How to Measure Body Fat

How to Measure Body Fat

Posted on 14. Feb, 2010 by in Exercise Equipments

As I got ready to enter the Turbulence Training transformation and took my starting measurements, I realized that I haven’t written a post about how to measure body fat. A lot of people tend to base their progress on the bathroom scale, the tape measure. or the body mass index but body fat is probably the most detailed measurement of progress that we can take. When we measure our body fat percentage, we can tell how much of our weight is from body fat and from lean mass or muscle. This becomes important as we take our second set of measurements at about 2-4 weeks apart, we can then tell if we are gaining muscle, losing fat, maintaining muscle, etc.

Note: the picture above the post does not have anything to do with it but I thought it was so cool and calming.

While hydrostatic body fat testing is the “gold” standard in measuring body fat, Dr. John Berardi at Precision Nutrition came up with something that’s pretty close. Most body fat measurement manuals only use 4 sites but Dr. Berardi’s system tests 7 sites for more accuracy.

The 7 testing sites are as follows:

  • Abdominal Skinfold
  • Triceps
  • Chest
  • Midaxillary
  • Subscapular
  • Suprailliac
  • Thigh

Before you panic and tell yourself that you don’t know half of these sites, let alone pronounce it, I actually have a document with pictures and instructions for you. You can download the Body Fat and Girth Measurement Guide by Precision Nutrition here. This guide includes step by step procedure for measuring body fat and girth (circumference) measurements. In order to use this guide successfully, you would need:

The Accu-Measure Fitness 3000 Personal Body Fat Tester and


The MyoTape Body Tape Measure


You can use other brands but I have found Accufitness products to be easier to use. The other ones I’ve used before were bulky and awkward to use. You would also need another person to measure your body fat sites. The girth measurements are easier to do with the Myotape but there’s no way you can measure your body fat on your own (if you find a way to do that, let me know…lol).

Inside the guide you will find that the formulas are way too difficult to calculate and very confusing. So, I created an Excel file for both men and women so that all you need to do is enter your information. After that is done, the worksheet calculates everything automatically for you. You can track up to 12 weeks worth of measurements (spaced 4 weeks apart) in this worksheet.

Download the Men’s Results Tracker here.

Download the Women’s Results Tracker here.

Before you enter your information in the Excel file, make sure that you save a blank version first so that you can use it again for the next set of 12 weeks, and so on. These are the tools that I use when I want to get myself measured and when I measure my clients. I hope you find these tools as useful as I have.

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  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! What a useful download, and I didn’t need to answer a 57 page questionnaire before I could access it! Fabulous!

  • admin

    You’re welcome, Julia! I’m always glad to help.