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Health and Medical

What Is the Best Way to Measure Body Composition?

Analysts predict that the home fitness industry’s market size will reach $14 billion by 2028. More and more consumers are regularly working on their weight loss and fitness goals right at home.

There are several ways to measure body composition that help meet those weight loss goals. The process helps create a routine that balances your muscle to fat ratio and live a healthier lifestyle.

Do you know how to complete a body composition test? The following guide will explain easy methods of measuring body composition to put you on the right fitness track.

The Skinfold Test

Skinfold tests use calipers to pinch and measure thickness in the chest, thigh, and abdomen. Advanced measurements include the triceps, below the armpit, shoulder blades, and the hip.

The measurements get added to a formula with your age and gender to estimate a body fat percentage. However, this is not a full-body assessment and different people store fat in different areas.

Skinfold tests are commonly conducted at gyms and fitness centers for a fee. Keep in mind that the results are vulnerable to human error.

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis

The BIA technique sends a low electric current through your body to estimate your fat-free mass. Electricity travels through water and muscle holds more water than fat. So, the current flow can determine lean mass.

Afterward, a machine will estimate your body fat percentage. There’s a 3-8% margin for error with BIA. Note that what you’ve had to eat or drink before the test might affect results.

There are at-home BIA scales and handheld machines to perform tests at home but their accuracies vary. Vist for information about precise and professional services.

Hydrostatic Weighing

Hydrostatic weighing is a form of densitometry that compares your weight underwater and out of water. It also uses water displacement to find your body composition.

Muscle is lighter than fat, but it takes up less volume per pound and is denser. Muscle sinks in water and fat will float.

So, someone with more muscle mass will weigh more in water than someone with a higher percentage of body fat.

During this test, you must expel all air from your lungs because extra air impacts water displacement. The test is usually repeated three times to find your average weight underwater.

Air Displacement

The air displacement method uses an air-controlled pod that looks like an egg. It involves a mechanical diaphragm that makes small volume changes in a confined space. Then, it measures and records pressure responses.

Weight, age, gender, and height get recorded before the air displacement test to calibrate the pod. Density equals mass over volume and that fact is important to the process.

The volume gets measured with air displacement in the pod. The pod then estimates how much fat mass and fat-free mass someone has.

X-Ray Scans

X-ray technology scans your body and gives a detailed assessment of your muscle mass and fat mass. It even finds precisely where your body stores fat and muscle.

For example, scans can find out if your right arm has more muscle mass than your left arm. Some gyms offer these scans and there are also mobile van scan options in some areas.

Ready to Measure Body Composition?

Now you know exactly how to measure body composition. There are many methods with varying prices and accuracy to choose from.

We hope this information helps you meet all of your fitness goals! Check out our blog for more great health tips.


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