DXA Body Scan Series, Part 1

by Coach Caroline

The DXA Body Scan is the most industry-recognized, accurate and reliable method for measuring your body composition (breakdown of lean muscle mass, bone and fat). I first heard about DEXA at a Gym Jones seminar. Lisa Maximus was talking about body fat percentages and healthy standards for women.

In today’s world where skinnier is often perceived as better, enduraLAB, and many in the fitness industry, preach that STRONGER is better, and being super skinny won’t get you anywhere. Often times the women that we see that are very thin are actually “skinny fat”, meaning they have very little muscle and a higher percentage of body fat. So it made me wonder…how much fat do I actually have? I’m healthy – I eat and sleep well, exercise regularly, have a normal BMI. I’ve participated in caliper testing and had my body fat measured by an electronic scale many times, but I’ve been told I’m from 17% to 27%. And that’s a big difference.

After a simple scan that took about 6 minutes, I was able to see on-screen a break-down of my fat, lean muscle mass and bone density. As a comparison, I weighed and took my body fat percentage at the LAB before I went to Dallas that morning. My weight on the scale versus my weight on the DXA table were the exact same (~.2 difference). My body fat however, was slightly off. The scale at the lab was 2.2% higher than the DXA scan. So the scale at the LAB isn’t too bad!

Why do you need to know this number? 

Knowing your body fat percentage can help you to set and meet a goal of losing weight. But more important to me was the other information that this test provided. This test measured my visceral fat. That deep belly fat that surrounds your organs. The more of it you have, the more likely you are to have several types of metabolic diseases such as obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, among other things. No good!  Men should be no higher than 5#, but ideally below 1. Women should be no higher than 2#, but ideally lower than .5. The test also shows bone density, which is very important for us to be aware of as we age, as it is an indicator of likelihood of fractures and osteoporosis.

Why did I have this done?

Because I’m kind of crazy, a little bit impulsive, and think this stuff is super interesting. But also, because I really wanted to know how much fat I had.  

To say that I never worry about my weight or how my clothes fit would be a lie. I, like most women, sometimes allow society to get inside my head. After all, for years I exercised at a gym where the head trainer preached SKINNY, no matter what. I believed in that philosophy, and that was always my goal. Enough was never enough. Until I came to enduraLAB.  It was here that I realized that skinny couldn’t accomplish very much. Skinny couldn’t deadlift half of her body weight and could barely bench the 35# bar, and I hated that feeling of weakness. So I started to train. I believed in the system. And I started to gain weight. 10 pounds to be exact. What?

I gained weight in the form of muscle, and my body changed. My arms leaned out. My calves are a little thicker. My skinny jeans fit differently. I’m stronger. I can deadlift 125 pounds more than I could that first day. I didn’t gain fat; I gained muscle. And seeing that on the computer screen proved it to me.

Why should you do the DEXA scan?

I think perhaps my biggest takeaway from our testing was the confirmation and reassurance it provided. For my age and body fat percentage, I am classified as “Ideal”. Meaning, I don’t need to lose any weight. Skinnier is no longer the answer. Strong, dense bones and lean muscle mass are the answers. A nutritious diet that keeps visceral fat at bay is the answer.

I recommend this test to those of you that have weight to lose, and are ready to set and meet a goal.  It is an excellent tool for tracking changes and seeing results. Paired with a nutrition coach at the LAB, you can set a realistic and attainable weight loss goal and finally see results. If you have questions about either DXA or a nutrition plan, please email me at caroline@enduralab.com or grab me at the LAB.

Even if you don’t have a weight loss goal, I really enjoyed the experience and learning more about me. I highly recommend it to those of you that are just curious, because it is very interesting!

Please contact a coach to discuss.

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