Body Fat Tape Test Accuracy

Military Body Fat Tape Test

Are you super fit but failed the body fat tape test? Has this happened to anyone?

I am always over my max weight and can’t pass the taping. According to Marine Corps taping standards, I am 35% body fat, but when I get a caliper test, I am between 13–15%. The Marine Corps doesn’t accept the caliper test, so how can I lose the extra weight without giving up my physical fitness? I already tone, using low weight/​high reps, since I can’t afford to put on the extra muscle with higher weight lifting. I don’t use supplements, since those tend to make me gain even more unwanted weight, and I don’t want to dehydrate myself, since it will only hurt my PFT score and I’m stationed in Okinawa, so hydration is a must! The Marine Corps says I’m a ‘fat body’ but I know I’m not! Am I just one of those people who are doomed to being administratively discharged because I don’t fall within their standards? Is there such a thing as being too physically fit?

That stinks — I know a few marines who have that same issue — they look great but are just dense and do not meet those standards even though the body percentage if well under according to other methods — the tape method is not accurate — if you could get body density test by getting immersed in water and see how much water you displace then you would have an accurate reading on body fat. I wonder what you would be then…

But if you want to lose quick — keep up with regular workouts 5–6 times a week and go hardcore and stop eating anything with sugar in it. You can still eat carbs from fruits and vegetables but no sweets /​​ bread, high fructose corn syrup…

Keep drinking water too — all day — up to a gallon or more if active and sweating…do not forget electrolytes if sweating profusely…

 READ THIS — it will explain how it works so well…

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  1. VALEREI says:

    i TOTALLY AGREE WITH THE STATEMENTS ABOVE, WHAT A TOTAL CROCK, IF A YOUNG MAN TO DAY VOLUTEERS TO FIGHT FOR HIS COUNTRY AND HAS PASSED THE HARDEST BOOT CAMP OF ANY BRANCH OF SERVICE THEN UNLESS HE IS TOTALLY OBESE AND HAS BEEN BMI TESTED THE CORRECT WAY(IN WATER) THEN HE SHOULD BE ABLE TO STAY A MARINE,IF SO DESIRED!!!

  2. Average Lady says:

    The tape test puts me at 32%, but I have a 2-​​pack. Go figure.

  3. Erik says:

    I\‘m in the same boat. I\‘m in the Navy, have been scoring Excellents on my PRT\‘s for the last 8 or 9 years and came a grenade toss shy of a first class Marine CFT, so fitness is not a problem. I haven\‘t been to sickcall since 2002, and I have NEVER had a profile, so there is no loss of man hours due to my health. SInce the Navy made the annual PHA standard, I have had good blood pressure, excellent blood sugar levels, and was told that I am the poster child for excellent cholesterol, yet I may get kicked out days away from terminal leave/​retirement. Why? Because of the tape. There was one instance, where I had three different CFL\‘s tape me within 20 minutes, and I got 3 different results. The tape isn\‘t about health or fitness,it\‘s about a cheap way to downsize.

    • Stew Smith says:

      Ouch — that tape test is not as accurate as other fat % tests that is for sure. YOu can try to decrease carbs to decrease stomach fat storage and see how that treats you. Make sure you are hydrated and not retaining water due to lack of water intake. What have you tried to decrease stomach size and increase neck size?

    • Mariah says:

      My husband is dealing with this garbage right now. Because he is only 5\‘8\” his weight standards are really low,180 lbs. That might be fine on some men of his height but he has a very solid, dense build. I\‘ve seen him at 180 lbs, after boot camp, and he looked sickly. At his current \“over\” weight he looks fit and healthy. He has a first class pft and no health problems. Most of the time he tapes out but recently he didn\‘t. He was measured by 2 different people and got vastly different results. They recorded the results that put him the farthest over his target. I really do think the USMC is just using this antiquated method of measuring a person\‘s body composition because it is easy to manipulate and makes cuts seem justified in paper to support their downsizing.

      • Stew Smith says:

        I am not sure about the downsizing reasoning but I do know the military has been using this method for decades. With this circumference test is helps to reduce stomach size and increase neck size to get \“within standards\”. I agree the height weight standards are ridiculous and they could use a more accurate measure of body fat.

  4. Jeffrey Smith says:

    We all know the tape test is flawed just like our leaders know that it is flawed as well. As someone with nothing to lose I\‘d like to request mast as high as it takes. However I don\‘t want to just come off the cuff with the information. In order to do so Stew I need some specific information that speaks to the inaccuracy of the tape tests where people with athletic builds and muscle mass are concerned. I have nothing to lose.

  5. cpipes says:

    I need to pass a nictoine and cotine test I have 7 days any suggestions and do u think I will pass.? no cigaretts for At least 6 days?

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Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at stew@stewsmith.com.

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