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Why do We Measure Body Composition?

Measurement of body composition usually represents the need to describe the deficiency or excess of a body component known to be associated with health risks. In conditions such as obesity or overweight, body fat, and skeletal muscle levels, they allow certain diagnoses with implications for appropriate interventions. Dietary assessment based on body composition as well as regular physical exercise throughout childhood can guide healthy lifestyles from an early age, while available measurement methods range from simple to complex, with all methods having limitations and some degree of measurement error.

Measuring body composition is practically an inseparable part of physical exercise. If you are starting to do workouts privately with a personal trainer or have joined a local fitness center, the best indicator of your progress is measuring your body composition. Correct measurement of body composition involves the use of an In-Body machine, which people usually do not have in their homes, but you can find them in some sports clubs, fitness centers, or even shops that sell medical products. However, there are still a lot of home options to measure body composition with certain Bluetooth scales, which are not fully accurate but can give you some insight into your body status.

The parameters obtained by measuring body composition are as follows:

  • Weight
  • Body Fat %
  • Visceral Fat
  • Muscle Mass
  • Physique Rating
  • Bone Mass
  • BMR
  • Metabolic Age
  • Body Water

Body composition represents the fat, muscle, and bone tissue percentage in the total body mass. Knowing our body mass, these sizes can also be expressed in kilograms. One of the greatest importance in practice is the percentage of fat and muscle tissue. Body composition correction is often equated with weight loss, which is wrong. It is important to know that reducing body mass does not mean simultaneously reducing the percentage of fat tissue, because the reduction can also occur based on the reduction of muscle tissue, which is not good for anyone. The essence of training programs in which the body composition is corrected refers to the reduction of fat while preserving or increasing muscle tissue. There are also cases in extremely thin people where an increase in body weight is indicated, primarily at the expense of an increase in muscle mass, with possibly a small increase in fat tissue. That’s where the importance of a personal trainer comes out. We at Real Fit company are helping our clients to lose weight while at the same time gaining muscle mass.

As we mentioned before, one of the most popular methods for determining body composition, and not so expensive one, is the bioelectrical impedance method – BMI (body mass impedance). It is a non-invasive, quick, and cheap method. A low-power current is passed through the human body, which passes through the muscles without resistance (because they are rich in water, which is a good conductor), while a certain resistance exists when passing through fat tissue (which doesn’t have that much water). This resistance is called bioelectrical impedance and is measured by body composition monitors.

The benefits you get from regularly tracking your body composition:

  • Accurate level of nutrition and
  • Level of obesity
  • Indicators of fat deposits in the body
  • Indicator of the percentage of muscle mass in the body
  • The main indicator of your progress during the training process
  • A simple and mostly you’ll find it for free
  • Accessible to all age categories

When it comes to measuring body composition and your training with a personal trainer, remember one thing: the more muscle you have, the lower your body fat percentage. Athletes, therefore, have significantly lower levels of fat percentage than “ordinary” people. People who want to look good and be fit must do strength training to promote muscle growth.

To obtain accurate values of body compositions, it is recommended that the measurement be taken under the following conditions:

  • The measurement should be done three or more hours after waking up following the usual daily activities performed at that time (car travel will increase the impedance, for example)
  • The measurement should be taken three or more hours after the last meal (impedance tends to drop 3 to 4 hours after a meal)
  • The measurement should be carried out if twelve or more hours have passed after intense physical activities (changes in impedance vary depending on the type and intensity of exercise)
  • Before the measurement, the bladder should be emptied, i.e. urinate
  • In case of repeated measurements, perform the procedure at the same time (reliable measurements can only be obtained if body mass and impedance are measured in a specified period)

In addition to the previously mentioned methods, skinfold measurements are also used, which are based on the assessment of fat distribution by determining the thickness of several skin folds throughout the body. The principle behind the measurement of skin folds is that the amount of subcutaneous fat is proportional to one-third of the total amount of body fat. For this reason, skinfolds must be measured at precise standard locations using standard techniques, as variation exists and errors are more difficult to correct compared to other anthropometric methods, such as weight, height, and body circumference.

For more information and additional support, you can always contact the Real Fit team.