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Weight vs. Body Composition

Go Beyond The Scale  

If you’re like me, stepping on my weight scale is reminiscent of opening my report card. I peek at it slowly, carefully, and say a little prayer right before I see the full “grade”. But just as grades don’t matter to me anymore (I’m 20+ yrs out of college!), either does the number of pounds I weigh. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be aware of your weight, but there is more to your health story. I’m not in a weight contest, I’m in a longevity one. Living younger, longer…I don’t want to be..

Q: What is Body Composition analysis?

A: It’s an evaluation of how much of your body is made up of fat, muscle, water, and minerals. With this data, you can better understand your health risks, how many calories you should be eating, proper hydration, and most practically, it’s a true indicator of your health progress. 

Q: Why is it important vs. just your weight? 

A: How much you weigh can fool you. Ever heard of “skinny fat”?, it’s a term used for individuals that look thin, their weight is within range, but have too much body fat, and have too little muscle mass. Your body weight is a poor determinant of your health risk and long-term quality of life, but your body composition can reveal a lot more about your health future. Judging your health or progress by just your weight misses out on the most critical markers of your health. 

Q: Does it also fool you because they say muscle weighs more than fat?

A: That’s often misunderstood, a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat, it’s still a pound. But the density of muscle is more, meaning a pound of muscle takes up less space. A pound of fat is about the size of a grapefruit, but a pound of muscle is a small tangerine. Therefore, two people may look very different but weigh the same. 

Q: My doctor uses the Body Mass Index (BMI)?

A: You need a new doctor! This is an ancient way of assessing your healthy by comparing the amount of your weight by your height. I’m 13% body fat, but I’d still be considered overweight by the BMI. As you get healthier, you’ll lose fat and gain muscle (the “holy grail” of health), the weight scale nor BMI can tell you how much weight loss is fat, muscle, or body water, but body composition can

Q: Are certain composition tests more accurate than others?

A: You can use calipers, go underwater, get into a “BodPod”, use a DEXA Scan, and even an MRI, but for most of us, we should stick with a “Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis” – basically it applies an electric current (you don’t feel it) through your body and measures the impendence through water and different types of tissue (muscle and fat). Just step on the scale, hold still, and in 30 seconds, you have a nice report. 

Q: Where should I go, how much will it cost?

A: The technology has become widespread. You’ll find these scales in health/fitness clubs, wellness centers, spas, and hospitals. Searching for “body composition testing” or InBody (a popular scale) will provide locations in your area. Cost should be between $25-$100. Many times, they are free when you work with a trainer or nutritionist. 

Q: What are the key numbers I should look at?

A: These are the (3) I focus on: 

  • Percent Body Fat (PBF): The % of fat you have compared to your total weight. For a healthy body fat level, aim for a PBF withing 10-20% (for males) or 18-28% (for females) 
  • Skeletal Muscle Mass (SMM): The amount of muscle you have that is critical for mobility, posture, and is the key indicator for the risk of age-related diseases. The higher amounts of muscle mass you can have, the better. The healthy ratio between Body Fat and SMM is important. 
  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): The number of calories your body burns doing essential (basal) life-sustaining activities. Essentially the number of calories you burn at rest. This number will increase as you build more muscle, which is a great thing, who doesn’t want to burn more calories while chilling??

Q: Is my goal 0% Body Fat?

A: No! Fat is not bad. Fat stores critical energy, protects organs, provides the building blocks for hormones, and has a multitude of metabolic functions.  You need fat, you just want a healthy amount of fat and in the right places. Your goal should be lowering your body fat % and increasing your muscle mass to healthy ranges. 

Q: How do I use my results?

A: The goal is understanding true progress. Lowering your body fat % and increasing muscle mass is the key.  As you’re better focusing on your nutrition and your training, you can properly evaluate your progress by understanding these numbers.  What’s the use of a nutrition or workout plan that lowers your weight, but breaks down your muscles, keeps your fat amount the same, and therefore increases your body fat %? You’re now less healthy! 

Q: How many times should I take my body composition?

A: To see real changes with your critical health markers, it takes time. I aim for every 6 months. However, when I’m on a specific nutritional or workout plan, which is at least for 3-4 months, I’ll evaluate before and after to see my progress. 

Q: How do the PRoZE products help?

A: The two products that are most relevant are NODZZZ (Sleep) and NERVE (pain relief/muscle recovery). Sleep (NODZZZ) is one of the most powerful times for you to burn fat. Deeper, undisturbed sleep is linked to fat loss, muscle gain, and immune and growth hormone factors. Get sleep, lose fat. NERVE isn’t just for pain relief; it supports muscle function and growth. The more muscle, the more calorie burning because your Basal Metabolic Rate will increase, which translates into the “holy grail” of health = more muscle, less fat! 

Q: Parting thoughts?

A: Researchers have found that people with a higher percentage of body fat have higher overall death rates, poor quality of life, are at risks of age related diseases earlier, regardless of their weight or BMI. We may focus on fat, but MUSCLE building is what is most critical. You don’t need to build an excessive amount of muscle but striving for more will never hurt you. Monitoring just your weight will never tell you how well you’re doing, and worse, give you a false sense of security. Therefore, for anyone serious about preventing disease, having optimal mobility, and IMO, having the best life, should be monitoring their Body Composition.