If you want to improve your fitness fast, you need to measure where you start from. And one of the easiest (if not the most pleasant) things to track is our weight and bodyfat levels.
Weight is easy to measure, find some scales 🙂
Bodyfat however…In order of effectiveness we have…
Caliper skinfold tests. Really not an effective method at all but at a pinch (no pun intended) is useable. It works by measuring the thickness of the fat under your skin and when measured at several points of the body can give you an overall measurement of bodyfat levels. As you can imagine, effectiveness of this method relies heavily on the experience of the person administering the test.
Electrical bioimpedance tests. Fairly effective, this method puts a very mild electrical current through your body and measures the resistance (or lack of) as forms a circuit. Fat is not as conductive as muscle and bone so with some technological stuff, the device can measure fat levels. This method does get affected by a lot of factors. How hydrated you are, time of day, how much you’ve eaten. It’s too sensitive for using it to track accurate data but can be useful to track progress.
Water displacement. An extremely accurate method and you get to sit around in your swimming costume. 🙂 Water displacement works because fat weighs less than muscle. However, this method requires some specialist equipment that is rare outside of specialist facilities and its a hassle to do.
Air displacement. This is a super accurate method similar to water displacement but this time what we’re displacing is air 🙂 You get into a Doctor Who like machine, sit there for a bit and then get your results. Extremely accurate, extremely simple and not too difficult to locate. This is our recommended method of measuring body fat.
DEXA scans. Going super high tech now, this scan will give you a lot of data about your body composition. You get bone density, images of how fat sits around your organs (a bit icky but a bit fascinating too) and any imbalances in your body. Really, really cool but again, hard to find.