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GeoCyclist
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday I received the Tanita Ironman scale I ordered last week. You would think for $129 you would get more than a scale and operators manual. Like, there is just the information on how to set up the scale, and warnings about not using the scale if you have a pace maker or you are pregnant. There is no information about what all the data really means. Like, what should your Muscle Mass, Total Body Water %, Physique Rating, Basal Metabolic Rate, Metabolic Age, Bone Mass, Visceral Fat be??? There is a limited amount of information about Body Fat %; although, there is also a disclaimer that the chart does not apply to people who are involved in intensive aerobic sports, or pro athletes. Like, who would want to know all this info if you were not seriously into aerobic exercise, or a pro. I would have thought Tanita would provide some chart data, or basic information about what all the measurements mean to promote the necessity of their product!!! I guess I’ll have to search for this information on the web, unless one of you fine RBR people have a good web page to recommend!!!

I would be very interested to know what a healthy Body Fat % should be for a male who cycles 10 to 20 hours a week. The provided Tanita chart shows that my 9.8% Body Fat is unhealthy for my age group. If anyone can direct me to a good website that supplies some insite into all these numbers I would be very appreciative.
 

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For president!
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GeoCyclist said:
Yesterday I received the Tanita Ironman scale I ordered last week. You would think for $129 you would get more than a scale and operators manual. Like, there is just the information on how to set up the scale, and warnings about not using the scale if you have a pace maker or you are pregnant. There is no information about what all the data really means. Like, what should your Muscle Mass, Total Body Water %, Physique Rating, Basal Metabolic Rate, Metabolic Age, Bone Mass, Visceral Fat be??? There is a limited amount of information about Body Fat %; although, there is also a disclaimer that the chart does not apply to people who are involved in intensive aerobic sports, or pro athletes. Like, who would want to know all this info if you were not seriously into aerobic exercise, or a pro. I would have thought Tanita would provide some chart data, or basic information about what all the measurements mean to promote the necessity of their product!!! I guess I’ll have to search for this information on the web, unless one of you fine RBR people have a good web page to recommend!!!

I would be very interested to know what a healthy Body Fat % should be for a male who cycles 10 to 20 hours a week. The provided Tanita chart shows that my 9.8% Body Fat is unhealthy for my age group. If anyone can direct me to a good website that supplies some insite into all these numbers I would be very appreciative.
Not to sound like a jerk, but why'd you buy that scale if you didn't know what any of it meant? That's a bit like a blind man buying a big screen tv. Anyways, your 9.8% BF number is pretty normal for a fit guy. There's no way that scale can tell you basal metabolic rate, Bone mass, or any other numbers with a serious level of accuracy.

You sound healthy, I don't know why you need the validation of a chart.

Silas
 

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Interpretation

First, your scale will give you relative numbers, not absolute numbers. Second, they are probably accurate to +/- 3% absolute, maybe not that good depending on your level of hydration and a number of other factors. Third, given the previous, you are assuming a lot to think your BF is 9.8%. It could be 7, or 13, or higher. If it is 10%, that's on the low side for most fit, recreational riders. There are no real health worries for most males until you get down in the 6% range. I'd be interested to know what your Body Mass Index (weight in kg divided by the square of your height in meters) to see if it jives with this 10% BF.
 

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jaded bitter joy crusher
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Kerry is absolutely correct in everything he says. One further thing I would add is that the precision these scales claim is rather silly because body mass, body fat, etc. are not static numbers. They all vary significantly from hour to hour and from day to day according to your hydration, the amount of undigested food in your gut, etc. What you want is not to look at these short-term fluctuations, but the long-term trends: How do your five-day-average weight and BF change from week to week and month-to-month and things like that.

For monitoring week-to-week trends you don't need a precision of 0.2 pound or 0.1% body fat.
 

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GeoCyclist
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Fair reply!

SilasCL said:
Not to sound like a jerk, but why'd you buy that scale if you didn't know what any of it meant? That's a bit like a blind man buying a big screen tv. Anyways, your 9.8% BF number is pretty normal for a fit guy. There's no way that scale can tell you basal metabolic rate, Bone mass, or any other numbers with a serious level of accuracy.

You sound healthy, I don't know why you need the validation of a chart.

Silas
I was looking for a digital scale when I purchased the Tanita scale. My interest was in the Bone Mass measurement; as osteoporosis can be a problem when you cycle more than 10 hours a week, and don’t do any load bearing exercise. At the time of purchase I figured there would be some supporting info / charts included with the scale. I guess I need to do my own research to see what the Bone Mass should be for a person my age.
 

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GeoCyclist
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Try these numbers

Kerry Irons said:
First, your scale will give you relative numbers, not absolute numbers. Second, they are probably accurate to +/- 3% absolute, maybe not that good depending on your level of hydration and a number of other factors. Third, given the previous, you are assuming a lot to think your BF is 9.8%. It could be 7, or 13, or higher. If it is 10%, that's on the low side for most fit, recreational riders. There are no real health worries for most males until you get down in the 6% range. I'd be interested to know what your Body Mass Index (weight in kg divided by the square of your height in meters) to see if it jives with this 10% BF.
Weight = 72.6 kg
Height = 1.74 m
 

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jaded bitter joy crusher
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Kerry Irons said:
That's a body mass index of 24. I highly doubt that you have 10% body fat, though it is possible.
I'd agree with that. I have body mass of 24 and about 15% fat as measured both by my Tanita and by a professional with calipers.
 

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GeoCyclist
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the input - still looking for data

Kerry Irons said:
That's a body mass index of 24. I highly doubt that you have 10% body fat, though it is possible.
Highest reading so far has been 12%, right off the bike after a 3 hour ride. Down to 10% again this morning. My muscle mass is pretty high, so I guess this would explain the low body fat %.
 

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Indirect measurement

Most methods to measure body fat are "guestimates", rather than direct measurements. This includes skin fold measurements, full body immersion, and the electrical conduction measurement used by the Tanita scale. The only true, direct way to measure body fat is boil the body in a large pot until all the tissues have liqufied, and then skim the fat off the top of the "soup" and weigh it. Unfortunately, most health plans won't pay for this, so we are left with the indirect measurements.

Since the Tanita is an indirect measurement, other variables (such as bone density, height, weight, conditioning, etc.) can also affect the measurement. Therefore, various charts and graphs are used to compensate for the these other variables, and attempt to reach a more accurate result. But Kerry says, there will always be an error band in the measurement.

I have been measured for body fat with three different techniques while I was at the same basic fitness level and weight. With skin fold calipers, the charts said I was 12% body fat. With an ultrasonic measurement (sends an ultrasonic pulse through the skin which is reflected by the bone, and the reflection time is measured - the pulse is supposed to travel slower through fat), the result said I was 8% body fat. An electrical conduction test said I was at 4% body fat. Which one was right? Well 4% to 12% is quite a spread. I was hardly just skin-and-bones, so I doubt I was as low as 4%. However, I was fairly lean at the time, so I don't think I was as high as 12%. Based on how I looked compared to other people of known body fat, the 8% measurement was probably the closest.
 
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