The best way to measure body fat percentage

So you want to know your body fat percentage?

The “Tanita” says you have 20%

The Calipper says 15%

And you are already confused and don’t know what is right and what’s not.

In this article, I’ll discuss the best way to do it, and why…

Many people tend to confuse body composition, BMI and body fat percentage.

Of course, these are different from each other.

Body composition refers to bones, fat tissue, muscle mass, blood, water, organs, etc.

BMI or BODY MASS INDEX refers to the ratio of height to weight.

Body fat percentage, as its name implies, refers to the percentage of fat you have in your body weight.
Of course, the percentage of fat depending on whether the same person increases or decreases fat or decreases or increases muscle mass.

In other words,

Your percentage of fat changes depending on how your body changes over time.

Let’s go back to BMI for a moment. As I said before, BMI refers to the ratio of height to body weight.

To calculate it, you will divide your weight by the kilogram of your height.

For example: if I weigh 64.4 kg and my height is 1.63

The multiplier is 1.63X1.63 = 2.6569

From here we divide the weight by the result:

64.4: 2.6569 = 24.23

According to the BMI chart, it appears that I am in the category of normal weight. Although it is an excellent tool for most us, for people in the field of fitness and bodybuilding is a little problematic because they have a lot of muscle mass and because of that, their weight is higher and their BMI showing a high level of a risk.

How to measure your body fat correctly

All of us have been in the gym, stood on the Tanita and saw different results of  body fat percentage each time we tried them

Every time you think you’ve lost body fat, these devices just showed you the opposite, which made you feel frustrated and confused.

If so…

What’s the best way?

Wel… as you know, the simplest way is to use devices like the “Tanita” or other electronic devices. These devices are called BIA, they measure your resistance of your body to an electrical pulse.

The science here is simple:

The muscle has the ability to conduct electric pulses (because 70% of it is water) while fat tissue isn’t because it contains less water.

So theoretically, the higher your body fat percentage, the less it will generate electricity.

Which means that the electric pulse will pass in a less favorable way and show us wrong results.

In addition, most of these devices use only 2 electrodes. Which is a problem, because it can skip the whole lower body if you use a device that only requires holding with our hands, devices such as “Tanita” can skip your torso.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that these fat-percentage devices are also affected by several physical factors such as a dehydration that can result in a higher fat percentage.

Weighing after eating can show a low result. Weighing after fasting showed a 4.2 percent reduction in fat percentage and weighing straight after a workout is also not optimal.
Think about this for a moment, you want to measure your body fat percentage, you’re sure you’re 10% and the device shows you 16%!

The bottom line is that all these electronic devices are good, but according to what scientists say, a simple test such as electronic devices is not good enough to estimate body fat percentage.


Caliper and body fat measurements
A caliper is an excellent tool for measuring the percentage of body fat by pinching a few places in the body that gives an estimation to the percentage of fat in your body.

Here, too, there are a number of issues.

If you pinch too hard, you’ll get a much higher fat percentage than it really is.

If you pinch too soft, you will get a low result.

Even if you pinch it accurately, the chances of error still exist from time to time.


DEXA – dual energy x-ray absorptiometry

There is no doubt that the DEXA is one of the best methods to measure the percentage of body fat.

DEXA uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. The roentgen energy is changed by fat and fat tissue, making each area a separate measurement.

Despite all the benefits of DEXA, studies actually show that it can also be as wrong as other methods.

One study showed that DEXA deviated by 10 points.

The reasons why DEXA is not such a big deal as you think:

1. Accuracy varies from several factors
 Such as sex, body size, fat level, disease status, fluids.

2. Different machines rely on different algorithms, which makes the data show different percentages of fat from each other.
3. The X-ray type of method affects the accuracy of the test.
4. Different devices will see different results, even if both devices are from the same manufacturing company.


The science behind the BOD POD is quite similar to hydrostatic measurement.

You sit in an airtight compartment and sensors measure the amount of air that is pulled out of your body.

The measurements of the BOD POD can be affected by several factors such as body temperature, facial hair, moisture and even the density of your clothes.

The mirror does not lie

Sometimes the easiest and simplest things are the best. You may not know for sure whether you are 6.754 or 8.435 percent fat but you can definitely guess where you are.

You may notice that your abs are already visible at 10% body fat. More separation seems to be at 8%. And at 7%, the body appears shredded. Below that it just seems crazy… In a bad way…

Women, on the other hand, carry extra fat in the chest, hips, buttocks, and hips, so even if they are as lean as men, their fat percentage will always be higher.

For example, in order for a woman to reach 10% BF as a man, HER 10% is stage ready for a bodybuilding competition.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that even two people with the same body fat percentage can appear different depending on their muscle mass.

For example, a 75 kg man at 10% BF and 7 kg body of fat, compared to a man who weighs 85 kg at 10% BF and has 4 kg of fat, only he has more muscle mass.


So how do I measure my body fat percentage ?!

There are 4 important things to consider in measuring body fat percentage:

Bone Density
Fat mass
Muscle mass
Body water
The data from each of these tests were then test mathematically to determine body fat percentage.

And it works!

If you have scientists who can test all of these then BE MY GUEST,

Oh… you don’t?

Well, then you can do something else that is good enough and it requires 4 things:

Tape Measure
Weight scale
And that’s how it works …

weigh yourself every day for 7-10 days and calculate the average you’ve got.
Check your body fat percentage with Caliper every week
Although the caliper is not exactly accurate, it can be very effective for you to know if you managed to get leaner or not.

A rule of thumb:

if your skin is thicker over time, you got fatter. If not, and even your skin looks thinner then you are getting leaner.

This is the Caliper I use:


It’s simple and easy to use. What’s also surprising is how accurate it is.

The company that produced it says it should be accurate at 1-2% for most people.

Here’s how to use it:





Measure your waistline every week.
Use a measuring tape to measure your waistline every week. I recommend measuring around the belly button line so you will not be distracted and will know every week whether you got leaner or not.






Take a picture of yourself every week
We see ourselves every day and we don’t really notice changes in our bodies, so it’s very important that you take progress pictures from the front, side and back so you can continue to see improvement.

These pictures will help you see progress and even improvement in areas you have not noticed, which will keep you motivated and focused.

What is the healthy body fat range for a man and a woman?

Fat is necessary for our body, without it, we would die. Fat helps us protect our internal organs, regulate body temperature, hormones and it helps to keep us healthy.

This is why there is a limit to how much you can lower your BF%. Remember: your body wants to survive and he needs a certain amount of BF to do so.

Category                                             men                                              women  
Dangerous                                              2 – 4%                                                 9 – 11%
Athlete                                                    6 – 13%                                              14 – 20%
In shape                                                14 – 17%                                                21 – 24%
Normal                                                 18 – 25%                                                25 – 31%
Excess weight                                        26% +                                                   32% +

If you would get TOO MUCH lean, you will destroy your hormones, your metabolism, your immune system and even cause chronic fatigue and depression.

And if that’s not enough, once you’ve done all these things to your body, going back to normal can take a long time.

In conclusion:

There is no tool that can be 100% accurate in checking the percentage of fat.

Each tool listed in this article helps to give an estimation of body fat percentage but not exactly 100%.

And as you’ve seen, some are better than others but none of them is as good as we’d like to think.

And honestly …

who cares??

At the end of the day, how we truly want to look and visualize ourself is the best scenario for us.

I recommend you use the simple Caliper method. This Caliper will help you continue to see progress in the simplest and easiest way.

What do you think about the article “The best way to measure body fat percentage”?

Do you have anything else you would like to add?

I’ll be happy to know In the comments section below

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