Using INBODY to Monitor Your Training Program

INBODY is an advanced version of the technology used in many home scales for measuring body composition. It uses bioelectrical impedance to provide accurate assessments of body fat, muscle mass and body water content. Bioelectrical impedance is simply the passing of a tiny current through the metal contact pads on the machine. The signal’s movement through the body is then translated into measurements of body composition, based on the fact that different tissues conduct currents at different speeds.

INBODY technology is one of several advanced methods that can be used to measure body composition. Every possible method has built-in advantages and disadvantages. Understanding those helps you make the most sense of a test report.

Every method has an inherent error. INBODY is considered quite accurate, typically to within 2-3% on any given test. What that means is that the test, if conducted on the same person, in the same conditions, over several months of repeated measures, is reliably reflecting your change in body fat and muscle mass. In other words, it can be used to help us determine whether your present exercise/diet/lifestyle is working to help you achieve your body composition goals.

If we find that you’re zeroing in on your own goals, then we can stay the course and keep things moving along. If, however, your overall program is falling short of your goals, the INBODY are so accurate that we can use them to help make whatever adjustments to your overall program are best indicated toward helping you achieve your goals.

Before we go into some examples, here are some body composition basics. Body fat % is the main number reported. It is the percentage of your weight that is accounted for by fat. Lean mass is “everything else.” Lean mass includes muscle, bone, organs, skin and body fluids, including body water stored in the blood and cells. In an adult, only body fat and muscle mass are likely to change over time, so changes in weight and body fat % reflect changes in body fat and muscle mass by and large.

Here’s a pair of easy to understand examples

Member hoping to gain muscle and lose fat. Follows Doc nutritional plan and takes 3 classes weekly.

  1. Test September 2017: 150 lbs, 15% body fat.

  2. 15% of 150 = 22,5 lbs of body fat

  3. The remaining lean mass is 127.5 lbs (150-22.5=127.5)

  4. Test November 2017: 152 lbs, 12% body fat

  5. 12% of 152 = 18.25 lbs of body fat

  6. Remaining lean mass = 133,75

  7. Changes between tests:

  8. Body fat lost – 4.25 lbs

  9. Muscle Mass gained (all lean mass change is from muscle) – 6.25 lbs

  10. Overall body weight change – 2 lbs

Overall, this member’s overall lifestyle/training/diet program is working for him in helping him achieve his goals. We would advise staying the course and looking at specific further goals.

Member hoping to lose weight – takes 6 classes weekly, and, fearing weight gain, limits food intake

  1. Test September 2017: 150 lbs, 15% body fat

  2. 15% of 150 = 22.5 lbs of body fat

  3. Lean mass is 127.5 as in the above

  4. Test November 2017: 146 lbs, 16% body fat

  5. 16% of 146 = 23,4 lbs of body fat

  6. Lean mass = 122.6 lbs (146-23.4=122.6)

  7. Change between tests

  8. Body fat has gone up .9 lbs

  9. Muscle mass has gone down 4.9 lbs

  10. Body weight has gone down 4 lbs

This member’s goal – to lose weight – has been met, per se. However, these are not beneficial changes! Over time, this continued trend can result in exhaustion, illness and injury. We need muscle to move, and losing that muscle can be a consequence of a diet that is restrictive compared to one’s activity level. We would recommend, in this case, to either decrease the frequency of classes, or to try to match overall food intake to the amount of energy needed to support it. The dramatic shift in muscle mass here means the body is responding to the overall situation as one of stress, even crisis. Muscle, in this context, is expendable. If one is losing weight, but gaining fat and losing muscle, it’s the body’s way of signaling that the overall stress on the system is mismatched to the goal!

As you can see in these simplified examples, INBODY can be an extremely powerful tool in helping us make the most of your training experience. INBODY does so much more, including assessing your hydration status, and estimating long-term health implications to your overall lifestyle. These are insights we are happy to have you discuss with either Doc or any member of our staff.

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