“In order to maximize your potential, you have to know your body. Whether you are trying to lose weight, increase athletic performance, or push yourself to that next fitness goal, understanding your body composition, fitness level, and metabolism is critical. In the past, you have had to visit hospitals, laboratories, or other locations just to get an accurate picture of your fitness and body composition. This was not only inconvenient, but also expensive.”
This was taken right from their website and I think it does a good job of explaining exactly the point of getting a Dexa Body scan. It’s certainly not necessary for medical purposes, but for anybody looking for more specific, customized optimization of their training and nutrition, it’s a wealth of information. In order for this post to remain interesting, I’m going to briefly share my experience so far, what I learned, and how I intend to continue with Dexa scans in order to monitor progress.
Dexa Body has a main location in Salt Lake City, UT and also a mobile testing facility (a nice bus) that operates in the Southeast, primarily Atlanta. When Dexa reached out to me to get tested, I couldn’t get there fast enough. I love personalized data and think it’s beyond interesting that there is technology readily available that can tell us so much about what is going on in the inside as a result of our genetics, nutrition and exercise.
The scanning process was really as simple as it sounds-- I fasted for the morning, met Duane in a central location, hopped up on a table and laid there for 7 minutes while it gathered it’s data. (Couldn’t be any more simple). Duane was so professional, informative and generous with his time. Drew wasn’t schedule to get a scan, but Duane willingly included him in the fun. It was fun for us to compare our numbers and see where our strengths and weaknesses differ.
I was planning to get three tests:
Dexa Body Scan- Overall analysis of lean muscle to fat ratio, symmetry of muscles, bone density, and regional compositions.
VO2 Max- Tests aerobic fitness by pushing you on a treadmill until the anaerobic threshold (switching point from aerobic to anaerobic) and allows target heart rate zones to be determined. This allows you to know where YOUR specific heart rate needs to be for different types of cardio helping a person to know the precise level of intensity that will truly maximize the amount of fat burned.
Resting Metabolic Rate- this test gives a detailed picture of your metabolism using breathing monitoring for ten minutes. It measures how many calories you body would burn at rest, then factors in extra needs based on exercise and lifestyle.
Unfortunately, my plans to get the Vo2 fell through because the gym that the Dexa Body Mobile Van was planning to attend didn’t have enough clients, so we were left with no treadmill that day. I was pretty disappointed, just because that was the test I was most curious about, but Duane assured me that this will be an ongoing tool and next time he will find me a treadmill ;)
When it came time for RMR test, I put a small clip over my nose and began breathing (regularly) through a tube. Since my oxygen consumption and resting heart rate are both VERY low, the machine actually wasn’t picking up my breathing for the first four minutes of the test. Once Duane realized and asked me to take much longer, deeper breaths, it began to read the results, but I was advised to repeat that test for a little more accurate experience.
I’m going to save my results of the body scan and how I plan to use them for another, more technical post. Hopefully this answered a few of the questions about the process and potential for Dexa Body Scans. It certainly isn’t necessary for anyone looking to start a new workout regimen or clean up their diet, but it IS an informative way to measure the progress you are making. Duane recommends quarterly scans if this is something you want to track and they compare results from each test date that shows trends (good or bad) that have resulted from the training and nutrition approach taken in between tests.
I’m planning to get another in January and see if I can put on some lean muscle before then! It’s hard for women to gain muscle, but it is so beneficial for our bodies, metabolisms, and eventually our aging process.
Thank you Dexa Body for hosting Drew and me--we look forward to partnering with you over the next year!