In the health/fitness industry, we spend most of our time talking about a few things. FAT and WEIGHT.
We want to “lose” both of those things. They are bad.
We want to find out our body FAT % and lower that to.
But it’s not all about losing things.
We want to get muscle.
We want to get a six pack.
We want to get toned.
It’s normal to think like this. This is how the industry talks to us. This is how have been trained to talk about fitness. This is how our friends talk. We hear it on TV. Especially late at night.
But there’s a healthier way to think about your weight.
It’s something that most people don’t know about. And even after reading this article, most people won’t take the time or spend the money. So, if you can’t be bothered, STOP READING.
Ok, for the rest of you, I’m talking of course, about a DEXA Scan.
It takes 5 minutes, costs $50 and will change how you think about your body, and how you approach your fitness goals.
After your scan, you will be handed a report.
The report has a lot of numbers, but the most important thing to look at is this equation:
Lean Tissue + Fat Tissue + Bone = Total Mass
Sounds simple, but this was mind blowing for me.
We are all just big blobs of tissue and bone.
Total mass? That’s what you see on the scale.
That’s what you get frustrated with when it stays the same number, even after eating bloody meal prepped meals and working out at the gym.
That’s the number that goes up after a weekend, or snacking late at night.
That’s the number you pledge to change - after Thanksgiving…. and Christmas.
That’s the number that people HATE or think is UNFAIR.
It’s not any of those things. It’s just….
Muscle + Fat + Bone.
Ok. Breathe out. Relax.
Now. What do we do with those numbers?
First, understand that it’s impossible to make them do what you want. You can’t edit them on a computer and magically update your body.
They are lagging indicators. All we can really do is try and nudge them in the right direction.
If you’ve ever seriously changed how you eat, you’ll notice you feel many other positive things (better energy, sleep, mood, mental acuity) before you see the scale move in a significant way.
The basic idea is you want to make that FAT number go down and the MUSCLE one go up.
Once you understand the FAT and the MUSCLE and the BONE is all stuck together, it’s kind of obvious that “torching fat” or “packing on lean muscle” is a ridiculous concept. Whatever your goal, they both come along for the ride.
You can be smart, and slowly lose fat while keeping most your muscle, but you are going to lose muscle. And conversely, if you want to get stronger, you will be adding on fat.
So before your start “torching fat from your belly” or “getting a six pack”, take a scan. Study the numbers. And then get to work.
Here’s a few labs where I’ve received scans. They all use the same machine, Look for deals, you can usually get a scan for half price.
K8 BodyScan - Melbourne, Australia
DexaFit - San Francisco, California
University Orthopaedic Associates - Somerset, New Jersey