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Here at the beginning of 2018, it's easy and even natural to set goals on how to improve yourself. Maybe you want to learn a new skill like cooking or painting. Maybe you want to go back to school and earn a higher degree. For many people, personal health, wellness, and fitness are large areas ripe for improvement. You may want to lose weight, build muscle, exercise more, or do all of the above. If you want to improve your body and your health in 2018, you may want to start with your body composition. Starting here effectively lays the groundwork for optimal fitness and health over time. Your body composition refers to how muscle and fat are distributed throughout your body. Knowing what you're working is the first step to body composition improvement because it allows you to set goals and a plan for better health and wellness. Not sure how to improve your body composition, let alone measure it? We've got you covered on all you need to know about body composition plus 3 ways to dramatically improve it this year.
How to Measure Your Body Composition
Before you can begin improving your body composition, you have to know what you're dealing with first. To do this, you have to measure your body composition. Measuring your body composition is simple enough and can be done a number of ways. The point of the measurement is to find out how much body fat you carry and where, as well as your body's distribution of muscle and muscle mass. In addition to figuring out how much body fat you're carrying and where, body composition measurements also tell you what kind of fat you're carrying. Some fat is good, while other fat, known as visceral fat, is dangerous and can be harmful to your health. Learning how much visceral fat you carry can help you understand your current status of health and wellness, as well as set you up to learn how to lose this fat in a safe, effective, and lasting way. So how can you measure body composition? There are a few ways to get the job done:
Get a DexaFit DXA Scan: One of the best options for measuring your body composition is to get a Dexa (DXA) Scan. This scan is quick, easy, and non-invasive, and returns highly accurate results. The DXA Scan treats you to a close look at your body using an FDA approved procedure of Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry. The scan is performed using two X-ray beams to scan your body from top to bottom. The scan carefully measures bone density, muscle composition, and fat composition to return a comprehensive look at how different elements of your body are distributed. Thanks to the test only taking 10-20 minutes, your body receives extremely low radiation exposure and you can return to your normal daily activities after the test is done. To learn more about this option, read here.
Try Hydrostatic Weighing: Another option is hydrostatic weighing. Hydrostatic weighing uses Archimedes Principle of Displacement to measure your total body density. It looks at both body fat and lean mass to create an accurate picture of your body's overall composition. It returns accurate readings on how much body fat you have and how much lean muscle you carry by measuring your buoyancy. If you have an affinity for water, this might the option for you!
Learn Your Body Fat Percentage: The final measurement trick is to look to your body fat percentage to determine your overall body composition. Measuring your body fat percentage can be a little confusing at first, but when done right, it can return accurate results. There are some tools you can use to find out this measurement, such as body composition scales and handheld devices, as well as certain equations that return clear answers. Learn more here.
Why Improving Your Body Composition Matters
If you feel you have low energy, that you're carrying more weight than you like, or that your body isn't looking the way you want it to, improving your body composition is an important next step. Not only will you look better on the outside, but you will also feel better on the inside. When you have a healthy and balanced body composition, you can begin enjoying the following benefits:
Normal Blood Pressure
Higher Level of Steady Energy and Stamina Throughout the Day
Better Glucose Tolerance
Improved Insulin Sensitivity
Decreased Aches and Pains in Joints, Back, Hips, etc
Better Fertility and Lower Risk of Pregnancy-Related Problems and Complications
Better Mood and Self-Confidence
Better Lung Function: Breathing and Respiration
So, once you know what your body composition is, how can you go about improving it? We have three ways to dramatically improve your body composition that will also improve your health, fitness, and overall sense of self.
3 Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Body Composition
1. Reduce Your Fat Mass
As we mentioned, the different types of fat you can carry in your body play a large role in body composition. To dramatically improve body composition, a good place to start is with fat. Reducing fat mass is good for a number of reasons: it helps you to get smaller, places less strain on your body and internal organs, and build up muscle. To reduce fat mass, you can begin with diet and exercise. Exercises for fat loss usually depend on where you are carrying your fat. If you are like most people, the midsection is your problem section, so it is important to focus your attention there. Some exercises for fat loss include:
Interval Workouts (On a Treadmill, etc)
As far as diet goes, focus on increasing lean proteins such as poultry, eggs, seafood, tofu, and legumes. Also greatly increase your fruit and veggie intake, consuming between 5 and 9 servings of both daily.
