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5 Ways to Measure Your Body Fat at Home

Apr 25, 2020 | Articles, Fitness, Wellness

Measure your body fat percentage – 5 ways to do it 

Measuring body fat is a great way to track progress to figure out if a nutrition and training plan is working for you. It is especially a go-to method when building muscle and losing fat. At home methods can provide comfort and frugality. 

However, it can become expensive when tracking consistently. So, looking for a least expensive and still accurate option becomes conflicting. With that, all methods mentioned below are not 100% accurate. If you are going to choose one below, I suggest you stick with it. 

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Here are 5 ways to measure your body fat at home

Handheld body fat monitor

If you have extra cash in your pocket, you can consider getting the handheld body fat monitor. This handheld device is extremely popular in fitness centers and a great way to measure body fat at home because it’s portable, results are fast, and requires no technical skills. 

To increase accuracy, there are pretest guidelines, such as no exercise within 12 hours of testing. If the pretest guidelines are followed, the accuracy is underestimated by ~.3%. If the guidelines are not followed, and you exercise prior to testing, it can be underestimated by 4.1% – 4.3%.

Body scale

A body scale with an analyzer is a super convenient way to measure body fat at home. It is also cost-effective with Amazon’s best seller costing under $50. This option is great because results are fast, and requires no technical skills as well. 

Accuracy varies because there are multiple variables that can affect the results. This depends on when you last ate, your gender, where you store fat, and other variables not mentioned. This is a great option for a general idea that isn’t so broad. 

Caliper

This is a skin-fold method used where sections of your body are pinched and measured using a caliper then put together in an equation to determine your body fat. I have included 6 different equations you can use. As I mentioned earlier, I recommend choosing one and sticking with it, this includes the equation you choose below. Using a caliper is a cost-effective method for body fat but is a little more technical. 

The accuracy is significantly lower and can underestimate body fat by 21% to 45%. Here are some tips I’ve used when using a caliper, take the skin fold 3 times per section separately. The reason for this is because the skin can get irritated. Then, find the average using one equation consistently. 

3 Site Jackson/Pollock MethodParillo Method
4 Site Jackson/Pollock MethodSloan Method
7 Site Jackson/Pollock MethodYuhasz Method

Tape Measure

Using tape measure is one of the least expensive ways to measure your body fat. Here is a tape measure that is specifically aimed for body fat. For this measurement, the tape measure and the women’s Girth Method Calculator is needed.

This at home method can leave a lot of room for error and is not close to accurate because it can be overestimated or underestimated. This method does not take into account the different body types including the wrist, waist, and hips size from person to person. This method can be used to give you a broad general idea.

Body fat picture chart

Using a body fat picture chart is the least expensive way to measure body fat at home. It will cost you nothing but a little time. You can simply do a Google search using keywords ‘body fat picture chart’ or you can grab the freebie attached to this post that I’ve put together. 

I have compiled images of women’s core comparison and tips on how to interpret your body fat percentage and other formulas. When using this option, please know the images have a range of +/- 5% to 10% difference. This method can be used to give you a broad general idea.

Conclusion on 5 ways to measure your body fat at home

All the methods mentioned do not provide 100% accuracy, but they can serve as a cost-effective general idea when tracking body fat at home. If you are going to choose one of these options, make sure to stick to it so that the progress measurements can remain consistent. 

What method did you first start out using when tracking body fat?

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