Why Body Composition Analysis is More Reliable Than the Scale

4:41 PM Posted by jo

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I hope you don't weigh yourself every other day and are frustrated that you haven't lost any weight. It is important to distinguish our lean mass from the non-essential fat. It is fat we want to lose, and not bone mass, organ tissue, muscle, cartilage or blood. We should actually be saying that we want to lose fat instead of weight. If you are thinking in the terms of losing weight without measuring your body fat, you are more likely going to lose more water and muscle than fat. All weight is not created equal, and muscle weighs at least four times more than fat does but takes up less space.

For example, a woman in her 40's may weigh about 115 pounds, but after a couple of years training she is toned, is leaner and more well-conditioned. After a couple of years on whole food and training she looks great, but her weight is 135 pounds even though she looks slimmer. It is important to realize that  it is the overall body fat percentage of the body that is what matters. A fairly slim woman may look great, but underneath her clothes her body may lack muscle tone. 

Acceptable body fat percentage for a  woman is 21-24%. The accepted body fat for a man is between 14-18%. Athletes tend to have less body fat. If you weigh 150 pounds and your body fat percentage is 10%, your body consists of 15 pounds fat and 135 pounds lean body mass.
There are different methods of body composition analysis. Some methods include skin calipers, bioelectrical impedance - BIA and near infrared interactance -NIR.  Tanita.com is a good company and they even have some machines for home use.
It is recommended to have a body composition analysis once every six months. 

 We know muscle is denser than fat but fat takes up more room.  Once you know what your portion of your body is stored fat, it is easier to set up goals and measure your progress.
Use stored fat as fuel and keep your blood sugar and insulin under control. Once you eat correctly it will happen automatically. Lift weights to build muscle, use aerobic exercises to condition your heart and lungs. Stretch to stay loose. Once you limit your intake of carbs and fat your body fat percentage will drop.

BMI, Body Mass Index is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. Unfortunately the BMI cannot distinguish between functional lean tissue  and fat. An athlete with a high amount of lean muscle mass will appear to have a high BMI. This leads to incorrect interpretations, because  BMI fails to consider the proportional composition of the body.
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