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How Can You Determine the Ideal Fat Ratio for Your Body?

How Can You Determine the Ideal Fat Ratio for Your Body?

blog-body.jpgAlthough the formulas for determining your ideal fat ratio are still controversial in the medical and fitness world, we share the two most commonly used measurement parameters below to get an average figure:
The table below is the most commonly used formula to determine the ideal body fat ratio in the world. When determining this ratio, remember that every body is different from each other and their needs should be determined accordingly. Factors such as hormonal factors, the geography you live in and gender can be determinants of your body fat ratio. For example, women need more fat cells than men to produce eggs.

Fat rate men Women
Max Rate 2-5% 10-13%
Athletic 6-13% 14-20%
Fit 14-17% 21-24%
Average 18-24% 25-31%
Obese 25%+ 32%+

 

The parameter specified as “Maximum Ratio” indicates the minimum amount of fat required for physical and mental health. This issue is still controversial among physiologists. Regardless, keep in mind that your body needs a certain amount of fat to maintain a healthy existence. Having a fat body causes all kinds of aesthetic and physical problems, and a zero fat body means an unhealthy body.

A good diet alone or regular exercise alone is not the way to be healthy. Remember that the important thing is to know your body very well and maintain a balanced lifestyle according to its needs.

For example, your age, as well as your gender, has an impact on your body's needs. While exercising, be sure to consult your doctor's recommendations and alternative methods to have information about your body.

Table 2 (Jackson & Pollock Standard):

Another very common body fat ratio table in the world is the following. Contrary to the above, this table also takes into account the age factor when determining body fat percentage.

Age men Women
20 8.5% 17.7%
25 10.5% 18.4%
30 12.7% 19.3%
35 13.7% 21.5%
40 15.3% 22.2%
45 16.4% 22.9%
50 18.9% 25.2%
55 20.9% 26.3%

 

As we get older, we need more body fat as our body and skin strength will decrease. Moreover, with age, the body's tendency to get fat also increases for this reason.

Another important point about body fats is whether they are evenly distributed in our body. Skin lubrication and organ lubrication are different from each other, and their dangers vary in line with this difference.

Body fat measurement methods such as Digime3D are the devices you should choose as they show you the other needs of your body and reveal your body fat distribution much more precisely and precisely than other methods.

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How to get your gym ready for 2018

How to get your gym ready for 2018

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It’s no secret that January is the peak time for new gym memberships, so it’s time to act if you want your gym to be ready. The top 2 New Year’s resolutions are exercising more and losing weight, and despite the economy stalling in some areas, the fitness market is booming (we’re talking a 44% year-on-year increase in gym membership spending).

But there is plenty of competition for that spending, so how can you put yourself in the best position to capitalise on the surge of January interest? I think there are 2 questions you need to ask yourself in the run-up to the most important time of year for gym owners and managers. Here they are:

1. Why do people choose you over your competitors?

This is about what makes you stand out from the gym down the road, and it isn’t all about price – it’s about what you offer in terms of the latest fitness trends and expected standard equipment, and what support you offer members to achieve their goals.

It’s also important to get up to speed on technology. For example, people now use a range of wearables to monitor their workouts. It’s a crucial part of today’s gym culture, and if your machines integrate with their tech, you’re on to a winner.

lso new 3D body scanning technology can become another weapon in the gym manager’s arsenal. How? By revolutionizing the initial consultation and sign up phase for new members. Offering a free consultation, gyms now have the ability to do one of two things once a potential new member walks through their doors:

  • Immediately build a report with them
  • Establish a standard for benchmarking and results that speaks to the training staff’s ability to work with clients to deliver custom tailored workout routines that keep members coming back.

2. How will you retain existing members (as well as attract new ones)?

Variety is crucial to helping long-term gym members stay motivated, and new gym equipment helps create a buzz around the place while also impressing new visitors.

However, your new equipment has to fit with how they want to work out – so why not do a quick survey to see what would most interest them? You also need to consider available space and how your new purchases will fit with existing kit.

You need to place an order for gym equipment soon if you want it operational by January. After all, standard delivery times are 6 to 8 weeks.

Time is short, though. Please don’t wait until the Christmas party season is in full swing and you’ve got a quiet few minutes while everyone else is out enjoying themselves. Make time in the next week or 2 to plan, research and work out how to finance the equipment you need. Then you’ll start January 2018 up to date, competitive and well-organised so that you can keep your current members engaged and attract plenty of new ones.

Key takeaways

  • Prepare for January now – given equipment delivery timescales, you need to get started to be ready for the New Year’s crowd
  • Research which gym equipment would best suit your current and prospective members (why not survey your regulars?)
  • Search for new technologies like wearables and 3D body scanning technology .
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What is the difference between your weight on the scale and your fat percentage?

What is the difference between your weight on the scale and your fat percentage?

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What is the difference between your weight on the scale and your fat percentage?

The weight figure appearing on the scale does not help us to reach any information about our fat percentage. A person who seems too thin may actually have a high body fat percentage. Although there are a wide variety of body fat percentage measurement techniques, we can take a look at the methods that should be followed in order to reach the final result.

1- How is the Body Mass Index Calculated?

The body mass index gives us information about the harmony between our height and weight. The most commonly used and known by almost everyone, BMI can be shown as one of the body fat percentage measurement techniques that we can trust the most. The body mass index is obtained by dividing the body weight by the square of the height. The following classification is used: The resulting value is considered different for women and men.

  • Values below 18, underweight,
  • Values below 25, normal weight,
  • Values between 25-30, overweight,
  • Values between 30-35, class I obesity,
  • Values between 35-45, class II obesity,
  • Values above 45, extreme obesity.

2- Waist Measurement

For a healthy future, the ideal waist measurement is 82 cm for women and 88.5 cm for men. While many health institutions worldwide take these values as the basis, it can be also said that the fat accumulation in the abdominal region triggers heart disease. Among the body fat percentage measurement techniques, the waist circumference measurement, which can be simply performed also at home, should be repeated regularly.

3- Thigh Gap

This measure, which is especially used among young girls, is valid when there is a gap between the two legs while standing. This gap also proves that the person is thin enough.

4- Abdominal Muscles

It can be said that a person with apparent abdominal muscles is sufficiently fit. Those who want to have tight abdominal muscles have to develop a serious exercise program, diet, and low-fat eating habits.

5- Waist-Hip Measurement

Body fat measurement techniques can be evaluated effectively by adding the hip measurement to the waist measurement. Women whose waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is 0.8 and above are at a higher risk of developing certain heart diseases and diabetes in older age compared to others. Cholesterol and triglyceride ratios in the blood can also be shown as the two extremely significant values for a healthy body.

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What are Body Measurement Techniques?

What are Body Measurement Techniques?

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It is necessary to perform height and weight analysis and obtain the ideal weight according to these results to consider the body healthy. Today, body measurement techniques used to obtain this data involves various methods. These techniques measure the body fat, muscle, and water percentages in in detail.

