Gary Moller
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Monday, August 18, 2008

How to use and interpret your Salter 9106 Body Compositon Scales

These body composition scales sell for as much as NZ$140. The reason I am selling these for so little is I want all of my Active Elements to have them. Especially those who do not live in Wellington. This pricing means it is affordable to send a set of scales to places as far away as the United States.

Go here to purchase your Salter 9106 scales

These scales are incredibly accurate when used correctly.

How they work
The Salter 9106 uses Bioelectric Impedance Analysis (BIA). When you stand on the silver coloured electrodes of the foot plate, a tiny series of electrical currents are passed through one leg, through the body and back through the other leg. It is completely safe.

Sensors determine the electrical impedance, or opposition to the flow of an electric current through body tissues which can then be used by a mathematical algorithm in the machine's microprocessor to calculate an estimate of total body water (TBW). Assumptions are made with regards to Athletic or Sedentary lifestyles, age and gender. So long as one sticks to the Athletic or Sedentary mode, consistency is assured.

TBW can be used to estimate fat-free body mass and, by difference with body weight, body fat and even bone.

Recent advances in technology have made these consumer devices far more accurate than earlier versions just a few years ago. In my opinion, the reliability of the Salter 9106 is astonishing when I think of the expense of the clinical versions of BIA devices and the trouble one had to go to in order to get an accurate reading.

Setting up your Salter 9106 Scales
  • Use Metric Mode if you are going to be sharing your results with me, thanks
  • Choose one of the ten places to store your details
  • Choose your mode: Male, female, athlete or sedentary
  • Enter your height and age
  • Place the scales on a firm surface
  • If the screen is blank, push down on the scales gently with a foot and then take the foot off when your profile comes up
  • Wait until the profile has flicked through your details and zeroed
  • Stand on the scales
  • Note down your results as they flash up on the screen
Interpreting the results
  • Weight
    • This is not as important as you might think: It is what this weight is made up of that is important - read on!
  • Fat
    • If you are a sedentary female, then between 25 and 35% is your goal. A sedentary male should aim for 20-25%
    • If you are Athletic, then between 15-20% is your goal if female and 10-15% if male (these can be quite tough goals)
    • If you have even slight oedema (A buildup of stagnant lymph fluid) this will show as fat and success with shifting this unwanted water will show as a drop in fatness.
  • Bone
    • About 2% or higher is desirable
      • Note: If you are on Biphosphonate Drugs for osteoporosis, you may get an excessively high reading because of the accumulation of old bone
    • Because bone hardly varies at all, this reading can be used as a "consistency" grade for your readings
  • Water
    • The healthier and more athletic you are, the higher the reading.
      • For a woman 55% or higher is desirable
      • For a man 60% or higher is desirable
  • Muscle
    • 40% or a little higher is desirable for both men and women
There is no such thing as a "Normal" healthy person
So, what is healthy for you? Some allowances must be given with your Salter 9106 readings if your racial or family genes gift you a physique that naturally differs from the usual. For example, my Samoan Bother-In-Law tops the charts for bone and muscle mass while having next to no fat on him. And there are other factors that must be considered: If you are training to swim the freezing Cook Strait or the English Channel, then you want a very thick layer of blubber under the skin!

When to take readings
  • At the same time of the day
  • At the same time of week
  • At the same time of your weekly physical training programme
  • Before and after training to determine how much water you lost and therefore how much to drink
    • Always wear similar clothing, like in undies only
Getting really healthy
As health improves, body fat should decline closer to the most desirable levels as mentioned earlier. Body water will edge towards 60% and lean weight will creep nearer 40%. Bone will barely change in a year. If health declines, the opposite will tend to occur.

Weight loss done healthy

As a general rule of thumb, weight loss that has an associated drop in muscle and water percentages is not healthy. You can use the Salter 9106 scales to ensure that your weight management is healthy.

If you gain weight, an increase in lean and water is healthy and to be celebrated.

Getting old: Getting fat, losing muscle and drying up!

The manual that comes with the Salter 9106 scales has age and gender charts on page 3. Sure, this is true for the general population which typically whithers out and slowly dies a sad death! But this is not going to apply to you - Okay!

I have demonstrated that age has little or nothing to do with loss of hydration, loss of muscle or getting fat. You can maintain healthy profiles regardless of age, if you assiduously follow the sensible exercise and nutrition advice that I have for you on my website and in consulting with me direct. For example, the people who have followed the Active Elements programme for several months have all significantly improved their hydration. Most to 60%.

Send me your results
I can help you with interpreting your Salter 9106 results. I would prefer that you send them to me in an Excel Spreadsheet; but a Word or email file is fine. Please take one reading for me about every 2nd week for a while and then about once a month after several of the more frequent readings.

Do you have a question?
Email Gary: gary at (Replace the "at" with @ and remove spaces). Please include any relevant background information to your question.