With the rising number of Fitness Apps measuring all parts of your body could we be losing track on what’s really important for fitness? Such as accurate stats on muscle, fat and hydration?
Monitoring Lean Muscle Mass becomes more important as we age. Strength and resistance training undoubtable helps to maintain vital muscle but how do we know if the exercises we are repeating every week are actually gaining us the valuable muscle we need? As much as we’d like them to, your phone will not be able to tell you accurately whether you are gaining muscle in the right areas and losing the dreaded body fat.
You need a specialized device to measure body composition, but in today’s age there are so many products on the market. How do you know which one to choose?
I am here to explain a little about how this technology works so you can make up your own mind.
Fat vs Visceral Fat
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis, also known as BIA, is the technology most of these body fat analysers follow, whether they use scales or electrodes. This means a very weak signal or current is passed through the body. The current will then pass through different tissues which will have different resistive qualities to the current (ie fat is an insulator, ie a poor conductor, since it contains less fluid and electrolytes, so will slow down the current). The flow of the current is recorded as Impedance. These values are then read by the BIA machine which will determine the quantity of that tissue in the body.
Now, the important factor to remember is that the fat is fat, and muscle is muscle. Just like you cannot differentiate between brown fat and white fat, you cannot differentiate between visceral and subcutaneous fat. All types of fats will still show the same amount of resistance to the current.
Scales vs Electrodes
The accuracy of BIA measurements depends on skin resistance. When we are using a light current to measure the inside the body, the thickness of the skin and the connection to the electrode is of utmost importance. So if we consider scales for the moment, consider the thickness of the soles of your feet and palms of your hand in comparison to the thin skin on the tops of your hands and feet, used with electrodes (the sticky pads). The sweatiness and dryness of the hands and feet will also affect any electrical current when taking a BIA measurement.
Bodystat has been a manufacturer of solely BIA devices for almost 30 years. They dedicate themselves to educating their customers about this technology and are determined to offer the most accurate results possible.