Underwater Weighing Technique

Underwater weighing, which is one of the oldest body measurement techniques, is used to calculate the body fat percentage. In this technique determined based on the Archimedes’ laws, the person to be measured is weighed in a water tank, on a swing-like chair. In the meantime, the person is asked to exhale and discharge the air in his/her lungs. Thus, a much more accurate measurement will be ensured. The logic of this technique is that the body fats are heavier than water. In an underwater measurement, the person weighs less than he/she weighs outside. These values are compared with the weight measurements performed outside, and the fat percentage is determined by subtracting the first value from the latter. Underwater weighing is carried out only in large laboratories, by professional people, as it requires special devices.

Dexa Technique

Dexa technique is also among the body measurement techniques applied today. Besides calculating the body fats, this method also determines which parts of the body these fats are collected the most. An x-ray device is used for Dexa measurement. This device turns around the body, and it measures the amount of fat, muscle, and bone in the body. This process, which is completed in approximately 15-20 minutes, is quite widely used today. Dexa measurement devices are available in full-fledged hospitals.

Skinfold Calipers and Bioelectrical Measurement Techniques

As one of the body measurement techniques, the Skinfold Calipers method is usually known for its application to athletes. Accordingly, the amount of fat in different parts of the body is calculated in millimeters. These measurements are taken from at least three parts of the body.

The method called as Bioelectrical Analysis is one of the most effective body measurement techniques. In this method, while the electrical conductivity of the lean tissues are higher, adipose tissues do not have this conductivity. The electrodes connected to the person can make this measurement.

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The Importance of Sports for Health

The Importance of Sports for Health

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It is very important to do sports for health protection and fitness. Although the term “doing sports” is sometimes referred to as entertainment and sometimes defense, doing sports is one of the activities that affect the body metabolism the most. It has great benefits with its many aspects from the tissue to the bone in the body, from the lungs to the heart and vascular diseases, particularly for a healthy life. Although the benefit of doing sports is great, the time spent on sports is very little. The self-motivation of the people to achieve specific goals will increase the time allocated to sports. At this point, the importance of sports data  is also quite great. By preparing a sports data for yourself, you can motivate yourself positively about the time spent on sports every day. The importance of sports data actually shows the sports branches in our country. The importance of sports data is great especially in exercise and swimming, and the tendency to individual sports has been increasing each day.

Prepare yourself for sports

To gain the habit of doing sports, you must first prepare yourself for sports. You should do the sport not as a task, but with love. Otherwise, doing sports every day can be torture for you. You must first prepare yourself for sports psychologically.

Prepare a schedule for the sport you love and determine the time you need to do sport every day. If your sport is an exercise, you can make the sport activity more colorful with different types of exercises. The importance of sports data  is actually about your adaptation to sports. Therefore, you should get assistance on the importance of sports data from a specialist, if possible. Have a daily sports plan. This way, your motivation will increase even more.

The Incredible Benefit of Sports for Health

Doing sports actually benefits every part of the body differently. It is good for the heart and vascular disorders by strengthening the lungs. It makes the individual feel better both psychologically and physically. It acts as a shield against depression. It has a great effect on fighting diabetes and obesity disorders. It regulates blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels. It also improves bone and muscular tissue, thereby increasing the body’s resistance. It strengthens the immune system against all kinds of ailments, especially in winter.

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Posture and Healthy Life

Posture and Healthy Life

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The skeletal system is the most important structure of the human body. The proper stance of the skeletal system is called posture. As a medical term, posture means stance.

Posture is the structural framework of your body. A proper posture is an indicator of a healthy body. On the contrary, a faulty posture may be a symptom or cause of several physical and neurological disorders. In fact, we often experience this issue about posture and our health status in daily life. Many of us experienced a pain in the leg muscles or in the lumbar region due to the shoes used. Or, we felt an uncomfortable tension in the neck and shoulder area when we are stressed. In this article, we want to give you some informative examples on this subject, as well as, share some academic studies that reveal that postural disorders can lead to more serious health problems.

1) Posture Disorders in School Age Children
The authors of this study revealed that more than 50% of school-aged children had symptoms of postural disorder. They concluded that postural disorders were due to several causes, such as bone and muscular lesions, central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction, inappropriate environment, and lack of physical activity. They also reported that postural disorder symptoms were most common in the upper trunk, shoulder, and neck muscles.

This study reveals that school-age children need proper posture and movement training to prevent postural disorders. The implementation of proper posture and movement programs in schools has been identified as a useful public health initiative.

Radzevičienė, L & Kazlauskas, A. (2016) Posture Disorders and their Causes in Rural School Pupils. Social Welfare Interdisciplinary Approach, 6(1) p. 118-125.

2) An Active Life and a Upright Posture Affects Cognitive Functions Positively
This study reveals that an upright posture and an active life are associated with different cognitive functions and that adults show better memory performance when they have proper posture. This significant study proves that there is a link between postural alignment and cognitive functionality in healthy older adults.

Muscle strengthening exercise, an elderly patient and a physiotherapists

In this study, the authors define the terms of “Mobility” and “Posture” and reveal how the decrease in mobility and posture disorder affect the elderly adults.  The study reveals that elderly adults tend to hold their heads and necks forward from their bodies and this directly leads to a decrease in cognitive functions.

Cohen, R. et al. (2016) Mobility and Upright Posture Are Associated with Different Aspects of Cognition in Older Adults. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 8(257).

3) The Relationship Between the Posture and the Emotions
This study reveals that the posture can affect the emotional state of the individual and vice-versa. The study reveals that the emotions of happiness, success, trust, and optimism have a significant and direct correlation with the person’s posture.

In this study, the authors revealed that postural disorders such as protrusion of the head, shoulder elevation, and hyperextension of the knees were observed in the individuals when they were angry. It is emphasized that angry individuals also tend to have shoulder protraction.

Rosário, J. L., Diógenes, M. S. B., Mattei, R., & Leite, J. R. (2016). Angry posture. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies.

5) Effects of a bad posture on vital Respiratory Function
The results of this study suggest that forward head posture may reduce respiratory capacity, possibly due to weakness or disharmony of the accessory respiratory muscles.

Respiration is an activity affected by complex biomechanical factors; therefore, the postural stability of the cervical and thoracic spine regions is of great importance for the smooth functioning of respiratory functions. The forward head posture causes shortening and weakening of some respiratory muscles in the long run. Moreover, it increases the muscle tension around the thoracic spine, thus, restricting the range of motion in the upper thoracic spine.

Han, J. et al. (2016) Effects of forward head posture on forced vital capacity and respiratory muscles activity. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 28(1) p. 128–131.

6) Need for Postural Training Programs in Physical Education Classes
In this study, school-age children attended a physical education course where they performed posture exercises twice a week.

The researchers found that the children showed a better posture after the application of postural correction exercise intervention. It has been stated that applying posture exercises in more schools is a smart and effective strategy for the prevention of early-onset postural impairment symptoms.

Ruivo, R. et al. (2016) The effects of training and detraining after an 8 month resistance and stretching training program on forward head and protracted shoulder postures in adolescents: Randomised controlled study. Manual Therapy, 21 p. 76-82.

