What is BIA…
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis.
How it Works
Basically you are electrocuting yourself. No, I’m just kidding. Kinda. The way a BIA scanner works is it uses an imperceptible electric charge and some math (proprietary and different for each manufacturer) to figure out how much lean mass and fat you are carrying. Lean mass is a good conductor of electricity and fat is not, so depending on how much current gets through, a reasonable guess of composition can be made. There are some caveats. If you have any kind of metal implants your numbers will be skewed because of the conductivity and if you have a pace maker, you should avoid these completely.
BIA vs BMI
Now BIA is more accurate when compared to the ancient BMI method of figuring out ‘health’ because it takes into account lean mass. BMI a simply a ratio of height and doesn’t take into account muscle or lean mass. Body composition, age and fitness are ignored in the BMI calculation and make it (in my opinion) useless. Take two 40-year-olds for example. Both weigh the same and are the same height and both would have the same BMI. One however sits on the couch all day and the other is a powerlifter. There might be a difference…
Well how do you get measured with a BIA scale? There are a couple of ways. Most mid to high end gyms usually have some type of BIA scale from either Tanita (was at my last GoodLife), InBody (@CrossFitCanuck). There are other manufacturers and different formats, but I will focus on the two that I have used. These tend to be more expensive, commercial models which usually have some type of grip to get a full body measurement. On the consumer front there are more options available, including Garmin, Fitbit and Withings. These tend to measure through the feet, but they are more reasonably priced. For an in depth review, please check out @DCRainmaker who has a great article here.
All About Me
So I know that I haven’t been doing a great job diet wise over the last stretch. There has been a lot going on in life during the last six months and I could feel it. I could feel it when I ran. I could feel it when I was working through WODs. The worst though, was that I could REALLY feel it when I got dressed every morning. Those pants felt a little tighter and the shirts much more so. The distribution of mass has shifted a lot and it has really been disheartening. The first step though is identifying the issue, measuring to get a baseline and then working hard. Here is mine (click the link)…
Now the segment analysis is skewed, because there is metal in my left ankle. Still everything looks to be about where @CanuckCoach and I expected it to be. She was not thrilled that I had climbed above 300 again, but let’s just hope I’m only visiting (for the last time). Fun facts that the InBody scan does provide is the Basal Metabolic Rate. For me it’s 2380kcal and that’s the amount of energy the body needs to stay alive for a day and that I’m carrying 205.3lbs of Lean Body Mass. Still, there’s lots of room to improve.
Stay tuned for another scan as a part of the Lean + Clean Challenge at @CrossFitCanuck coming up at the end of August. This should be fun…