Friday, September 30, 2016

First DEXA body fat scan and Resting Metabolic Rate test done

We who are either obsessed with fitness or claim we're just "passionate" like getting tests done. It's usually a good indicator of how you're doing.

For example, a few years ago I got my body fat percentage checked with what's called a Bod Pod.

The Bod Pod is quite inconspicuous and a rather easy test. You'll go into the facility, get your height and weight checked, the attendant inputs those points into a computer connected to the pod, then you dress down to your underwear, put on a swimmers cap, and sit inside. 
The Bod Pod will automatically start filling with air, calculating how much air you displace. It then figures how much of your weight is bone, organ, etc. and spits out a number that should reassemble your body fat percentage.

When I first went to the Bod Pod, I was told I had a 5% body fat when I was clearly over 20%. Quite the margin of error!

I wanted to see what my true body fat percentage was, so I booked an appointment with Body Fat USA


First you have to (obviously) book the appointment. I was told that in Colorado, the use of a DEXA scan requires doctor approval so that needs to happen first (they handle the "doctor approval").

Next, you'll get an email saying you should avoid taking any calcium supplements 24hrs prior to the test and that you should avoid eating big meals 4hrs. before the test.

I read some research on DEXA scan accuracy and found that it tends to be even more accurate if you fast for 24hrs. I fasted for 12hrs which isn't bad considering that my appointment was for 9AM, I just had to stop eating at 9PM which I do almost every night anyways!

Day of the procedure

I showed up with gym shorts and a T-shirt and got my weight and height taken before being shown to some strange looking table with an arm.

The lady asked me to sit real still and the arm moved down my whole body slowly (about 6min) scanning everything.

I was then shown a quick photo of my body in DEXA form, then lead to the RMR (resting metabolic rate) machine.

The RMR test was a bit more, let's say, difficult than the DEXA scan. You have to sit still (albeit on a comfy chair) for about 15min while creating a seal with your lips on a breathing apparatus. The plastic mouth piece makes breathing seem like it's a bit more difficult, but it's not. Many people struggle with the test because it feels like you're out of breath, and your nose begins to throb about 2min in. You have to wear a nose plug to make sure you're not breathing at CO2 out of your nose.

That's what the RMR measures; CO2 output. Using this, they plug it into a formula which calculates about how many calories you're burning in those 15min, then they average it out for the whole day. This gives you a good idea of your maintenance calories.

One needs to know their maintenance calories so they can calculate how many calories they can eat before they start gaining weight.

For example, I was calculated to have a 1,642 caloric daily requirement. This means that if I sat down all day, I'd still burn about 1,642 calories everyday. Taking into consideration the activity requirement of my job, walking to and from my car, walking in the grocery store, etc., I probably burn another 400-500 calories a day. To stay on the safe side, that's to say I probably burn around 2,000 calories everyday (without considering exercise). Considering my daily weight lifting, according to Harvard Medical School, I'm probably burning around 220 calories an hour.

Putting it all together

RMR: 1,642
Regular activity: 400
Weight training: 110/ 30min

TOTAL amount of calories burned on an average day: 2,152

This means that I can eat up to ~2,000 calories a day (if I workout everyday and keep the same activity up) without gaining weight.

If I want to lose weight, I'll eat about 1,500 calories or less. 

Being 23% body fat, that means I have about 33lbs. I know that 1lbs. of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories. Meaning, if I want to lose 1lbs. of fat, I have to restrict myself 3,500 calories.

Putting that into perspective, if I want to lose 1lbs. of fat a week, I'd have to restrict 500 calories a day (7 days). For me, that means I'd have to eat around 1,500 calories a day to equal a 3,500 caloric deficit a week. If I ate only 1,200 calories a day, that would mean every 4 days I'd lose 1lbs. of fat (hopefully no muscle).

A gift from the company

Body Fat USA gave me a very in-depth report in a binder of my test results. They even had a nice lady explain to me everything that was in it. I'd highly recommend going to Body Fat USA if you're interested in your body fat percentage.

I do not receive any compensation or benefits for mentioning Body Fat USA.

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