7) Strengthening and Stretching Exercises for Improving Forward Head Posture
This study reveals the importance of performing posture rehabilitation in patients with forward head posture. In this study, both stretching and strengthening exercises were shown to be effective in reducing the forward head posture.

The researchers also emphasized that the postural balance of the “strengthening” group was increased. It has been stated that postural exercises that focus on strengthening the weak muscle structure are beneficial for structural correction and improvement of dynamic balance ability.

Lee, S. & Lee, J. (2016) Effects of strengthening and stretching exercises on the forward head posture. Journal of International Academy of Physical Therapy Research, 7(2) p.1046-1050.

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How to Measure the Circumference of Muscles?

How to Measure the Circumference of Muscles?

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How to Measure the Circumference of Muscles?

The circumference of our muscles provides us with a number of useful information to make our fitness or bodybuilding program efficient.

Having information about the circumferences of our body muscles is quite important for us to see our progress, to follow up which muscle groups respond to our exercise program, and which ones fall behind in development. As those who are interested in fitness or bodybuilding know, each muscle group develops at different pace; therefore, each muscle should be treated differently. However, diet and rest are also significant for a healthy and correct muscle development.

You can measure your muscle circumference simply by using a measuring tape around your limbs. It would also be useful to wrap a string around your limbs and then measure the string you marked.

When measuring your muscle circumference, keep in mind that the main goal is to provide data for continuity.

The tape measure or string you wrap around your muscle should form a flat surface when viewed from above. Over stretching the tape measure or the string or leaving it too loose causes you to take the wrong measure. Be sure to apply the tool to your body with the same tension and intensity as of the previous application. Note that this manual method will not give the most accurate result. As we mentioned above, focus on continuity.

The following muscle groups can be measured using this method from top to bottom: neck, shoulder circumference, chest, biceps, waist circumference, buttocks circumference, hips, and inner head.

Neck: While standing upright, take the measure by wrapping the tape measure or string just above your Adam’s apple.

Shoulder circumference: Again, while standing upright, take the measure by wrapping the tape measure or string around the most perpendicular protrusions of your shoulders.

Chest: After you exhale while standing upright, take the measure by wrapping the tape measure or string around your body just over the nipples.

Biceps When standing upright, bend your arms, contract your arm muscles, and take measure by wrapping the tape measure or string around the arm. 

Waist circumference: While standing upright, strain your waist muscles and take measure by wrapping the tape measure or string around sharp protrusions of your pelvis.

Buttocks circumference: While standing upright, strain the muscles at the back and take measure by wrapping the tape measure or string around the far ends.

Hips: Take measure by wrapping the tape measure around the whole leg from the end of the muscles at the back.

Inner Head: While standing upright, strain your inner head muscles and take measure by wrapping the tape measure or string around the thickest part.

All these values will give you information about your progress in the fitness or bodybuilding process. Keep in mind that this method gives you only the circumference measures of the muscle groups. It does not say how much of it consists of muscle and how much of it consists of fat. But instead of wasting time with these troublesome methods that do not provide definite results, you can have a precisely accurate three-dimensional map of your body by a three-dimensional body scanning system such as Digime3D. This map will provide you with your muscle measurement and distribution, your body fat balance, and all the other valuable information that will determine the future of your fitness program with a precise accuracy.

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Fast and Healthy Ways to Lose Weight

Fast and Healthy Ways to Lose Weight

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You want to lose weight quickly and you want to achieve it in a healthy way. But how?

First of all, keep in mind that many experts say that losing weight gradually is the best way. We recommend that you stay away from diets and food supplements that promise to cause quick weight-loss. When you lose weight very fast, you will lose muscle, bone, and water first instead of fat, which may cause you to experience some health problems or decrease in your quality of life. It is best to base the weight loss process on changes you can make over time.

You may think that a strict diet and workout program that pushes the limits is a fast way. However, we would like to remind you once again that experts do not recommend this. Not much research has been done on the long-term effects that these types of diet programs have on your health. In any case, they won’t provide a long-term solution. It is better to have a meal plan that fits your lifestyle and that you can commit to over time. If you insist on getting faster results, you should definitely consult to a doctor or a specialized dietician to make sure you get the nutrients you need. In this case, our advice to you is to immediately throw away the diet plans and food supplements that you have received via the internet or other ways and consult a dietician or a doctor.

In order to lose weight in a healthy way in the long term, you can achieve your goal more easily than you think by considering the suggestions listed below. Firstly, aim to lose 1-2 kilos per week. But never turn this into a constitution. Always give your first priority to how you feel, and closely follow up changes in your body. Above all, keep in mind that this process will be easier with a high motivation. Stress or health problems are the most anticipated enemies that will     cause you to fail in this process. If necessary, reduce your target to 1-2 kilos per month.

Have a plan

The first rule to lose weight is to burn more calories than the calories of the food you eat and drink. Although it may seem like a simple rule, you either might have experienced that it wasn’t as easy as it seemed, or you will face the real case soon. When you start a diet plan where you reduce the calories you take, your body will perceive it as a matter of life and death. Your metabolism, which basically converts the calories you take into energy, will slow down as a vital precaution. As a result, your weight loss process will stop and your slow metabolism will stay away from several vitamins and minerals necessary for your body with the reduction of nutrients you take in with foods. While weight loss is generally fast in the first weeks of diet programs, the sudden weight-loss causes serious low motivation in people; also, physical fatigue and psychological effects caused by the lack of vitamins and minerals cause people to end their diet processes. So run your weight-loss process following a balanced program that doesn’t include too much calorie deficit.

How do you do that?

Reduce your portions. Switching from 5 spoons to 4 spoons will make huge differences. To do this, replace the serving plates and spoons you use at home with smaller ones. Calculate how many calories are in the foods and portions you take. Read their labels to find out how many calories the foods contain. You will be shocked when you see how many calories pre-made sauces and processed foods have. 2 spoons of pomegranate syrup added to 1 plate of salad will double the amount of calories of that plate. Long story short, try to keep the calorie intake below your daily calorie needs.

Drink more water, choose foods that are useful to you, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein. Thus, you go on having good nutrition.

It is a good idea to consult to a dietician if you believe that you cannot regularly follow what we have mentioned above. They will create a meal schedule and plan that suits you and your needs.

Get Support

Many apps can help you track the amount of calories you take daily. You can use your smartphone to keep up with your program, since, most probably, you always have it with you. Or keep a food log where you write what and when you eat. This way, if you cannot achieve your target weight-loss as a result of your program you can look at this log and create your next program accordingly.

You’ll also want to have people with you to help keep you motivated and cheer you up. Therefore, ask your family and friends to support your efforts to lose weight. Also, talk to someone you know who is losing weight in a healthy way. Their advice will motivate you.

Follow up your progress and your body, take advantage of technology. To keep your motivation high in the process, follow up your progress closely by making use of the technological opportunities around you. Besides your weight, follow up data such as your Body Fat Percentage, Muscle Percentage, waist and hip measures, visceral fat percentage by comparing them over time. These data will help you steer your diet and sports program. We suggest you take a look at our article below about this subject.

