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Body Fat Calculators & Estimates

By Alan Frost, updated January, 2014

There are many ways to calculate your body fat, with varying degrees of accuracy (and cost). For those of you who want to do it at home by yourselves, I will outline three methods below, from easiest and least accurate to more difficult but potentially more accurate.

The first is a simple visual comparison. Look at images of men or women with specific body fat percentages and compare them to your own. The second, requires only a tape measure; it uses the US Navy method for body fat estimation. The third is more accurate if you know what you are doing, but requires body calipers (available for just a few dollars).

Method 1: Visual Comparison

Compare your body to that of the men and women shown below.

Method 2: Tape Measure Body Fat Calculator

For this you will need:

  1. Your height in inches or centimeters
  2. Waist circumference. For men this should be taken at the navel. For women at the slimmest point. Do not suck in your gut.
  3. Circumference of the neck, just below the larynx.
  4. Women only: circumference of the hips at the largest point.

Calculate Body Fat Using Tape Measure

You are :
ALL measurements are in:
Measurement around Neck:
Measurement around Abdomen:
Measurement around Hip:
Enter height:
Your Body Fat % is:

Method 3: Caliper Measurement Body Fat Calculator

This method becomes much more accurate in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing. You will need to measure three spots.

For men:

  1. Chest: Horizontal or diagonal skinfold between the nipple and the upper part of the pectoral muscle.
  2. Abdominal: Vertical skinfold one inch to the side and one inch down from the navel.
  3. Thigh: Vertical skinfold taken midway between the knee and hip.

Always take the measurements directly on the skin.

Calculate Body Fat Using Tape Measure for Men

Chest: mm
Abdominal mm
Thigh mm
Your Age
Body Fat %:

For Women:

  1. Tricep: Vertical skinfold, halfway between the shoulder and elbow.
  2. Suprailiac: Horizontal skinfold, halfway between navel and hip.
  3. Thigh: Vertical skinfold taken midway between the knee and hip.

Always take the measurements directly on the skin.

Calculate Body Fat Using Tape Measure for Women

Tricep: mm
Suprailiac mm
Thigh mm
Your Age
Body Fat %:

References:

Hatfield FC (2004), Fitness The Complete Guide edition 8.6.6, International Sports Science Association's Certified Fitness Trainer Program

Measure Body Fat Using the US Navy Method, http://www.wikihow.com/Measure-Body-Fat-Using-the-US-Navy-Method, accessed on December 2013.

Measuring your own body fat with cheap skinfold calipers, http://fellrnr.com/wiki/Skinfold_Calipers, accessed on December 2013.





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