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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Measuring Your Body Fat

By Gloria Reibin

You may have heard about lean muscle mass. Since muscle is denser than fat. Someone with a large percentage of their weight in muscle would look trim compared against a person of the same weight whose weight is generally in fat. So how you measure your body fat can be a crucial aspect to your health and fitness regime.

Typical ways of deternining body fat.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - An x-ray "excites" water and fat molecules in the body, thru a magnetic field. A computer scans a person's body, while he lies within the magnetic field. It produces high quality photographs illustrating how much fat there is and its location. The process takes approximately 30 minutes and is considered safe because it does not use ionizing radiation.

Pros: Safe and comparatively correct.

Cons: The equipment, as well as the analysis of the results is expensive.

Hydrostatic Weighing - This is the one which I've heard about as being the most accurate. First off, you get weighed in the normal way. Then you're dunked fully in a tank of water and weighed again.

Because bone and muscle densities are higher than water and fat is less dense than water, the person with more bone and muscle will weight more in water than the person who has more fat.

The engineer can then identify the volume and density of the person's body, and thus, the share of body fat.

This is one I have always wanted to try, but haven't taken the time to find where I can find such a tank.

Pros: It gives pretty accurate results

Cons: Likelihood is that you don't have a tank in your place and might not want to get one.

Bioelectrical Impedance Scale - While commonly used, this is not the most accurate. A special scale applies weak electrical current throughout your body. Since fat and muscles exhibit a different resistance to the existing, the scale shows how many pounds of body fast you have matched against muscle. Fat and muscle resist the current at different rates

Pros: It is possible to get one of these for usage in the home from Amazon and other online market places for about $40.00

Cons: But a professional scale works best and begins at about $1500

Body Fat Caliper - This is the one I use, but I never feel secure that I am using it correctly in spite of the fact that I follow the directions, You're told to pinch the skin away from the muscle about one inch above your hip bone, Then you use the calipers to determine the fold, then consult a chart which lists weight according to age, to figure out your body fat.

Even though it is easy to use, I'm never quite sure I'm pinching only the fat. I understand also, that highly overweight individuals have a harder time of it.

Pros of this system are small and minimal cost.

The cons are, as I listed above, skill of the person using it.

The main way you can reduce body fat is to build muscle.

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