else to take measurements and make sure they are consistent.
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    Registered User Betador's Avatar
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    The digital calipers have handle spots to measure.
    Usually I measure same time.

    Manual calliper suggest measurement spot on the side of the lower body.
    Yes I did take a few measurement.

    Overall I feel my self I lose fat yet the digital wont show anything good at all.
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    Super Spreader desslok's Avatar
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    What helped me was watching some videos on youtube also.
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    Registered User terry917's Avatar
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    Probably the most accurate yet costly and hard to find is the hydrostatic method. So aside from the this meathod like you, we have used both digital and manual approach. Manual calipher measurement for us became a way to test reduction but charting was tedious. We have since begun using the Tanita Scale, though have to say it is not 100% accurate either, it can help us in analyzing clients somewhat effectively. So many elements come into play. Consistency when taking measurement is necessary in order to chart progress. Little things that change can alter the reading each time; like did you drink or eat prior to measuring, did you urinate, are their hormonal things happening, how is your hydration level, did you exercise prior to taking the measurement. I can go on! If we can get the same elements involved prior to each measure then we feel we can get close in explanation as to what is happening. Of all the things that seem to effect the reading most, I think water transfer in the body will make a bigger % difference between each measurement. You want a high water count ensuring you have hydrated tissue vs. holding water in the subcutaneous fat under the skin. So regardless of what method you use, stay hydrated. Fat will hold onto water if the mind tells the body you are trying to dehydrate (drinking too little). Here's a nice (short link) with some good info. You question is a good one. We've asked it too! Good luck in your fitness endeavors. God bless!

    http://www.essortment.com/all/measurebodyf_ryzd.htm
    Terry Hill MSE Physiology/CPT/Sport Nutrionist-AFPA

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    Registered User Betador's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by terry917 View Post
    ... I think water transfer in the body will make a bigger % difference between each measurement. You want a high water count ensuring you have hydrated tissue vs. holding water in the subcutaneous fat under the skin. So regardless of what method you use, stay hydrated. Fat will hold onto water if the mind tells the body you are trying to dehydrate (drinking too little). Here's a nice (short link) with some good info. You question is a good one. We've asked it too! Good luck in your fitness endeavors. God bless!
    Thanks Terry, awesome!
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    I Like to Rock Max10's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by terry917 View Post
    Probably the most accurate yet costly and hard to find is the hydrostatic method. So aside from the this meathod like you, we have used both digital and manual approach. Manual calipher measurement for us became a way to test reduction but charting was tedious. We have since begun using the Tanita Scale, though have to say it is not 100% accurate either, it can help us in analyzing clients somewhat effectively. So many elements come into play. Consistency when taking measurement is necessary in order to chart progress. Little things that change can alter the reading each time; like did you drink or eat prior to measuring, did you urinate, are their hormonal things happening, how is your hydration level, did you exercise prior to taking the measurement. I can go on! If we can get the same elements involved prior to each measure then we feel we can get close in explanation as to what is happening. Of all the things that seem to effect the reading most, I think water transfer in the body will make a bigger % difference between each measurement. You want a high water count ensuring you have hydrated tissue vs. holding water in the subcutaneous fat under the skin. So regardless of what method you use, stay hydrated. Fat will hold onto water if the mind tells the body you are trying to dehydrate (drinking too little). Here's a nice (short link) with some good info. You question is a good one. We've asked it too! Good luck in your fitness endeavors. God bless!

    Great answer....thanks for asking the question and thanks for the detailed response. I have a manual caliper right now and will run with it but do so knowing to watch for all these variables you mentioned. Eliminating those will play a big role in feeling like the measurements are as accurate as they can be without having to go spend right now on a more expensive, digital, reader.
    Well done is better than well said.
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  8. #8
    Registered User JerryB's Avatar
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    I measure my body fat with Lange calipers. I have had my body fat measured by the hydrostatic method. The two measurements were within 10% of each other. For the Lange calipers I use the Pollock and Jackson formula for 3-sites. I have a website, www.lookbetterfit .com, were I record the measurements. The site has a database to store the data and produces a body composition table. I have data stored going back six years. I use the body composition table for tracking my body fat when I’m dieting reducing my body fat for a contest.
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    the cheapest calipers out there will give you a reasonable determination and it is all relative as most of the time we are trying to measure DIFFERENCES, so that, if you use the same caliper, it will show gain or loss...

    ultimately: the mirror/and/or/camera is your best friend in this determination.
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  10. #10
    CARDIO is the Devil! ob205's Avatar
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    I second the mirror and/or a good coach/trainer's honest opinion. As for calipers, instead of plugging into a formula, I like the 6 or 7 site approach and just go by total. If the total is less 4-6 weeks later, there is a good answer. Of course there is some variance but if same person is testing you and is fairly competent, it's accurate enough.
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  11. #11
    Registered User JerryB's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ob205 View Post
    I second the mirror and/or a good coach/trainer's honest opinion. As for calipers, instead of plugging into a formula, I like the 6 or 7 site approach and just go by total. If the total is less 4-6 weeks later, there is a good answer. Of course there is some variance but if same person is testing you and is fairly competent, it's accurate enough.
    I guess becoming an accountant, I'm a numbers person. I can associate my look to a quantitative indicator and estimate my body composition. It all boils down whatever works for you.
    How can you visualize training a muscle if you don't know its structure?
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