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Muscle vs fat

How do you know if you've put on muscle, not fat? The scale may stay the same or even go up, but that may be from increase of muscle. Does anyone use a caliper? How do you know without going to a personal trainer?

Mon. Oct 17, 11:18pm

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good question

anyone got an answer? i'd love to know it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005, 8:32 AM

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I have a scale that measures muscle mass and body fat (among other things), so that I know what's going on in my body. It's pricey but worth it. (Tanita BC533 Glass Innerscan Body Composition Monitor, got it on amazon)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005, 8:43 AM

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Thaks for the suggestion. How does this scale work? How does it know what your body composition of fat vs muscle is? Have you ever verified it works vs another method of measurement? I'll totally buy it if it really works.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005, 9:01 AM

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The way gyms/trainers measure body fat/muscle mass is by using machines that send an electromagnetic pulse through your body. I'd bet that scale works the same way.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005, 9:22 AM

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I have a scale that does the same. Supposedly it sends a pulse through your body, so you have to use it when naked and put your bare feet in the proper spot. I haven't tested it against another method. If you are very muscular, it would be inaccurate (like BMI). I've read that some people have their fat measured hydrostatically at local colleges, but I can't find anything about it anywhere.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005, 9:31 AM

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Here's what they say on their website about it: The monitors use Bioelectric Impedance Analysis (BIA) to monitor multiple components of overall health. The results are analyzed along with gender, age, height and weight for the most accurate and comprehensive at-home reading ever available. Measurements include Weight, Body Fat %, Body Water %, Daily Caloric Intake, Metabolic Age, Bone Mass, Muscle Mass, Physique Rating, and Visceral Fat Rating.

I haven't compared it to anything else, but I assume it works. Oh, and it also measures body water, so when you are retaining water and you have gained weight, you know why ...that really puts me at ease if I gain.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005, 9:45 AM

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Since those scales are sending a pulse through your body (which is painless, btw), the results can be affected by a whole bunch of things, including things as simple as how wet your feet are (water conducts electricity).

Here's what has to say about BIA:
This method CAN be accurate (4% margin of error) but the results are affected by hydration, food intake and skin temperature. If you're dehydrated, your body fat percentage will read higher than it is.

I put the link to the whole article below - it discusses a couple different ways to measure % body fat.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005, 10:00 AM

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Another simple way to know if you are gaining muscle instead of fat is simply by comparing how your clothes are fitting now vs. how they used to fit. Pick out 1 item of clothing that you always use to measure against.

I've also heard that the scales that measure bodyfat have a high margin of error, sometimes it can be up to 10% if you have a combination of factors. The best way to use one of those would be to make sure you were consistent in how/when you weighed yourself so that the variables were always the same.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005, 10:35 AM

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I just found this out. "If you place 1 pound of muscle next to 1 pound of fat, the muscle would be 22% smaller in size."

Intriguing isn't it.

so if you're clothes are loose, you're probably loosing fat even if the scale does not show it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005, 11:16 AM

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I've compared those scales to an underwater test (very accurate) and the scale sucked. It uses a "normal" body type according to your height. It does send electricity too but it is very unaccurate. I was like 32% on the scale and 24% in the water. Big difference! I have heavy strong bones so I think this caused the problem on the scale. The best way to judge is just to see how your clothes fit or do an underwater test every once in a while if your that curious. Or take measurements every week and compare.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005, 2:27 PM

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But how come I can't escape the actual number? Maybe I don't have enough muscle to appreciate the results? I'm a new mom...and I know I'm more fit and stronger now, but I don't appreciate it yet.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005, 4:24 PM

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