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Body Composition 101

Our society is super focused on weight as an indicator of overall health. The truth is, a person can be at their ideal weight and still be unhealthy. How can that be? Well, if that ideal weight is comprised of a lot of fat and just a little muscle, a person can be at risk for many diseases…especially if their fat is held around their mid-section. Two people at the exact same weight but with disparate body compositions can have totally different appearances. One can appear sickly and out-of-shape while the other can appear healthy and fit.

Mesquite Nevada

How Can Body Composition Be Measured?

There are a few different technologies that can be used in order to ascertain a person’s Body Composition. Skinfold calipers, scales, and handheld devices provide general estimates of body composition. However, the top three (3) measuring devices are:

  1. Dexa Scan – X-ray (available at DexaFit in Las Vegas for approximately $150)
  2. BodPod – Air Displacement (available at Intermountain Live Well Center in St. George for approximately $45)
  3. InBody – Impedance (available through Fitness & Fun in Mesquite for $20)

The Dexa Scan, BodPod and InBody tests all provide detailed reports showing a breakdown of fat, water, lean mass, percent body fat (PBF), and recommendations for change if needed.

Since the InBody impedance technology is mobile and less expensive, it can be done regularly as part of an individual’s ongoing health maintenance program. Monthly, quarterly, or even annual reports can show improvements as a person embarks on a fitness regimen. Lack of weight loss on the scale is discouraging; whereas, decreases in fat and increases to muscle mass in Body Composition are very motivating… even when the scale doesn’t change.

What Exactly is Body Composition?

Body Composition is the percentage of fat, water, and lean mass (muscles & bones) in human bodies. Since muscular tissue takes up less space in the body than fat tissue, body composition determines leanness.


What Is Body Composition Analysis?

Body Composition Analysis is what fitness professionals use to determine an individual’s state of fitness. And, it helps to emphasize the health risks and health benefits associated with various body compositions.

What Is a Healthy Percent Body Fat (PBF) Range?

Men: 10%-20% with a midpoint of 15%.

Women: 18%-28% with a midpoint of 23%.


What Does a High Body Percent Body Fat (PBF) Indicate?

PBF numbers higher that than 20% for Men and 28% for Women are an indication of Obesity. The higher the PBF number, the greater the risk of disease.

There is a long list of diseases that are associated with obesity. To name a few:

  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Cancer
  • Joint problems
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes

Sarcopenia (low muscle mass) is a condition sometimes referred to as “skinny fat.” Whereby a person is at a healthy weight, but lacks muscle mass and is at risk for secondary issues and malnutrition. Sarcopenia is now also being identified as a factor in the development of diabetes.


How Can You Improve Your Body Composition?

It all goes back to diet and exercise.

  • Eat a balanced whole-food-based diet with adequate lean protein, controlled healthy fats and moderate nutrient-dense carbohydrates. Cut out processed foods, fast foods, fried foods, junk foods…replace with healthier choices. If you can, eliminate alcohol altogether. If you can’t…control it! Did you know the serving size for a glass of wine is only 5 oz?
  • Move daily! Implement a combination of aerobic and strength training activities. (It is okay to start one at a time.) Walking around the neighborhood and performing light bodyweight exercises at home is a perfect way to start! Slowly build up your walking time from 5 – 10 minutes a day to 30 – 60 minutes a day. Consider using weight machines in a gym to help increase your muscle mass. Finish your daily activity by performing some stretches to aid in recovery.
  • Find professionals that can help guide you in diet and exercise if needed.
  • Build a network of people who will support you in your desire for a healthier lifestyle.


2020 is Coming Soon!

Consider your current health and fitness level. Could you benefit from having a Body Composition Test done? Would it help you in setting some personal health and fitness goals for the coming year? Then take action! Make an appointment to get yours done now.

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