BODY COMPOSITIONBody composition: step off the scales & into the future!
Body Composition Analysis: Step Off the Scales & into the Future!
If you’ve ever stepped on the scales and been disappointed at gaining a pound or two – despite dieting or exercising hard – well, you’re not alone. Countless Americans embark on diets & new fitness regimes daily, setting the stage for elation – if the scales tell a positive story – or a bad day if they don’t. A focus on those scales can very quickly take over your life.
If your bathroom scales dominate your life, you’re not alone. In fact, an incredible 45 MILLION Americans go on a diet every year, spending around $33 billion on weight loss products. The problem is that scales don’t tell the whole story and they can even mask your accomplishments, making you feel depressed when you should be celebrating your achievements, and prompting you to just throw in the towel and give up on your weight loss quest. Yet despite this inaccuracy of measurement, the majority of the population still rely on them to work out if they’ve lost or gained a pound, or two.
So, how do you get to the real story? The answer is – body composition analysis.
Body Composition, & Why it Matters
Body composition refers to what, exactly, our body is composed of. Body Composition Analysis measures fat, bone, muscle & water, identifying your fat to muscle ratio, your body fat percentage, your percentage of lean muscle tissue, and your overall fat mass.
The reason why it is so much more sophisticated as a measure than scales is that scales only tell us one statistic – overall weight. It can’t tell you if those extra pounds upsetting you on your scales are just water weight, or maybe even awesome extra muscle you’ve gained from the new Spin classes you’ve been going to.
When it comes to sports performance, health, overall fitness & diet choices, and healthy dieting, we simply need far more specificity than scales can provide. What we are really interested in is whether we have a healthy amount of lean muscle tissue and a healthy amount of fat – not what our total weight is – and whether we are experiencing fluid retention or inflammation ).
Why Can’t I Just Weigh Myself?
Overall weight is also a questionable measure because it remains very responsive to daily hormonal changes and fluctuations in water levels. That is exactly why the scales in your bathroom might sometimes tell a depressing story – because it reflects intermittent weight gain (that you might have lost again by the evening), not how close you’ve come to achieving fat loss & muscle gain-related goals. Inaccurate, pessimistic measurements might lead us to grab a snack to cheer ourselves up and – boom – your diet unravels. All because of poor data.
In this scenario, it’s not actually your diet or fitness program that is at fault, of course, but your method of measurement! A muscular, super-fit man might weigh exactly the same as an overweight, unfit man according to the scales; but a body composition test would far more accurately differentiate between the overall health, muscularity, and fat percentage of the two.
Body composition tests can even alert us to the presence of inflammation – a common marker of dysfunction or disease – an extremely valuable early warning system in the maintenance and optimization of health & wellbeing.
No Two Body Compositions are the Same!
You might already be familiar with BMI (the Body Mass Index), which is a common equation used the world over to work out the health of an individual by comparing their weight to their height.
Despite being almost universally used in health settings, BMI can output vastly misleading results for, say, a muscular female or male (muscle weighs a lot more than fat, meaning that the leaner you are, and the leaner you look, the more you might weigh!).
That means that a healthy weight for one person might not be a healthy weight for another, depending on the specific composition (e.g., fat and muscle %) that makes up that weight.
Additionally, BMI doesn’t allow you to actively track the nature of changes in weight (e.g., when dieting or training for a sport, or when undergoing treatment for a medical condition), as it has no ability to differentiate between adaptations in the balance of fat and muscle in your body.
For example, have you gained lean tissue or fat? Has water retention in your body increased? These are extremely important questions to ask from a health perspective. So when it comes to weight management, scales and BMI are very limited – body composition analysis is the only data that can really tell you what you need to know.
Increasing the Success of Fat Loss
Your goal might be to lose or manage body fat for health or aesthetic reasons. Like many others, a natural inclination is to pursue the achievement of a target weight that sits in the healthy weight range for our height and age. However, simply reaching this target weight is not enough if the fat loss that has occurred has been achieved through unhealthy & unsustainable means (e.g., fasting), as this will damage overall health & immunity and vastly slow down your metabolic rate, meaning a relatively rapid return to former body fat levels. Body Composition Analysis can help you really well in this scenario.
Because it completely removes the guesswork, stops you from sabotaging yourself, and empowers you by allowing you to recognize your hard-won achievements. It empowers you to work out whether you are, in fact, losing fat, and whether you are succeeding in holding on to valuable muscle tissue. It underscores the important concept that pursuing a skinny (very low body fat) frame does not equal health, and in fact, might be significantly damaging to your health. It can also reflect the fact that a higher weight might, in fact, reflect an excellent, and very healthy, body composition, even if it places the individual outside their ‘healthy weight’ range (as is often the case for muscular individuals).
Body composition analysis ultimately offers an excellent tool for calculating your levels of subcutaneous fat (fat stored under the skin) versus visceral fat (fat around your vital organs that can be dangerous to health), as well as identifying whether you have the adequate muscle mass to allow optimization of immunity, a great posture, excellent mobility, and strong bone health.
What Will Body Composition Analysis Screen for?
Body composition analysis is non-invasive, fast, and painless. It enables you to;
- Find your baseline, so you can track and target specific goals in terms of losing, gaining, or maintaining muscle or fat (in terms of fat and muscle %). N.B. Females tend to fall into the 18-28% range and men in the 10-20% range for healthy levels of body fat.
- Assess your body fat percentage (%) so you can focus on fat loss, not just weight loss (with better long-term results).
- Maximize your workout routine to fit your unique health and fitness goals by tracking the efficacy of your workouts.
- Calculate your caloric needs in order that a personalized nutrition plan can be created for you.
- Set realistic goals, accurately monitor progress, and feel more able to stay motivated.
- Make more educated decisions.
- Gain a comprehensive snapshot of your TBW (Total Body Water) including extracellular water (ECW) and ICW (intracellular water), the balance of which can provide a powerful indicator of health.
- Measure SMM (Skeletal Muscle Mass) which is crucial for mobility, posture, strong immunity, the identification of muscular imbalances, and focus on the exact % of muscle in every area of your body (great for informing training goals).
What Can I Expect from my Test?
The test is non-invasive, fast, and painless. In less than 10 seconds, the body composition test outputs a detailed analysis of Weight, Body Fat %, Fat Mass, Fat-Free Mass, Water Mass, Water %, Basal Metabolic Rate, and Body Mass Index.
The body composition device that we use at the Doctors Studio can also provide us with valuable evidence of systemic inflammation. Why is this important? Well, inflammation offers a potentially powerful indicator of the early onset of specific diseases & dysfunctions, even in the absence of any physical symptoms. The potential to diagnose early, and begin treatment options at the earliest stage of disease usually leads to the best possible outcomes and quality of life for the patient.
Throw out your Scales & Step on to a Program that Works!
Being healthy isn’t just about how healthy we look on the outside, but how healthy we are on the inside, too, and body composition offers us a powerful indicator of both. So throw out your scales and take advantage of a system that really works.
Interested in finding out more? Contact the Doctors Studio to find out how you can streamline your health and fitness goals today with a Body Composition Analysis!
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