What is

Body composition?

Your body composition is what your body is made of measuring fat, protein (muscle) minerals (bone) and water which reflect key components of your health. Your body composition is a far better measure than the more popular BMI reading. This is because the BMI can’t tell the difference between what weight is muscle and what weight is fat. An individual with higher than average muscle  mass can be considered as obese on the BMI scale.  For untrained people the BMI can still be accepted to clinically identifying potential body weight issues but where a body composition test stands leagues ahead is how from routine testing you can see how your body is changing. The BMI can’t.

If your goal is weight loss then a body composition tests are paramount. You may have experienced or come across rapid weight loss in the first two to three weeks only to then see weight loss reduce considerably. This can often cause people to become despondent and might reflect that 43% of people come off their New Years dieting resolutions before the end January, 80% don’t make it to April and 86% don’t complete a year*. There are many reasons for this (discussed here) but a major one is the continuation of the speed of weight loss in the first two to three weeks of dieting. This is mainly due to the drop in carbohydrate intake which drastically effects the amount of water the body retains. Click here to read about 8 factors effecting body weight fluctuations. 

*Bupa Con/Res

Why do I need to differentiate

Between fat and fat free mass?

It’s widely known that too much fat is a serious health risk. Problems such as hypertension, elevated blood lipids (fats and cholesterol), diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, respiratory dysfunction, gallbladder disease, and several other health problems are all related to obesity.

To understand body composition and not just your total weight that standard scales reflect is vitally important for short and long term health.

Below are the recommended guidelines for body fat percentage and what different body compositions look like to give you a rough guide.