2. Increase Your Lean Body Mass
Increasing lean body massmeans toning and building up lean muscle throughout your body. This is usually where you see the flat stomach, toned arms and legs, and a strong back. To increase lean body mass, you'll want to engage in certain exercises. Some include:
Cardio based Workouts Such as Running or Jogging
Strength Training (Pilates, Lifting Weights, Stretching)
A big part of increasing your lean body mass is maintaining it. This means that you should be constantly tracking your progress and keeping notes on your body fat percentage as you move forward. You don't want to be backsliding and not even know it! Keep track by taking weekly measurements, daily pictures, or personal assessment (sight, touch, etc). In addition to this, ensure that you get at least 9 hours of sleep each night, be sure to manage your stress through mindfulness exercises and the like, and take time to relax when you can.
3. Improve Your Diet and Devise a Health Plan
We've already talked a bit about improving diet and which foods to eat, but you can take things a step further with the help of DexaFit's DNA Fitness Test. This test assesses your genetic disposition toward certain diseases and chronic illnesses so that you can lower your risk and potentially avoid them, returns data on specific bodily needs such as vitamins, supplements, and prime dietary choices, and even help you understand how your body respond to certain types of exercises. In addition to this, a DNA Fitness Test comes with a personalized workout and nutrition guide so that you know you're getting the right results for you and you alone. This is a great step towards creating a health plan and changing your diet because it helps you find a plan that's not just another generic fad, but something proven to work for you and your body.
When you begin the journey to improving your body composition, the road ahead can seem long and daunting. While you will have many moments of trial and error, frustration, and discouragement, you will also find moments of triumph and victory. This year, give yourself the gift of health and wellness by starting with your body composition. Improvement is possible, and we hope to help!
You know all the basics of securing health and wellness: a good diet, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, etc. But what about the practices that are good for you specifically? Your body is unique and has its own set of needs. Some things will work for it while others won't, reminding you that not all bodies are the same. If you've ever wondered how to unlock the full potential of your body and reach optimal health and wellness for yourself, the answer lies in your DNA. Taking a DNA Fitness Test can lead to a serious improvement in your personal health and lifestyle. You'll learn amazing data about your body and how it works, as well as get pointers on how to take care of your body better. Below, we outline all you need to know about DNA Fitness Tests, as well as 5 powerful ways the test can change your lifestyle for the better!
What is a DNA Fitness Test?
First things first, what exactly is a DNA Fitness Test? How is it done? Offered by DexaFit, the DNA Fitness Test or Genetic Fitness test is an evaluation designed by geneticists, nutritionists, and trainers to help individuals learn their genetic fitness blueprint. In other words, the test will analyze your DNA and return data on how over 40 genes are related directly your personal fitness, health, nutrition, and wellness. Once the DNA results are out, they are combined with environmental data, meaning your height, weight, diet, etc, for a comprehensive analysis.
The test usually returns your results in ten business days or less, offering a straightforward and easy to understand break down of all your fitness needs. Along with this breakdown, you will also receive a detailed workout plan and nutrition guide that is completely tailored to your body's needs. The guide comes with photos and videos of the new workout techniques so that you have a clear visual aid of how everything is done.
5 Ways a DNA Fitness Test can Change Your Lifestyle and Further Your Fitness Goals
Knowing your genetic fitness blueprint is great, but it depends on what you do with that information that really makes a difference in your life. Taking the DNA fitness test is just the first step towards learning more about yourself, your abilities, and what lifestyle changes you can make to lead a better, healthier life. So how can a DNA Fitness Test tangibly improve your lifestyle? Check out these 5 powerful ways:
1. You'll Better Understand Your Limits
When you take the DNA Fitness Test, you will learn about your body's natural limits. Some limits can be pushed against and changed, while others should be heeded and respected. The fitness test will help you see which is which, especially with the help of your personalized daily training and nutrition plan. You will be able to understand how your body reacts and responds to (either positively or negatively) workout volume, repetition, and tempo. You'll find out what tires your body out and what energizes it and helps it grow stronger. In addition, you can optimize muscle size and strength over time simply by learning what parts of the body need more work, which need less work, and which need a certain amount of time and attention. for optimal results.
