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I do love gadgets and I also love a bargain so, when I spotted the Salter 9117 Bodywise scales on offer at half price, it was more than I could resist so I placed an order for them. I bought mine from Boots online for £24.99 instead of the list price of of £49.99 - to be honest I doubt I would have bought them at the full price.
These scales offer more than just gving you details of how much you weigh which was what attracted me to them. They measure a whole range of other things to tell you your body composition. In addition they are very smart in appearance being stainless steel for the most part with a black surround to the electronic display. Many scales with body analysis just have stainless steel pads but personally I prefer the appearance of these.
Salter have a long history of manufacturing good quality weighing equipment and I was not disappointed in my purchase. They are just about ready to use straight out of the box once you have installed the four AAA batteries which they provide.
What makes them different?
The main selling point for these scales is that they analyse your body composition as well as weighing you. Like many people I have used the excuse that muscle weighs heavier than fat when I have been on a fitness regime and my weight isn't falling as much as I want it to. With these scales you can actually see what percentage of your body is muscle and fat and monitor any changes.
These scales will give you your weight in either pounds or kilograms, you choose when you first set them up. The instructions for set up are quite simple but it is worth reading them through carefully before you start so that you can press the right buttons at the right time. I tried to work my way through line by line but that doesn't work because by the time you have read the next line you have missed the time for pressing the button!
The first thing you need to do is to enter some basic details about yourself, sex, height and age. The scales have a 12 person memory so should be able to cope with the whole family in the majority of cases.
Once you have done that you are ready to see how you fare with the analysis. It measures your body fat percentage and within the instruction leaflet is a helpful little chart showing what is considered as a normal range for you sex and age. In my case body fat is supposed to be between 26 and 36% and I was happily within that range albeit at the top end! Men have a body fat percentage much smaller than women's which is why you enter personal details at the start.
It measures the water in your body to see if you are dehydrated and it recommended that for me it should be 47% so I was pretty content with my 46.9% reading.
On the muscle percentage there was no guidance on the optimum so I just had to accept my 30.9% but what I intend to aim for is to increase that and reduce the fat percentage as I do more physical exercise.
It calculates your BMI (Body Mass Index) which is currently a popular way of assessing if someone is within a healthy weight range so you might well have seen charts for this. I already knew courtesy of Wii Fit that I should be above 18.6 and below 25 and I am, just, but planning to reduce my weight a little more so that I am comfortably within the range rather than sitting precariously at the top!
Finally it gives you a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) which is said to be the number of calories your body needs each day in a rested state to maintain the body. This is related to height, weight and age and in my case it is around 1300 but I expect for a young male it would be much higher.
Why is it important?
An interesting point - to be honest I have got this far without knowing any of that so why do I need it? I guess I don't, but they do say in their leaflet that body water is the single most important component of body weight as it represents over half of your total weight. It is true that some fast weight loss diets work on the basis of foods with a diuretic effect which make you pass more water out of your body. That many be fine if you have too much water retained but you wouldn't want it to fall to an unhealthy level.
Also if you are dieting then body fat percentage is said to give you a better measure of fitness than weight alone because you don't want to lose muscle mass rather than fat. You always need to be aware that fast weight loss can mean you lose muscle mass and the heart is a muscle you certainly don't want to damage.
Would I recommend them?
Yes if you are very health conscious and are wanting to keep your body in balance. Salter include a very helpful leaflet explaining what you are measuring and why which is quite informative. The scales are not suitable for anyone with a pacemaker as they work by passing a very tiny electrical current through your body. Don't worry you don't feel a thing but you do need to step on with bare feet to ensure you get a reading.
They are very stylish and look good in the bathroom with their smart stainless steel finish. At the moment with the half price offer they are very good value and would make a great gift for someone who is very health aware.
Worth buying if that is your kind of thing but not an essential.
The review has also been published by me on Ciao 2008
Stainless Steel Analyser.