The other day I mentioned that I calculated my body fat percentage using a formula I found at DaveDraper.com. You enter your weight and your waist circumference measured at the navel (for men – women can also calculate but have a few more variables to measure) and it spits out a number accurate to +/- 3%. Now I recall that in the Army we would measure BF% using waist and neck measurements. So today I thought I would run my numbers through a couple different online calculators to compare the results.

Usually I just wrap a tape measure around my waist and record the number but I wanted to be more accurate this time, so I actually stood in front of a full length mirror and ensured that the tape was straight all the way around. Here are the numbers:

Height – 5′ 10.5″

Weight – 190.7 lbs

Waist – 36.5″ (measured at navel)

Hips – 41.5″ (measured around the buttocks)

Neck – 16.5″ (measured below the larynx)

Chest – 45.5″ (at the nips – this one was difficult, so may be off a little)

Biceps – 14.5″

Forearm – 12″

Wrist – 7″

**First up is the DaveDraper.com calculator. **All it needs is weight and waist.

**Result = ****21.72%**

(If you don’t want to mess with Excel, there is an online calculator which uses the same formula here.)

**The next calculator is from HealthStatus.com.** This one uses both Army/Navy and YMCA developed formulae, and requires 2 waist measures, hips, neck, height, and weight. The only thing I dislike about this calculator is that the height is entered by a drop-down menu, so I had to pick either 5′ 10″ or 5′ 11″. I did both.

**Result @ 5′ 10″:**

19.32% Army/Navy 19.62% YMCA = **19.47% average**

**Result @ 5′ 11″:**

18.89% Army/Navy 19.62% YMCA = **19.25% average**

**Total Average = 19.36%**

**ScientificPsychic.com provided the next one,** using a Navy formula. I like this one because I could put my actual height. It asks for height, weight waist, neck, and activity level. It not only provides BF%, but calculates lean mass, BMI, waist-to-height ratio, and gives caloric and protein recommendations.

**Result = 19.1%** (probably why I like it so much, hehe)

**Lastly, there is this calculator from HealthCentral.com.** A bit more in-depth, this one asks for age, weight, waist, hips, forearm, and wrist, as well as calculating lean mass. Sadly, this site does not allow you to input decimals, so I had to run it twice, first rounding the .5 values up then rounding down. I used 191 for both weights.

Rounded up = **18.6%**

Rounded down = **17.1%**

**Average = 17.85%**

**Average of All Calculations = 19.50% Body Fat**

**Average Fat Poundage = 37.2 lbs**

**Average Lean Mass = 153.5 lbs**

**Average American Male = 22% Body Fat
**

**Healthy Normal = 15% Body Fat
**

Using this calculation from BodyRecomposition.com, I can determine that my weight at 15% body fat should be **180.2 lbs**. Of course that assumes no lean mass losses or gains.

So to sum it up, body fat calculations can vary quite a bit depending on the method used. **I personally prefer the mirror**, but these calculators are useful tools to track monthly progress, and to make sure you aren’t losing muscle during strict dieting.

What say you?!

02.07.2009 at 04:02

There are so many different ways to measure bodyfat and none of them come out the same. My solution… I gave up on even bothering. Like you said, I use the mirror method.

The SoG

02.07.2009 at 12:36

I hear you. I do think they can be useful to give someone an idea of what they

shouldweigh. I know for myself, I used to greatly overestimate my ideal weight. I was convinced that 210 was my perfect weight. Problem was my “big muscles” were full of fat and water, and I had very poor stamina. I had thought of the 180’s as “scrawny” then, though I can say I look much more “badass” with the definition I am getting now at the lower weight.02.25.2009 at 21:03

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