Skulpt Aim Body Fat Monitor Review

Why the Skulpt Aim Is a Waste of Money

Skulpt Aim
Skulpt

Health and fitness trackers are an exploding industry—FitBit, Nike, Under Armour, Polar, and Garmin are just a few of the brands offering the latest, greatest methods for tracking every biometric you could possibly want to track.

Except for body fat percentage.

That's where the Skulpt Aim is aiming to fill a gap. Unfortunately, their aim might be slightly off the mark.

While the Skulpt Aim technically works, the problem is that its benefits are over-hyped, and the price is entirely too high based on what it offers.

It's simply not a smart purchase for the vast majority of the population.

What the Skulpt Aim Is

The Skulpt Aim is a body fat percentage tracker. It's important to note that body fat percentage (the percentage of fat mass to fat-free mass in a body) is a much more accurate measure of fitness than weight or BMI

The Skulpt Aim uses electrical impedance myography (EIM) to pass a small electrical current through specific muscle groups to assess an estimation of total body fat percentage. This technique is similar to, although distinct from, the technology used in BIA (bioelectrical impedance analysis) smart scales that provide body fat readings.

Why the Aim's Accuracy Isn't as Great as the Company Says

The result of EIM is a fairly accurate estimate of body fat percentage. According to the company, EIM gauges body fat percentage to within 1-2% of hydrostatic weighing

This is where the company's excessive hyping of the product's benefits begins.

While hydrostatic weighing is considered one of the most accurate forms of body fat testing, it's only accurate to within 1- to 3-percent of actual body fat percentage. In other words, if you went to a lab and participated in a hydrostatic weighing test and were told you had 18-percent body fat, the reality is you could actually have a body fat percentage falling anywhere from 15-percent to 21-percent.

 

So when Skulpt tells you they offer an "extra accurate" body fat calculation because they fall within 1- to 2-percent of hydrostatic weighing, what they're really saying is that they fall within 2- to 5-percent of actual body fat percentage. It's still not a shabby number, but it's not the clear stand-out winner they'd like you to believe. There are other forms of body fat measurements—specifically, skin fold calipers and BIA analysis—that also fall within 3- to 5-percent of actual body fat percentage

In other words, you could buy a $50 BIA body fat scale or have your trainer use calipers to test your body fat at the gym for free, and you'd get a similarly-accurate result—no fancy Skulpt Aim required. 

Skulpt Aim's Ease of Use 

Maybe if the Skultp Aim's ease of use was particularly handy, it might be worth the almost $100 price tag. Unfortunately, it isn't all that great. While the small, hand-held device is certainly portable, you have to wet down the electrodes to put it to use, and you have to have your smartphone available to sync and track your results. 

Plus, to get a full body fat estimation, you have to test a minimum of four sites, a process that's far from error-proof. There were times I couldn't get a reading or that I was surprised by the completely inaccurate assessment.

For instance, I checked the exact same sites three times in succession, all according to the company's guidelines, and received results that varied by as much as 10-percent per site. That's an absurd variation.

Benefits of the Skulpt Aim

The Aim isn't completely without merit—it does have a few benefits:

  • Reasonably accurate measurement of body fat percentage that enables you to track your body fat at specific sites. For instance, you can see how your body fat is distributed over your body based on site-specific testing.
  • Sync multiple users and multiple devices to a single Skulpt Aim. This means you and other family members can all use the same Aim, but with unique accounts, enabling you to track your personal stats through your mobile device.
  • You can track your body composition goals on your phone or tablet. A nice feature if you don't own a smart scale.

Considerations and Drawbacks of the Skulpt Aim

There are two major problems with the Aim.

  • Price. The $100 price tag is a hefty price to pay for a device that essentially only tracks one measurement—body fat percentage.
  • Over-hyped, over-played benefits compared to other body fat testing devices. The company makes it seem like their body fat testing methodology is somehow better or more accurate than the other means of testing body fat already on the market. And yet, there's no research to back these insinuations. Frankly, there's no need to tote a body fat percentage tester around with you wherever you go. Body fat percentage doesn't change from moment to moment or day to day. It takes time to experience changes. This is why periodic caliper or smart scale testing is a perfectly acceptable and reasonably accurate option. 

When you combine these two problems, what you end up with is an expensive gadget that provides benefits that aren't worth the price, especially when you can buy other assessment devices that deliver results that are similar, although perhaps slightly less accurate.

A Real World Comparison of Accuracy and Price

When I was in my master's degree program, I had to go through a lab that consisted of multiple body fat tests. After having fasted, excreted and abstained from exercise leading up to the tests, I received the following body fat results:

All three of the measurements were within an appropriate range of error—a deviation of roughly 1- to 3-percent of the "gold standard" of hydrostatic weighing. That night I also used my $50 home "smart scale" to test BIA at home, and I received a similar reading—somewhere in the 15- to 16-percent range.

If BIA, skin fold calipers, and my home smart scale all fell within 1- to 3-percent of the "gold standard" of hydrostatic weighing, why would I spend significantly more to use the Skulpt Aim, a device that offers the same level of accuracy? 

A Word From Verywell

While body fat percentage tends to be a better predictor of health than weight or BMI, no single biometric should be over-hyped as the most important measurement to gauge or monitor health. 

When you isolate a specific biometric without keeping a focus on the bigger picture—a balance of all measurements, if you will—you risk unhealthy behaviors.

To some extent, the problem with the Skulpt Aim is that it so drastically focuses on body fat percentage alone, that it could fuel unhealthy obsessions in certain individuals, promoting behaviors that lead to excessive body fat percentage loss. The device doesn't offer an indicator when a person has, perhaps, gone too far; rather, as a person gets leaner, they proceed from "fit" to "skulpted." In the wrong hands, the pursuit of "skulpted" could lead to anorexia, exercise obsession or the female athlete triad

Sources:

"Body Composition." The Exercise and Physical Fitness Page. Georgia State University. http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwfit/bodycomp.html. 

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