Review: Skulpt Aim – hand held body fat monitor
- More precise than a fitness scale
- Ability to track individual muscles to identify where you need most work
- Great app which allows you to track progress over time
- Positioning of the device can effect results
- Difficult to verify results
Have you ever wondered what your body fat percentage is? How about the “quality” of your muscles? Well, you dont need to wonder any more – the Skulpt Aim is the first device that claims to measure both.
The Aim was made after a successful IndieGogo campaign in 2014. That campaign set out with the goal of raising $100,000 in funding, but by the time it was complete, it had raised nearly $400,000.
This is not your typical fitness tracker. At the moment, it truly is one of a kind as it measures metrics that you wouldn’t normally measure with more ‘traditional’ fitness trackers. Rather than tracking daily activities, such as steps taken and distance traveled, this tracker measures muscle quality and body fat percentage.
The Aim isn’t the first device to measure these metrics. Bioimpedance scales and skinfold calipers have been used by gym goers for years, but the Aim is the first device to measure fat percentage from individual muscles.
Bioelectrical impedance scales measure body composition by sending a single current starting at your feet. Most of this current will flow through your “lean mass” as this is the most conductive, so none of the current will actually flow through your fat content. Your percentage of fat is then estimated, and highly dependent on variables such as level of hydration, bone density, etc.
Essential reading: Devices that help you keep tabs on your body fat
In comparison, Aim uses EIM technology. This is a technique in which a current is applied directly to each muscle using optimized electrode configurations and frequencies. As a result, the current flows past the subcutaneous fat and through the muscle in a much more controlled fashion, for greater accuracy.
Ease of use
Use of information
The Aim package comes with: Skulpt Aim tracker, charging cradle and cable, travel pouch, and spray water bottle.
The device itself is about the size of a deck of cards. It is curved along the back and made from plastic and a rubber-like material. This material is designed to safely absorb small amounts of moisture without damaging the tracker. There’s also a small bezel along the edge that causes the gadget to appear to glow while in use.
The front LCD screen displays the two numbers: body fat percentage and MQ. The Aim can’t measure anything else: it just measures those two things. So if you need an all-in-one calorie tracker with GPS functionality, then the Skulpt Aim isn’t it.
While the Aim looks and feels sturdy, there are reports of people dropping the device and seeing the front cover pop off. We have not had such a problem – but then again, we did not drop the device.
Ease of use
When you first power on the Aim you will be asked to create an account and then pair the tracker with the Android or iOS app on your smartphone. This is how you can view and keep track of your muscle quality and fat percentage data. Via the app.
On the back of the tracker are 12 sensors; once you have chosen which muscle you would like to measure, simply spray the sensors with water and place the Aim on your muscle. The sensors will then painlessly send a small current past the fat and through your muscle. If the reading was successful, the ring around the bezel will turn from red to blue.
To get a total body fat percentage or a total body MQ score, you will need to measure three areas: triceps, abs, and quads. You can however measure other muscles as well. The Aim is water-resistant and can be used while in the shower. This makes it much easier to conduct measurements as it takes away the need to constantly wet the sensors with the spray bottle. After using the tracker for a few days, we have eventually reverted to splashing water on the individual muscles as this this is a quicker route to obtaining measurements.
After you take your readings, your MQ and body fat percentage will appear directly on the display. Each measurement is shown as a digital number along with a “dial” around the outside ranging from “Needs work” to “Skulpted”. A small arrow will point to where each number is on the scale.
While most days Skulpt Aim does the job without any problems, we have found on the rare occasion that we had to take 2 to 3 readings before Aim accepted the measurement. This can be a bit frustrating if you have set out to do a quick measurement in the morning before rushing off to work.
Once you have successfully completed the measurements, Aim will send the data to your iPhone or Android device via Bluetooth. The Aim will then analyze the data and display your body fat percentage and MQ score.
Use of information
Skulpt claims that the Aim is five times more accurate than bioimpedance scales, and three to four times more accurate than measuring with callipers.
Essential reading: Skulpt Chisel – the lighter and leaner body fat tracker
The tracker measures 12 muscles on both the left and right sides of your body (24 total). The individual muscles are: abs, biceps, calves, chest, forearms, glutes, hamstrings, lower back, quads, shoulders, triceps, and upper back. Here is what those MQ numbers mean:
80 MQ: Needs work
100 MQ: Average
120 MQ: Fit
140 MQ: Athletic
160 MQ: Skulpted
You can also connect up different profiles to the device, for up to six people.
Have a look at the product video.
We have been using Skulpt Aim for a number of months now. It definitely is a great motivator as it allows you to see changes in your body resulting from your workouts.
We have actually seen the MQ and fat % decrease on days we have not gone to the gym, and over time, you can spot clear trends. And the fact that you can measure the quality of individual muscles allows you to understand where you need most work.
The Skulpt Aim is simple to use and gives you a greater understanding of your body and the muscles you need to work on. Aim also shows you how your body is changing over time. It is a great way to track progress, when it seems there is none. Also, a much better measurement than BMI or weight.
It is difficult to independently verify AIM’s measurements on your own. Do you know what your exact body fat percentage is? Probably not. So it comes down to whether or not you trust the sensors on the device to deliver accurate results. The manufacturer and a number of other professionals in the fitness industry claim that it is accurate. Our impression as well is that it is accurate.
One negative aspect however is, that measurements can vary depending on where on the muscle the sensors are placed. Even moving the sensor an inch or two to the side, can result in slightly different readings. One way around this is to measure the muscle 3 to 4 times, and obtain an average reading. And always measure at the same time in the day, preferably as soon as you wake up in the morning. Which we eventually reverted to doing. An average daily score will always be more precise than an individual reading.
Serious workout enthusiasts and personal trainers will adore the new Skulpt Aim. This is however a first generation advice – one that uses ground-breaking technology. As a first generation advice, it is excellent.
Aim will give you greater insight and enables you to measure the result of your fitness achievements, to better understand when you are losing fat and gaining muscle. We are very excited where this technology will lead us, and will be looking forward to further innovative products in this area.
UPDATE: Skulp has, since this review, released a new version of the device – the Chisel. The main difference between the first and second generation tracker is that the original Aim has a screen, while the new device has no screen. This enables the Chisle to have a battery life that is twice as long. The Chisel also costs less than the original device. You can read our review of the new gadget on this link.
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