Get to know yourself

At the most basic level, food is fuel. It gives you the energy to do things. But very few people eat only for this reason. At every social event, that’s where most of us resort to when we have a hard day. You need to know the food and situations that drive your urge to eat even when you’re not really hungry, and have a plan for those moments.

The first step is to find out what your triggers are. Do you have stress, anger, anxiety or depression in a certain part of your life? Or is eating a reward for you when something good happens? Then, try to recognize these feeling when they arise and have a plan ready to do something else instead of eating. For example, you can walk for a little bit or send a text message to a friend, it will be useful to spend some time on social media, unless you have friends who post their meals and dinner plates.

Take some food types out of your life while giving more room to others.

You don’t have to be vegan, take gluten-free food, or quit any food group to lose weight. However, it will not be a bad idea to stay away from foods that have a load of calories that do not benefit you throughout your life.

Limit the excess sugar in your life. The sugar in crackers, cookies, sweetened beverages, and other products often have many calories, however, their nutrient contents are very little. Aim to consume less than 10% of your daily calories on these additional sugars. Do not consider the amount of sugar you get from natural fruits in this calculation.

Be selective about carbohydrates. You can decide which ones to eat and how much to eat. Choose foods with a low Glycemic Index (for example, asparagus has a lower Glycemic Index than potatoes) or those with less carbohydrates per serving than others. Whole grains are a better choice than processed foods since these processes remove essential nutrients such as fiber, iron, and vitamin B.

Add protein to your meals. It is a food group that will both suppress your feeling of hunger and let you enjoy eating if you like it. It will also help you protect your muscles. Lean meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products can be preferred. Also, you can meet this need from vegan sources such as nuts, beans, and soy.

Alternative protein sources

In Turkish cuisine, sufficient protein intake from various sources is provided in almost every region. So it can already be found in your diet, but the protein in your diet may be from weaker and unhealthy sources (fatty red meat, processed foods, etc.). So first choose to go for healthy protein sources. Remember that your protein requirement depends on your age, gender, and how active you are.

Prefer good fats. A small amount of fat can help you feel good and fit during the diet process. The best options are fish, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These are foods with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat groups that are particularly beneficial for our health.

Prefer fibre rich foods. You can get fiber from vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. The best sources are artichoke, green peas, broccoli, lentils, and lima beans. When it comes to the fruits, raspberries lead the list.

Eat more frequently. You can avoid the hunger effect by eating 5-6 meals a day. You can divide your calories equally into all these mini meals or make some larger than others. This frequent eating habit will also help speed up your metabolism by keeping your digestive system constantly active.

Pay attention to what you drink. An easy way to lose weight fast is to cut liquid calories such as soda, juice and alcohol. Replace them with zero-calorie drinks such as lemon juice, unsweetened tea or black coffee. Diet drinks will save calories compared to sugary drinks. But if you consider them like a meal, you will deprive your body of food sources and make your diet difficult.

Work out Of course, one of the indispensable elements of a healthy life is to exercise regularly. But working out should definitely not be regarded as an instrument to lose weight. Of course, regular exercise speeds up your metabolism and indirectly helps you lose weight by burning fat. But this is just one of the benefits of working out. We strongly recommend that you exercise in every stage of your life. In our article, we want to warn you about the workout program that you will perform in the process of losing weight. As we mentioned at the beginning, your first priority should be how you feel. In this process, a heavy workout program can decrease your motivation by increasing your fatigue. In addition, during the diet, your body’s self-repair period will be longer after working out. Therefore, we advise you should do follow a workout program under the supervision of a professional trainer during the weight loss process. For this, you can subscribe to a gym with experienced trainers in your area. These trainers will direct you to the necessary sports equipment and programs according to your age, gender, and health status.

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Don’t be fooled by the body fat measurement tools!

Don’t be fooled by the body fat measurement tools!

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Today, measuring devices reporting the body composition of people using bioelectric impedance method have become an indispensable equipment and application in fitness centers and dietitian clinics. The fact that the values provided by these devices are based on statistical prediction methods, being affected by many statistically uncontrollable factors such as race, health, diet status, sports and activity history, and even clothing worn, leads to the questioning of their accuracy. Since there is no alternative method or device in the sector, these devices are demanded by the enterprises, although the benefit to value ratio is very low.

In this article, we will mainly talk about high error rates and inconsistent measurements of the BIA devices. However, we will try to do this without moving away from the purpose-benefit-value axis and avoiding manipulative and unscientific comments. Be sure that this article will also help you get more out of your existing BIA devices.

Even in advanced BIA devices, the error rate rises up to 8%. 

This is actually one of the most controversial issues for the BIA devices, and it is issue which is manipulated the most by the manufacturers. Manufacturers claim that their devices measure with high precision and low error rate, and they show the differences in the results of the measurements repeated on the same person at short intervals using their devices to support this. The fact that a measurement method’s giving a consistent result and a correct result are quite different from each other. At this point, the error rate is determined by comparing it with proven results.

To explain it with an example, let’s assume that we have a simple scale with an incorrect result that shows 4 kg lower per 100 kg. The margin of error of this scale is clearly 4%. The fact that the successive weighing results of the same person on this scale are the same does not mean that this scale definitely gives correct results. In the link below you can see how the manufacturer manipulates the subject with the values given. Even they had to explain the differences in the results of successive measurements with the sentence stating “Small differences may occur due to resistance differences in successive measurements”. Examining the results of the B brand, you can see that it gives different results of about 4% even in terms of consistency.

Let’s assume that the results of some of these developed devices are consistent. So what is the actual error rate of the BIA devices mentioned? To do this, we need to take a closer look at BIA measurement technology.

What is BIA?

It stands for bioelectrical impedance analysis. Although its name is pretty fancy, its working principle and technology is quite simple. They transmit a low level electrical current through your body, measure the degree of your body’s resistance to impedance, then use this data to estimate the amount of body fat. In other words, what we call impedance is the resistance value that all of us will remember from the physics courses at secondary and high school. Basically, the BIA devices are not different from resistivity meters used by the electrical and electronics technicians around you. I even claim that you can design your own BIA device at home after reading this article

The most important point you need to know before going into detail is that the BIA devices do not directly measure the body water, fat, or muscle percentage but it uses an indirect measurement method. The mercury thermometers in your homes can be given as an example. Actually, what this device directly measures is the expansion value of the mercury, and it gives the temperature of the medium or the object it touches by using the formula defining the proportion of the expansion of mercury with the temperature. The accuracy or error rate of these values depends on the amount of mercury used and the width of the cross section. As a result, as the length of the thermometer increases and the diameter of its tube is narrowed, its precision and accuracy increase.

The BIA devices also work with this logic. Based on the fact that the electrical conductivities of fat, water, and muscular tissues are different, it tries to calculate (estimate) the percentage of the fat, water, and muscular tissue in the total mass using a set of theories and assumptions.

What are these assumptions?

