Best Method for Testing Your Bodyfat!

Hi guys!

Yesterday I did an experiment! You see, I work with a lot of clients who want to know what their body composition is (i.e. the makeup of their body – how much bodyfat they have vs. muscle). And I wanted to know, for myself, too, during this current “lean bulking” phase of my nutrition/training plan!

Measuring body composition is a tricky area because it’s very difficult to ACCURATELY test your body composition. There are many methods, but none of them are 100 percent accurate (unless you’re cutting open a cadaver, which is NOT what we want to do, hah!).

Method #1: InBody (Bioelectrical Impedance)

One of the most popular measures of body composition is called bioelectrical impedance. This method determines the electrical impedance (or opposition to the flow of an electric current) through body tissues which can then be used to estimate total body water, which can be used to estimate fat-free body mass and, by difference with body weight, body fat.

Let’s cut to the chase: it’s not super accurate.  There are so many variables that can skew the accuracy. If you want to learn more about this and other methods of bodyfat testing, check out this video.

Method #2: DEXA Scan

If you watch that video you will learn that DEXA is one of the MOST accurate tests for body composition testing. DEXA stands for Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry. This scan uses two X-ray beams to scan the body. Two beams run through your body and measure your bone density and body composition. It took me only 6 minutes.

I wanted to find out my own body composition, primarily because right now I am on a muscle-building journey.  I signed up with my first powerlifting coach in November, and I have been interested to see how much muscle I can put on during this phase in my life.  I have always been a person with long, lean limbs, so adding muscle for me is hard. But I am determined to do it!

How I Conducted This Experiment

Here was my plan: I took BOTH of these body composition tests on the same day, under the same conditions (about 2 hours apart).  I took both tests fasted, and I had not worked out for about 24 hours beforehand.  I wanted to know, once and for all, (a) what my body composition is, and (b) how inaccurate is the InBody?

Here is what I look like right now, for reference:

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I have an InBody at the gym where I work out, and gym members can use it anytime. I have used it about once per month to check on my progress (always under the same conditions for testing accuracy). On this machine, my results on January 18 were:

  • Weight: 146.1 lbs
  • Body fat percentage: 17.7%
  • Lean body mass: 120.4 lbs

My height is a little over 5’7”.

 

Part 2 of the experiment: I found a sports medicine institute in Scottsdale, Arizona, that does DEXA scans.  The process was simple and easy.  I just laid on a table while the technician did the scan, and then he explained the results to me afterwards. I’m going to be honest – initially, I did not love the DEXA results!

  • Weight: 146.6 lbs
  • Body fat percentage: 23.7%
  • Lean body mass: 105.3 lbs

What the heck?!  Why were the results SO dramatically different?

Upon talking to the technician, I found out that since DEXA is an actual x-ray of your body’s fat, it is usually 5-7% points higher than the estimating (i.e. InBody) technologies.

This means that DEXA is the least forgiving of all body fat tests! 

So I chilled out after that.

Plus there was good news from the scan:  visceral adipose tissue (VAT) is the dangerous/unhealthy fat in the abdomen.  We want this number to be as LOW as possible.  Mine was ZERO! The tech said he’d never seen someone who was zero before, so I was proud :).  He said it was so low for me because VAT responds very well to a healthy diet and exercise (and lord knows I do plenty of both, hah!).

Another cool thing: DEXA can measure your bone mineral content (BMC) which tells you how much your skeleton weighs! My skeleton weighs 5.6 lbs. An average woman’s skeleton weighs between 3.3 – 5.5 lbs.  So even though I am a smaller-framed person, my skeleton is strong, due to all the resistance training I do! Neat 🙂

So in conclusion, InBody is not super accurate, so be careful when relying on the results. You can use it to watch trends, but try not to get attached to its results. 

And the conclusion for ME, personally: I am dying to see my lean mass number (105.3 lbs according to DEXA) go up during these coming months as I work hard to get stronger!  So I will likely begin taking this test every 3-4 months to check on my progress, and I will update it here!

Powerlifting Meet: March 10

Oh and speaking of progress – I haven’t updated you guys with my powerlifting meet progress lately!  So my official meet date is March 10, 2018!  I am super excited AND nervous!

I have been training really hard, lifting really heavy, and continuing to follow my lifting plan from my coach Ben Pollack.  I am noticeably stronger but I don’t know what my new 1-rep-max numbers are yet because we haven’t tested them.  When I first started with Ben, here were my maxes:

  • Squat: 200 lbs
  • Bench press: 115 lbs
  • Deadlift: 265 lbs

I have a feeling each lift is a lot higher already, but we’ll find out soon!

Thanks for reading guys! 🙂

 

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Three Days Til Showtime!

