What is Body Composition?
When it comes to assessing our physiques, we tend to get hyper-focused on the number on the scale. And, while weight can certainly serve as a valid measurement of your body’s general health, body composition provides a much more comprehensive picture of your overall fitness.
Body composition is a method of describing what the body is made of. It includes fat, protein, minerals and body water. It also describes weight more accurately than Body Mass Index (BMI). Body composition analysis can accurately show changes in fat mass, muscle mass, and body fat percentage. This can help validate services like personal training, patient care, and corporate wellness.
How can I Measure Body Composition?
To help you navigate the numerous techniques, here are the top five (5) methods for measuring body composition:
1. Skin Calipers
Perhaps the most accessible method for measuring body composition, a skin fold assessment can be done using either three, four or seven sites (meaning parts of the body). The technician pinches the skin and then uses the skin caliper device to measure the thickness of the skin fold for each site. Each protocol has specific sites for testing spread across the body commonly including the chest, arm, abdominals, and thigh. Then, after plugging the numbers into a formula, practitioners can estimate body composition.
2. Bioelectrical Impedance
Although the name might sound a bit intimidating, bioelectrical impedance is far removed from shock therapy. In fact, users will not even feel a thing. Bioelectrical impedance scales range from the simple (a normal scale with electrodes under each foot) to the complex (a scale that has handholds with additional electrodes). Regardless of the machine, the devices work by sending tiny electrical impulses through the body and measuring how quickly those impulses return. Since lean tissue conducts electrical impulses quicker than fatty tissue, faster response time is correlated with a leaner physique.
3. Hydrostatic Weighing
If the thought of getting dunked underwater suits your fancy, this might be the method for you. Hydrostatic weighing, commonly referred to as underwater weighing, compares a subject’s normal body weight (outside the water) to their bodyweight while completely submerged. Using these two numbers and the density of the water, operators can accurately nail down the subject’s density. This number is then used to estimate body composition.
4. DEXA (Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry)
A DEXA scan exposes patients to X-ray beams of differing intensities and can be used to measure bone mineral density alongside body composition. Participants lie still on a table while a machine arm passes over their entire body, which emits a high- and low-energy X-ray beam. By measuring the absorption of each beam into parts of the body, technicians can get readings for bone mineral density, lean body mass, and fat mass. And since the machine scans body parts individually, the test can also break down body composition per limb so you can confirm your suspicions that your right leg is indeed just a bit stronger than your left.
5. Air-Displacement Plethysmography
Air-displacement plethysmography is actually very similar to underwater weighing. First, participants sit in a small machine. Then, by measuring how much air is displaced by the individual, technicians can determine body density. Like underwater weighing, the participant’s body density is then used to calculate body composition.
Health Challenges to Enhance Body Composition:
Cardio Exercise for Body Composition
All forms of exercise burn calories. But body composition exercises and body composition workouts combine activities to burn fat and activities to build muscle. That way, as you slim down, you replace fat with lean, tight muscles that give your body a stronger appearance.
Take care of your diet
Eat loads of nutrient-dense foods. Look to minimize sugar, get enough protein, and take in plenty of good fats.
Take the Right Supplements
There are many health supplements that can help you achieve your ideal body composition and with the vast array of choices at your disposal, it’s vital that you do your research and find the safest one for you. The supplement experts at IsaAxcess say that it’s best to go with a brand that even their experts use, that way you are sure to know that the product is safe and effective. Their comprehensive system of health products is designed to help people of all ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles to reach their health and fitness goals.
Strength Workouts for Body Composition
You’ll notice real changes to your body composition when you begin strength training. The purpose of strength training is to build and shape the muscles.
Get Your Mind Right
As a tie-in to the last pointer, it’s crucial to keep a sound mind. Center yourself and stay firm in your self-belief. That’s the foundation of everything you do in life.
Simple Body Composition Exercises
So which exercises are best when you’re trying to change your body composition? Simple body weight exercises are effective because they increase your heart rate (aerobic exercise) and build strength to shape strong muscles at the same time.
In summary, nutrition and exercise are critical for improving body composition. Keeping your calories, fiber, and protein in check is a good first step. All exercises can help with fat loss, but weight training is the best way to increase muscle mass.