Body Fat Confusion

Today is 1 month since we started the Biggest Loser contest, so I scheduled to have my Body Composition Analysis done again to see how I've changed in a month. According to Tanita, my weight has gone from 176.5 to 165.5 and my body fat % has gone from 36.7% to 33.4% (21-33% is considered "ideal" for me... I'm almost there!), and of the 11 lbs that I've lost, 9.5 lbs are fat and 1.5 lbs are not fat (muscle, I assume). Since taking the test a week ago, I've actually gained a pound of non-fat weight.

So... here's the confusing part... when you do the analysis they ask you your age, height, and body type (standard or athletic). Of course, my age and height haven't changed and in the beginning I definitely wasn't "athletic", so I've always gone with standard. Today I asked what constitutes "athletic" and 2 of the trainers had different ideas of what that meant. So, I asked them to do my analysis both with standard and athletic to see what the difference is. With standard build my body fat % is 33.4% (as listed above), but with athletic build, my body fat % is 25.7% (42.5 lbs of fat instead of 55.5 lbs). That's a HUGE difference! When I got home, I looked up what tanita defines as "athletic" on their website and they say that if you do "intense activity" for 10 hours or more a week, then you're athletic. That's me. But... did I become athletic in a week just because I worked out a bunch beginning 4 weeks ago? Seems like there should be some kind of gradual line there. Supposedly they use some kind of electrical current to determine your body fat, so I don't see how the whole standard vs. athletic thing even comes into play, and I couldn't find anything on that during my quick online search either. :S

I wish there was somewhere to do the real underwater body fat test so that I could tell what my body fat percentage is for real. I imagine it's somewhere in between because it makes sense that I would have gained muscle weight (11.5 lbs gained if I'm athletic now), not just lost it.

So, here I am, scratching my head. Maybe I should just forget all of these numbers and go try on some of my old clothes. :)


Anonymous said...

Just forget the numbers and go by how you feel and look! I know it's hard to do that, but it is confusing and the percentages do vary. If you go on the internet, there are many websites where you enter your height and weight and it gives you your BMI. But...I don't think that is accurate because someone can be the same height as you, have a lot more fat composition, and weigh less or the same. Most of those sites also say that anything over 30% is considered obese...what? It's all crazy!

I think you are doing awesome and should just focus on how you feel about yourself :)


Nikki said...

I think it's important to notice the CHANGE, not the actual numbers. Sticking with standard, you see how you're number has gone down significantly. That's all that matters, right? You don't need to stand on a scale to know if you're overweight or perfect or close to perfect. There's no doubt that what you're doing is giving you results.. and that you're doing it right with diet and cardio and weight training. Your clothes and the mirror will speak louder than any tanita reading. :)

Nikki said...

you're = your :)

Kelly Albert said...

I agree with everyone. I would stick with your "STANDARD" body type since you just started working out religiously a month ago. That way you can see the drastic drop in body fat %. I'm trying to get back into it again :) You have done so good and you still have a month or so to go :)