Health and wellbeing can be a challenging thing to get on top of for us dads. Now, more than ever, we wear a hundred different hats and juggle a hundred different challenges at any one time. We are time poor, and often that means that our own needs take a back seat.
But they shouldn’t. Our health and wellbeing is important. It is important to us personally, but it is also important for the family. A dad who is physically and mentally in good shape is a dad who can fully engage with his kids. He can share the load with mum, who is equally stressed by the challenges of modern day family life. And, crucially, taking care of our health now pays dividends down the road. We are in this for the long haul, after all.
Keeping on top of fitness can be difficult, but we are fortunate to have a range of tools and technologies that can assist us in leading a better, healthier life. One of those technological marvels is the Tanita BC-587 Glass Body Composition Monitor.
Disclosure: This article contains Tanita products that were provided to Blog of Dad for the purposes of review and ongoing use. For more information, visit my disclosure statement. This article also contains some general thoughts and reflections about health and fitness that are relevant to the author and his lifestyle. Readers should consult a doctor or other health professional for specific fitness and lifestyle advice tailored to their needs.
Tanita BC-587 Glass Body Composition Monitor – First Impressions
The Tanita BC-587 Glass Body Composition Monitor looks like a premium set of simple bathroom scales, although the large LCD screen and series of buttons do provide a hint that there is more going on with this device. The silver, white and glass colour scheme is unobtrusive and able to blend in with a wide range of bathroom décor, enabling the Tanita BC-587 to sit subtly in a corner and not command attention. The platform is extra wide, so it may take up a little more space than some other designs, but to my eye it doesn’t look huge. If you usually store your bathroom scales in a tight space, take note of the measurements.
When a button is pressed on the BC-587, the LCD screen lights up in a bright blue, which is easy to read in any interior lighting conditions.
The packaging is fairly simple – a large box with plenty of padding protects the body composition monitor. 4x AA batteries are included, which is a nice touch. There are few things more frustrating than getting electronic equipment home and not being able to use it straight away!
Tanita also include a detailed user manual, a progress chart and a Body Composition Guide for InnerScan monitors. This guide covers each of the measurements that the BC-587 takes, giving a detailed description of what each measurement shows and why it is important. I found this very useful as I wrapped my head around the features!
The extra wide platform is pleasant and stable to stand on. There is very little in the way of movement when I step aboard the BC-587 and the thick, toughened glass feels more than up to the task of carrying my weight. Admittedly, I’m not the heaviest user that such a monitor has ever encountered, but the BC-587 is rated at a weight capacity of 200 kg.
Tanita are highly respected in the in the weight measurement and body composition monitoring field. Their expertise in producing medical-grade scales is evident in some of the impressive technology that is packed into the BC-587 body composition monitor. Tanita call this advanced technology “InnerScan”. In addition, Tanita state that the BC-587 uses Advanced Dual Frequency Technology, Patented transparent electrode technology and dual-frequency Biometric Impedance Analysis (BIA) for extra, medical-grade accuracy.
Tanita BC-587 Glass Body Composition Monitor – Use
The Tanita BC-587 Glass Body Composition Monitor has many buttons and could appear a little overwhelming at first glance. However, it is actually very easy to set up and use, and the detailed instructions do a fantastic job of walking users through the process. For those of us used to doing everything on a smartphone touchscreen these days, it does feel a little old school, but the fact is that it is actually far quicker and more simple to set up and use than just about any electronic device that I have reviewed in the past few years.
The Tanita BC-587 Glass Body Composition Monitor requires some basic details in order to set up each user profile (up to four). This includes age, sex and height. In addition to sex, users can select “athlete”. Tanita provide a detailed description of what constitutes an athlete and using this setting has an impact on the readings.
Once a profile is created, using it is simply a matter of pressing the assigned number and stepping onto the Tanita BC-587 Glass Body Composition Monitor. Profiles can be created for any users over the age of seven, although children (aged 7-17) will only display the Weight and Body Fat % readings. The Tanita BC-587 can still be used by younger children (under careful adult supervision) or users without a profile by simply pressing the weight button. This only returns a simple weight measurement.
