I bet almost everyone answered yes to this question.
Do you know your actual body composition and body fat percentage right now?
Many of us use our weight on the scale or even our body mass index or BMI (a ratio between your height and weight) to determine our health status. Even in the medical community, we are trained to determine overweight or obese status just by using these numbers alone. However, this is a flawed system!
There can be three people with completely different body types who are both 5’4 and 140 lbs. Without looking at your composition and body fat percentage, your health care provider could be missing one of your most significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Some of the most athletic individuals who eat clean and train every day would be considered obese or overweight by the traditional BMI scale. So what is the solution? Understanding your body composition. This is crucial to understanding your overall health, endurance, and risk for disease.
Here at CentreSpring MD we are using a tool called InBody to determine your body composition. This tool determines percentages of skeletal muscle mass, body fat and water. Why might you need an InBody? Here are just a few reasons:
#1 Help reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease is a collective term for disorders of the heart and blood vessels that increase your likelihood of developing things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, dementia, stroke and diabetes. One of the most important identifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease is your body composition and more specifically your visceral fat. Visceral fat is the body fat that is stored within the abdominal cavity. It is stored around a number of important internal organs including the liver, pancreas and intestines. Visceral fat being present in our bodies increases inflammation and changes the way our hormones are regulated. This can not only lead to disease but also makes it harder to lose weight.
With the help of a healthcare provider, you can reduce your visceral fat and risk for disease, but it is important to track and identify it. Identifying this risk factor is one of the most important reasons to get an InBody test.
#2 Know your body composition.
There are three different types of body composition for the same weight! Remember our 5’4 140 lb. example. Three individuals with this same exact weight and BMI can have much different body compositions, and therefore risk factors for disease.
The first type of body composition is an athletic build. This person will have a high skeletal muscle mass, low body fat percentage and low visceral fat. This type of body composition is at lowest risk for cardiovascular disease.
The second type of body composition with the same weight and height could be someone with average amount of skeletal muscle and body fat based on their height. This type of body composition would be at an average risk of heart disease.
A third type is a body composition consists of low skeletal muscle mass and a higher body fat percentage. This is referred to as “skinny fat”. This body type is at much higher risk for cardiovascular disease due to their increased fat percentage. This body type is important to identify because it is often not put into high risk categories due to their normal BMI. It is important to identify these body composition types to prevent future disease.
Without the content body fat percentage and skeletal muscle mass provides, it’s very difficult to understand what your weight on the scale means and whether you need to consider making changes to improve your body composition to prevent disease.
#3 Track your progress
Have you ever been trying to lose weight and it seems like that number on the scale will just not move, not matter how hard you work? So many of my patients get frustrated and even give up when they feel like they are not making progress.
As we have determined the number on the scale is not a very useful measurement tool. So why would you use this to track your progress? By using body fat percentages and muscle mass as a measurement of success instead, you will be able to see your muscle mass rise even if your weight is not moving. Often when you begin working out your muscle mass rises while your body fat drops, preventing any movement in your actual weight. For some, being able to see this progress is important to them to stay motivated and continue on their path of a healthier lifestyle. Using InBody testing throughout this process can help you see the changes that are happening in your body and see how your overall health is improving and risk factor decreasing. Stop worrying about the number on the scale and look at the big picture with your body composition!
#4 Have more targeted workouts
Another reason InBody testing might be right for you is if you are an athlete looking to achieve peak performance. One of the cool features to InBody testing is that it breaks down your body composition into each segment. So for avid athletes looking for targeted areas of workout, InBody can help. It can tell you if you need to work on your skeletal muscle mass in your legs versus your arms, or if your left arm has a little less muscle mass compared to your right arm. Change your work out routines and then track your changes through InBody.
In addition to targeting workout, it has been shown that by simply tracking your body composition on a regular basis you can your boost endurance and shorten recovery periods from exercise.
The InBody test and body composition testing can be an invaluable tool for your health. Assessing your body composition can not only help you reduce your risk for disease but allows you to understand more about your body then just the number on the scale.
If you have an interest in living a healthy lifestyle, if you try your best to eat a healthy diet, if you work to keep your body weight under control, if you are an athlete trying to optimize your health, or if you just want to understand your body and your potential risk for disease, then InBody testing might be right for you.
I believe in identifying these risks before you develop disease, which is why InBody can be such an important tool for my patients. If you need help identifying risk factors to prevent disease, or if you want to obtain InBody testing, I would love to help you through this process. Call CentreSpring MD to make an appointment today!
To optimal health,
Christina Grace FNP-C
|Christina Connors Grace is a certified family nurse practitioner and registered nurse. She brings a passionate, caring approach to patient care with a wealth of experience in women’s and family medicine.|
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a visit with Christina Connors Grace.