2. You'll Be Able to Create the Right Diet for Your Body
Did you know you can have food sensitivities that don't always present like an allergic reaction? You may experience a headache after eating a certain food, bloating, fatigue, or another benign symptom that doesn't totally alert you to the larger problem. Because the sensitivity is so benign, you could keep eating the problem food and experiencing the negative symptoms without relief. A DNA Fitness test will show you exactly which foods should be in your diet and which you should cut out and avoid. When you find the right diet for you, you'll see amazing results such as weight loss and regulation, more energy, better sleep, and regularity.
3. You'll Learn Which Exercises to Quit, and Which to Begin
You may think that all exercise is equal, but this is not always the case. Some exercises are better for you than others, while some can cause serious harm to your body over time. This is especially true for individuals with chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, and other health issues. For example, individuals with fibromyalgia should avoid strenuous, high impact exercises like running and jogging, weight lifting, and some sports like basketball. Instead, exercises like swimming, Yoga, walking, and Pilates are perfect, low impact options that provide the body with cardio without creating an environment for a fibro-flare. No matter how your body reacts to different exercises or what health conditions you may have, a DNA test will reveal which are the best for you, and which are only wearing you down.
4. You'll Know Which Vitamins and Supplements Your Body Needs to Thrive and Be At Its Best
Different bodies can have different deficiencies, which is why vitamins and supplements are important for filling in the blanks and providing help where help is needed. For example, people with darker skin are more likely to have Vitamin D deficiencies due to their increased melanin protecting them from the sun. Vitamin D deficiencies may lead to fatigue, headaches, and other issues that will leave you feeling tired and not at your best. Most vitamin supplements come in many forms such as gummies, pills, and liquids, allowing you to add what you're missing in your diet so you can begin feeling better. In addition, age and sex can determine what vitamins and supplements individuals may require that they aren't getting in their everyday diet. Men's and Women's one a day supplements offer the vitamins and nutrients our unique bodies need for optimal health and wellness. a DNA test will help you learn what vitamins and supplements your body is craving to bring it full health. With this information, you can learn what foods you need to eat more of, what medications to take (or stop taking!), and what vitamins and supplements to add to your everyday repertoire. This information can help many people begin feeling better than they ever thought they could!
5. You'll Learn What Diseases, Injuries, and Other Issues Your Body Is Predisposed To and How to Avoid Them
Finally, a DNA Fitness Test will alert you to which diseases and injuries your body is naturally predisposed to. A predisposition to certain injuries and chronic illnesses like diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and more are all present in your DNA. Taking the test now will alert you to which health conditions could be in your future, allowing you the time and space to avoid and prevent them. Changes in diet, in workout routines, in sleeping habits, and lifestyle choices (i.e. drinking, smoking, certain recreational activities, etc) could help you avoid looming problems and extend your lifespan in one. In short, when you take the DNA Fitness Test, you get a valuable glimpse into the future of your personal health and wellness, as well as access to the tools that can better your chances at living out a long, happy, and healthy life.
How to Get Started: Where to Go to Take the Test
Now that you know all the positives and advantages of taking a DNA Fitness Test, what do you do now? Getting started is super easy and just takes a few clicks. Visit this site to learn more about the test and how it can really change your life for the better. You will learn about the different DNA Testing packages and programs, enabling you to find the program that's right for you. Once you've learned more about the test itself, where can you go to take it? This useful tool will help you find a store and testing facility near you so you can get started.
So, what are you waiting for? Better health and a better life are just on the horizon!
DXA vs Bod Pod, "Dunk Tank," & Everyone Else
Before addressing more specific areas of health, training, and nutrition—i.e. the things you want to do to actually improve your body composition and health rather than just measure it—let's first address some common questions we get after first time scans.
One specific 800-pound gorilla in the scanning room after each test:
“Why is my DXA body fat percentage different than other tests I’ve done in the past?”
For most first-timers, they’re shocked to learn they have a higher body fat percentage than they previously believed. Especially if they’re accustomed to other common methods of body fat testing found in most places that don’t have access to DXA.
But comparing DXA to other methods for body fat measurement is like comparing apples to oranges. DXA is in a league of its own.
So maybe apples to Oysters Rockefeller.
The biggest difference you ask?
The main reason (and why DXA is considered the gold standard) is that DXA is the most accurate measurement of body composition, offers the best precision between tests, and uses a three-compartment model vs two.
And remember...the alligator eats 3 not 2.
Three compartment model means you get a measurement of not only your lean and fat mass (the two compartment model), but also your bone mass (very important for knowing your risk of osteoporosis, osteopenia, and other low bone mass issues).
