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LAVERA STEWARTEditor-in-Chief of the Approved By Coach
Now more than ever weight-related problems became such a pressing issue in the world. Busy lifestyle that leaves us no time for a workout, availability of a high-sugar, processed food or some genetic dispositions all contribute to some unwanted weight gain. After all, nobody wants to deal with health issues that extra weight causes.
This coupled up with a heavy promotion of the “perfect slim body” drives a lot of people to try to improve their lifestyle: go on a diet, workout more and start to watch their weight. And the most popular, and precise way to do it is scales. And while scales might be popular, they’re not exactly precise per say.
“Classical” scales have recently gained a reputation for being quite inaccurate when it comes to weight watch. They don’t take into an account the hormonal fluctuations, water weight and actual muscle mass. That is why they might sometimes show you weighing more than you probably are. And that will not only be incorrect, but harmful too, since you might lose any motivation to keep your weight loss journey or turn to more desperate measures when you see no results, such as starving. While in reality there is progress, the scales just don’t detect it.
Hence, why people begin to wonder: “How do I know my body fat percentage?”.
Well, that is where the smart scales come to your aid. This amazing device will allow you to check exactly what your fat weight is – not water or muscles.
So let’s take a closer look at how do smart scales work, and why they are a much better option than the regular ones.
How Do The Body Fat Scales Work?
Those that constantly keep an eye on their weight often ask – “does a scale measure mass or weight?”. And the answer to this is pretty simple – typical scales that most people are accustomed to measure only weight. They do not take into account the water weight or your muscle mass.
Another point we wish to debunk is the BMI calculator. Now, some people often confuse the measurement of BMI vs. body fat measurement. And that is not the correct way to determine your weight, and the BMI have been proven to be quite misleading, since it doesn’t take into an account the muscle mass, bone density e.t.c. For example a bodybuilder that weighs 230 pounds will be considered obese by BMI standarts, despite being quite active and have a lot of muscle mass.
So usually the fat percentage is the most accurate way to determine your situation. Now, you may be wondering – what is a good body fat percentage? While it depends on a lot of factors: height, age, sex e.t.c – the most optimal precentage is around 14-16 for women and 8-10 for men. But again, it all varies depending on the sex and age, so the numers shows are for peopple from 20-29 years.
So with that said, do smart scales any different – you might ask. Then how do body fat scales work, exactly? Well, let’s see. The answer to how body fat measuring device works is simple – almost like the weighing scale. BUT with a slightly different method.
So, to learn how do scales calculate body fat, you need to understand the process. The way it works is that the gauge produces a high bioelectrical current that goes to your sole. The smart scales have sensors for this electric wave, which detect the resistance of your body tissues.
And since we’re made of 60% water, and this is one of the best electrical conductors, the scales can easily detect the resistance of your tissues. The calculations based on the resistance will almost accurately determine how much fatty tissues you have.
How Accurate Are The Body Fat Scales?
After all these years, no scale accuracy is yet to hit 100%, especially when it comes to handheld devices. What they give us is an estimate. Still, their results are quite close to the actual value, although they are substantially affected by:
Site of fatty tissue deposition
Height and physical stature
For instance, if you have some medical conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome or if you’re taking an appetite suppressant, fatty tissue is usually redistributed.
Nevertheless, smart scales are usually pretty accurate in determining your weight, especially if you weigh yourself properly – on an empty stomach or with little or no clothes.
What Are The Strengths and Limitations of Body Fat Scales?
The method we have discussed is called Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA). Its most outstanding attribute is portability, so you will have no problem using body fat scales. However, this method also has quite several limitations; the obvious one is that it cannot point out the actual storage site.
In some cases, a person needs additional methods of testing, such as using body fat caliper measurement to determine which region stores the most fat. And sometimes absorptiometry is used for more obese people.
How Else Do People Measure Body Fat?
In addition to the body fat percentage scale, there are also other different ways how to measure body fat. However, the best way to measure body fat depends on the person and how severe their weight problem is. For example all scales have weight limitations, and if a person is heavier than this limit, they will have to use different methods.
Overall, some of the best ways to measure your body fat percentage are:
Skin Calipers: This method is regarded as probably the oldest method to determine body fat. The way they work is that Skinfold Calipers measures the breadth of folded skin to determine the amount of the fatty tissue underlying your skin. They are very economical, widely available and do not require particular skills to use them. All and all they are the best way if you look for a way how to measure body fat at home.
Body Circumference Measures: When you’re wondering what is the most accurate way to measure body fat – this method is usually the most classical and simple. After all, it requires only a tape. You measure the circumference of a few cylindrical by using a tape. And that helps determine the proportion of fatty tissue. So if you wonder how to measure body fat at home accurately, we recommend this method.
Hydrostatic Weighing: Also scientifically referred to as hydrodensitometry. This fat measurement method involves giving you an estimate of fatty tissue proportion based on your density. Hydrostatic Weighing, you are required to exhale slowly, and then your weight is measured underwater. Then you get measured the same way out of the water, taking into the account the amount of air in your lungs. The calculations are based on these to estimate your weight just as accurate as a body fat scale would.
Plethysmography: This is one of the most accurate methods of measuring body fat. It uses pretty much the same method as hydrodensitometry, with the difference that it uses air, not water. You are put in an egg-like chamber, and the volume of air in the chamber gets changed while your weight is recorded. Although it is quite expensive, it has proven to be just as accurate as with a body fat scale.
Bioimpedance Spectroscopy: A method that is functionally and practically very close to BIA. But, they have a couple of differences. Bioimpedance Spectroscopy uses an increased surge of electric current at different frequencies. And that is the best way to measure the amount of fatty tissue, since BIS is rather accurate and widely used by many scientists and medical professionals.
So when you want to check body fat – these are some of the best and effective ways to do it.
Measurement of fatty tissue content is a very important part of any weight loss journey. It is important when you go on a diet to see your progress, and useful for athletes, since one of the essential bodybuilding tips is to watch over the fat percentage. However seeing how the classical, regular scales are not very accurate in determining your body composition, smart scales are the option a lot of people go with. So we at ApprovedByCoach sincerely hope that we helped you learn how do body fat scales work and what makes them so effective!