Biotest

Navy Circumference Method vs Caliper


#1

Navy method, I dont know why i tried it but it said i had about 100 pounds of body fat.
The caliper said i was about 20% fat. Taken at the waist. At 225 and wanting to get stronger but i want to keep the option open to join the air force whos weight limit for me is 185. Is the navy method or caliper going to give me a better result.


#2

All body fat testing methods are a bit wonky and all over the place. The question is, why do you need to know? You either like what you see in the mirror (or make the weight required of the Air Force) or you don’t.

I prefer photos, mirrors, and tape measurements to track progress, as outlined in the V-Diet ebook: https://biotest.t-nation.com/products/velocity-diet


#3

Aside from the obvious “There’s the right way, the wrong way, and the Navy way” the issue here is what needs to be determined.

If you want to estimate how many pounds of fat need to be lost to reach a given bodyfat percentage goal, then 7-point skinfold or even 3-point skinfold will be more valid, as would underwater weighing. DEXA would be the most valid.

If another person wants to metabolic health from physical measurements, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Navy way is better, as its results will strongly correlate with visceral fat and ratio of visceral fat to total fat while skinfold measurements will not.

If the question is can you “afford” to gain muscle yet meet the weight requirement (in other words, do you have more than 40 lb of fat to lose) I’d say absolutely you can. Gaining muscle will aid in losing fat, and if towards the end you’re muscular enough that you’re over 185 while still lean, it will be all too easy to drop muscle weight if needed, and besides this it could be possible to weigh in light – powerlifters do it all the time for example. Also, you may not need to meet the weight requirement if you can pass tape measure requirements.

I would be concerned however from this Navy calculator result. It could only occur from having a very large waist size for your height plus a relatively small neck size for your weight, which says not much muscle and a lot of visceral fat. You’re already planning to lose it so that is great.

You might set a goal for health reasons of getting a more healthful value from the Navy calculator, but with skinfold giving a much lower percentage bodyfat (but still not fit) the truth of total pounds of bodyfat is probably somewhere in the middle, rather than really being a full 100 lb.

Whatever the real value is now, getting waist measurement down to the Navy requirement will be an excellent and very much health-improving goal, not to mention performance and appearance improving.