By Janice McCurdy, PTS/FIS
Body composition is used to describe the percentages of fat, bone, water and muscle mass in our bodies. Knowing this information, can help an individual get on the right track on their journey to health and fitness. Having the correct body composition for your height and weight is directly related to our health and longevity.
Let’s divide the human body into 2 categories:
1. Fat Mass
2. Fat-free Mass
We all need some fat for our bodies to function normally. Fat allows our body to store energy, protects internal organs, acts as an insulator and regulates body temperature. Nobody has 0% fat. In fact, if you are maintaining less then 4%, it is regarded as unhealthy for your long-term health. However, excess fat in relation to body mass can greatly increase cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even some cancers.
Fat free mass is all mass in your body that is not attributed to fat (ie organs, skeletal and muscle mass as well as body water).
It’s very useful to know our percentages because if you are just guessing, guessing leads to frustration, frustration leads to indifference and indifference leads to quitting.
At Lifestyles, we are very fortunate to have a Bio-impedance Analysis Scale which can give us all this information at once. Just by standing barefoot on the metal sensors, in a matter of seconds, it can print off your analysis giving you all this information about your body, along with the desirable ranges that each variable should fall into. This takes all the guesswork out of your body composition and it tracks your progress on a graph so you can see it for yourself. It is a great tool and more useful than relying solely on Body Mass Index which doesn’t consider what you are made of. BMI is simply the number on the scale in relation to your height. It is good to know your BMI, but it does not give you the whole picture. Let’s imagine the scenario of a once active adult who becomes sedentary and stops exercising due to a life change such as a new job. This person will generally lose muscle mass especially in their legs. Their weight will go down in the scale, but the fat will remain. This can lead to a high body fat percentage even though they have a normal weight and BMI, therefore their health can become compromised. This is often referred to as skinny fat and can go undetected. That is why, if possible, it is important to keep this tracked.
To learn more about our scale or to book your appointment, reach out to a member of our Personal Training team or drop by our front desk and we would be happy to schedule you in for a date for a weigh-in on our Bio-impedance scale to help you get a start you on the right path. You will become more informed and able to focus on goals designed to bring body composition into normal range.