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!