Issue #2


by HardFitness

2005 Ironman Review by HardFitness

2005 Ironman Expo by HardFitness

Breast Augmentation by Darlina Acampora

Becoming a Fitness Competitor
by Kristi Willis

Julie Lohre Interview
by Julie Lohre

Sodium in Your Diet
by Shelly Pinkerton

Alexis Ellis Overall Winner of the 2005 Ironman Video Interview Footage from Sunday after her victory.

Recipe: Breakfast Frittata by Amy Peters

Pictorials featuring Monica Martin, Carina Dupree, Darlina Acampora, Alexis Ellis and Andrea Dumon

Diuretics and Alternatives
by Sandra Del Vecchio

Rising Star Video Interview: Andrea Dumon NPC Figure from Arizona 2005 Ironman short class competitor

Show Schedule for 2005
by HardFitness

Contest Prep Diet and Supplement Schedule by Kristi Wills

Measuring Body Fat by Shelly Pinkerton

Secrets to Achieving a Leaner Physique by Linda Cusmano

Road to the 2005 Ironman by Andrea Dumon

Future Fitness Star: Mandy Polk 19 years old by Mandy Polk

Abby Eyre, Pro card contender Interview by Abby Eyre

How to Gain Natural Muscle by Kelly Burke Jennings

Measuring Body Fat by Shelly Pinkerton

Photo by Sandy Spears

As figure competitors, we certainly have concern for how much fat our bodies are carrying, especially come show time. The look we strive for is a fine balance of muscle definition without too much striation, roundness and fullness without too much softness, and smooth lines without too much cut. Easier said than done, right? Thankfully, there is no set amount of body fat a competitor can or cannot have; it is all relative to each girl’s particular physique. It is critical to have a trained eye – that of a coach or seasoned competitor – to look at your body often as you approach your show, and give you the feedback necessary to be in top shape for the big event. Aside from that, the actual measuring of body fat percentage is really not necessary, and only needs to be done if you want to know what the numbers are. There are several methods available, all with varying levels of accuracy, cost and ease. The following information comes from a great resource I use for many of my fitness-related issues called Sport Fitness Advisor. You can find them on the worldwide web at

What is the single, most effective way to calculate body fat? That's a tough one. It all depends on what on you place most importance on accuracy? Reliability? Cost? Availability? They are all important factors to think about. Fortunately there are a few good techniques to choose from, as follows:

Skinfold Measurements... The Most Economical Way To Calculate Body Fat?

Along with body fat scales, body fat calipers are just about the most cost effective way to calculate body fat you will come across. Of course that assumes you buy cheap calipers! So, what are the advantages to using skin fold calipers?


+ Unlike Height-Weight tables and BMI they actually calculate body fat percentage.

+ They are very easy to use. The hardest part is finding the right locations to pinch.

+ They are relatively inexpensive and once you have a set they should last a lifetime.

+ They can be used to calculate body fat in the privacy of your own home.

+ They are portable. You can test others in the most convenient place for them.

+ Used correctly they are an accurate and reliable way to calculate body fat.

+ It can be a quick way to calculate body fat percentages for a large number of people in a short space of time.

Now for the disadvantages...

- For accurate results an experienced examiner is needed, as the measurements need to be taken in precise locations.

- There are different equations used for different people to calculate body fat percentage from skinfolds. Choosing the wrong equation makes a world of difference.

- It is very difficult to test yourself.

- Really cheap calipers won't stay very accurate for long. They aren't as accurate as the more expensive ones to start with.
Don't let these downsides put you off. There is a lot you can do to control the accuracy of skinfold testing. You can even buy a great set of calipers that allow you to test yourself.

Bioeletrical Impedance Analysis:

BIA For Short. Until recently BIA was expensive, difficult to find and required the skills of a highly trained examiner. Not anymore. Body fat scales have appeared on the market and BIA is the technology they use to calculate body fat in seconds.

Their advantages are almost identical to skinfold calipers.

As for disadvantages:

- The amount of water in your body, your skin temperature and recent physical activity can all adversely affect the results.

- As with calipers there are different equations used to calculate body fat from your body density. Unfortunately you are stuck with the equation the manufacturers programmed in and it might not be the most one appropriate for you.

Again, don't let these put you off. It is probably easier to control the reliability of body fat scales than it is for calipers.

Hydrostatic Weighing... The gold Standard?

If it's accuracy you're after, hydrostatic or underwater weighing is considered the "gold standard". The only way to calculate body fat more accurately is through dissection – ouch! Hydrostatic weighing is also a highly repeatable way to calculate body fat. This simply means that your body composition is the only variable that affects the results. Factors such as the amount of fluid in your body, different examiners and skin temperature can all adversely affect the results of other tests. Here's the downside. It can be an expensive, time-consuming way to calculate body fat, not to mention difficult to find. A local University may be your best bet. However, some larger gyms may have a hydrostatic weighing tank. How does hydrostatic weighing calculate body fat exactly? It is based on Archimedes’ Principle. The examiner first calculates your body density. How? By simply measuring the amount of water you displace when you first enter the tank. The examiner then uses a specific equation to calculate body fat based on your body density.

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About the Author...

Shelly Pinkerton CPFT & National-level Figure Competitor

I grew up in rural northern California where extracurricular activities were few and far between - I can remember my mom driving two to three hours a day to get me to gymnastics and ballet lessons. Naturally athletic and blessed with good genetics, I involved myself in all school sports and cheerleading, and when I started college at CSU, Chico, I found myself joining my first gym and learning about weight training – I was hooked!

After my son was born in 1992 I became certified to teach group fitness and shortly after attained my personal training certification. I have been working with people to improve their lifestyles ever since. In 2004, after a difficult move to Southern California, I accepted a new challenge – figure competing – and found renewed personal satisfaction and success. I plan to continue to share my passion for fitness with others by helping them develop their own happy, healthy lifestyle through my personal training business, BodyWise Total Fitness, and through my experiences in figure competing.

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