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What is FAT: How is it measured?


Body FAT (BF) is usually given as a percentage of total weight. If a 100lb person has 10% body FAT, that person has 10lbs of FAT and 90 pounds of lean body mass (LBM) (water, muscle, bone, etc). There are 3500 calories in 1 pound of FAT.

Body FAT is usually tested in 4 different ways.

* Hydrostatic weighing (Immersion): Weight is taken while under the water and it is used to find your %BF.
► Pros: Thought to be the most reliable.
► Cons: A lot of equipment is needed, usually found at most Universities. Time consuming and sort of a hassle. What you eat the day before, or before the test, can affect the accuracy.
* Infrared: Infrared light is used to determine your body FAT.
► Pros: Fast.
► Cons: Not very reliable.
* Impedance: The %BF is calculated by measuring the impedance between certain areas of the body, usually between the fingers and the toes.
► Pros: Fast.
► Cons: Not very reliable.
* Pinch test: Calipers are used to measure skin fold thickness.
► Pros: Thought to be very reliable. The more places tested the more accurate the results. Most gyms have a caliper.
► Cons: May be embarrassing to have someone pinch your FAT. If the person is inexperienced the results may be very inaccurate.

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