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By HealthandFitness
#29535 Athletes and bodybuilders should be wary of the BMI--Body Mass Index. This is merely a ratio of weight to height, and does not discriminate between muscle and fat. Nor does it discriminate when it comes to other mass, such as bone mass. This can result in inaccurate measures of health, such as when a dedicated bodybuilder with barely an ounce of fat on his body registers as "morbidly obese" or an older woman with porous (therefore lighter) bones seems healthy but actually needs to shed a few pounds (her light bones are offsetting the extra fat mass in the measurement.)

So, what to do?

Well, industry standard for ease and accuracy is to measure body fat using calipers. Calipers measure based on how much fat you can "pinch" in your body in various places. Over time, this can give you an accurate result regarding how much fat you are losing or how much muscle you are building. Calipers aren't perfect, though, and the numbers will be most accurate if you are measured by a professional.

Body fat analyzers pass an electrical current through your body. Fat impedes electrical current more than muscle does, so the machine can estimate body fat percentage from how fast the current returns. These can be quite inaccurate, however, for people who are very athletic or people with low body fat. Over time, however, they can let you know if you are losing or gaining body fat or muscle, which is helpful when motivating yourself to continue training! Some analyzers are more sophisticated than others, and can give more accurate results even for athletic muscular individuals.

Many people want to monitor their body fat and muscle percentages in order to gauge how healthy they are or how their training is coming along, and using calipers or a body fat analyzer is a good start!
By lolita
#29759 This is so true. Too many people are confused about BMI and body fat percentage. These days with all the hormones in milk and meat, both men and women have a lot of muscle on their bodies at younger and younger ages--and the BMI charts were not created to account for muscular, athletic women and men. There are young women out there crying their eyes out thinking they are "obese" when they are healthy, active, and beautiful.