So how do we assess changes in body composition?

There are several different measurements available to measure body composition. Although Dexa Scan is considered the most accurate, most measurements are not actually measuring body composition but rather some other measure from which the body composition is then estimated. 

For instance, skin fold calipers are measuring the thickness of skin folds in certain areas of the body to estimate the amount of subcutaneous fat. From this measurement an estimation of total body fat is attained. 

Bioelectrical impedance is another common body composition measurement method. It measures the resistance of a micro current running through the body from which total body water is estimated. My simple explanation and analogy of this method works is to imagine you have an identical twin where you both have very similar bone structure internal organs etc. and you both weigh the same. The difference is that you strength train and they don’t. As a result, you have more muscle mass and they have greater body fat. The fact that muscle carries more water than body fat will mean that your body will have a higher percentage of water. This combined with the fact that water is a good conductor of electricity will mean that you will have less resistance or impedance to the micro current.

We utilize the Fit3D scan as our preferred body composition measurement. Fit3D utilizes a digital camera to capture circumference measurements of different parts of the body along with weight and height measurements to estimate overall body composition. The premise of the measurements are based on the fact that muscle is denser than fat and therefore will take up less space per unit of weight. You may have heard the saying, “muscle weighs more than fat.” This is actually an inaccurate statement. A pound of muscle and a pound of fat both weigh one pound. However, the pound of muscle will take up less space than the pound of fat. As with any of the above measurements, there is potential for error with the measurement. However, over time you should be able to see a trend of improvement. The main reason we chose the Fit3D is because you not only receive a number but you have a visual image associated with the number. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Seeing physical changes can be more empowering and motivating than seeing a number alone. The Fit3D also gives other valuable information including posture and weight distribution as well.