Body composition test helps to measure and determine one’s body composition, that is, the part of the human body that is composed of fats and the part that isn’t. The practice of maintaining one’s body composition has an overall effect on the health and some other underlying benefits that can’t be overemphasized.
Technically, the body composition is mostly categorized into the lean tissue(the parts of the body that do not contain fats—the lean tissue is composed of other body features like the muscles, water, bone and the human organs) and the body fats.
Learn more about body composition here and how to maintain it!
Improving the body composition implies losing the body fats or increasing the lean body mass. This can be achieved through several technical and home body composition exercises.
Thus, maintaining and understanding your body composition allows you to improve your performances, as well as appearances. This could also allow you to move faster, run faster, or do some things with more agility.
Also, putting other factors into consideration, through body composition test, you could understand whether to plan your exercise in order to lose fat or build muscle. You can also decide to do both.
What Is Body Composition Test
Body composition test is the method of analysing the body parts in order to determine the parts of he body that are composed of fats, and those that are basically not. Going forward, we’ll consider the different methods of body composition test. Body composition test may also be referred to as body composition analysis.
Technically, depending on several clinical concerns, the body can be quantified at different levels such as the atomic level, cellular level, molecular level and the tissue level.
Also Read: Why Does Your Cat Behave The Way They Behave
At the atomic level, the human body composition can be accessed with the basic elements of carbon, calcium, potassium, and hydrogen
At the cellular level, the human body composition can be accessed with extracellular fluid and body cell mass
And at the molecular level and tissue level, the human body composition can be accessed by amounts of water, protein, and fat; and amounts and distributions of adipose, skeletal, muscle tissues respectively.
Body Composition Method
There are actually three categories of the methods of body composition test, they are Criterion methods, Direct methods and Indirect methods.
The criterion method is used to measure a property of the body such as the density or fo the description of the skeletal, muscle and the adipose tissue through the use of some technical imaging techniques and equipment.
This category of body composition methods includes densitometry, computed X-ray tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and DXA.
On the other hand, the indirect body composition method is used to provide the estimated of the body composition based on the results gathered from using direct and criterion methods. The usage of the indirect body composition method however, seems to have more predictive errors.
Indirect methods of body composition test include Anthropometry, Weight, Stature, and Body Mass Index (BMI), Abdominal Circumference, Skinfold.
Aside that, it can also be affected by other things like the sample specificity and the disease conditions.
5 Proven Methods To Body Composition Test
As stated earlier and as it can be easily implied from the categorization of the body composition test methods— there are several ways to measure your body composition. In addition, all these methods of body composition test have their own advantages and otherwise.
As a result, we will only analyse the most common methods of body composition tests.
Doing body composition testing can easily help you determine and tune your nutrition needs in order to achieve fats loss and muscle gain. It can also help to point any related health risks.
Below are the five most common methods of body composition test, with each varying on the methods and the accuracy used.
1. DEXA Scan
The DXA or DEXA scan is arguably the most accurate and advanced form of body composition test with the margin of error around 1.6%. This type of body composition test makes use of the X-ray technology in order to scan the body and provide a more detailed information on the amount of body mass and fat mass is composed in a body.
In addition, it also accurately provides assessment on where the fat and muscle is stored.
To do the DEXA scan, the person will have to lie on table for a small dose of radiation to pass through the body. This process will allow the machine to discern the fat from the bone and the bone from the muscle— vice versa.
Depending on the location, it might be difficult to find. Although, some gyms may also offer the services. It usually cost round $50 per test.
2. Whole Body Plethysmography (Bod Pod)
Whole Body Plethysmography, also referred to as Air displacement Bod Pod is another method of body composition test that is commonly used in the market. Unlike DEXA Scan, Body pods margin of error is 1 to 3%.
“The Bod Pod uses a mechanical diaphragm to create small volume changes in a confined and controlled space and then measures pressure responses”
Noteworthy, before the body composition test and the air controlled chamber of the bod pods is calibrated, the age, weight, gender and be height of the person are recorded.
To ascertain the person’s body composition through this method, A person’s mass is recorded with their body weight knowing fully well that density equals mass over volume. In simpler terms, since the bod pod measures the volume of air a person displace and in turn the overall density of the human body, the density of the fat, muscle, bone and water in the body are known and calculated from the overall body density.
With this, the Bod Pod can easily estimate the fat and non-fat mass in a body since both of them have known densities.
3. Hydrostatic (Underwater) Weighing
Another body composition test to consider is the hydrostatic or underwater weighing. This is quite similar to bod pod I’m term of error margin which is exactly the same percentage. Interestingly, this method of body composition test is based on the Archimedes’ principle.
Technically, underwater weighing is a form of densitometry that uses the human body weight on land and in water, along with water displacement in order to estimate your body composition.
Due to the fact that muscle sinks and fat floats, it is quite useful to determine body composition since a person with more muscle mass will normally weigh more underwater than another person with higher percentage of body fats.
To go through be process of underwater weighing, the person will have to sit on a scale inside a giant tank of water, expel all air form the lungs and pull himself under completely, sitting still for 10 seconds.
Just like the aforementioned body composition test, it also tries to measure the overall density of a person’s body.
4. Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)
This type of body composition test has an error margin of 3-8% which clearly indicates the level of risks associated with it. Unlike the other body composition tests, Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis makes use of low electric current to estimate the fat free mass.
The low electricity current is passed thought the body in order for the machine to guess the body fats percentage. Aside this, the status of a person, whether he has eaten or not can actively impact the accuracy of the results.
5. Skinfold Test
Our last body composition test on the list is the Skinfold Test. This is used to measure the fat thickness of the various regions of the body. However, due to its simple approach to measuring body composition, it tends to be less accurate and has limited utility in the overweight.
To do Skinfold test, skinfold calipers are used to pinch some specific areas of the body such as the chest, thigh and abdomen. To provide an estimate of the percentage of the body fat, the measurements gathered from the above are combined with the person’s age and gender in a particular formula.
Unlike the other body composition test, skinfold tests are more susceptible to error depending on the person performing the test.
Benefits Of Doing Body Composition Test
There are several benefits attached to taking a body composition test, which most revolving around health.
The body composition test benefits are:
- Through body composition test, you can easily devise individual health plan in order to best fit your goals and personal needs.
- It can help to reduce the risk of deadly diseases and cancers.
- It helps to minimize the amount of excess fat in the human body.
- Through body composition test, the results can be quite helpful for those patients who are recovering from cardiovascular complications or a recent fall.
The methods of body composition test have provided the opportunity to choose between several alternatives while contemplating on measuring one’s body composition. This has also given proper elucidation on each risks and the benefits attached.
To get your body composition test done, it is advisable to consult nearby gyms or medical or health facilities.