Recently, I got curious to find out what my current level of body fat and lean muscle mass is. I didn’t want to use a conventional caliper device as they tend to produce very inaccurate results. So, I did a bit of research and found out that a so-called DEXA scan (DEXA = Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) gives you a good idea about your level of body fat percentage.
A DEXA scan is primarily used to measure your bone mineral density. Patients who show low bone density suffer from a condition called Osteopenia. Osteopenia is regarded as a precursor to Osteoporosis which is connected to a high risk of bone fracture.
The reason why the DEXA scan is such a great technological tool is that it takes your total weight and shows you how this weight is split up in body fat and lean mass. People who want to shed some weight are generally addicted to the number on their scale. If they see the number go up, they immediately conclude that they are getting fatter. This can be very foolish because they forget that they may be adding more muscle mass and losing body fat at the same time. This addition/reduction balance can result in your total body weight going up on the scale. And that’s not a bad thing if you are putting on muscle and losing belly fat simultaenously.
Anyways, my goal was to measure body fat and here I am at: 11% body fat. Not bad as a starting point to move into the single digits. I would like to shoot at 8%. Getting lower than that requires much more effort. You have to get really strict with the amount and timing of your food intake. I definitely don’t want to go down that route. I want to enjoy food in a smart way and still look awesome at the same time. My guiding concept is based on the 80/20 rule (or Pareto’s principle).
Additionally, the DEXA scan also revealed that my lean mass is at 69.8 kg. If I could add another 5kg more of lean muscle mass over the winter period, I would be pretty happy.
The DEXA scan is not overly expensive (I paid €50) for the valuable information you are getting. Have a scan done and you will know what your baseline starting point is. From there on, you can improve your body composition and recheck it a year later. This way you can quantify your progress.