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This is Brett Denton at the Boise gym Kvell fitness and nutrition. And today we’re going to talk about body composition scans and body composition in general. And obviously as a gym owner and as somebody who has trained thousands of people over my career body composition is a huge measurement for us to take a look at. And it’s important to realize all of the pros and cons of body composition machines and taking body composition measurements in the first place. This is a common area of disgruntle just from our clients and it’s one that needs to be talked about in detail and so we’re going to cover body composition scans today. Meridian Gyms We’re going to talk about the different types of body composition measurements and we’re going to look at the importance of body composition over the long haul. Now there is a percent body fat and there is also a BMI BMI stands for body mass index we typically are going to look at percentage body fat over body mass index and it’s very simple why body mass index is simply a measurement of weight versus height. And so that doesn’t really work for people who have a lot of musculature or people who are athletic because that could be somebody who is very lean but their body mass index is high because they have a fair amount of muscle mass on them. You’re going to see this in a lot of athletes as an example when I played football I was considered obese. If you just look at my body mass index Well of course it wasn’t actually obese because my body fat was very low but I had a significant amount of muscle mass on me. And so for many parts of the population body mass index doesn’t work in it much more reliable and useful measurement is going to be percentage of body fat. And the way the percentage of body fat works as it simply gives you the percentage of muscle versus lean body mass in the body. Now when we talk about lean body mass We’re talking about more than just muscle. Of course a significant proportion of the body is made up from muscle but the lean body mass is also going to be your bones your organs. Things that aren’t fat. Meridian Gyms So basically anything that’s not fat is going to be considered a lean body mass. And so we separate the body into two things that they’re going to be fat or it’s going to be lean body mass. And again a lot of things get clumped into that lean body mass. But ultimately one of what we want to do as we lift weights or as we start to work out is you want to increase lean body mass. You want to decrease body fat and this is going to decrease the overall percentage body fat that you possess. Now when you look at standards in other words word you want to be in this depends a little bit on your age but as a general rule females want to be somewhere between 18 and 28 percent on average. Now you’re going to see your college female athletes who are going to be below 18 as a general rule and you’re going to see your elite bodybuilders or figure athletes who are going to be below 12 or even sometimes below 10. Now granted that is for a short period of time. So most of these females who have these low body fat percentages. We’ve seen these pictures or up on stage don’t maintain that low the body fat percentage year round. It’s actually not healthy for them to operate at that love of body percentage for a very long period of time. Now when we come to the males of the body fat percentage that is best is going to be somewhere between about 10 and 18 percent for your average male. Meridian Gyms Now if you want to start seeing some abdominal muscles you know get that six pack you don’t want to drop below 10. And when you’re talking about your elite level athletes you’re going to definitely below 10 and then your power or your body builders and your figure athletes are going to usually be you know in that five range or a little bit lower than that. And so they’re super lean. The same thing there. They don’t maintain that lean this year round. And so that kind of gives you an explanation of the different types of measurements you’ll see when it comes to body composition. Now as far as the ways to measure it it seems like there’s a new wave coming out every day. But some of the main ways in some of the ways that have been around for the longest are things like skin fold measurements. The BOD pod under-water wing bio electrical impedance in the DEXA scan. And as of recently the new software that’s coming out is actually doing a digital image of you and it is measuring your body fat percentage based on that digital image.

In other words it takes measurements based on the image that is taken and creates a body fat composition based on the algorithm that it gets sent into. And so this is yet another new way to measure body fat. Now which one is more accurate. I don’t know. In reality nobody knows. But because we don’t really have one that we know is 100 percent accurate. Most people are going to call the DEXA scan the gold standard but for a long time underwater weighing was the gold standard which is also called hydrostatic weighing. And so you know it’s one of those things that as we get better and better and better at it we’ll get closer and closer to what an ideal is. But right now you know you just compare one consistently. And the goal is just to keep dropping it until you feel healthy look healthy and look the way you want. And that kind of leads me to the next point is you know what is the importance of it. Meridian Gyms Well the importance of it is the more fat that we have to an extent the more our body has to work. The more we have to carry around the less responsive to insulin we are and the more unhealthy we are. And so this is typically why we’re paying so much attention to body fat. The second reason is because the more body fat you have typically the less attractive you are. In today’s day and age you know if you look at people who are lean in a healthy way and they have you know lean mass and they have good muscle tone and they have low body fat percent you see that as somebody who is attractive to be a mate. And so you have those two reasons why you want to drop your body fat percentage. Meridian Gyms Now when you’re talking about each one of these types of measurements let’s just talk about it for a second. So you’ve got your skin fold or your caliper measurements and this is the one that I’m sure you’ve heard of her I’m sure you’ve had done where a trainer or coach or a person who understands how to use these calipers takes body fat pinches and what they’re doing is they’re measuring the millimeters of fat and skin on the body and then they take that and they use an equation to come up with a body fat percentage. This method is very reliant on the skill of the person taking the majorettes. There is a lot of human error involved in this one. And so unless somebody is taken somewhere around 10000 skin fold measurements they’re probably not going to be that accurate and they’re not going to be that reliable. Every time they take a skin fold measurement your body fat could be differently different even if it’s just you know back to back to back to back. And one way that people get around this is they’ll take three in a row and then they’ll take the average of those three. And this is a good way to do it. If you are not used to or if you haven’t taken a lot of skin nations but this is still a method that is very inaccurate and hard to judge. Again unless somebody has done a lot and their measurements become pretty consistent you know once you have consistent measurements with the skin fold calipers then all you want to do is you want to compare and make sure that the overall trend over the long run is going down. In other words don’t take any one measurement as the end all be all look at the long term trend. Meridian Gyms What are your measurements doing over three months six months nine months 12 months. Meridian Gyms So on and so forth is the trend going down because the trend is going down. Then we’re making the results we want to. And we’re going the direction that we want to go the next type is the under-water wanger hydrostatic weighing. And really this is where they dump you into a big pool and it’s based on how much water is displaced and then again it’s plugged into an equation and that equation then pops out an actual body fat percentage. And so this was again the gold standard for a while this is how everything else was compared to. But now we’ve come up with some better technology and understand the body fat composition a little bit better. The only problem with under-water weighing is it’s hard to find a place that is set up correctly for under-water a hydrostatic weighing. This is usually going to be

