Why get Body-Fat Testing / Body-Composition Testing?
When I ask someone why they DON’T want to get Body-Fat Testing / Body-Composition Testing, they usually tell me something like “I’m too scared to know my Body-fat”. That response should tell you something powerful about Body-Fat Testing / Body-Composition Testing; Awareness and acceptance are the first steps to positive change. A Body-Fat Test / Body-Composition Test will show you what you where afraid to know, and that is a great thing. Like a thermostat turned up too high, getting Body-Fat tested will put your unconscious to work for you by admitting the truth about where you are.
When you get body-fat testing / body-composition testing, you learn fundamental details of your state of health. These details can be used to track real progress and determine what the unique needs of your goals are. Not all methods of body-fat / body-composition testing are accurate and so we’ll be going over the methods available next.
What Body-Fat Testing / Body-Composition Testing Methods Are Accurate?
There are four major methods for Body-fat testing / Body-Composition testing; DEXA, Hydro-static Weighing, Skin-fold Caliper, and Electrical Impedance.
DEXA / DXA $50-150+ is short Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. DEXA / DXA is the gold standard and most accurate way to know your body-fat and body-composition. Unfortunately getting radiated is not something that is cheap or recommended on a regular basis. Radiation damages your DNA so you want to limit how often you get scanned. A DEXA scan may be covered some medical coverages but out of pocket the costs are prohibitive.
Hydro-static Weighing $50-100 used to be the gold standard for Body-fat testing / Body-Composition testing. This involves putting on a bathing suit, dunking underwater and knocking all the air out of your lungs. To be frank, this is not a fun process and Hydro-static Weighing is only as accurate as your ability to knock the wind out of yourself. Assuming your good at holding on to no breath Hydro-static Weighing is about 6% accurate to a DEXA / DXA scan (minus the radiation). Bodpod is a more expensive and more comfortable version for about $100 on average.
Skin-fold test / Caliper Test $20 is where you use a specialized handheld gauge to sample your skin at different sites to see how much fat is there. By adding up and averaging all the sites, using one of many specially formulated equations, you come up with a estimated body-fat amount. You can use this number to calculate out what your Lean body mass is as well. This method works only as well as the person who knows how to use it. The Skin-fold test / Caliper Test can be wildly inaccurate but it’s better than a bathroom scale if you know how to use it. Another similar method is to just put on that tight pair of pants; if it’s looser your losing body-fat.
Electrical Impedance / BIA Testing $40-50 is where you stand on a scale and a small current is sent through your body and body-fat is determined by the impedance of the electrical signal. Every body-fat scale you’ve seen on the market fits into this category, and these machines are not accurate at all; here’s why. The machine takes in your height, weight, sex, and age, along with measuring the electrical impedance. This information is compared to database of averages which are not your body at all, then it spits out a number. As an example of how inaccurate these are, I test out at around 7.5% body-fat, but on one of these electrical impedance scales I show up as being 38% body-fat… Don’t use them, they are less than garbage.
DSM-BIA or Direct Segmental Multi-frequency Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis $20-50 is a relatively new technology, in the United States at least, similar to electrical impedance testing. The difference is DSM-BIA uses actual data taken from you through multiple frequencies and multiple electrode points. This method is fast and non-invasive. DSM-BIA has been tested to be within 98.4% accurate to a DEXA / DXA test. The only reason DSM-BIA is not the gold standard is simply because it’s still so new. Some groups are starting to catch on, including big names like the Los Angeles Lakers, UCLA Medical Group, and the CIA. DSM-BIA has been featured as the best method in Shape Magazine, and clinically tested in peer reviewed journals.
If you would like to get Body-Fat Testing / Body-Composition Testing that is accurate, cost effective, and convenient, I recommend DSM-BIA. Thats why we offer DSM-BIA for Body-Fat Testing / Body-Composition Testing. You can pay for your Body-Fat Testing / Body-Composition Testing at our online store, or you can come visit us at our office.
How Do I Use My Body-Fat Test / Body-Composition Test?
Getting a Body-Fat Test / Body-Composition Test puts some very powerful tools in your hands. Firstly, your body composition is what is used to determine your unique nutritional needs. To healthfully go up or down in weight you need as little as 300kcals difference from your maintenance calories. By knowing your body composition we can figure out what foods best fit you, and in what amount.
Secondly, knowing your body-fat / body-composition allows you to track real progress in muscle gained and fat lost. In my experience as a trainer, the majority of women who love their results went up in muscle and down in body-fat and their weight stayed mostly the same. With a body composition report you can know exactly if you’ve been losing fat or just yo-yo dieting or yo-yo exercising and losing water weight.
Even if you only get a body-fat / body-composition test once, you’ll gain a lifetime of understanding about where you are and what you need. Your body-composition report is like a map that say’s “You Are Here”, and without knowing where you are is the first step in getting to where you want to go.