The other day I gave my wife the bestest present evah! I was so excited about it that I couldn’t wait until Christmas to give it to her so I gifted it a few days early. I mean, who wouldn’t want a digital scale for Christmas? Look at this thing, it’s stainless steel with blue backlighting…BLUE BACKLIGHTING! I could see the tears of joy in her eyes as I told her how it measures not only one’s weight but also one’s body fat percentage. Now, every morning we can instantly see how much fat our bodies are composed of…freakin’ awesome! I couldn’t tell exactly what she was saying as she got in the car and drove away, but I’m sure she was so grateful that she was rushing off to WalMart to find my special Christmas present. She didn’t have to knock over my new bicycle on her way out, but I guess that’s what love and excitement will do to someone. I’m sure she’ll be back any minute now.
The main reason that I wanted to get a new scale was because I just finished reading, “Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance” by Matt Fitzgerald and one of his recommendations is to track one’s body fat percentage. His main premise is that performance, i.e. speed, strength and endurance are optimized when athletes obtain their ideal racing weight. Yes, I know, not quite the earth shattering discovery. The book also gives diet and exercise recommendations for obtaining one’s ideal racing weight and also gives examples of the body fat percentage of elite athletes. Now, I am in no way an elite athlete, nor will I ever be–beer, pizza, and chocolate being three reasons that quickly come to mind. But, I am interested in increasing my endurance and speed, so I got really interested in finding out and tracking my body fat percentage with the hope of reducing it to a level that is optimal for performance without becoming a drag to maintain given my lifestyle. The easiest way to monitor one’s body fat percentage is by using a digital scale that uses bioelectrical impedance to estimate it.
But, here’s one thing that you should know, it seems that all of these scales are incorrect and measurements made by the same person can fluctuate greatly depending on the time of day, amount of water one has consumed, wetness of your feet, planetary alignment, and a host of other things. So why buy one of these scales? Because, if the measurements are taken under nearly identical conditions; first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking and after using the bathroom, it is possible to get a good trend analysis. So, even though the scale may say my body fat percentage is 17%, which it does–stupid, lying machine! If I consistently take measurements over time, I should be able to see whether I am losing body fat or not. Plus, it is a good motivator for me. So, if you get a chance, read Matt’s book, get yourself a new scale, and start working on obtaining your racing weight for peak performance.
Oh, one more thing. It seems that people tend to really underestimate their body fat percentage. Here are two really cool website that talk about that:
Their suggestion is that the easiest way to estimate body fat percentage is to compare your own physique with photos of people with known body fat compositions. So, here are a few pictures blatantly stolen from their website.
Hey, thanks for noticing my picture in the middle of the top row. Next time I won’t use so much bronzer.