Posted by: FIT | 2007/02/28

virgin life care "fitness assessment"


I went yesterday, and was delighted that my results were good ...
47 crunches / minute
32 push-ups / minute (girl ones)
Sit & Reach - 40cm
Waist - 64cm

BUT BODY FAT 29% - what is the most accurate way to measure, and what can I do to change this. My weight is normal for my height, and I eat a low fat, high fibre diet (besides a chocolate on the weekend sometimes)!


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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

hi Fit

The most accurate way to measure body fat is a technique called a DEXA, which is basically an X-Ray of the whole body. The problem is that it's really expensive (think 1000's) and so that's not ideal for the regular assessments. So the next best thing (skipping out a few in between that are also quite costly and specialised) is either the skinfolds (which I assume was used yesterday?) or the infra red method. Both are relatively accurate, provided they are done with correct technique and by someone qualified. Very often someone will measure skinfolds and because they are not 100% competent in the technique. And the body fat device used in the gyms also takes a lot of flack because of perceived inaccuracies, but that's often a calibration error or a problem with the user, and in general, it's quite a good way to track changes in body fat percent over time.

However, having said all this, my advice is that you should focus on fitness and try not to worry about this aspect. if you are active and doing regular exercise, then make your goal fitness so that in a few months' time, you are stronger than before, able to run or cycle or swim faster over the same distance, and so on, and then that body fat will come down anyway, as a matter of course. But the goal must be fitness and performance, because that's easier to measure and more rewarding as a result.

Good luck

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