April 21, 2010


According to the US Army body fat estimation algorithm (implemented here) I have an estimated body fat of 18%. By the tape measure method (which I assume uses roughly the same estimation method) implemented here, I have an estimated body fat of 17.75%.  Chances are good the former site is rounding to the nearest percentage, which makes sense for a method described as "estimation".

My assumption is that the armed forces ran a sizable number of tests where they found a high enough correlation between the height/waist/weight numbers and body fat as found by some method generally accepted as highly accurate, likely immersion testing.  A simple formula and a tape measure/scale are a lot cheaper than immersion testing all applicants, so I don't doubt that this is basically what led to the estimation method.

Given how much lower this number is than what my scale claims, it would give me a very handy excuse for why my weight loss has been so slow lately, and mean that my goal of 160 lb is again unrealistic, since according to both estimations, this is almost exactly the current weight of my lean body mass, representing not 14% or even 11% body fat, but 0%, which is equivalent to death.  I'm not fully sold on these numbers, but I'm beginning to be persuaded that maybe the numbers aren't really all that important.

We all know, instinctively, what "fit" looks like.  My stated goal of X body fat % or Y pounds of body weight are just quantifiable notions of much hazier goals.  I want to be light on my feet, strong as an ox, and have a washboard above my belt buckle.  I really only track the numbers because day-to-day progress (or lack thereof) isn't always readily visible, and hard metrics help me make decisions about what's working and what isn't.  If I somehow manage to hit my real-if-hazy goals, I'll count that as a win, and move on to others.

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 01:07 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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