Posted on 22 Aug 2016
6 min read
Body fat has and always will be a big focus of the bodybuilding industry.
Whether you’re an amateur starting out, someone who is happy never competing, or a full-blown six-meal-carrying bodybuilding mentalist, we’ve all had conversations about body fat percentages.
And we’ve all got that one mate who claims he once measured a 3.2% body fat reading on a Boots 50p scale even though he’s been on a “clean bulk” for the last five years straight.
Which raises the point that it’s quite hard to consistently get body fat readings.
And it’s not just bodybuilders now, as other athletes, and just healthy people in general, are learning the benefits of measuring body fat.
So along comes the Skulpt Chisel, a device that seems to fill the gap where accurate body fat readings at home are concerned.
The Chisel is a small device that connects to your phone using bluetooth and allows you to gather body fat and ‘muscle quality’ readings from the comfort of your own home.
The device itself looks a bit like a mini Nintendo DS but has metal pads on one side that send out electrical impulses to analyse your body parts.
It’s essentially a solution to getting a proper body fat reading at home that promises to be more useful than other methods.
Whilst there are other ways to get these readings such as scales that have built in body fat readers, or manual calipers, they’ve largely been inconsistent and unreliable.
The Skulpt Chisel is available in the UK from numerous suppliers and is priced between £90 – £150.
Whenever I’m training people, I’ll always tell them to stay away from the scales and concentrate on what they look like in the mirror and how they perform.
People are obsessed with losing weight, and it’s often seen as being a measurement of how ‘healthy’ you are eating.
Been on a cabbage soup diet for three weeks and lost two kilograms?
Great, you’ve done really well!
I hope the misery and diarrhoea was worth it.
Seriously though, anyone with an understanding of the human body will realise that it’s not healthy to simply lose weight – however it’s often healthy to lose fat.
Not knowing whether you’re simply losing weight or actually losing body fat can be the difference between looking and feeling great, and looking like a saggy skinny-fat yoga weirdo.
So how can we track that metric successfully?
This is where a device like the Skulpt steps in, and although it has a few cool features, that’s its main purpose.
The ‘quantified self’ or the idea of measuring your own body is something I think we should all take advantage of, and as a PT is something that’s vital when working with clients.
Without using measurements and creating baselines, we can’t truly track our progress and set smart goals for ourselves (or potentially our clients).
The Chisel is a pretty simple device with only one button on the side to sync, meaning it’s all controlled from your smartphone, either Android or iOS.
It measures either body fat or muscle quality, but for the most part I’d used the body fat reading as it’s obviously something that is immediately understood.
Muscle quality refers to, as far as I can tell from their website, something Skulpt made up.
And to be honest I didn’t use this measurement at all really.
The device measures your individual muscle groups in either two modes: quick scan or full body scan.
So you literally place the metal side of the Chisel onto the muscle it tells you to, with a bit of water to spray on to ensure it conducts electricity (it comes with a little water spray bottle).
The quick scan takes a couple of minutes, but a full body scan will likely take you around 10 minutes.
Other than that the functionality lies mostly within the app itself, and includes calorie consumption recommendations combined with goals such as weight gain, lean out and general health, which again I didn’t really use as I pretty much sort that stuff out myself.
It’s hard to say for sure how accurate this device is, but it seems pretty solid from my use of it.
Overall, it’s miles ahead of using the body fat measuring scales, and calipers have long been known to be more of a guesstimate.
The Skulpt Chisel in my opinion is the best value-for-money reading you’re going to get from the comfort of your own home, as in reality the other options are ones that cost a hell of a lot more for only one reading.
If you’re completely obsessed with body fat percentages, then your only real solution is a Dexa Scan, but it’s going to set you back a couple hundred quid!
The Skulpt Chisel was often buggy, which is really annoying when stood in yer knackers in the living room waiting to scan away.
The device itself didn’t want to sync with my phone quite a few times, which considering I use an iPhone 6s Plus and all the latest firmware is quite irritating.
Skulpt have made massive improvements to the device in the three or so months I’ve been using it, and are still constantly updating it, but they’ve still got some way to go in terms of ironing out bugs.
Doing a full body scan became something I’d only do once in a while due to the fact that it would keep failing to scan random muscles, particularly my left chest for some reason, meaning it would take ages to complete so I’d just end up doing a quick scan instead.
That being said, the quick scan is still a much better body fat reading than you’ll get from pretty much any other device at home (for the cost).
And that’s the best thing about the Skulpt Chisel, and what I really like about it: the ability to properly track a metric we can get a little obsessed with (and rightly so) from the comfort of your home.
More importantly, the Chisel allows you to measure body fat regularly without the need to go somewhere or use inaccurate methods, meaning you can monitor your progress more closely and therefore achieve more efficient results.
I also like the fact that it really doesn’t cost that much – £150 isn’t a huge amount for someone who takes their training seriously.
I’ve spent half that on tubs of protein in the past!
Whilst it has some software niggles that still need working on, the Chisel is currently your best bet for home body fat and ‘muscle quality’ measurements.
The Chisel is available to buy from a handful of suppliers, the cheapest currently being here at Amazon.
Have you tried the Chisel and if so what do you make of it?
Thinking of getting one but need a few questions answered?
I’d love to hear from you, just get in touch via the comments section below!