Hello Victoria Scott,
It seems to me that calipers and tape measures are the most portable and reliable. You seem to disagree with the caliper; therefore, I suggest you use what makes you most comfortable. The ease and confidence of using certain equipment will give the best and most reliable results. Practice, practice, practice will also add reliability to something we are using.
I prefer the no mirror method, no comparing to others method, how the clothes feel method and the how I feel method.
Natalie aka NAPS 2 B Fit.
I take girth measurements for my weight loss clients that are interested in having some type of numbers to refer to in their program. It is usually the athletes that want the BF% most often and I understand the psychology of this. But I try to down play these numbers and focus on the feeling of fitness, the development of confidence, the numbers associated with performance, etc. Losing an inch from a short term reduction in calorie intake without improving the nutrional density of the foods consumed or acheiving a lower BF% while adding a .1 sec to one’s 40 time are shallow short lived victories.
Hopefully my fitness/weight loss clients learn to be more comfortable with themselves and learn to enjoy physical activity as an enjoyable activity. Once these people get better adjusted to an improved liftestyle for enhancing the way the experience their daily world, it becomes easier to continue on a healthier path.
For the athletes, once performance is the clear motivator, the work becomes play. The outward appearance of strength and power is given less notice. The role models become the members of the group with the best work ethic.
I strive to create mindsets where neither group compares themselves to others. Instead I try to instill a mentality of being motiviated to acheive what others have shown them is possible.
And my most important contributions to either group are to provide well designed programs, provide clear and safe instruction, provide endless monitoring and feedback, and provide positive honest praise and critiques.
If you are skilled with using skinfold calipers, I think that is the best ‘field’ test for skinfold thickness. Plug the measurements into the regression equations and you’ll derive a reasonable estimation of %body fat. Not clinical, an estimation. But it can be a benchmark against which you can measure change over time. Same sites, same time relative to workout, control all of the variables that you can.