Why knowing your body composition is important

By Tina Ferguson, MSc, BPE, CSEP-CEP, NSCA-CSCS, USAW-SPC, Crossfit Level 1 Instructor, Precision Nutrition Certified-Pn1, CuJo Conditioning Ltd., Head Strength & Conditioning Coach/ Nutritionist

Body composition is a term that many people may grimace at because they do not want to acknowledge what their own body composition is!  Body composition is the relative relationship between a person’s lean body mass, which includes muscle mass, bone mass, body water and organs and fat mass, which includes fat deposits located in the muscle and adipose tissue throughout the body.

Many of you have probably seen a Body Mass Index (BMI) chart located on a doctor’s wall and have looked up your approximate BMI rating.  Considering that your BMI score is based on your weight in kilograms and divided by your height in metres squared, this score can be quite misleading, as there is no consideration of muscle mass versus fat mass in your weight.  Based on a BMI rating, many athletes and individuals who are lean and muscular get placed in the obese category despite the fact that they are very fit.  This is because muscle weighs more than fat. The more muscle mass you have on your body, the more you will weigh.  A scale does not decipher the difference in the amount of muscle mass versus fat mass nor will it indicate where the fat mass is located, which is a very important factor in health status.

Body composition analysis is an ideal method of understanding what the current status of your fat mass and muscle mass is. It is a good idea to have a baseline indication of body composition to use as a marker as you begin tackling your fitness and dietary goals.  It can also be used an “eye opener” to understand how you relate to the average population regarding fat mass and disease risk.  Often, the best way to see improvements and accomplish goals is to use a means of measurement.  Seeing actual numbers is an accurate way of ensuring your goals are being met and allows you to adjust goals as you are progressing.

At CuJo Conditioning, we use the BodyMetrix System that combines ultrasound technology with innovative software to accurately and consistently assess and monitor your body composition. With this technology, you can actually scan, see and track fat loss, as well as muscle gain. The BodyMetrix System does all this without embarrassment or painful pinching like that of skinfold calipers. Assessments take only minutes and are not affected by hydration, exercise level or caffeine intake unlike many other methods.  Included in the body composition analysis is important information, such as disease risk and what category your body fat percentage falls into.  We also provide circumference measurements and track them as this can be important information to measure, especially if you are either trying to lose fat mass or gain muscle mass.  Below is a chart of some average body composition scores and where they fall relative to your goals for males and females.

Essential Fat* Less than 13% Less than 5%
Athletes 13-20% 5-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-18%
Acceptable (overweight) 25-30% 19-25%
Obese 30+ % 26+ %

* Essential fat is fat required for survival. A certain amount of fat is needed for normal cellular function, transportation of fat soluble hormones and vitamins, reproduction and so on.

For more information regarding body composition analysis, please contact Info@cujoconditioning.com.

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