  1. The resistance encountered when a low frequency is transmitted from the device is the impedance of extracellular fluids. Because the current with this frequency value cannot pass through the cell membrane.
  2. The resistance encountered when a high frequency electricity is transmitted by the device is the impedance of intracellular fluids.
  3. R = ρL/A, that is to say resistance = resistivity x length / cross-sectional area. Many of us will remember this formula from physics courses at secondary and high school. The resistance of a homogeneous               object increases with the increase in length. It decreases with the increase in the cross-sectional area. According to this formula, the resistance value measured in the person is called impedance when we transmit a 50 kHz frequency by this BIA device, and we assume that this impedance value is due to extracellular fluids. Assuming that all is due to water, we obtain the following formula when we write the resistivity of water instead of the resistivity value:

impedance value = resistivity of water x length / cross-sectional area

To conclude,

we can state that “length/cross-sectional area = impedance/resistivity of water”.

4. It is assumed that the human body is like a cylinder in shape. (Unfortunately, the BIA devices assume that the human body was a cylinder, on the other hand, multiple-electrode measurement devices assume that the human body consisted of 5 cylinders: arms, legs, and trunk).

Now, let’s do some mathematical operations using these assumptions.

Let’s handle the left side of the equation we obtained in paragraph 3, namely the length/cross-sectional area. Now let’s multiply both the numerator and the denominator. It will not change the value of the fraction.

(length x length ) / (cross-sectional area x length)

Multiplying the cross-sectional area of a cylinder with its length gives its volume (we assumed that the human body as a cylinder in paragraph 4). Thus, we obtain the following equation:

length / cross-sectional area = (length x length ) / volume. When we write the other side of equation, we have the following formula:

(length x length ) / volume = impedance / resistivity of water

finally we obtain the following equation:

volume = length x length x impedance / resistivity of water

Bingo !!!! We have a formula to calculate the volume of body water!!!!!

We say bingo because our BIA device has completed its job. After that, all we have to do is to tell you your fat and muscle percentages based on this formula by using the data obtained from academic and statistical studies of decades!!!

To give a simple example,

According to academic studies, the fluid percentage of a lean tissue mass is 73% on average. According to the data provided by our BIA device, we can easily calculate your lean tissue mass since we can calculate our intra-tissue water content and total water content.

As you can guess from the above-mentioned working principle, the accuracy of the measured values is questioned for many reasons.

Assuming that the human body consists only the components of fat, muscle, and water seems to be the biggest basic error. Many factors such as the differences of our organ tissues, the minerals in our bodies, different types of adipose tissues, and air spaces in the digestive and respiratory systems refute these assumptions. Even though the manufacturers try to increase the accuracy of their devices by developing new measurement systems, using different frequency ranges, or adding new coefficients to the formula such as age and gender, it is not possible for them to cope with the chemistry of the human body by this weak measurement system.

Assuming that the human body had a cylindrical shape is an approach that people do not believe, and they say “Are you kidding?”. It is this assumption that makes the BIA devices’ basic theory questioned as a measurement method. I do not want to bore you with too many math calculations. But to put it briefly there is a 17% -20% difference between the volume of a male body of average size and the volume of a cylinder calculated using the measurements of the height and the waist circumference of the person. Therefore, some devices demand several anthropometric dimensions be entered as data to minimize errors due to this difference in calculations. Also, the main reason for the development of the BIA devices consisting of 4 or more electrodes is to regard the human as 5 cylinders, thereby minimizing the calculation errors.

Assuming that all parameters affecting the measurement are stable : Personally, this is the biggest reason why i found the BIA devices unreliable. There are dozens of parameters that affect the measurement result and they cannot control them whatever they change in the system. In a healthy human body, 2.5 liters of fluid are constantly displaced. If there is no other factor for dehydration, you take 2.5 liters of liquid from the outside and you lose this fluid through urine, sweating, feces, evaporation of the moisture in the skin, and breathing. Thus, your body carries out normal metabolic processes in a healthy way. In some cases, this balance may change in the positive and negative directions such as edema, mineral balance, excessive activity, menstruation, elevation of body temperature, the diet applied, etc. At this point, the biggest weakness of the BIA devices emerge. Because the BIA systems firstly calculate (estimate) the amount of the fluid in the body. Then, they perform other calculations assuming that the person’s electrolyte balance is stable and at normal values. However, it is a huge mistake to assume that these data are stable in extremely overweight and underweight people. The studies comparing the BIA and DXA measurements revealed that the BIA measurements were found to give lower fat values compared to DXA in overweight people, contrary to high values of fat content in underweight people. I would like to warn dieticians who caring for overweight clients in this regard. They should not take into account the change in the BIA fat percentages, particularly for the obese male patients, who started sports together with the diet, when they begin to lose weight. In fact, you will also see that the fat percentage does not change significantly compared to the weight they lose. The BIA device manufacturers introduce some pre-measurement conditions and rules to minimize the error rate in these assumptions. All of the conditions such as not eating or drinking anything and not doing sports before 4-8 hours, urinating before the measurement, not drinking alcohol, etc. are required for theoretically keeping the water and mineral balance of the person stable at normal values. However, I would like to warn again that it does not mean that a controlled diet of 4-8 hours in overweight and underweight people is not suitable for these individuals to measure water and mineral balances. It should be kept in mind that it might also have the opposite effect. I advise them to follow up your clients of this case with a measuring system (caliper, anthropometric measurements, etc.) besides the BIA devices. Likewise, it is necessary to pay attention to the fat change follow-ups using the BIA devices for the individuals having regional slimming by cardio and exercise programs without making much change in their normal diets. Because an individual who has just started cardio training will experience an increase in plasma volume in the adaptation process. This will cause a change in the total body water index, and it will affect the BIA results. In fact, my warnings above are just two of the examples that affect the results of the BIA devices. There are hundreds of factors affecting the water and electrolyte balance in the human body daily, hourly or even by seconds; they all directly affect the BIA results.

The uncontrollable nature of electricity: In order to minimize errors due to these electrical assumptions, the BIA device manufacturers specify many conditions and application methods to be followed before the measurement such as the arm position (generally 45 degrees), placing a towel under the armpits to prevent current flow, keeping hands and feet not too dry nor damp, and keeping no metal on the body. However, these conditions are not sufficient to control the nature of electricity. Hundreds of factors such as skin thickness varying due to ethnic and genetic reasons, clothes worn, humidity and heat of the environment, posture disorder or scoliosis, hormonal imbalances, prostheses, implants, hair, body temperature, etc. affect the transmission of electricity through your body. You can even see how these factors, which seem insignificant, affect the measurement result by making a very simple experiment with your BIA device. Measure your values using the BIA device following all warnings and methods specified by the manufacturer. Then rest in a lying position for 1 hour in a position where you will not sweat, and measure your values again. You will see how resting, not only the physical activity, affects the BIA measurement results!!! Because your body position will lead to changes in the regional density of the body fluids due to the effect of gravity, thereby directly affecting the impedance value.