It’s Wednesday, and on Friday I’ll be flying to Florida for the Ft. Lauderdale Cup. It’s an awesome event featuring both IFBB pro and NPC competitors—and it’s all-girls! They even have a red carpet at the night show—it’s really fun.

Here’s a picture of me on my birthday last weekend, which was wonderful.  I know what you’re wondering–did I eat birthday cake? NOPE!  I am determined!  (But I will definitely be having some after the show this weekend!)

Progress From January to October 2012

This will be my 5th show of 2012, so I’m pretty used to the contest-prep routine by now.  My first show was in March, and 7 months later, I know I’ve improved a lot—physically and mentally.  I’m much calmer.  And I did much better sticking to my diet.  I’ll be totally honest—in every prep before this one, I cheated a little bit—just little bites here and there.  I didn’t think it really mattered, but it does!  I can see the difference in my photos this time.  I had to take drastic measures—I cleared out my apartment of extra food.  I had nothing in my cabinets/fridge except my meals I’d prepped for the week—which were frozen so didn’t I pick at them (yes, this is extreme—but bad habits are hard to break).

My wonderful coach Vanessa Campbell told me she thinks I look the best I have so far this year.  That made my day, and gave me the motivation to push through til the end—only 3 more cardio sessions and 2 more weight sessions now!

Improvement Season Begins

After this show, I think my 3-month “improvement season” will begin.  Essentially I’ve been in contest-prep mode since January, when I went to Bombshell Camp in Daytona Beach, FL and they kicked my butt into gear.  That’s pretty tough on your body!  I’ll cut it down to 1 cardio session per day, and lift heavier weights to create some more shape in my shoulders, glutes, back, etc—and eat more! (Yessss!!)

Are You Better Than You Were Yesterday?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how dangerous it can be to compare myself to other competitors.  I can really bum myself out if I spend too much time wishing I had someone else’s abs or arms or whatever—the truth is, in this sport, the point is to be better than your previous ‘version’.  And I know I am getting better as time goes on.  As I lean out during this prep, I can see muscles emerge that I didn’t really know were there!  It’s exciting.

I hope you are having success working toward your goals—do not give up, even if you’re having one of those days where you just want to throw up your hands in frustration. (If you ARE feeling like that—email or FB message me! I’ll try to help!) 

I’ll post pictures and updates as the weekend goes on—follow me on Twitter, too (@LegallyFitKatie).

The Story of Me and Food

Hi guys!

It’s final exam time so I should be studying, but I wanted to take a break to talk about a topic that plagues just about everybody – your relationship with food.

I’ve struggled with this issue for a long time.  starting around 7th grade when  I began receiving Victoria’s Secret catalogs in the mail.  This is the ideal woman,” I thought to myself.  I decided to do whatever it took to become rail-thin like the models.   I started running around my neighborhood and tracking calories obsessively.  At my lowest point, I was only consuming about 600 calories per day, neatly written on a food tracking chart.

When I decide I want something, I commit to it one-hundred percent.  Sometimes that’s a good thing.  But around age 15-16, my goals were completely unhealthy.  In fact, I don’t even know what I wanted – to look in the mirror and think “I look good”?  Because let me tell you, I never, ever thought that.  

My habits kept becoming more dangerous until I hit a low weight of around 110 lbs at 5-foot seven inches tall.  Finally my parents intervened.   I know it must have been really difficult for them to watch their daughter destroy herself, and even tougher to discuss the topic.  I reluctantly saw a counselor.  This was the point when I became aware of my unhealthy behavior, but my obsession with being skinny didn’t stop.

My fixation on being runway-model-skinny continued throughout the rest of high school and the first couple years of college.

Then, things changed. 

One day while looking through the magazine racks for my usual Shape or Self to look at while plowing through 45 dreadful minutes on the elliptical, I discovered Oxygen magazine.  This magazine was the catalyst that changed my life.  Oxygen emphasizes that strong is beautifulSkinny is unhealthy.  Additionally, it’s not just about what’s outside that counts – the health of your heart, lungs, brain, liver, digestive system, etc. are even more important.

In Oxygen I discovered the world of fitness competitions, where the fittest women in the world step on stage to show the world the product of countless hours spent sculpting their body and eating the cleanest diets possible.  I continue to be amazed by these women and I hope to have a long life in the fitness competition industry.

Today, my relationship with food has changed and improved tremendously.  What I know now:

  • Food is fuel for my intense workouts and for the recovery and growth of my muscles.
  • Food is also medicine – it truly can heal you from the inside out.
  • 8,000 hours of cardio won’t get me an awesome body

I still struggle with some “balance issues” – like having a moderate cheat meal instead of binging on an entire pizza – but I’m doing much better.

What’s your relationship with food?  Is it healthy?  Have you struggled with eating issues?  I would love your feedback on this topic.  Feel free to send me a message on Facebook with your experiences with this topic.  And have a wonderful week!