Body Composition Scans

 In News & Events, WOD
You’ve probably had your body fat tested before, but now there is a revolutionary new method for measuring not only your body fat percentage but also your entire body composition. I’m incredibly excited that we are bringing this cutting edge technology to our members! 
Like many of you, I’ve tested my body fat every way possible. I’ve already talked about why weight alone is a lousy metric for measuring our fitness, but what are the other options for assessing our health? Years ago when I first joined a regular gym, one of the trainers pinched the roll around my waist with calipers to test my body fat. It didn’t seem particularly scientific, and I definitely didn’t enjoy it. I decided to take matters into my own hands and started using Covert Bailey’s equation for measuring body fat, and while it was definitely more accurate and less invasive that the calipers, it was pretty complicated for this mathematically challenged English major. In addition to the tricky math, it involved taking my own measurements, and I hope I’m not the only person who can measure my waist four times and get four different numbers. So I finally moved on to what had long been considered the gold standard for body analysis: hydrostatic body fat testing, otherwise known as the dunk tank. If you think having your waist pinched with metal tweezers is dehumanizing, just wait until you have to suit up in front of a stranger and submerge yourself under water while you hold your breath. Then repeat the whole thing a few times so the tech can get an accurate reading. The things we do in the name of health and fitness…

Just as I was steeling myself to endure another dunk, I heard we were bringing in BodySpec for body composition scans instead of a mobile tank. The scanner they use is a dual x-ray absorptiometry scanner (DEXA) that is also used in hospitals and universities for medical and research purposes. I had never heard of this method of body analysis, so I talked to one of the founders of the company, Bryce Luken, about what the process entails and exactly what it measures. Here is what I asked Bryce:

How is BodySpec different from other methods of body composition analysis?

  • Accuracy – This method is far more accurate than dunk tanks, bod pods, calipers or bioelectrical impedance. Other methods use a formula derived from an indirect metric, such as buoyancy, air displacement, or electrical resistance of your tissue in order to estimate your composition, but our scanner measures every inch of you and detects your actual composition. This accuracy is why athletes at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the NFL rely on the same technology we use. For more info, you can view the Georgia State Department of Kinesiology and Health’s body composition comparison study.
  • Precision – We collect over 100 data points for each individual so that you can see exactly what happens in your body. Did you just lose 5 pounds?  You’ll see exactly WHERE you lost it, and whether it was muscle or fat that you lost. Plus, you’ll be able to compare your left arm to your right arm, or your left leg to your right leg, so you can see exactly where you should focus your training.
  • Convenience – Our scanner keeps track of your data over time. That means that each time you scan with us, you’ll see how and exactly where you improved. We’ll also make your scan results available on a secure login portal via our website, so you’ll never lose them. No getting wet, no pinching, no awkward skintight outfits. Just come in your workout clothes and relax on our scanner for 10 minutes. It doesn’t get any easier that this!

What specifically does the scanner analyze?

Here’s an overview of what you’ll learn at each scan:

  • Total Body Fat Percentage – A detailed measurement of your total body fat percentage as it pertains to your total mass, as well as a breakdown of total fat percentage as it pertains to your soft tissue. You will get a percentage figure as well as a pounds figure.
  • Relative Skeletal Muscle Index – Skeletal muscle comprises a large percentage of body mass, and in addition to being critical to functional movement and strength, skeletal muscle is the most abundant insulin-sensitive tissue. Skeletal muscle helps to efficiently take up and store fuel, and to transition from using fat to glucose as the primary source of energy during times of caloric abundance or scarcity. As you scan with us over time, monitoring this index will help track changes in your skeletal muscle development.
  • Bone Density – A measurement of your bone mineral content assesses your risk of fracture. Bone density can be tracked over time to measure the effectiveness of load bearing training and improved nutrition. We also provide a comparison of your bone health compared to others of your age and gender.
  • Fitness Consultation – Your body scan will be followed by a fifteen minute consultation with a physical fitness expert that will help you interpret these results, with your personal health and fitness goals in mind.

 What do I need to know before I scan?

The scan is completely non-invasive. The scanner will perform a weak x-ray with less radiation exposure than a plane flight from New York to Los Angeles. The scanner can scan individuals up to 350 pounds. Unfortunately, we can’t test pregnant women. All you have to do is show up in clothes with no metal, so no zippers, snaps, underwire bras, or belts. Regular workout clothes are perfect.

I’m so excited that we are hosting BodySpec at CrossFit Huntington Beach this coming Saturday, March 1st for body scans! You can make your appointment between 8:00 am and noon by signing up HERE, and don’t forget to enter the discount code CFEATP to get our special discounted rates. We also start our Paleo Challenge on Saturday, so it’s the perfect time to evaluate where you are now so you can track your progress. I’ve already made my appointment—and this time, I won’t be holding my breath.

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