Thursday, December 3, 2009

Understanding body composition

Let me start off by saying that I don't really understand body composition. It's a complex system we possess and making the most of it is a very individual process. The same advice for two people will likely yield different results.

According to, body composition is the percentage of fat, muscle and bone in the body. Usually it is expressed as a ratio of lean mass to fatty mass. Lean mass being bones, muscle, skin, organs, and body water. Fatty mass being fat (subcutaneous and the fat surrounding internal organs).

OK, still what does it mean? Well that depends on who you are and your body type. I'm not going to be the one to tell anyone they need to have a certain body fat percentage. That's personal and we all have different bodies. What we can do is learn about our personal body composition, and design workouts to help fine tune that composition.

How does one measure body composition, or body fat percentage (as that is the common measure that most of us will see)? We recently purchased a scale that measures weight, body fat percentage, body water percentage, and muscle mass. Our first thought - what does one do with all of this information? For the most part we've just watched and tried to understand how the pieces fit together. It's interesting when one day you discover 2 extra pounds hanging around, but then you notice a jump in your body water percentage. Bloating, no big deal.

Since I still really don't understand how all these items fit together, I'm going to do an experiment this month. Each day, I'm going to record all the measurements and graph them out for your viewing pleasure. And what better time to do it then during the holidays, right?! You'll be able to see what happens when I eat too many cookies (notice I used 'when' and not 'if', it's going to happen).

If anyone has anything of more substance to add on the matter, let me know. I'm trying to grasp it all.

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