A couple weeks or so ago, I did a body composition analysis at our local YMCA. I found it slightly remarkable.
1) It was free
2) It took about 2 minutes
3) It provided tons of fun data
4) All I had to do was stand on a scale, grab some electrodes, and hang tight
I found this simple explanation online at Tanita.com: Simply explained, BIA measures the impedance or resistance to the signal as it travels through the water that is found in muscle and fat. The more muscle a person has, the more water their body can hold. The greater the amount of water in a person’s body, the easier it is for the current to pass through it. The more fat, the more resistance to the current.
According to CNN, this type of measurement is pretty reliable, especially if you are going to be tracking improvement on a consistent basis. Your level of hydration can screw up the results and therefore I was not allowed to eat or drink for 3 hours beforehand and I had to take the test before working out.
Here are my results.
And here is what it means. All the definitions below are from the InBody website.
- Dry Lean Mass – Dry Lean Mass is the total body mass minus the water and the fat mass.
- I have 28.4 lbs of organs, skin, bones and muscle.
- Skeletal Muscle Mass -Skeletal muscle mass is the only type of muscle that you can actively grow and develop through proper exercise and nutrition. Change in skeletal muscle, as the result of increased exercise and diet modifications, is the most effective indicator of health improvements.
- My SMM falls between 100-110% of standard, which is what you want. I could probably use a little more muscle so I need to work harder at TRX.
- Body Fat Mass -Body Fat Mass represents all of the fat molecules an individual has in their body.
- I have 24.3 lbs. of fat, which for my body is slightly under normal. In fact, it tells me I should gain 1.5 lbs. of fat so I’m going to order a pizza.
- Body Mass Index -Body Mass Index (BMI) is an index used to determine obesity by using just height and weight.
- My BMI is 21.3%. I don’t like this measurement because it doesn’t take muscle vs. fat into account. According to BMI, Scott is obese, which is ridiculous.
- Percent Body Fat – The standard PBF is 15% for males and 23% for females, which are the respective midpoints in relation to standard weight.
- My PBF is 18.4%, which falls within the standard range.
Notice that it gives me my base metabolic rate too. I need 1423 calories a day to stay this weight.
What can I do with this information? The analysis shows that I am healthy and should just keep on doing what I am doing. It’s a confirmation.
Scott went one step further and used the data to measure changes. He did the analysis. Then became an ultra runner. Then decided to cut some weight. Then decided to cut carbs. Then did the analysis again.
The results speak for themselves but check out the change in his body fat vs. his muscle mass. Basically, he lost a lot of fat and gained muscle, the perfect combination. Body fat went down 15 lbs while muscle mass only went down 3 lbs. And look at his legs. They went from “normal” size to “over,” which we attribute to all the trail running he has done between the two measurements.
For people who like data and analysis, this is cool stuff. So much data for 2 minutes of your time and $0. If you live in Morgan Hill, just ask at the CRC front desk and they can get you hooked up.