By Gavin Aquilina
PT Operations Manager at Vision Personal Training, Gavin Aquilina, explains the new trend sweeping the fitness industry: body composition
Is measuring body weight outdated?
Body weight is traditionally the tool for measuring weight loss success and seen as the key indicator of how healthy we are.
Thankfully, our reliance on the old metrics is changing. Historically, we’ve lived with unrealistic and even dangerous expectations of how we ‘should’ look. This has made us extremely cautious of the number on the scale and easy targets for the “lose weight fast” diets.
While weight loss should still absolutely be celebrated, being able to explore it at a deeper level provides insight into how maintainable weight loss is, and delivers a more accurate measure of your physical health.
For example, a 10kg weight loss may be made up of 6 kg of muscle and 4 kg of fat.
If the above example applied to my client, I would absolutely take the time to rethink the nutrition and exercise plan we’ve been executing – something that wouldn’t have been thought of if we were going by scale weight alone.
What do I measure if I don’t measure weight?
You would measure your body composition using Bioscan technology.
What are these measurements?
Body composition is a way of describing what the body is made of. It includes fat, protein, minerals and body water. When measured accurately, your body composition gives a more wholesome analysis than a (body mass index) BMI can. It shows changes in fat mass, muscle mass, and body fat percentage.
Bioscan technology has enabled us to measure body composition quickly and accurately. A Bioscan allows us to see beneath the top layer – our body weight – of what our physical body is made up of. Fitness professionals such as Personal Trainers are trained in how to correctly interpret Bioscan results and can then put together a nutrition and exercise plan that will help you reach your ideal body composition in a positive and maintainable way.
As Bioscan technology assesses bioage; the age of your physical body, a body positive goal would be to decrease your bioage so it’s the same or even lower than your actual age.
One of our clients here at Vision is 78-year-old Pixie. As Pixie’s main health and fitness objective was increasing her quality of life in her later years, Pixie’s personal trainer set her the goal of reducing her bioage. Pixie’s bioage – which is calculated by visceral fat, muscle mass, body fat percentage – is now 10 years younger than her true age.
What specific targets should I be avoiding and instead, what should I be aiming for?
Losing weight fast means you’re losing fat and muscle. Losing muscle slows down the weight loss journey. The less muscle mass you have, the slower your metabolism becomes, making it harder to keep the kilos off.
Here at Vision we measure our client’s fitness health journey by assessing their body composition. For those wanting to ‘lose weight’ as a general rule, we set the goal for them to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat. Focusing on these two goals at the same time increases your metabolism and sets you up for a consistent and maintainable weight loss journey. The general focus is to lose between 0.5-1kg (max) per week in a healthy, manageable way.
At Vision we encourage our clients who want to lose weight, to lose body fat slowly to keep your weight at a desirable level for the long haul.
As muscle weighs more than fat, focusing on these two goals at the same time will most likely mean your scale weight won’t shift quickly. That’s where the importance of measuring body composition comes in – it allows you to see how your body changes over time, even if your weight stays the same.
The bottom line is, measuring body composition, as opposed to body weight, is a much healthier metric, and knowing where you stand means you can manage your weight loss better.
Instead of obsessing over a single number on the scale, strive to achieve a healthier body by focusing on your lean muscle mass to boost metabolism.
Research shows the best way to do this is by combining a lower calorie nutrition plan, with an exercise regime made up of weight training, and a combination of high and moderate intensity endurance training.
When it comes to choosing which food to put into your nutrition plan, it’s crucial to include food groups that stimulate body fat loss and can support your body to build muscle tissue at the same time. We’re all different, so this looks different for everyone. But as a general rule, make sure you have a source of protein included in every meal, and that you choose complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.
Your transition to better health and fitness is a life journey, so you’ve got to remember to enjoy it. It’s important to be consistent with your nutrition without jeopardising other areas of your life such as socialising, your career and relationships with your loved ones
To find out more about body composition and Bioscan technology, contact your local Vision Personal Training studio https://www.visionpt.com.au/.