While weight is fairly easy to establish using just a pair of scales, but most people only know their body fat percentage based on their BMI reading. Now, while that can certainly be useful to give you a rough idea, it’s certainly not ideal for anyone hoping to get an accurate picture of their body rat percentage. Kowing your body fat percentage can be key in taking your training and nutrition to the next level, and these monitors can help you do that.
Types of body fat monitors:
Abdominal subcutaneous fat thickness meter
An abdominal subcutaneous fat thickness meter, also known as a skin calliper, is used by pinching together the fat on the side of your abdomen and measuring its thickness. These are incredibly cheap, so are great for anyone who just wants to get a general idea of the level they are at.
Body composition monitor
A body composition monitor is used by either holding or being attached to electrodes. These then send a pulse through your body, allowing the machine to calculate data including your body fat, water and muscle percentages. It’s great for more advanced athletes, as well as medical professionals, as it gives a clear reading of exactly what the body is made up of.
What are the benefits of a body fat monitor?
A body fat monitor is a great way of knowing exactly how much of your size is fat, allowing you to adjust your diet and training accordingly. This will not only help you to improve in the gym but can also help to ward off conditions like diabetes.
The more advanced machines will also give you a clearer picture of things that you can’t see, such as the dangerous visceral fat stored within the cavity of the abdomen. This allows you to combat problems you would probably have been otherwise unaware of.
Other things to consider:
Number of users
Some of the more complex machines will have a maximum number of users, as data is stored to their profile on the machine. If you’re looking for a machine that is going to be used by more than one person, make sure it has enough profiles available for the number of users you need.
Number of segmental fat/muscle readings
The greater number of segmental fat, muscle and water readings a machine can provide, the more in-depth the data you receive will be. If you are looking for a machine that provides extremely detailed results, make sure it has as many segmental readings as possible.
Some body fat monitors need to be plugged into the mains, while others can be powered by a battery. If you’re someone who is likely to be moving your machine regularly, like a personal trainer taking it to your clients, make sure you won’t have to rely on a plug socket being available wherever you go.
Some of the newer, more high-tech body fat monitors will come with built-in Bluetooth, allowing you to connect it to your smart devices. This is ideal if you want to send your data to any online apps you use, or for personal trainers needing to share the readings with clients.
The display on a body fat monitor can be anything from a basic LCD screen to a full-colour display, comparable to what you would find on a smartphone. While this is largely cosmetic, the better a screen is the easier it will be to read, which is ideal in situations where you’re working on a time limit.
More detailed displays may often show you more comprehensive data, which is again important for industry pros, as well as more experienced lifters.
Some body fat monitors can be incredibly small and easy to carry around, while others are large and designed to be set up in a single location. Pay close consideration to this when you think about how often you’re going to need to move your body fat monitor.
Outside of skin callipers, most body fat monitors are complex pieces of equipment, with any number of things that could go wrong. Make sure the one you select has a warranty that will leave you feeling comfortable and confident in the longevity of your purchase
While body fat monitors aren’t overly expensive, the more detailed ones do start to creep up in price. Make sure to bear this in mind so you don’t end up wasting time analysing a product that you are unable or unwilling to pay for.