Focus on body composition to succeed with New Year’s weight loss

body composition bod pod

Millions will make a New Year’s resolution to reduce weight and become more fit.  But, virtually no one thinks about the quality or nature of their weight loss. They don’t focus on body composition.  Most simply don’t understand when we drop weight based solely on calorie restriction, we don’t just lose fat.  Muscle mass declines as well. 

At a recent holiday party, I spoke with a man who proudly proclaimed he had lost 10 pounds by severely restricting the number of calories he ate each day.  He bragged he didn’t do any cardio or strength training.

Because we all lose fat and muscle at different rates, while unusual, it’s possible that he lost four fat pounds and six muscle pounds.  In so, his BMI—body fat percentage– would actually become worse!

The importance of body composition as a true measure of fitness and health has exploded in recent years.  The amount of muscle and body fat we each carry has become increasingly important in identifying peak health and fitness.

The NFL now sets up six BOD PODs at the NFL Combine every year.  They test the athletes to determine muscle mass and body fat.

BOD PODs are manufactured by Cosmed USA.  BOD POD is considered the gold standard in body composition measurement.  It provides a highly accurate measurement of body composition using a proprietary technology called Air Displacement Plethysmography.  It was invented with a grant from the National Institute of Health.  It is used by the NFL, NBA, MLB, 21 Division 1 college athletic training facilities, U.S. Military Rangers and Seals and Olympic programs worldwide.

Muscle Metrics, a Kansas City company, has a BOD POD in a state-of-the-art mobile body composition testing unit. They take their BOD POD to gyms; CrossFit and Title Boxing Clubs; high school and college athletic programs; corporate health and wellness programs; health fairs; races and fitness competitions; and club sports teams.

Why body composition matters more than weight alone:

1) Without a body composition test, you can’t know the true nature of body composition/weight change. There are countless cases of men and women who looked fairly average prior to a commitment to diet change and increased exercise.  Once they reached their fitness transition goal, they actually weighed more than before they started their program.  This happens when we reduce fat and add substantial amounts of muscle.  We look and feel fantastic.  And, many often actually wear a smaller dress or pants size (especially waste circumference).  Plus, we are infinitely healthier because we carry far less body fat.

2)  Coaches have come to understand that there is a substantial difference between a 250-pound athlete with 20 percent body fat and one with 10 percent.  The 10 percent athlete carries 25 pounds more muscle!  Weight alone can be misleading.

3)  Besides using BOD POD to measure muscle mass, some NFL teams take the importance of body composition data even further.  They include body composition as part of a formula that is used to predict the likelihood of player injury. The early data indicates more fit athletes carry less body fat are less likely to be injured.

4)  For high school and college athletes who participate in summer weightlifting, base-line body composition testing and follow-up testing at the end of state mandated lifting programs can be invaluable when used to measure muscle mass change.  Teen athletes go through huge growth spurts at unpredictable times.  Big gains in weight can often be misleading.  A simple pair of BOD POD tests will verify the quality of weight gain. Plus, body composition data can be even more valuable for athletes attempting to attract scholarship offers.

5) Muscle does weigh more than fat.  A person who makes dramatic changes in diet and adds weight lifting or other strength training regimens to lose weight will likely increase muscle mass while decreasing body fat.  They may become frustrated if they focus on weight only.  Ironically, most are far healthier than they suspect because body fat percentage declines dramatically.

Article by Cameron Bishop, the owner and founder of Muscle Metrics LLC. He has a passion for fitness and health and wellness. As a former corporate executive and management consultant, he discovered the BOD POD and the motivating knowledge gained from body composition testing. Traveling 40 to 50 times per year took its toll and he gained 16 pounds even while still exercising regularly. A baseline test in a Bod Pod at the start of his weight loss program and nine months of eating clean with intensified weights and cardio led to losing 12 pounds. A follow-up Bod Pod body composition test verified he had in fact lost 16 pounds of body fat and added 4 pounds of muscle. While the scale said he his weight was up, his waist size was better than it had been in 5 to 10 years.

That’s when he decided the information that Bod Pod provides is so powerful that he wantedto make it available to everyone. If you would like to have him come to your gym, company, school or athletic program, check out the website at www.musclemetrics.ZONE, email cbishop@musclemetics.ZONE or call 913-905-9789.

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