When you are on a mission to lose weight, you may end up checking your figure on the weighing scale almost every day. But have you ever wondered what the number on the scale actually means? It may sound absurd, but the numbers on a weighing scale aren't accurate indicators of your health. Knowing your body composition is the key.
Before we dive deep, let's start by distinguishing between body weight and body composition. In simple terms, your body weight is just the overall mass of your body. Whereas body composition refers to the proportions of muscle, bone, water, and fat in your body.
Body Composition: A Benchmark For Your Health
When your goal is to lose weight, it’s important that you shed the fat and not muscle mass. Knowing your body composition can tell you exactly if your weight loss is fat or muscle mass.
What is a Healthy Body Composition?
A sufficient quantity of body fat should be present in healthy body composition. It also entails having a healthy bone structure and lean muscle mass as it affects every aspect of your physical fitness. That is why maintaining a healthy body composition is critical. Excess body fat has been related to a variety of ailments, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.
Gender, age, nutrition, hormonal condition, and physical activity all have an impact on body composition. Losing weight without proper nutrition and exercise can create an additional impact and may lead to a loss of bone density.
Benefits of healthy body composition
- A strong body structure supports your body weight to help you stand and move.
- Improves ability to complete daily activities.
- Aids in the maintenance of cognitive function and stress reduction.
- Reduces the chance of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases.
- Assists in developing a more efficient calorie-burning metabolism.
- Helps in achieving long-term weight loss success.
Body composition allows you to quickly track your development and evaluate the effectiveness of your diet and exercise routine. To track your development over time, you can use the following crucial body composition outputs:
Percent Body Fat
It shows you exactly how much fat makes up your entire body weight. In fact, percent body fat is a more accurate measure of your health than body weight or BMI.
Skeletal Muscle Mass (SMM)
Skeletal Muscle Mass is essential for long-term health, mobility, posture, and strong immunity. Body composition analysis determines how much Skeletal Muscle Mass you have in each body segment, allowing you to focus on either adding muscle or correcting imbalances to maintain a healthy muscle mass balance.
Extracellular water (ECW), which is the water outside your cells, and intracellular water (ICW), which is the water inside your cells, make up your Total Body Water (TBW). A healthy body water balance is essential for optimal health. You can detect any changes in them with body composition analysis and treat them to maintain a healthy balance.
Do Muscle And Fat Weigh The Same?
A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat, according to research. However, density is the difference between the two. When one person has a high percentage of fat and the other has a high percentage of muscle, two persons who weigh the same amount can look drastically different.
An extra 20 pounds of fat can make you look softer and less toned. However, an additional 20 pounds of muscle will appear hard and sculpted.
Muscle is also used for a different purpose than fat. Fat acts as a heat trapper and helps to insulate the body. Your metabolism is boosted by muscle. This means that the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest.
You should remove excess fat tissue rather than muscle mass if you wish to lose weight. If you want to keep your Skeletal Muscle Mass while reducing weight, focusing on proper diet and exercise is the way to go. To burn calories and develop muscle, incorporate a healthy balance of aerobic and resistance training into your workout program.
Let’s knock out some common questions regarding body composition!
Why am I gaining weight suddenly, even though I haven’t changed my diet?
As we become older, our body composition changes, with the muscle mass dropping and the fat mass increasing. This slows down the metabolism making it easier to gain weight in middle age even if people don't change their eating habits or exercise routines.
What’s more important: Losing weight or a low-fat level?
According to an article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, maintaining a low body fat level is more crucial for good aging than maintaining a low overall weight. Young adults who aren't physically fit, even if their weight is healthy, have a higher risk of acquiring Type 2 diabetes later in life, according to a second study.
Why is BMI misleading?
Despite its extensive usage in clinical practice, BMI has several flaws and is a poor weight-loss tracking tool because there's no way to tell if weight loss is due to fat or muscle loss. Using a single metric, such as BMI, to predict health oversimplifies health risks and ignores crucial elements that contribute to optimal health.
Does Skinny Always Equal Healthy?
Many people believe that having as little fat as possible is beneficial to their health. Being slim, however, does not automatically lower your health risk. A ‘skinny fat’ person can face the same health hazards as an obese person.
People who are skinny fat may appear fit because they have a healthy level of subcutaneous fat (fat that is stored just beneath the skin), but they might be at risk due to excess visceral fat and a lack of muscle mass. Furthermore, since visceral fat cannot be quantified with BMI or weighing scales, persons labeled as ‘skinny fat’ are often ignorant of their potential health hazards.
Measuring Body Composition
Imagine being able to get on a scale and know exactly what your body fat percentage and recommended calorie intake are within minutes. What if the same test could provide a clear representation of your muscle and fat distribution in your body. With InBody, these things are now achievable.
InBody is a premium body composition analyzer that has enhanced not just the way we measure weight, but also body fat, water retention, muscle mass, and their distribution throughout the body. InBody measures body composition through bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), which includes muscle mass, body fat, and total body water. To measure impedance, alternating low and high-frequency electrical currents are transmitted through the body's water via electrode contact.
These results provide vital information that empowers doctors to provide better care and individualized suggestions to their patients. The scan can then be used to establish health goals, identify appropriate interventions, and track the patient over time.
How Can You Take The InBody Test in Dubai?
The InBody testing procedure is painless, does not involve x-ray imaging, and takes only a few minutes. To improve your body's conductivity, you will first be asked to wipe your feet and hands with a special wipe that will remove any lotion or sweat.
Your weight will be the first measurement taken. The device will then ask for your height, age, and gender. Then, with your arms outstretched at about waist level and your thumbs on the sensors, grasp the hand sensors on either side of the machine. It's as simple as that! You will receive a thorough printout detailing your unique body composition study after the InBody device has completed its assessment.
InBody testing should be done at least 3 hours after eating or exercising, and you should drink as much as you normally do the day before to achieve the most accurate results.
To conclude, your body composition and weight are different. Although knowing your body weight is significantly easier, knowing your body composition is far more crucial for your health. It would be easier for you to slim down and achieve a healthy weight once you have a healthy body composition.