found at like a college campus or some type of medical facility. And even in this day and age we’re starting to see those go out of practice because we have some better methods that allow easier to do and a little less intrusive or messy. I guess you could say the next one is bio electrical impedance and bio electrical impedance and basically sends a electrical signal through your body where the electrodes are placed. And so they have handheld ones which just shoots the electrical impulse from hand to hand which is mainly just getting your upper body there. And then they have one that has feet electrodes and hand electrodes and so it shoots it through you know more of your body there. And so the ones that tend to be a little bit more accurate are the ones that have more spots for the electrodes because it’s going to get the whole body instead of just a partial part of the body. So the handheld ones are going to make an assumption on your lower body based on an equation. Meridian Gyms And so as an example these can be very inaccurate because there’s a lot of females out there who store all of their fat in their lower body and almost all of their upper body is super lean. I’m sure you’ve seen these people but if they do a hand-held measurement it’s going to come out as being super lean because their upper body is lean but in reality they could be extremely overweight in their lower body which would make their body composition a lot of their body fat percentage is a lot higher than the machine actually shows. And so all of these again as you can tell are based on equations and these. So then the results are only as accurate as the equations. Now if you are going to use electrical impedance then you want to make sure that you use one that has hand electrodes and feet electrodes so you get more of the body. Meridian Gyms So there’s less guesswork involved. Now the dexa scan is the current gold standard and DEXA stands for dual energy X-ray absorb Tom metry gag in dual X-ray absorb Tom a tree and basically what this does is you lay down and on to x ray beams with different energy levels basically go through and they scan the body. And the way that this kind of works is the energy is absorbed differently by different tissues and so it can tell you know what’s what. And so this is basically showing you just like an actually would show you where the fat is where the lean muscle is you know where the bones are that type stuff. And so this one’s pretty accurate and pretty reliable and is the most reliable and accurate at this point. But Bob POBs the next one. And basically it uses air and so on. It uses air displacement to determine what your body fat percentage is. This is super simple. You get undressed and then you sit in a pod basically. And then it takes you know the mass of your body and calculates bone density and the percentage of body fat and lean body mass based on the body volume found in the BOD pod machine and so on the third or the last one here is the newest one which is using technology and algorithms to determine your body fat based on the measurements it takes with a photo a 3-D photo 360 degree photo of you and this one is said to be pretty accurate when compared against the dexa. Meridian Gyms  And another one that I forgot is ultrasound technology. So you can actually use ultrasound technology to see the thickness of your fat on different parts of your body. And then based on the thickness of the fat based on different parts of your body which is usually the same parts of your body that you do a skin fold measurement again eases an equation to come up with a body fat percentage of you. So as you can see almost all of these utilize an equation and that equation is going to determine how accurate or how reliable the output is. Second if there’s any human error involved that is going to make the outcome less accurate as well. And so when we’re talking about body fat you want to talk about well how important is it really. And body fat is important but the number is less important unless it’s astronomically high. In other words if you can tell that you’re obese by looking in the mirror then you’re probably obese. And so that number is high. And so you need to pay attention to it. Meridian Gyms But even if that is the case it’s the same exact goal as if you are a little leaner and not totally obese. Right. We just want the numbers to go down. And so we want the overall trend to be down. Meridian Gyms And if the overall trend is down with it whether you’re talking about body composition or even BMI in this case then

you’re going to be getting the result you want. One of the other ways that you can just measure your results that doesn’t involve body composition at all is just get a fabric tape measure. And with that fiber tape measure take different measurements of different parts of your body. Some of the most telling parts of your body are going to be your waist and your hips. So you want to take a measurement right around the widest part of your hips and you can take a measurement right around the smallest part of your waist. And as these start to decrease you can tell that you have good changes going on in your body. In other words you’re starting to drop inches which means you’re probably starting to drop either weight or body fat. And this is a good indicator especially these two areas of what’s going on in your body. Because if you start taking some of the other areas like for example your legs or your arms you could be increasing muscle there. Meridian Gyms And so the numbers could go up or could go down and you’re not sure if that’s a lean mass gain or if that’s a fact gain. And so the two best areas again for tape measure is the widest part of the hips and the smallest part of the waist. All right guys. Well if you have any questions feel free to visit our website our website is w w w Duncanville fit dot com. And you can always reach out and e-mail us if you’re ever in Boise come out to one of our Boise gyms and if you’re ever in Meridian come out and get a workout in and ask questions and say hi at one of our Meridien gyms. Until then get out there and Coville.