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Sunday, 16 September 2012

How to measure your body fat

The Olympics rightly put the focus on health and fitness, the Paralympics even more. As well as the competitive elements and the excitement generated watching participants excel and their chosen sports, the Olympics made me conscious of my own state of fitness.

I remember the first time I went to see my doctor for a complete checkup. Out came his callipers and the measurement taken of the single scroll of fat surrounding my mid-section. This meant putting an end to consumption of apple pies and pastries. This of course worked for a while, slowly the bad eating habits crept back and I found myself eating the pies and pastries again.

Over a decade later, the scrolls of fat have multiplied. The solution is of course diet and exercise. I find that exercise or getting into a routine of exercise much easier than keeping to a diet. What is a little demoralising is that despite exercising there appears to be little change to my weight, one of the success measures for exercise and diet.

I try to take comfort from the accepted wisdom that fat is heavier than muscle. But, the key is knowing the difference between fat and muscle and identify if the lack of change is due to fat getting replaced with muscle.

Measuring your body fat

Using callipers to measure fat is now a dated technique as you can easily find the proportion of fat or muscle with specialised domestic scales. One of which is the Withings Wi-fi Body Scales.

These scales display your weight and fat content. Using the scales means you can target your exercise to reduce fat.

The first impression you get with these scales is it’s high tech looks. The whole family can use the scales as it can track up to eight users. It has automatic user recognition, online dashboards and 40 e-health & fitness services such as Runkeeper. In the age of privacy, you can keep your measurement details on a secure website.

Measuring your body fat and skeletal muscle

The Omron BF511 Blue Family Body Composition Monitor goes several steps further, using its sensor technology, the BF511 Body Composition Monitor gives you a painless and accurate total body reading--body weight (in kilograms), body fat percentage, visceral fat, resting metabolism and skeletal muscle percentage. You become as knowledgeable as your doctor, probably more so. The visceral fat, is the fat around your waist. Use the technology in these scales to measure your body fat without a visit to the doctor with his callipers.