Body Fat Percentage
Those dads who are trying to lose weight through dieting and/or exercising are really concerned about their body fat percentage. This is the amount of body fat as a proportion of your body weight. For those who have begun a new exercise regime in particular, this is an important distinction to make. Simple scales may show a short period of weight loss followed by an apparent plateau, but the reality may well be that muscle mass is increasing while body fat percentage is decreasing. The BC-587 can show improvements to body fat percentage, even when the user’s overall weight appears to be unchanging and this can be a powerful motivator.
Body Water Percentage
A healthy adult male is 50-65% water, so it is fair to say maintaining a healthy body water percentage is important. Water is part of every cell, tissue and organ in the human body – it’s importance cannot be understated! Tanita recommend using this reading for monitoring long-tern changes. Interestingly, this reading tends to be linked to body fat percentage. Body water percentage will tend to decrease as the percentage of body fat increases.
Visceral Fat Rating
Tummy fat. Most of us dads get to be familiar with this one, sooner or later. More specifically, visceral fat is the fat that is in the internal abdominal cavity. An increase in visceral fat is a natural part of aging, but it is still important to monitor and stay on top of it. Tanita state that healthy levels of visceral fat may reduce the risk of certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and the onset of type 2 diabetes. It is worth taking seriously.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
This is the minimum level of energy your body needs when at rest to function effectively. Having a higher basal metabolism increases the number of calories used and helps to decrease the amount of body fat. BMR can be calculated through a simple, standard equation; however, Tanita have conducted in-depth research into BMR and state that their calculation (based on impedance measurement alongside user-entered details) is more accurate and personalised.
In addition to the BMR, the BC-587 delivers a Daily Calorie Intake estimate. This shows an estimate of how many calories you can consume within the next 24 hours, in order to maintain your current weight. I’m no calorie counter, but I do find this a useful guide.
This indicates the average age associated with your type of metabolism, based on your BMR result. Tanita state that increased exercise will build healthy muscle tissue, which will improve your metabolic age if your result is higher than your actual age. For me, this is not something to worry about. According to the BC-587 I have a metabolic rate that sits well below my real age.
This is an important measurement for tracking the overall impact of lifestyle changes well beyond simple weight loss. Muscle mass plays an important role as an engine for consuming energy. Simply speaking – more muscle mass = greater energy consumption and reduced excess body fat.
Alongside the muscle mass result, the BC-587 delivers a physique rating. Tantia state that “As you become more active and reduce the amount of body fat, your physique rating will also change accordingly. Even though your weight may not change, your muscle mass and body fat levels may be changing making you healthier and at lower risk of certain diseases”.
This is the real power of the Tanita BC-587 Glass Body Composition Monitor and one that makes it such a valuable tool for people of all shapes and sizes as they set their own personal health and fitness goals. For someone like me, who has overly relied on a particularly blessed metabolic system to look healthy for years, the BC-587 makes it plainly obvious that I have areas to improve.
My physique rating comes in at 4 – under exercised. While my metabolism has regulated my body fat well over the years, my current lack of exercise has resulted in less than average muscle mass. This is not a terrible place to be, but it also provides me with a pretty strong picture of where improvements can be made.
Where to from here?
Getting the data is part of the picture, but taking advantage of it is where the Tanita BC-587 Glass Body Composition Monitor can be particularly powerful. The BC-587 has quickly painted a picture of where I stand right now, and thanks to the easy-to-understand physique rating system, a clear direction in which to head. Despite my excellent metabolic rating, my body fat percentage is slightly higher than I would like and my muscle mass needs clear improvement.
I am not planning any drastic or unrealistic lifestyle changes, rather a simple mindfulness around what I put into my body (particularly reducing the bad snacking habits after the kids go to bed) and increasing the exercise from almost nothing to a bit each day. My goal is to move from a 4 to a 5 – average levels of body fat% and muscle mass. That seems like a pretty good place to be!
Tanita BC-587 Glass Body Composition Monitor – Final Thoughts
Anyone who has ever used a simple set of scales while undertaking an exercise or dieting regime will know that they are a fairly blunt tool that often fails to show the big picture. The Tanita BC-587 Glass Body Composition Monitor is designed to give a better insight into key health indicators that provide so much more information about your lifestyle changes. It moves well beyond weight as the sole indicator of health and unpacks several key elements of body composition in order to provide a more holistic picture of health.