What is Body Composition?
Body Composition is used to describe the make-up of your body in terms of fat, muscle, water and bone.
Body composition testing has, until the last few years, only been undertaken by elite athletes and bodybuilders preparing for contests. Much of this had to do with either the higher costs of the scans or the availability of reliable, accurate equipment.
Fast forward to 2019 and we now have a competitive body composition industry making body composition scans very affordable and readily accessible to the general population. (People more interested in their health and basic fitness than their double front bicep pose.)
Why should you join the tide of people investing in their health by having your body composition tested? Here are our top 8 reasons why we believe everyone should have regular body scans.
Whether it’s to get you started on your fitness journey or simply to keep you going, having your body fat and muscle numbers right in front of you in black and white is great incentive (and sometimes confronting) to keep you striving for better results. The InBody 570 and 770 Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis scans also give you a score out of 100, providing a tangible and measurable target for you to benchmark your progress against.
2. The BMI is misleading
The body mass index (BMI) is still widely used by many health professionals around the world and the weight loss industry. The BMI is simply an obesity scale based upon a calculation of your height vs your weight. As there is no distinction between muscle, water or body fat in your overall scale weight, this often leads to the misdiagnosis of obesity or health. Muscular individuals are often classed as overweight or even obese whilst at the other end of the spectrum, many who fall within the healthy BMI range(18-25) still have unhealthy levels of body fat coupled with unhealthy, low levels of muscle.
3. Skinny Fat
This is a term for those who fit within their normal BMI or desired weight range but have an unhealthy level of body fat as well as a less than normal muscular development. This is often seen in individuals who diet or exercise solely to get their scale weight down within a certain range. Following fad diets and yo-yo dieting is often a cause of being “skinny fat”. A body composition scan will identify if you fall into this category.
4. A baseline or peg in the sand
We often hear from people starting on a fitness and health journey that they prefer to wait to have a body composition scan until after they achieved all or some of their goals. This is counter-intuitive as the biggest regret we hear from clients following this line of thinking is, “I wish I had done a test when I started so I can see how far I’ve come”. Imagine a marathon runner deciding only to start recording his running times after 6 months of training. By creating a baseline, or peg in the sand, you have something to compare your fitness and health to in years to come.
This is the age-related deterioration of muscle mass. Sarcopenia occurs naturally from the age of 30 and in many individuals who live inactive lifestyles this can escalate and cause major issues in their 60’s and 70’s. The deterioration of muscle causes reduced mobility and balance issues resulting in bone breaks or fractures from falls often leading to early death. Monitoring for muscle mass loss over time through body scans can help reduce the risk of Sarcopenia, especially if early intervention is made.
6. Checking your weight regularly on bathroom scales can do your head in!
Body weight fluctuates. Hourly, daily and weekly. The major reasons for these fluctuations are shifts in body water which can be influenced by the types of food/drink we are consuming, our hormones and even the weather can have an effect. Weighing yourself daily on bathroom scales will pick up on these natural fluctuations of weight, tricking you into believing that body fat is the culprit when it's really only water and food. Having your weight go up overnight due to water retention after a large carbohydrate meal can be a real motivation killer to the average bathroom scale watcher. Having body composition scans every 2-3 months is sufficient to replace the daily bathroom scale “you’re kidding me!” routine.
7. Measure the effectiveness of your diet and exercise
Accurately measuring your body fat and muscle can help you manage daily routines and let you know if you need to make any tweaks to your diet or fitness regime. If your goal is to shred some body fat, but you start losing muscle at the same time, it’s time to make some changes to your training and/or your diet. You may need to reduce the amount of cardio, increase weights or perhaps eat more food! A body composition test enables you to make educated decisions.
8. Understand and identify health risks
Visceral fat, or toxic fat as it has been labelled recently, is an underlying cause of many health issues. Carrying too much visceral fat is extremely harmful. It is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease and even certain cancers. Ongoing body scans not only identify visceral fat levels but also changes made to toxic fat levels over time.
As a species, humans are living longer than ever before thanks to modern medicine, yet, as we age, we are still becoming frail and effected by obesity related chronic diseases at an alarming rate.
Body composition tests have become an essential tool in the belt of those who are serious about their health and fitness.
This article has been reproduced with the permission of Melbourne Body Composition Analysis.
Melbourne Body Composition Analysis is located in Rowville, Victoria, Australia and provides body composition scanning to individuals at their studio, scanning machine hire and mobile scanning services.
For more information visit their website at www.melbournebca.com.au