Everybody’s always talking about losing weight, but really it’s fat they want to lose. The problem with simply jumping on the scale and checking out the three digits of doom is that it really doesn’t give you a very complete picture of what’s going on. A better idea is to find out your body composition; then you can tell if you’re really losing the right kind of weight.
What if there was a tool that you can use to spy on your body and find out how much of the weight you lost was actually fat? 10 years ago, you could buy a simple set of calipers to do a skin fold test. While relatively quick, it wasn’t nearly as accurate or as easy as the average consumer would want. After all, who wants to have to use charts, and possibly, gasp, math, to find out their body fat percentage?
Of course, you could always hop into the dunk tank for a hydrostatic test. While that is definitely accurate, few of us have a 1,000 gallon water tank to jump in for a quick body fat measurement.
Thankfully, modern technology has once again come to the rescue. Now you can do a plethora of things that were once either too expensive, too complicated, or both, to do at home. Included in that is getting quick and accurate body fat measurements from the privacy of your bathroom. It’s as simple as standing on your bathroom scale in bare feet.
It’s true. You can get a regular bathroom scale with an accurate body fat monitor built right in. You can now get not only your weight, but your body composition reading, in a few seconds. Just like you can now get the computing power that formerly filled a room at the pentagon for a few hundred dollars, or a device the size of a credit card that carries thousands of songs, hundreds of pictures, and tells you where you’re going and how to get there, you can now get accurate body fat measurements from a bathroom scale.
The icing on the cake is that not only are these things readily available, they won’t cost you a fortune. In fact, you can put one on your wish list without feeling guilty, because nice ones are available for less than $100, and in many cases you’ll get change back from a 50.
How Can A Body Fat Monitor Help Me Lose Fat Faster?
Okay, so how can these wonders of modern technology help you lose fat faster? They work partially because they let you see exactly what kind of weight you’re losing. If you’ve heard me balther on about not losing muscle because it will slow your metabolism and kill your fat burning potential, now you can know exactly how much fat you’ve lost as opposed to just weight.
That is extremely powerful, because it lets you adjust your diet and exercise routine to ensure you’re not losing valuable muscle. In fact, you can use this to fine tune your program so that you actually gain muscle while you’re losing fat. Talk about a shortcut to fat loss!
But Wait, There’s More……
The other way that one of these body fat monitors helps you lose fat faster is by unleashing the power of competition. Competing with yourself every day to see that body fat percentage number go lower and lower is compelling. There’s something about it that makes you want to do better each day, even more so than just watching the scale numbers go down.
If you’re in this with a friend (and that is a great idea) then you can compete with them to see who’s body fat percentage is dropping faster. Anyone who has worked out with a lifting partner can tell you how heated competition like this can be. I have made more progress trying to get to that next milestone faster than my lifting partner than I could have ever done if I was working out alone, even if I had someone spot me so that I could squeeze out those last few reps that help you really make progress in the weight room. You can use your body fat monitor the same way. Start a competition with a friend to see who can improve their body fat percentage the fastest (without doing any thing crazy). You’ll be amazed how much competition can help.
If you don’t already have one, grab one of those scales that have a built in monitor. And watch the fat start to drop away.
How Do These Things Measure Body Fat Percentage?
Most of them work by passing a small, electric current through your body and measuring the resistance presented by your tissues. Fat and lean body tissue have different characteristics, so the software in the machine is able to calculate the relative amount of each. This is called the Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) method.
What Should I Look For in a Body Fat Monitor?
If you are going to shop for one, what should you look for? Luckily, there is a wide variety of models available these days, most with all the features you’ll need.
Popular Body Fat Monitor Features –
Memory – Unless you love to write things down, why not let those little, silicon chips do the remembering? It will track your progress for you, automatically. You can get units that have multi-user memories, which is great if more than person will be using it.
Capacity – Make sure the unit you’re considering has a capacity over your current body weight.
Large, Legible Display – I know that I sure can’t see small numbers as well as I could a few years ago, so this is a feature I’m pretty adamant about. No squinting, thank you!
Accuracy – Obviously, you want a device that will give you accurate readings. However, without access to expensive calibration equipment, or independent lab tests, you are a bit on your own here. You have to rely on the reputation of the manufacturer. Perhaps even more important than absolute accuracy is consistency. For example, it doesn’t really matter if it is always 2 percentage points too high, if it always reads that way. That enables you to still track your progress accurately. If it is high one day and low the next however, it is almost useless.
Who Makes Good Body Fat Monitors?
Some of the most trusted manufacturers of these machines for home use are Omron, Tanita, and Ozeri.
These consistently receive high customer reviews on Amazon.com, and many of those receiving the best reviews are not the most expensive (Joy!)
My picks are below. Check out what customers are saying about them on Amazon
Omron HBF-306C Fat Loss Monitor, Black
Inexpensive and effective.
Omron Full Body Sensor Body Fat and Body Composition Monitor
Adds features such as water percentage that are helpful for staying properly hydrated.
Tanita BF680W Duo Scale Plus Body Fat Monitor with Athletic Mode and Body Water
This one is great, with body composition and water percentage, but only has a 300lb capacity.
Hopefully, this will give you one more tool to use in your fight against fat. If you are using one of these let me know how it’s helped you so far. If you are about to start, please keep me posted.