Finding an reasonably accurate body fat measurement around Cape Town seems hard. Using three different techniques I ended up with readings between 14% and 20%, in the same week. So I phoned the Sports Science Institute and then ended up talking to some people at UCT.
These are the options, in order of accuracy:
- Dexa, around R900 per scan, UCT has a machine, but it’s only used for research.
- Hydrostatic weighing, could not find one.
- Bodpod, could not find one.
- BIA, some Virgin Actives (Stellenbosch) have this and the Discovery Shop in Sea Point has one.
- Skinfold, done in many places, comes down to a lot of averages in equations.
- Infra Red, the older Virgin Active machines, you can get two very different readings with tests done right after each other (2% range in readings between three tests).
I think the BIA machine is the best option. You just have to be very consistent. I generally use it at 11:00 after not eating in the morning. Try and do the same things, same hydration levels etc before you use the BIA machine.
UPDATE 2015-09-17: Since getting to around 16% body fat I’ve regularly been collecting data with IR and BIA machines and the trend data is actually useful. I now think that the original 20% reading with BIA was probably not too far off – the trouble was that the Discovery Skinfold test of 14% was probably pretty out / under – I went to go talk to them and the equations / tables they use seem to always give readings under the real value.