4 Common Methods Used To Determine Body Composition
Knowing your body and its ideal weight is more than just knowing your BMI (Body Mass Index). There are many methods and devices that are used to determine body composition. Having a clear idea of your body composition is the first step towards improving it. Your body composition test results can help you understand your weight and help improve your overall health. You can also achieve your fitness goals with a proper approach.
Some methods are quick and easy, but they will provide you just the basic information. If that’s all you need to know, then great. There are other methods that are lengthy and require the assistance of a trained technician to administer a test. For obvious reasons, these methods are expensive, but they let you understand a lot more about your body.
The Four Common Methods Used To Find Body Composition Are:
1. Skinfold Calipers
Using skinfold calipers is one of the most commonly used methods. How they work is that they pinch external body fat in several places around your body. How much skinfold can be grasped by the caliper’s arm is measured, and then these measurements are used in mathematical calculations. This helps you determine the fat mass in your entire body.
Calipers are portable and easy to use. It can be used by anyone who has had basic training and sufficient experience. Calipers will tell you how much fat you have, and that’s the only information you get. The accuracy can vary across tests.
2. Hydrostatic Weighing
Hydrostatic/ Underwater weighing calculates your body fat percentage using your underwater body weight. You first have to expel all of the air in your lungs, and then you are submerged in a pool where you sit on a special way, this gets your underwater weight. Your underwater weight, your on-land weight, and the density of the water in the pool are used in mathematical calculations. These calculations give you your body fat percentage.
Like the above method, you get to know only about your body fat, but unlike it the test, when performed correctly, is accurate. You will need to go to a university or a high-end sports complex that provides this with trained staff to get the test done.
3. DEXA (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry)
DEXA/ DXA is a medical test that involves X-rays. You have to lie on a table, a machine then sends X-rays through your body and measures the difference in the amount of energy. The difference is calculated through the energy that is initially sen through your body and the amount that is detected after it exits your body. It was designed to measure bone density, but now it is also used to measure body fat and muscle mass.
Because DEXA Scan can measure your body segmentally (each arm and trunk separately) you get accurately measured fat mass, soft lean mass, and bone density of each segment, unlike the above-mentioned methods. To get a DEXA scan, you will need to visit a clinic or hospital that has a DEXA device. This is one the expensive side.
4. BIA (Bioelectric Impedance Analysis)
BIA works by sending a small electrical current into you. It then measures the opposition of that current (impedance) as it travels throughout your body’s water. From the impedance measured, the body composition is calculated. The body water is measured, so you get a lot of information. Nearly all BIA devices tell you your body fat percentage, but some high-end devices tell you about the body water weight, skeletal muscle mass, lean body mass, and so much more.
There are a lot of different types of BIA devices available that vary in quality and accuracy. Some target only specific areas, and not the whole body, and then that can be used to make an estimation for the body. You don’t need to have a technician present to carry out this test, unlike the other methods. You just have to follow the directions on the device.
I hope this helps you determine what would work for you. This helps you work towards your goals with a much-informed ideology.