Skinfold Assessment Issue
I have a female client (22 years old) who I cannot measure with skinfold calipers. Her skin will not pull away from the muscle without causing her severe pain. Her goal is to achieve a low but healthy(athletic) amount of body fat. Has anyone ever had a similar encounter? What did you do? I have been doing body measurements instead but now she wants to know her body fat percentage.
I would take "Before" photos and take body measurements. Submersion/Hydrostatic can be intimidating and difficult for a large client and you need a little practice before you get a true measurement.
I use an Omron Fat Loss Monitor (Model HBF-306 C), its easy, cheap and provides a starting point for fat percent.
I Hope This Helps!
I had another thought, though, when I read your description of the client. I assume that she is already fairly lean. Is she properly hydrated? I know of people who are exceedingly sensitive to touch and experience it as a painful sensation but they usually do not have aggressive fitness goals. There is something here that is at least not in the realm of the ordinary.
My other question would be what is your training in using body fat calipers? I'm not going to suggest that using calipers is very complex. However, improper technique definitely has the possibility to cause more discomfort.
I also like to put the progress into perspective. For instance, "You lost 6 pounds in the last 8 weeks. If you were to continue this progress for a year, you would have lost 39 pounds." I believe this helps math-oriented individuals understand the rate of their progress. This could be used with waist circumference measurements, or just about any other measurement.
Yes, your client very sensitive, but you have "firmly grasp a double fold of skin and the subcutaneous fat between the thumb and index finger".
Don't be afraid of that. It is difficult tecnique, but you have to practice - take meagerements more often and wth time you will be very skillfull with that.
I working throu NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist certification, pick up only 3 measerements - the triceps, the pelvis and the thigh.Then all data I put in my software program, and computer give me results.
Dual-energyX-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is considered the most accurate and appropriate way to evaluate body composition.It assesses regional (arms, legs, and trank) and total fat and fat-free content of the body's tissues.But this method available only in university or hospital laboratory.
At least you, Andrew, may contact The International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK), that publishes the most recognised standard for anthropometry techniques.
Bad way to measure anything. Skin is elastic and shrinks or expands to a persons body over time.
Terrible for overweight because you're literally grabbing their shame. Only way to use it would be for negative reinforcement, and that would not work well with someones who is most likely depressed about their physical state.
Bad for normal weight clients as well because it can easily change.
Find another way to track her progress.
Perhaps the best alternative measure for her BF concern is bioelectrical impedience. You tell her that you will measure her now, and two months down the road, on the same device, this eliminates incongruences. You also want to inform her that there is an error factor involved, and that body fluid is an issue with this measurement. If you use the same measure over time you will find you are getting a realistic picture.
I just found this awesome explanation of the initial changes that occur with fat loss. Everyone check it out even though some of it is redundant there are also some good ideas and metaphors.
take care, Danny
I have started using another measure which gives a better picture than the BMI. It is the 'Waist-to-height-ratio'. While I have the ability to determine body composition, clients cannot easily do it themselves but everybody has a tape measure and knows their height. I have found a great correlation between the body composition assessment of fatness and the WTHR. Check out this article: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/245328.php. If you google the term, you'll get a lot more information.
Probably by now you have figure out this issue. Everyone here has some great suggestions but I would like suggest a little different approach (if you haven’t already thought about it). Sometimes it's better to tell your client not to worry about the BF or weight that much and put more focus on how the clothes are feeling and looking. Also the overall fitness and energy level are important as well. The change in their lifestyle and way of thinking is also another way to measure progress.