When losing body fat, it is important to keep an eye if you are really getting rid of those unwanted fat and not precious muscles. Having accurate measurements of body fat can give a clearer image of one’s fitness and risks to health. This proves to be more reliable indicator of health than simply watching one’s weight with regular bathroom scales. One could be at an ideal weight but has more body fat than important muscles. You would not want to lose lean muscles when you are trying to maintain a certain weight. It is important to lose extra body fat as opposed to muscle mass.
Fat loss monitor devices may come as hand-held or with scales. This type of monitoring devices makes use of Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) technology. A tiny electrical charge is sent through the hands for hand-held devices and feet for the scale type. This electronic pulse passes through muscles and fats at varying rates. It then uses the information it gathers to show how much is fat and how much is water there is in the body. Tissues in the body do not conduct electricity evenly. Bones, blood vessels, and muscles transfer electrical charges better than does fat because they are high in water content. Units would require the user to first input data such as his age, weight, height, and gender. Together with these and the quantity of body fat tissues that were monitored, a reading of body fat percentage is made. Manufacturers highly suggest that weights must be taken without clothes for a more accurate reading.
These types of instruments are useful since some fats are not always visible from the outside, or by simply looking at someone, taking a look of yourself in the mirror, or taking waist measurements. Some fat can gather in the inner organs of the body and also in the blood vessels. Someone may appear slim but may have harmful extra body fat hidden from view. BIA devices can store information for multiple users. Some units allow for specific modes of getting readings. Settings can be made for athlete, child, adult, and others for quick assessments. These BIA devices are, however, not recommended for use with anyone with pacemakers.
BIA units require that users should not be dehydrated. This will only give inaccurate measurements. After eating, a good 3 hours should be observed before using. It is necessary to take repeated measurements under consistent environments over time to spot any changes in the body and to better monitor one’s progress and the fat that is lost.
Other monitoring instruments come in caliper forms. Body calipers are also commonly used in gauging body fat percentage. Skin fold thickness is measured at different points in the body. You pinch your skin and take measurements with this instrument. They may be used at the thighs, waist, biceps, and other areas. Manufacturers advice to take measurements at three sites in the body – at the lower, midsection, and upper areas. The readings are used to calculate the percentage of fat. Calipers have been difficult to use for novices. The fault usually lies with where and how much skin fold to measure. Electronic calipers are able to store information for multiple users. Newer calipers make calculations by themselves.
Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry or DXA measures and scans bone density, muscle mass, and body fat mass readings. Water weighing, another technique, requires one to be completely underwater during the process of about 15-20 minutes. It is based on water displacement and different densities of fat and lean muscles. The individual sits on scales and air is removed from the lungs. Due to its nature, it is restricted to science and research. An alternative to this is displacement of air instead of water, called plethysmography. The process requires one to be enclosed in a chamber for about 5-10 minutes.