Right at this very moment in time, I weight 115.5 pounds. This scale in my bathroom is extremely precise as I weigh exactly the same on the calibrated scale that I stepped on at a body composition analysis center this morning. 115.5 pounds.
The reason I was at the analysis center is because they specialize in the hydrostatic evaluation of measuring a person's body fat. The process is one where you put a bathing suit on and get submerged into water to get a true and accurate measurement of the fat that you have, versus lean body mass. The reason I wanted to do this is because I've known that how much a person weighs is an incomplete story in terms of how fit they are. A person could weigh 115.5 and look really heavy because most of it is fat. Conversely, a person could weigh 135 and look really toned and lean because most of their weight is muscle.
Recently I had two different people do two different measurements using one of those pinch instruments where they grab your skin/fat and record the numbers to calculate your body fat. The first person who measured me said I had 21% body fat and the second person who measured me said I had 38% body fat!
What was most upsetting about these very different measurements is that I felt I was getting really mixed messages. I mean, if someone said for sure that my body fat was 38% I could accept that and decide to work hard to reduce that percentage. But I felt because the measurements were so radically differet, with the second one putting me on the verge of being morbidly obese that I felt I needed to get to the bottom of this ... espcially because I've been training so hard to build muscle.
So ... after the official dunk tank this morning, the analysis revealed that my body fat is at 16.41%.
For my height (5'4"), and my weight (115.5 lb), and the measurements of my bones (they measured my ankle for this), my ideal body fat percentage is 22%. However, if my goal is to become a super duper competitive atheletic type, I could aim for a 13% body fat.
It feels good to get this information. I feel more motivated than ever before to keep doing what I'm doing, which is to lift heavy, run fast, get good sleep, and eat real food in moderation.
At the same time, I know that I don't wnat to become that person who chases numbers and percentages all the time. I know that the best scale is within me where as long as I am honest with myself, I have all the senses to know how fit I am based on how I look in the mirror, how winded I am when I run or go up the stairs, how my clothes fit, and so on.
Anyway, I wanted to share this information because if you are planning to get your body fat measured, I really really recommend staying away from those contraptions that people put onto your skin because you'll get inaccurate measurements. Also stay away from those things you grab like handle bars with electrical currants that go through you. That's the worst of all. I really do think it's worth the 50 bucks to go get dunked and get it right.