Five Ways to Estimate Body Fat Percentage Using a Tape Measure

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

You don’t need to buy a fancy weighting scale to calculate your body fat percentage effectively. Fitness experts have developed different ways to measure body fat on your own. And most of these techniques require only the use of tape measure. So just brush up on your math skills; with a measuring tape, you can estimate your body fat!

For reference, the body fat percentage for women is 10% to 13% and 2% to 5% in men. The normal body fat percentage in women is 23% to 31% and 18% to 25% in men’s. Any percentage over 32% for women or 25% for men are categorized as obese.

The Covert Bailey Method

The Covert Bailey Method is the newest method developed to measure a person’s body fat percentage. Women should start by using the tape measure to measure four different parts of the body: the hips, thigh, calf, and wrist; remember to measure in inches. All measurements have to be taken at their widest points.

Women’s Formula:

Fat% = A+0.8B – 2C – D (for women 30 years old or younger)

Fat% = A+ B – 2C – D (for women over age 30)

For men, measure your hips, waist, forearm circumference, and the wrist.

Men’s Formula:

Fat% = B + 0.5A – 3C – D (for men 30 years old or younger)

Fat% = B + 0.5A – 2.7C – D (for men over age 30)

Department of Defense Formula or the US Navy Circumference Method

As the name implies, this formula was developed by the US military to estimate the physical characteristics and body fat percentage of those who want to join the military.

Women’s Formula

Using this method, measure five different points of the body: height, neck circumference, the waist (area halfway between the sternum and naval), and the hips. Remember to measure in inches.

Fat% = 163.205 × Log10(C + D – B) – 97.684 × Log10(A) – 78.387

Men’s Formula

Using the measuring tape, take the measurements of the neck circumference, waist, and your height. Again, measure yourself in inches.

Fat% = 86.01 × Log10(C – B) – 70.041 × Log10(A) + 36.76

Heritage BMI to Body Fat Percentage Method

This method is one of the simplest among the five ways to estimate body fat percentage in the body. The only variables are your age and your Body Mass Index. The body mass index is a function of your weight and height. Do note that any body fat percentage exceeding 30 will be overestimated using this method.

Women’s Formula

You can use two sets of variables, depending on what you prefer. For the first set, just use your age and BMI; age should be in years. Use the formula below:

Fat% = 1.39B + 0.16A – 9

The second set of variable requires your height, weight, and age — measured in inches, pounds, and years, respectively. This formula is called the modified formula and it will directly calculate your body fat percentage without calculating your BMI first:

Fat% = (977.17B)
_________ + (0.16A)-9
c2

Men’s Formula

Again, you can compute your body fat percentage using this method by taking into account your age in years and your BMI. Use the formula below:

Fat% = 1.39B + 0.16A – 19.34

To calculate your body fat percentage directly, use the modified formula below:

Fat% = (977.17B)
_________ + (0.16A)-19.34
c2

The YMCA Method

Developed by the YMCA, this formula will estimate your body fat percentage using your weight and your waist circumference as variables.

Women’s Formula

Measure your waist circumference in inches and add your weight in pounds. Use the formula below:

Fat% = (4.15A – 0.082B – 76.76)
______________________ x 100
B

Men’s Formula

Just like in women’s, measure your waist circumference in inches and your weight in pounds. Use the formula below:

Fat% = (4.15A – 0.082B – 98.42)
______________________ x 100
B

The Modified YMCA Method

Women’s Formula

Measure five different parts of the body: total body weight, wrist circumference, waist, hips, and the forearm circumference. All measurements should be in inches and pounds. Use the formula below:

Fat% = (0.268A – 0.318B + 0.157C + 0.245D – 0.434E – 8.987)
________________ x 100
A

Men’s Formula

For men, just measure your total body weight in pounds and your waist circumference in inches and use the formula below:

Fat% (0.082A + 4.15B – 94.42)
________________ x 100

A


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