Thursday, December 4, 2008

Body Composition Analysis


So I had my body composition analyzed before Thanksgiving Dinner (I wonder what it is now), and over the two tests the both came in roughly the same. This was an assignment per my Precision Nutrition coaching.

Bio-Impedence which isn't really known for its accuracy (especially when dealing with overweight and obese) came in at 12% body fat. Not too shabby. Honestly I thought it would have been a bit higher, but heck it's not all that accurate right?

Next came the fun part with the skin pinching and caliper measuring. With that test I managed a 12.28%. This test is more accurate and I feel a little more confident with this one. My score would fair better if I could get rid of some more abdominal fat, and some lower back fat which tends to be my problem areas. Yey for being an endomorph.

And now for my rant. I think people tend to put too much weight(pun intended) into these percentages and even more so when dealing with the scale. Rather than using this data to analyze exercise and diet habits and make tweak here or there, they become demotivated and mentally defunct.

To me these numbers represent just another way to measure progress. My main marker that I will continue to use is strength and performance, frankly because it's simple and it works. I think this is just something that training at Cressey Performance ingrained in my head. Or maybe it's the constant emails from Tony Gentilcore saying "I will always, ALWAYS tell people that if you train for strength/performance, the aesthetics will follow (assuming they're not eating like a nimrod). You[Gregg] are a true representation of that. It works!"

Tony, what can I say, you've made me a believer. So here is a good list of all the things you can do to measure progress, in decending order of how I value each one.

Strength/Performance - As measured by 1RM testing, or some other form of test that you can replicate and show improvement with. Tony recently blogged about a 225lb bench press test you can check that out here. I personally use things like a box squat, deadlift, bench press and 3 rep chin-up as my markers as outlined in Eric Cressey's book. He also even uses some various jumps with his clients to track progress as well (vertical, broad, etc).

Photos - A picture every few months really lets you visually see progression. Who cares what the scale says when you look leaner, jeans fit better, etc.

Body Composition Analysis - I think I've discussed this enough above.

Girth Measurements - Basically you measure the length around things like calves, biceps, waist, etc to see how the measurements change over time. The only thing misleading about this is if you were to put on a ton of fat your biceps might get bigger, but it's not because of muscle.

Scale - I don't really like to use this exclusively because it doesn't address any change in lean tissue as opposed to fat weight. If someone was trying to get lean it would be pretty difficult using this as the only means of measurement.

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