Updated: Jan 29
Hi Friends of Oompf, it's Alvan here. Today, we will talk about the last component of Physical Fitness: Body Composition
Body composition is the proportion of fat and non-fat mass in your body.
Your body is composed of two types of mass, body fat, and non-fat mass.
Body fat: This can be found in muscle tissue, under the skin (subcutaneous fat), or around organs (visceral fat). Most of the time, people just carry too much fat storage in their body which causes a lot of weight and health problems. However, some fat is necessary for overall health. It helps protect internal organs, stores fuel for energy, and regulates important body hormones. So, we do need the baseline body fat for our body to function normally.
Non-fat mass: This includes bone, water, muscle, organs, and tissues. It may also be called lean tissue.
Body fat percentage is a measurement of body fat in our body relative to our body weight. The percentage of your body that is not fat is fat-free mass. There are normal ranges for body fat for men and women. Based on American Council on Exercise (ACE), to fall under the Fitness category, your body fat percentage for men is 14-17% and women are 21-24%.
Importance of body composition
Knowing your body composition can help you assess your health and fitness level. Often, you will measure your body composition at the start of a weight-loss or fitness program and then check it periodically to monitor your progress.
Furthermore, BMI is an outdated method.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is method used to assess the health of an individual by comparing their weight relative to their height.
Although most medical practices use BMI, it has many limitations and is a poor tracking tool for weight change because there’s no way to identify if changes in your weight are in fat or muscle.
Using BMI to measure health and obesity risk oversimplifies and ignores important factors that contribute to positive health.
Therefore, body composition reflects more specific data that may be useful to assess obesity and health risks.
How is it measured?
There are several ways to get an estimate of your body fat percentage at home, at the gym, or from your doctor.
1. Bioelectrical Impedance
Bioelectrical impedance can be measured by handheld machines and by BIA body fat scales that you step onto like a regular scale. These tools pass a small electrical current through your body. Fat, water, and lean tissue impede the current differently to give the reading.
2. Skinfold Measurements
Taking skinfold measurements is another method used to track progress as part of a weight loss program. Calipers take measurements at different parts of your body and then a calculation is used to measure body fat percentage.
3. DEXA Scan
A DEXA scan, or dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scan, is performed in a medical setting and can also be used to check for bone density.
4. Hydrostatic Weighing
Hydrostatic weighing is a method that requires you to be fully submerged in water. This gold standard for body fat measurement involves being dunked in a water tank. It is rare to find a facility that can provide this. Outside of a medical environment, the inbody machine which measures your bioelectrical impedance is a great way to track your body composition. Oompf fitness provides the use of the inbody machine at our 130 East Coast road outlet for all personal training clients. We recommend you to take your measurements once a month.
How to improve?
To improve your body composition, you probably could have already guessed it – Exercise and diet. Start an exercise program based on the few elements we talked about in the earlier 4 weeks – cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance and flexibility alongside with an appropriate nutrition program tailored for your goals.
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