Body composition is more than just the number you get on a scale. The scale is only going to give you a number with no additional data about what is going on inside your body – your health, your progress in getting to a fitter body, or potential health risks. At Track Your Max in Webster, TX, our physicians believe that you deserve more than just one number – you need the details of your full body composition as it evolves over time.
What is body composition?
Body composition refers to the percentage of fat, water, and muscle in your body. Your Body Mass Index or BMI is your weight in comparison to your height and age. Doctors and other medical health professionals use that number and compare your results to the average person. Unlike weight or even BMI, a complete body composition report will tell you about your individual body and health by calculating and showing the percentages of fat, water, and muscle that make up your body. Using that report, you can see analyze your current body composition, compare your transformation from any previous scan, and see your progress towards realistic and attainable body composition goals.
Why is body composition important?
As mentioned, body composition is not a comparison to anyone else. The accurate percentage of body fat provided by a body composition report can help determine challenges, illnesses, and goals that are unique to you. For example, just because someone else is the same height and weight as you, does not mean your circumstances are the same. In fact, lean muscle weighs more than fat. Even if you are not losing weight, increase of lean muscle and decrease of body fat is success as far as your health is concerned. Finding the right balance using diet, exercise, and necessary prescription medications, if required, can help you get into shape and avoid serious conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease that are related to high levels of body fat.
What is body fat?
Body fat is all the fat that is stored in your body. There are two types of body fat: Subcutaneous and Visceral. Subcutaneous fat is the layer of fat under your skin. Its job is to protect your body and help keep your internal body temperature at a normal degree. Visceral fat is the fat that surrounds and protects your abdominal organs. Body fat isn’t just for insulation and protection. Fat provides energy, helps make certain hormones, and is used by the body in many different ways.
Body Fat Percentage
You may have heard this term used at the gym or at the doctor’s office. Body fat percentage is the percent of fat that makes up your total body weight. Many factors influence your body fat percentage, including sex, age, fitness level, and lifestyle.
Generally, the body fat percentage falls within the following levels and is different for men and women.
- Essential Fat: Women: 10% to 13% | Men: 2% to 5%
This is the amount of body fat needed to perform essential functions like the ones mentioned above. Having a body fat percentage that is too low is dangerous and is a serious condition and may even be life-threatening.
- Athletic: Women: 14% to 20% | Men: 6% to 13%
- Fit: Women: 21% to 24% | Men: 14% to 17%
- Average: Women: 25% to 31% | Men: 18% to 24%
- Obese: Women: Over 32% | Men: Over 25%
How to get your Body Composition Report?
There are a handful of methods to measure your body composition. At Track Your Max, we use both DEXA Scans and Bioelectrical Impedance methods to get our patients’ results. While the bioelectrical impedance method has the advantage of being more convenient and less expensive; Dexa Scans are more accurate and are the gold standard for clinical body composition testing.
If you are ready to take your health and fitness to the next level and learn more about your body and its needs and characteristics, the provider team at Track Your Max can get you started. Learn how you can use all of our tools and resources to create the optimal workout and diet routine to meet your body goals.