5 Ways to Measure Body Fat

Today people are more health conscious than ever. We are no longer puppeteers to the shady marketing of so called health foods. We know that too much fat around our organs leads to disease and are finally fighting back. So how much fat do you have? Are you a fat skinny person? Do you want to move from the obese to fit category? Wherever you lie in the health and fitness spectrum is unique, but you should have your body fat tested to determine how healthy you are, set goals to improve your body metrics or try to maintain where you’re at if its comfortable for you.
I have outlined 5 ways to measure body fat with pros and cons. I of course am biased towards the Sea mBCA, because I own one. But the reason is obvious as to why I chose it over other methods. It’s the most accurate, affordable, gives fat mass, muscle mass, total body water, and lean mass. It’s a safe and convienent. But read below and make your own conclusions, my point is, be aware, get healthy.
 
 
Calipers
What is it:
A sweet little device that pinches your fat in different areas of the body, usually administered by a trainer or another individual . The numbers are then plugged into a formula that estimates your body fat percentage based on your age and gender. If  you’re looking to spend very little check out MyoTape and Accu-Measure Fitness 3000 and you can do it at home. However, this is only measuring visceral fat and cannot account for total body fat (such as fat internal fat, most importantly fat surrounding your organs).
Pros:
Inexpensive, easy to use
Cons:
Highly inaccurate. How much skin do you pinch? Are your pinching locations consistent? Hard to say exactly.
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Calipers
 
Hydrostatic weighing
What is it:
To perform underwater weighing, a person is first weighed normally and then gets on a special scale that is lowered underwater. You then must expel all the air from your lungs and remain motionless while your underwater weight is measured. This procedure is repeated three times and averaged.
A special calculation based upon the Archimedes Principle is used to determine lean weight and fat weight and thus will determine a percentage of body fat.
Pros:
Accurate (depending on your ability to expel all the air in your lungs)
Affordable
Cons:
You have to get wet
You have to expel all the air in your lungs for the most accurate results
You have to know how to swim
Not conducive for testing a broad spectrum of individuals (geriatric, children, disabled)
Getting to hang out with some extra little floaters in the water left over from the prior tester.
hydrostatic-weighing
DEXA Scan
What is it:
Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry
DEXA scans are used primarily to evaluate bone density and can also be used to measure body composition and fat content. 
You must must lay on the DEXA table, hold very still, and may be asked to keep from breathing for a few seconds while the x-ray picture is taken.
Pros: Accurate
Cons: expensive, radiation is involved, accessibility
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Bod Pod
What is it:
An egg shaped machine that works off of Whole-Body Air Displacement Plethysmography (ADP). You simply sit comfortably for 2 – 50 second measurements. The person conducting the test will open the Bod Pod door in between measurements, and after the final measurement you will be asked to step out.
It is a recognized and scientifically validated densitometric method to measure body composition. The principal is similar to hydrostatic weighing  but uses air displacement rather than water immersion.
Pros: affordable, quick, comfortable, automated, noninvasive, and safe measurement process, and accommodates various subject types (e.g., children, obese, elderly, and disabled persons).
Cons:
Accessibility. Navy seals, NFL and top universities use the Bod Pod, and it may be difficult to find one near you. Moderate-high price point. 
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SECA mBCA

What is it:

The Seca mBCA 514 Medical Body Composition Analyzer offers clinically validated precision for calculating body fat mass, fat-free mass, total body water, extracellular water, skeletal muscle mass, lean soft tissue and more. The Seca mBCA Analyzer Scale uses scientific gold standard calculations including air displacement plethysmography, deuterium dilution, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and sodium bromide dilution. The Seca 514 pairs these calculations with 8 point bioelectrical impedance analysis to achieve unmatched accuracy.

Pros:  affordable, quick, comfortable, automated, noninvasive, and safe measurement process, and accommodates various subject types (e.g., children, obese, elderly, and disabled persons).

Cons: Newer technology. Difficult to locate one near you.

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