A DEXA scan also shows you the fat and lean mass distribution throughout your entire body! This means you can see how each region of your body compares to each other (left arm fat vs right arm fat... right leg muscle vs left leg… belly fat, including your visceral fat specifically -- i.e., the ‘scary fat’ if it’s too high).
Some screenshots of your DXA report dashboard...(h/t to FitTrace for building a phenomenal app!)
Other popular methods using the two-compartment model like Hydrostatic Weighing, Bod Pod, and Calipers only measure fat and fat-free mass and can’t report your fat and lean mass distribution.
These methods are also calculated measurements of body fat, influenced by uncontrollable environmental variables, human error, less precision, and a high margin of error.
For example, let’s examine the underlying premises and methods of Underwater Weighing (aka Hydrostatic Weighing)—a calculated measurement that is the previous ‘gold standard’ of body fat testing.
With Underwater Weighing, the underlying assumption is that densities of fat mass and fat-free mass are constant. The densities of bone and muscles are higher than water, and fat is less dense than water.
So if you have more bone and muscle you will weigh more in water than a person with less bone and muscle. This means you have a higher body density and lower percentage of body fat.
After an Underwater Weighing test, the volume of your body is calculated and your body density is determined by using standard formulas. Then, your body fat percentage is calculated from your body density using standard equations (either Siri or Brozek).
This is sound theory, but in practice, it’s limited by the density assumption.
It’s missing a few important and potentially conflicting variables that strongly influence the equations used to calculate your body density:
+ Athletes: Athletes typically have denser bones and muscles than non-athletes; thus, their measurements often underestimate body fat percentage;
+ Elderly patients: Conversely, the body fat of elderly folks -- especially those with osteoporosis -- may be overestimated due to these body density assumptions;
+ One-size-fits-all formulas: To date, specific equations that accommodate these different population groups have not been developed;
DXA, on the other hand, can directly measure your bone density (its primary purpose in clinical settings) and distinguish it from your fat tissue and lean tissue.
This significantly reduces the margin of error because DXA doesn’t calculate body fat percentage from body density equations or require extra calculations that use non-specific equations—it’s a direct measurement.
One other important variable to consider with the Underwater Weighing method is the amount of air left in your lungs after breathing out.
Few of us can blow all of the air out of our lungs before dunking our head underwater. In most cases, some air will be left. This is pretty important because gas floats and air in the lungs will cause us to be 'lighter' underwater.
And in reality, it's actually impossible to get all the air out of the lungs. Humans simply can't do it. Thus, researchers use other methods to estimate how much air is left!!!! (Introducing yet another calculation and potential source of error).
Other calculated measurements have similar limitations. When we have clients that question why there’s a spread between their DXA results and past measurements from Underwater Weighing, Calipers, or the Bod Pod, we explain how the subjective variables like the ones discussed above are inherent to calculated measurements of body fat.
These greatly influence the consistency and accuracy of tests and any discrepancy between DXA and a calculated method is not due to an overestimate of the DXA.
One last issue to consider when evaluating calculated measurements of body fat—and the reason why comparing DXA to other methods is like comparing apples to oysters—is the fact that calculated measurements of body fat have historically relied on Underwater Weighing as a benchmark for determining the accuracy of other calculated methods.
What this means is these other methods were calibrated to Underwater Weighing, since it’s been the gold standard for reference (until DXA).
For example, researchers would underwater weigh samples of people, measure their body composition using another method (e.g. calipers), then develop equations that correlated body fat % calculations from the latter method with the body fat % calculated by Underwater Weighing.
This is why other methods typically cluster around each other but not DXA.
But in any case, whether or not your DXA result is higher or lower than other tests isn't important.
The greatest benefits with DXA is its consistent reliability from scan to scan, and its ability objectively detect subtle changes in your body composition.
Couple these benefits with its three-compartment analysis and ability to display fat distribution by region, and no other method can compete as a better benchmark for tracking progress and evaluating your overall health.
When your numbers go down on a DXA scan, you can be absolutely certain you’ve lost fat and/or gained muscle because it’s not the consequence of a confounding subjective variable or human error outside of your control.
If you're interested in seeing how others are transforming their lives sooner using DXA data with our other tests and feedback, read a few DexaFit success stories here...
And some additional resources (in case you want to geek out on more of this stuff)