Skulpt Aim Body Fat Monitor Review

Why I Think The Skulpt Aim Is a Waste of Money

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Laura Williams

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 body fat percentage.

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

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While the Skulpt Aim technically works, the problem I have is that its benefits are over-hyped, and the price is entirely too high based on what it offers. I simply don't think it's 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 over-hypeage of benefits starts.

While hydrostatic weighing is considered one of the most accurate forms of body fat testing, it's still only accurate to within 1-3% 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% body fat, the reality is you could actually have a body fat percentage falling anywhere from 15% to 21%. 

So when Skulpt tells you they're "extra accurate" because they fall within 1-2% of hydrostatic weighing, what they're really saying is that they fall within 2-5% 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 3-5% 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, I might say it's worth the $100-$200 price tag (depending on style).

Unfortunately, I didn't find it 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 body fat estimation, you have to test a minimum of four sites, a process I found far from error-proof. There were times I couldn't get a reading or 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. 

Benefits of the Skulpt Aim

The Aim isn't completely without merit - it does have some 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.
  • 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.

Considerations and Drawbacks of the Skulpt Aim

I have two major beefs with the Aim.

  • Price. At $200, it's 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.

When you combine the two problems, what you end up with is an expensive gadget with benefits that probably aren't worth the purchase, especially when you can buy other assessment devices that can 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 1-3% 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 15-16% range.

If BIA, skin fold calipers and my home smart scale all fell within 1-3% 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? 

The Bigger Picture

While I do advocate that body fat percentage is a better predictor of health than weight or BMI, I'm loathe to over-hype any single biometric as the most important measurement to gauge or monitor health. I'm also completely against obsessing over numbers.

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, my fear 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 go from "fit" to "skulpted." In the wrong hands, the pursuit of "skulpted" could lead to anorexia, exercise obsession or the female athlete triad

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