High error rates of the formulas and methods used: As mentioned at the beginning, the BIA devices only measure the frequency differences in the electric current and calculate the fluid volume using a set of assumptions and make predictions about the body composition using the formulas and data developed as a result of academic studies. So, what are these academic studies?

I don’t want to get into its historical development very much, but to summarize the situation at the current stage, the following results can be stated:

  1. The most accurate and indisputable measurement method for body fat measurement is cadaver examination 
  2. The DEXA devices are accepted to provide the most accurate and consistent results by the academic community, and they are regarded as the gold standard. These medical devices use X-rays in their measurement methods. They are mainly used for bone density measurements. One imaging costs about USD 40. It is a very expensive system.
  3. As emphasized in the BIA technology, all kinds of devices and methods, except for DEXA devices, used for academic or commercial purposes obtain results based on body volume. For example, Bod Pod devices take the individual into an airtight container, and they determine the body volume by making use of the air displacement. This method, which is also known as the underwater weighing method, has been frequently used in academic studies before the recent technological developments. Simply, it tries to find the result measuring the volume of water overflowing by dipping the individual into a tank full of water. In fact, formulas that calculate body fat percentage using anthropometric (body size) measurements also focus on finding your body volume based on your body measurements. Then, all these measurement methods, just like BIA, estimate the body fat percentage and body compositions using the formulas based on medical research and statistical results. Of course, not all manufacturers of these devices attempt to develop a formula based on medical results and data. Their resources and budgets do not allow it. Instead, they use the formulas and calculations of the methods that have been developed and already accepted. For example, the calculations of Bod Pod devices are based on the formulas of underwater weighing method. In fact, it is a commercial method developed to eliminate the difficulty of using the underwater weighing method. Likewise, the BIA devices use body fat percentage formulas derived from the underwater weighing method. Instead of the volume variable in the formula developed using the underwater weighing method, the value of the volume calculated using the BIA measurement is entered, and the formula coefficients are arranged using this value.

Why do commercial devices always use the formulas of the underwater weighing method? The answer is very simple. Almost all academic studies were conducted using this measurement system, and these studies were published publicly. There, they can be easily accessed, and you do not have to pay a price for the formula and information you use.

Now, let’s come to the drawbacks of this situation for the BIA systems;

  1. The results reflect the subject profile of the measurement method based on. In the studies conducted, medical research and data are obtained from some subjects. Therefore, the formulas derived from these results and the results reflect this group of subjects. However, the ethnic genetic factors create significant differences in body composition.
  2. Each measurement system has some error margin due to experimental setup or environmental conditions. For example, in the underwater weighing method, air in the subject’s lungs and digestive system is a factor affecting the results. Some assumptions and correction formulas are used to eliminate this. However, it cannot be accepted that these correction coefficients give definitive results in a group of 1000 subjects. Therefore, it is assumed that the obtained formula has an error margin. The BIA formula, which is based on this calculation, automatically adds this error margin into its system. For example, the individual is assumed to have 100 ml of air in the his/her digestive system in the underwater weighing method. The effect of this assumption on the final result is about 1.5%.

CONCLUSION:

  1. The results of BIA devices are neither repeatable and nor consistent. At this point, the results of the same person being tested successively on the same machine do not indicate the consistency of the device. The results of the individual, whose weight, activity intensity, and diet have not changed, can only be proof that the device gives consistent results if those results remain the same. Otherwise, the manufacturer must prove that other factors do not affect the measurement results. However, as explained with many examples above, the BIA results are affected by many uncontrollable factors.
  2. The error rate of the results is quite high. Due to the limitations of the measurement method and technology, several assumptions and basic formulas mentioned above increase the error rate. Manufacturers make arrangements in the coefficients and rate corrections in their formulas to reduce these error rates so that their systems provide relatively more consistent results. However, the global brands that serve a wide population have a hard job in this regard. It is very difficult to optimize the results in populations with different ethnic and genetic characteristics.
  3. Manufacturers manipulate test results and technological facts about their products. Of course, it is impossible to perceive some features and system methods as a simple user. However, it is not pleasant for manufacturers to turn this into an opportunity with commercial concerns. For example, the Inbody brand offers proof that its devices are not affected by the gender difference, as well as proof that their devices give results directly by measuring without using any formula or estimation method. At the beginning of my article, I claimed that you would be able to design your own BIA device at home. Now, I am taking my claim a step further by claiming that you can design a BIA device that is not affected by the gender factor at home.

Total body water (TBW) = 0.372 (height2/R) + 3.05 (gender) + 0.142 (body weight) – 0.069 (age)

The formula above is used by the BIA device of X brand to calculate your total body water. In this equation, R is the measured impedance value. The gender variable is set to 1 for males, and 0 for females. How can we eliminate gender variable from this formula? It is quite simple, we will also make an assumption using the results of a medical research. For example, while the average heart rate is between 70-72 in males, it ranges between 78-82 in females. You can avoid the trouble of asking the gender of the subject by adding a pulse meter to your device design. In the meantime, you can get the patent for this device.

Of course, I do not know how Inbody did it, but I am sure that they did not eliminated the gender factor from their formulas. Without these factors, the BIA technology can not provide analysis results.

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Body Fat Percentage, Overweightness, and Obesity

Body Fat Percentage, Overweightness, and Obesity

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The scientific term of body fat is “adipose tissue”. Adipose tissue serves many important functions. Its primary purpose is to store lipids, from which the body creates energy. Also, it excretes a number of important hormones and provides some protection and insulation to the body.

Body fat consists of  essential body fat and  stored body fatEssential body fat is the base fat level in most parts of the body. It is vital for maintaining life and reproductive functions. The amount of essential fat varies between men and women, and it is typically between 2-5% in males and between 10-13% in females. While the ideal body fat (total of essential and stored body fat) range for males is typically defined as 8-19%, the ideal range for females is defined as 21-33%. In medical and academic studies, different definitions can be made on the basis of age, gender, and ethnicity. Also, the measurement methods and the devices may provide different definitions for the body fat percentage. Therefore, the evaluation of the fat measurement, taken by any method or device, by a specialist or dietician is very important. Having excess body fat can have several harmful effects on the person’s health, on the other hand, inadequate body fat may cause negative health effects on its own.

Stored body fat is the fat that accumulates in adipose tissue; subcutaneous fat (accumulates around the skin and vital organs under the dermis) or visceral fat (fat located in the abdominal cavity between the organs), and body fat typically refer to this type. While stored body fat is ideal and necessary in some cases, excessive stored fat may have serious adverse health effects.

Excess body fat causes overweightness, and eventually, it leads to obesity, unless adequate measures are taken to reduce the excess body fat. Keep in mind that being overweight does not necessarily indicate excess body fat. A person’s body weight consists of many factors such as body fat, muscle, and bone density. Therefore, very muscular people are often classified as overweight.

The rate of body fat accumulation varies from person to person, and it depends on many factors, including behavioral factors such as lack of exercise and excessive food intake, as well as genetic factors. Due to various factors, it may be more difficult for some people to reduce body fat stored in the abdomen. However, regular diet and exercise have been shown to reduce stored fat. Keep in mind that the body fat is stored differently in males and females, and this may change over time. After the age of 40 (or in some cases after menopause for females), decreased sexual hormones may cause excess body fat around the stomach in men or around the hips and buttocks of women.

