When you measure your body composition using a body fat test, you can set a realistic weight loss goals. To understand this idea better, let’s find out what body composition is.
What is Body Composition?
Your body composition is the amount of water, fat, bone, and muscles in your body. Body composition tests help you find out how much fat and lean tissue there is in your body.
If your body composition test shows a good percentage of lean tissue, that’s great news! See, your lean tissue burns your calories.
How Do You Measure Body Composition?
You have various choices when it comes to body composition testing. Let’s talk about some of the most popular ones.
Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry
Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, or DEXA, is often used to measure bone density. It’s often used in testing for osteoporosis. But you can also use it to find out your body fat percentage.
What’s great about DEXA is that it also tells you where your fat is. The downside is its price. A single scan can set you back around $125. You can get it covered by your insurance only if you’re diagnosed with a chronic disease or if you’re over 65.
Near-Infrared Interactance or NIR uses a fiber optic probe. The device gives off a light that penetrates your tissues. Your bones reflect this light into a detector. The intensity of the re-emitted light is then measured. Using the result and a prediction equation, the technician computes your body fat.
It’s simple and painless but it provides a big room for errors for various reasons. For one, your skin color and level of hydration affects the results.
This one is also sometimes called hydrostatic weighing or hydrostatic body composition analysis. It’s done underwater and uses Archimedes’ Principle of Displacement.
First, they’ll measure your body weight on dry land. Then, you’re submerged into a large tank of water, all the while sitting on a scale.
For this method to work, you have to let out all the air from your lungs. You’ll also need to remain motionless while your weight is being measured.
This is done three times. Then, the average is calculated. Using that average and a special formula, your lean weight and your fat weight is calculated.
This method has been proven to be accurate. But you have to make sure you expel all air out your lungs.
The Pinch Method
As the name implies, this method involves pinching. It is done by pinching your skin on at least three different parts of your body. The thickness of these pinches helps measure your body fat percentage.
This method is also prone to errors especially when done on overweight or obese subjects. But it’s the most common methods used by many fitness trainers.
A Bod Pod is a body fat test that uses an impressive Air Displacement Plethysmograph to measure your body composition.
It’s easier and much more comfortable than underwater weighing. You won’t need to hold your breath, keep motionless, and expel all air from your lungs. It’s also cheaper than DEXA and only takes 2-3 minutes to complete the actual test
With the Bod Pod, you enter a high-tech chamber, sit, and breathe normally. While you’re inside, the sensors in the Bod Pod measures the amount of air displaced by your body. The procedure calculates your
- fat mass
- fat-free mass
- body mass
- body volume
- body density
- body fat percentage
- fat-free mass percentage
Do a body fat test to find out what your body fat percentage is. Knowing your body fat percentage helps you create a realistic fitness plan.
For example, you weigh 165 pounds. Using a Bod Pod, you find out that your body fat percentage is 35%. This means you have about 58 pounds of fat in your body.
If you lose 10 pounds of fat in 30 days, you’d weigh 155 pounds. And, you’d have 48 pounds of fat left in your body. Your new body fat percentage would now be 31%.