Practical Guidelines for Accurate Body Fat Measurements

by Christian Rodriguez, CSCS and Guillermo Escalante, DSC, MBA, ATC, CSCS
Personal Training Quarterly October 2022
Vol 9, Issue 2


This article seeks to explain monitoring body composition, including how to assess it properly for an accurate evaluation to minimize errors in body fat estimation and maximize physical training.

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This article originally appeared in Personal Training Quarterly (PTQ)—a quarterly publication for NSCA Members designed specifically for the personal trainer. Discover easy-to-read, research-based articles that take your training knowledge further with Nutrition, Programming, and Personal Business Development columns in each quarterly, electronic issue. Read more articles from PTQ »

Related Reading



1. Andreoli, A, Garaci, F, Cafarelli, FP, and Guglielmi, G. Body composition in clinical practice. European Journal of Radiology 85: 1461-1468, 2016.

2. Campa, F, Toselli, S, Mazzilli, M, Gobbo, LA, and Coratella, G. Assessment of body composition in athletes: A narrative review of available methods with special reference to quantitative and qualitative bioimpedance analysis. Nutrients 13, 2021.

3. Deurenberg, P, Weststrate, JA, Paymans, I, and van der Kooy, K. Factors affecting bioelectrical impedance measurements in humans. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 42: 1017-1022, 1988.

4. Dixon, CB, and Andreacci, JL. Effect of resistance exercise on percent body fat using leg-to-leg and segmental bioelectrical impedance analysis in adults. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 23: 2025-2032, 2009.

5. Dixon, CB, Ramos, L, Fitzgerald, E, Reppert, D, and Andreacci, JL. The effect of acute fluid consumption on measures of impedance and percent body fat estimated using segmental bioelectrical impedance analysis. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 63: 1115-1122, 2009.

6. Earthman, CP. Body composition tools for assessment of adult malnutrition at the bedside: A tutorial on research considerations and clinical applications. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 39: 787-822, 2015.

7. Gallagher, M, Walker, KZ, and O’Dea, K. The influence of a breakfast meal on the assessment of body composition using bioelectrical impedance. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 52: 94-97, 1998.

8. Holmes, CJ, and Racette, SB. The utility of body composition assessment in nutrition and clinical practice: An overview of current methodology. Nutrients 13, 2021.

9. Kerr, A, Slater, GJ, and Byrne, N. Impact of food and fluid intake on technical and biological measurement error in body composition assessment methods in athletes. British Journal of Nutrition 117: 591-601, 2017.

10. Kyle, UG, Bosaeus, I, De Lorenzo, AD, Deurenberg, P, Elia, M, Manuel Gómez, J, et al. Bioelectrical impedance analysispart II: Utilization in clinical practice. Clinical Nutrition 23: 1430-1453, 2004.

11. Marra, M, Sammarco, R, De Lorenzo, A, Iellamo, F, Siervo, M, Pietrobelli, A, et al. Assessment of body composition in health and disease using bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA): A critical overview. Contrast Media and Molecular Imaging 2019.

12. Moon, JR. Body composition in athletes and sports nutrition: An examination of the bioimpedance analysis technique. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 67(Suppl 1): S54-59, 2013.

13. Nana, A, Slater, GJ, Stewart, AD, and Burke, LM. Methodology review: Using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) for the assessment of body composition in athletes and active people. Internationa Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 25: 198-215, 2015.

14. Tinsley, GM, Harty, PS, Stratton, MT, Smith, RW, Rodriguez, C, and Siedler, MR. Tracking changes in body composition: Comparison of methods and influence of pre-assessment standardisation. British Journal of Nutrition 1-19, 2021.

15. Tinsley, GM, Morales, E, Forsse, JS, and Grandjean, PW. Impact of acute dietary manipulations on DXA and BIA body composition estimates. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 49: 823-832, 2017. 

About the author

Christian Rodriguez, CSCS

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Christian Rodriguez is currently pursuing his PhD in Exercise Physiology at Texas Tech University under Dr. Grant Tinsley. He conducts research rela ...

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About the author

Guillermo Escalante, DSC, MBA, ATC, CSCS

Educator, California State University San Bernardino

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Guillermo Escalante is currently an Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Dean Fellow for the College of Natural Sciences at California State Univers ...

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