Potential Complications of Excess Body Fat

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies obesity as one of the preventable causes of death worldwide. It is estimated that 36.5% of adults are obese in the USA, and 111,909 to 365,000 people die each year from obesity-related health problems.

Obesity is associated with leading causes of death worldwide such as poor quality of life, mental health problems, obstructive sleep apnea, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, certain cancers, and diabetes.

As mentioned earlier, fat produces a large number of essential hormones that affect a person’s body. Excessive or critical hormone deficiency can cause adverse effects that interfere with proper body functions. The studies have shown that excessive abdominal fat disrupts the normal balance and function of some of the hormones. Also, abdominal fat has a role in the release of specific cytokines, a broad category of protein involved in cell signaling, which can potentially increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Besides, it is directly related to high levels of cholesterol and insulin resistance. High cholesterol can block arteries and cause complications, including a heart attack. Insulin resistance can be defined as the difficulty in showing the effect of secreted insulin to control glucose in the body. Increased body fat can cause insulin resistance and, as a result, type 2 diabetes.

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Body Composition Values – Total Body Water -1

Body Composition Values – Total Body Water -1

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On average, 60% of an adult human body consists of water (between 50%-70%). Most of the body water is inside our cells.

The total body water is kept in three major locations: intracellular fluid (two thirds of water), extracellular water fluid, and in our blood (one third of water). For example, a 70-kilo man consists of approximately 42 liters of water:

  • 28 liters of intracellular water,
  • 14 liters of extracellular water,
  • 3 liters of which are blood plasma,
  • 1 liter of which is transcellular fluid (cerebrospinal fluid, ocular, pleural, peritoneal and synovial fluids),
  • 10 liters of which are interstitial fluid (including lymph), an aqueous medium that surrounds the cells.

In fact, the amount of body water varies depending on certain factors: the body of a newborn baby (75%) consists of more water than the body of an elderly person (50%).

In addition, all our vital organs contain a different amount of water: while the brain, lung, heart, liver and kidneys – contain between 65% and 85% of water depending on the organ – the bones contain less water (but still this rate is still 31% ).

How do we measure the body water?

Except for those with obesity, water is the largest component of the body, making up 50-70% of the total mass. The water contents of various tissues differ, but 70-80% of lean tissue usually consists of water, while the fatty tissue contains about 20% water, but there is no clear rate agreed on by academics. For example, according to the Institute of Medicine, this rate is at the level of 10%.

However, the total amount of the body water is an important data in estimating the body composition. the Fat Mass and the Fat Free Mass (FFM) can be estimated based on the assumption that Fat Free Mass contains 72% – 73% water.

However, estimation or determination of the total amount of body water is not so easy as it is a dynamic situation.  Approximately 2-3 liters (L/day) of water change place daily in our body. However, in case of heavy diarrhea or physical activities performed in extremely hot environments, this rate can reach 2 liters within 1 hour. Therefore, even if there are many body water measurement methods in the literature, it is of great importance for what purpose and under what conditions these methods are used. For example, the methods that estimate the body fat percentage by making use of body water mass will give seriously misleading results. The Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) method is one of the most recognized of them. For a 70-kg individual with 14 kg of fat (20%), a 10% body water loss increases the fat percentage to 21.5%.

Body water measurement methods and devices in the literature;

Deuterium Dilution Method

In dilution methods, by giving a substance to the compartment to be measured, the concentration of said substance in the samples taken is measured. It is the deuterium dilution method that is well-known and most accepted by Schoeller et al. The patient is given an oral dose, blood and saliva samples are taken at 2-4 hour intervals and analyzed using the infrared spectroscopy. This provides 1-2% accuracy. However, body water assessment with this method is not practically usable as it requires specialization in measurement and expensive laboratory equipment. It is used in advanced medical examinations and research.

Blood Values

Significant medical data about body water mass and condition can be obtained from blood values such as hemoglobin-concentration, hematocrit, plasma osmolarity and sodium concentration, plasma testosterone, adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol, and atrial-thiethetics.

Urine Values

Data such as volume, color, protein content, specific gravity, and osmolarity also provide significant medical data about body water mass and condition.

Impedance Analysis (BIA and BIS)

First of all, Impedance Analysis is not a device name, but the name of a basic method. Although there are dozens of device types using this method, these devices, which have a serious market today, are manipulated by both manufacturers and users due to commercial concerns.

First of all, impedance analysis is based on the total volume of a conductor, its length (L) and resistance (R), which can be calculated based on an electrical current with single frequency (L2/R).

This principle has been applied to the body composition assessment. The basic assumptions are that the conductor is cylindrical and the current is evenly distributed throughout the conductor. In this rather weak but innovative approach, the total water volume is calculated by making use of the conductivity structure of the cell wall and the conductivity of the body water. As mentioned above, the body fat percentage is given with a number of formulation and verification coefficient based on the assumption that the Fat Free Mass (FFM) contains 72% – 73% water.

However, 3 different methods are used in impedance analysis.

Multi-Frequency BIA (bio impedance analysis): In BIA, it is assumed that the low frequency cannot pass through the cell wall, so that the amount of extracellular fluid with low frequency value is estimated. Total body fluid is estimated assuming that the high frequency can pass both intracellular and extracellular environment. The difference between these two values gives the intracellular fluid value. It estimates body composition values by making use of these data. However, the point to be considered is that BIA devices give instant results, and it is assumed that the total amount of fluid it measures is your ideal body water mass. To ensure this, it prohibits fluid and food intake 4 hours before the measurement, also, it prohibits making exercise or even having bath before the measurement. The main goal is to bring you to your ideal fluid balance and calculate your fat percentage using the total water it measures. All BIA devices agree that the presence of edema at the time of measurement will affect the results. For this purpose, it prohibits taking measurements during menstruation. such BIA devices can be found today in all dietician clinics.

Single-Frequency BIA: It focuses on the total water volume, giving only high frequency. This method is usually used in body weight scales for domestic use.

BIS (Bio Impedance Spectroscopy): This method focuses on the amount of intracellular and extracellular fluid, with more complex formulas and a much wider range of frequencies. It is suitable for medical use because the analysis is taken continuously over a period of time, rather than momentarily. BIA spectroscopy method is widely used in the management of fluid balance to prevent excessive fluid load and dehydration of various patient groups, including hemodialysis and other kidney disease patients. You can see an example of the Bio Impedance Spectroscopy device used for medical purposes in the figure below.

