A man using a body fat analyzer

How Does a Body Fat Analyzer Work?

Chris

Written by fitness expert Chris on December 9, 2019

A body fat analyzer works by sending a tiny electronic impulse throughout the target area of your body. It gives you a rough idea of your body’s composition. Based on how quickly the signals travel, the machine will be able to tell the percentage of fat present. The slower it travels, the higher the fat content. This data is useful as you can’t set attainable goals to reach in the future if you don’t know where you stand.

Many trainers and health aficionados alike will consider a few key factors when they examine your biometric data. These are things like your body mass index (BMI), overall weight, blood pressure, and body fat levels. From this data, you can get a deeper understanding of your overall health.

How is Body Fat Analyzed?

A person looking down to the floor and analyzing their body fat

While there are more archaic methods available, such as devices that physically grab your skin to determine your fat levels hiding below, these days, body fat is typically determined using a bioelectric impedance analysis device (BIA). This handheld device is used to scan your body and determine the fat levels within.

A BIA uses electronic signals to scan your body and see what percentage of your body weight is fat. While it sounds high-tech, it’s pretty easy when you break it down. Depending on how fast the signal travels, they will be able to determine what kind of health you’re in.

How Can It Tell Your Exact Fat Percentage?

The slower the signal travels, the higher the percentage of body fat. Similarly, if the signal travels faster and has less resistance, it shows that your fat levels are lower. The machine is programmed to tell your ballpark fat percentage, as it typically has around a plus or minus 3.5-5% margin of error. Even still, it is a quick and easy way to tell what kind of health you’re in. You can even buy home scales that offer body fat percentage capabilities.

For the best results, you should follow some general guidelines before your test. Avoid the following within two hours of your test as they can throw off the result.

  1. Avoid showering before the test
  2. Avoid drinking alcohol prior to testing
  3. Don’t drink large amounts of water before the test as it can dilute the reading
  4. Abstain from eating large meals as it can fill your body with more mass to read

Important Takeaways

There are some aspects of your body that can be a great indicator of your overall health. Your body fat index is one of these factors. By determining your total body fat, you’ll be in a better place to put a plan in motion that can get you back into shape. Whether you’re doing it on your own or you’re doing with the help of a fitness professional, finding out your fat level is a good place to start.

The BIA test is an excellent alternative to older techniques of a bygone era of fitness. With this painless tool, you’ll be able to determine your fat percentage quickly. While the BIA has the potential to be a little inaccurate, the difference is only marginal. Whether you have 20% body fat, or 23% body fat, won’t really change your fitness outlook. The important thing is to get these numbers down so you can have a measuring stick to compare your progress to.

There are plenty of ways to get healthy, but it starts with knowing the cold hard truth about where you stand today. Between dieting, exercise, and healthy eating habits, there’s no shortage of ways to turn your life around. While having your body fat analyzed can be a bit embarrassing, it will make the finish line that much sweeter when you put the work in. It may not be easy, but you owe it to yourself to kick your health plans into overdrive and change the way you’re living.

References

  1. Body fat Analyzers: How do They Work? – Group Health Cooperative

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