Understanding Body Composition Is The First Step Toward A Fitter You
Body composition is the technical term for the various components that make up your body structure. These include fat and muscle tissue as well as bones and internal organs. Add all these together and you get your full body weight. Of course, figuring out how much you weigh is as simple as stepping on a cheap scale you can buy at any drug store! The break down between lean muscle and fat is what you really want to know for fitness purposes.
When BMI Isn’t Enough
Why does this matter? It all comes down to the fact that muscle is heavier than fat. The BMI
(body mass index)
is not always a useful tool for figuring out your
It tends to be completely inaccurate for people who have a large amount of lean muscle on their body.
You’ve heard about pro athletes who are considered “clinically obese” because of their weight when their percentage of body fat is some ridiculously low number, right? As you
, you may experience
. That’s not something you have to freak out about if you know that you are not actually getting fatter.
If you are trying to lose weight and hit a plateau, this may also be because your body composition is changing. You could be losing fat and replacing it with lean, metabolically active muscle tissue. Your clothes will start to fit differently when this happens - even when the number on the scale isn’t budging.
That’s because muscle takes up less space than fat does pound for pound.
Knowing what is happening and why can help you stay motivated to keep up your fitness routine. After all, the more muscle you have the more efficiently your body will burn unneeded fat deposits!
How is Body Composition Measured?
There are many different ways to calculate the current composition of your body. The two most common and least expensive methods are:
Bioelectrical Impedance - This device is often incorporated into high quality body weight scales. It sends a tiny electrical impulse through your body (you don’t feel this). The higher your percentage of muscle, the more water your body holds and the more readily the signal passes through your tissues.
Skin Fold Measurement - A pair of calipers can be used to measure the amount of fat under the skin (think “pinch an inch”). It takes some training to perform this measurement properly, but you can learn how.
Overall, you can get a fairly accurate read on changes in your body composition using either method. Knowing your starting point and watching how your body transforms over time is one of the most exciting aspects of becoming fit, lean, strong, and healthy!
Body Composition to Fitnesstempo