Anna Victoria has made it clear she’s not a fan of scales. The celebrity health blogger and coach doesn’t weigh herself, and urges her followers to not obsess over how a lot they weigh both.
Victoria’s onto one thing: A scale can inform you your whole weight, certain, however it might probably’t inform you rather more. It will not mirror how a lot muscle you’ve gained due to a brand new energy coaching routine, or how a lot fats you’ve misplaced after making nutritious diet swaps.
Instead, Victoria recommends discovering out how a lot physique fats you’re carrying round, after which monitoring that quantity month-to-month. You can achieve this with physique composition checks, which reveal how a lot of your whole weight is fats in comparison with muscle, bone, and water. These checks could be finished with at-home devices, or gadgets at health facilities—or with extra high-tech machines at weight reduction clinics and analysis amenities.
In a brand new YouTube video, Victoria, who’s no stranger to baring all online, got down to measure her body composition utilizing a bunch of various checks or instruments–and received six completely different outcomes, starting from 14.2% to 26.4% physique fats.
The lowest end result shocked her, she says within the video, however hardcore feminine athletes are sometimes within the physique fats share vary of 14% to 20%. Everyday exercisers are usually round 21% to 24% fats, whereas ladies with a body fat percentage of 32% and better are thought-about overweight, based on the American Council on Exercise. (Male athletes are often round 6% to 13% fats, whereas males with 25% physique fats or larger are thought-about overweight.)
There’s analysis to recommend that physique fats share is definitely a greater measure of well being than the quantity on the dimensions. A 2016 confirmed that people with more body fat have been extra prone to die early than folks with much less fats, no matter how a lot they weighed. The excellent news is that your p.c physique fats is completely modifiable, says John A. Shepherd, PhD, director of the Body Composition, Exercise Physiology, and Energy Metabolism Laboratory on the University of California San Francisco.
“Body composition is likely one of the most modifiable danger components we’ve got for a lot of frequent ailments, together with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even most cancers,” he explains. “A lot of our disease risk factors–like genetic risk factors or family history–you can’t do anything about.” It’s price understanding your physique fats share, he says, so you’ll be able to pay attention to the way it may have an effect on your well being–after which get to work altering it.
So how do you measure your physique composition? Here are the six strategies Victoria tried, and her surprisingly variable outcomes.
This check entails expelling all of the air out of your lungs after which being submerged in water. The water displacement offers your technician an concept of how a lot of your physique is fats in comparison with lean mass. Yes, hydrostatic weighing is as inconvenient because it sounds—and it’s not all that simple to discover a facility to carry out this check, both.
Victoria’s outcomes: 14.2%
Bioeletrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)
BIA machines ship present via your physique (don’t fear, you don’t really feel a factor) to measure fats. The know-how could be extraordinarily correct when utilized in a weight-loss lab setting, however at-home scales and handheld gadgets you may keep in mind from fitness center class aren’t all the time so spot-on.
Victoria’s outcomes: 26.1% on her BIA scale at house; 18.8% on a handheld machine at a fitness center
The traditional “pinch test” entails measuring how a lot of you is pinchable in numerous spots in your physique, like your stomach and thighs. Well-trained professionals could be fairly correct with these gadgets.
Victoria’s outcomes: 23.4%
Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry is usually used to measure bone density, however can be utilized to look at muscle and fats, too. A DEXA scan is taken into account the gold normal of physique composition testing.
Victoria’s outcomes: 23.5%
The most costly possibility, this space-age-looking pod works equally to hydrostatic weighing however makes use of air displacement as an alternative of water to calculate your lean and fats mass.
Victoria’s outcomes: 26.4%
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So, how might 1 extremely match lady have such a variety of outcomes?
The testing strategies usually use completely different calculations to reach at their closing percentages, explains Shepherd, so it’s not completely off-base for varied strategies to supply a variety of outcomes. But, he warns, there’s additionally an opportunity at-home gadgets aren’t as correct as machines utilized in skilled settings.
Your finest wager is to stay with only one testing methodology and concentrate on how your outcomes change over time. That will permit you to check your numbers from month to month higher than when you have been evaluating the outcomes from completely different testing strategies, Victoria says.
Shepherd agrees: “You can use home technology to monitor changes in body fat, even though the absolute value might be off,” he says.
The methodology you finally select will doubtless rely on the place you reside—since chances are you’ll not have easy accessibility to all these checks—in addition to your price range. Victoria paid between $45 and $95 for her six measurements, however costs can range. She additionally factors out that it’s vital to maintain different variables related too, like measuring your physique composition across the similar time of day every time, or having the identical coach function the calipers for you.
Seeing the progress you make generally is a highly effective factor: “How much you weigh is not what is important,” she says in her video. “What is important is that you are working hard to be your very, very best, every single day.”