Disinformation and manipulation start right here. Multi-frequency BIA and BIS methods are both multi-frequency methods. However, although their goals and methods differ from each other, BIA manufacturers and suppliers do not mind adding the features of the BIS method to BIA devices. As a result, they claim that they can detect edema with BIA devices, and they can follow the body water during exercise and diet processes. Thus, the users who consider the specifications provided by the manufacturer sufficient for themselves do not hesitate to make this comment to their patients and clients. However, the total body water (TBW) is a pivot value for multi-frequency BIA devices, in other words, a touchstone. This data is considered to be ideal, that is, there is body water balance at that moment, accordingly, the body fat percentage and muscle percentage are formalized and calculated. If you have edema or a little excess water (bladder, stomach, etc.) in your body, your water percentage will be high and your fat percentage will be low, which is a momentary data. It will not be a value that reflects your real body water balance.  Therefore, the analysis reports of the Multi-Frequency BIA devices make no comments can be made about your body water percentage and their follow-up cannot be evaluated. If your health counselor or dietician comments as if you have lost such an amount of edema by using the Multi-Frequency BIA device report, you can be sure that she/she manipulates the data to make you happy. If you have edema or your body water is not at balance at that moment, the measurement of the Multi-Frequency BIA device will be incorrect.

In the figure below, you can see the results of regular measurements by a Multi-Frequency BIA device of a known brand. If you examine carefully, you can see that 73% of “Fat-Free Mass (kg)” gives the “fluid mass (kg)”, even though the body mass changes on each date. Likewise, when you subtract -2.2 kg from the value of “Fat-Free Mass (kg)” , you can find the “Muscle Mass (kg)”. In this calculation, 2.2 is the bone mass determined based on the age, height. When you examine a little more, you will see that your fat percentage is calculated by subtracting fat-free mass from your weight and then proportioning it to your weight. In a nutshell, all the BIA devices do is to calculate body composition value using standard and unchanging formulas by estimating the total body water assuming that it is at balance. In this case, instead of following up such a complicated table, it will be sufficient to follow up “Fat Percentage”, “Fat-Free Mass (kg)”, and visceral fat percentage, if provided; since they are more significant figures considering your weight change.

In the BIS method, on the other hand, the patient is under continuous measurement (for devices that measure at short intervals, such as 5 seconds). Thus, a medical interpretation can be made about the body water percentage.

Therefore, if your values are measured using  Multi-Frequency BIA devices, which are widely used, please keep in mind the following issues;

  • Strictly follow the instructions of the device manufacturer, consultant or dietician.
  • Apart from the instructions given to you, avoid all kinds of things that can disrupt your body water balance. (Such as sweating, lying down for a long time, taking a bath, etc.). The stability of your body water balance is required to get the correct measurement.
  • If you think you have edema, you should postpone the measurement.
  • Have your measurements taken as long as possible while you are at the same physical pace and on the same diet program. Have your first measurement taken 1 week after starting a new diet or workout program.
  • Keep in mind that the value of the body water given is your ideal balance value if all these conditions are met; also, your values of fat percentage and muscle percentage are calculated based on this value considering your total body weight.
  • If you feel healthy and do not have an ailment, your body will maintain your water balance through the collaboration of various systems in your body. Never make any modification in your diet to maintain your water balance according to your results. Generally, edema complaints are eliminated with regular workout program and healthy nutrition. However, if you have long-term and recurring edema complaints, you should consult a physician.

In this article, we tried to give information about total body water mass measurement methods and devices used in the literature. In our second article on this subject, we will give information about more practical methods.

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Body Composition Values – Muscle Mass -2

Body Composition Values – Muscle Mass -2

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Our body mass consists of two main components: Fat Mass (FM) and Lean Body Mass (LBM). As mentioned in our previous article, the terms of “lean body mass” and “muscle mass” are frequently used interchangeably by the device manufacturers deliberately; however, these two values are not absolutely the same. Lean body mass (LBM) includes bone mass, body fluid, and all other body tissues, as well as muscle mass. The subject of body tissues is a very comprehensive subject.  Epithelial Tissue,  which is found in the structure of internal organs,  Supportive  Connective Tissue, chich connects organs and muscles,  Nervous Tissue, which coordinates the senses and body functioning, can be given example to these tissues.

WhenMuscle Mass  is mentioned the total mass of 3 types of muscular tissue in our body is meant:

– Striated muscles (skeletal muscles or red muscles),
– Smooth muscles (muscles in our organs),
– Heart muscle (muscles in heart tissue only).

To summarize,

Muscle Mass = Total mass of the Muscular Tissues

Lean Body Mass = Body Mass – Fat Mass

How do we measure our muscle mass?

First of all, when we say muscle mass, we have to make sure which muscular tissue is mentioned. Usually, when people talk about muscle mass, they typically mean skeletal muscles. When dieticians or trainers talk about muscle and muscle mass, they mean our skeletal muscles. Because our musculoskeletal system is the only muscular system on whose mass we can effect by diet and workout programs, and it is directly related to our basal metabolic rate. You can strengthen your heart muscles with cardio exercises, however, you cannot achieve a mass change that will affect your volume or basal metabolic rate.

So we can rephrase our question as “How can we measure our skeletal muscle mass?”.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Method

Magnetic resonance imaging (MR or MRI) is the exact way to calculate muscle mass and its percentage.

The MR device uses powerful magnets to create an image of your muscles and creates a magnetic field. This magnetic field rearranges hydrogen atoms in your body, and it releases the energy that the device uses to determine tissues.

MR is the gold standard for determining muscle mass and percentage, but it is very costly, and the knowledge of the radiologist or specialist who interprets the results is very important. For this reason, it is not a practical method, moreover, it has drawbacks due to radiation in terms of regular use.

Multi-Frequency BIA (Bio Impedance Analysis)

In our first article, we mentioned how to obtain body composition values other than body water mass. You can access the detailed explanation using the link below.

What we want to draw your attention to is that the muscle mass value given by these devices is definitely not the skeletal muscle mass we question. It is not even the muscle mass we have described above (the total of all muscular tissues). The value provided by them is a value found by subtracting the bone tissue mass from the lean body mass. This bone tissue mass is the value obtained from a statistical table according to your age, height, and gender.

Briefly, what is provided by the BIA devices is the muscle mass value *;

muscle mass value* = Body mass – Fat mass – Bone mass.

As a result, this value includes all the tissues that make up our body such as all muscular tissues, body fluids, epithelial tissue, nervous tissue, and organ tissues. However, as mentioned in our first article and above, this issue is manipulated and this value is presented as the skeletal muscle system mass by the BIA device manufacturers, and this is presented to end-users in this way by the users in the industry.

In the figure below, the report of a top model Segmental BIA device from the most well-known BIA device manufacturer is presented as an example. As you can see they use the term Muscle Mass.   But you can see that this value is equal to Body mass – Fat mass – Bone mass , and that it’s not a measurement value, but a value calculated by a simple formula.

As a result, the value of the Muscle Mass given by BIA devices does not have anything to do with neither the muscle mass nor the skeletal muscle mass defined in the literature. This value is the estimated bone mass from the Lean Body Mass.

However, the Lean Body Mass is an effective follow-up value in Workout and Diet programs. Because we can assume that other tissues in our body, except for the musculoskeletal tissue, remain stable for 1-6 months during the workout and diet processes, when there is no advanced health problem. This means that the change in Lean Body Mass value is largely caused by the musculoskeletal tissue.

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