What is a body composition scanner?
Body composition scanners are designed to measure the amount of muscle, fat and bone your body contains. The information these scans collect can be used to determine your health and to create health and fitness goals to improve your health.
Some body scanners also record your posture to pinpoint areas for improvement with this too.
Body composition scans are useful for anyone looking to assess their overall health, from professional athletes to those looking to lose weight and gain a better understanding of their overall health.
WHY USE A BODY COMPOSITION scanner?
Body weight is often used as a metric for success in a fitness programme. But it isn’t the best metric to assess your progress for two reasons:
- Measuring only body weight lacks insight. Weight in and of itself doesn’t provide any information about health. You can go down the road of ‘ideal weight for height’ (which then becomes BMI), but the problem with this theory is it assumes that we are all the same shape and size. Due to ethnic and sex differences alone, we are not all created equal. So, to attempt to pigeon-hole ‘ideal weight’ without accounting for the individual nature of your body type and shape is deceiving.
- Measuring only body weight hides potential health issues. If you regularly exercise without allowing for sufficient recovery, you can start to collect body fat around your middle. (This is often referred to as being ‘skinny-fat’). But if you weigh yourself on the scale, you may see your weight decreasing and be led to believe you’re improving your health – unaware that your muscle could be reducing and your body fat increasing. Not a good direction to be heading in!
BMI is also a popular method for measuring overall health. However, this is an inaccurate measure.
The formula for BMI was created almost 200 years ago by mathematician Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet. He created the formula as a quick and easy way to identify obesity in the general population, not for individuals. The formula is your weight in pounds divided by your height in inches. This doesn’t consider waist size which is a key indicator of a person’s health. Lambert himself stated that this formula “could not and should not be used to indicate the level of fatness in an individual”
BMI doesn’t account for factors influencing your overall health
Body composition factors such as bone density and lean muscle mass are not taken into account with BMI. Therefore, people with strong and dense bones, lean muscle and low body fat can have a high BMI. They can be labelled as overweight or obese when in fact they’re actually healthy. Even professional athletes have been deemed “overweight” or “obese” by the BMI.
BMI doesn’t account for the distribution of fat in your body. BMI fails to address where body fat is distributed in the body. This information provides important insight into potential health risks. I.e. high proportion of fat distributed around the stomach area is associated with resistance to insulin and the development of diabetes as well as heart disease.
So, what is a better way to measure overall health? Body fat percentage is a good indicator of your general health. Also, monitoring your visceral fat (fat surrounding your organs) in particular is helpful in determining your health status.
Measuring your body fat can help you to determine your risk of obesity related health issues which can often be prevented through better lifestyle choices.
Do you need the assistance of a fitness professional to take a body composition scan?
There are facilities which enable you to complete a body composition scan independently. However, we recommend you have a fitness professional assist you with the process.
Firstly, to help you interpret your results. The information gained from a scan can be very useful to those who have a full understanding of it.
Secondly, if you’d like to see positive change in the results your scans produce over time, a fitness professional can provide you with guidance so that you do the right things to make progress.
Also, if there are times when you expect to see progress and you don’t, a fitness professional’s support can help you troubleshoot and make adaptations to your lifestyle to help you to make the progress you want to see.
POPULAR BODY COMPOSITION SCANNERS AVAILABLE A LARGE HIGH STREET GYMS
The Boditrax website has the following gyms listed as their customers (amongst many more): David Lloyd, Fitness First, Virgin Activ, F45, Energie Fitness, Pure Gym, Anytime Fitness, Orange Theory Fitness, Nuffield Health, Xercise4Less, Everyone Active.
BodiTrax uses the BIA (bioelectrical impedance analysis) method to measure body composition.
The readings from body composition scanners using impedance, can be inconsistent by a few % when measuring body fat.
Using this method, your level of hydration affects your body fat measurement i.e. when you’re under-hydrated your body fat percentage will be higher than if you are well hydrated. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDkjU_tOI4Y)
As the measurement of body fat percentage is often used as an indicator of general health, inconsistencies can be problematic.
The InBody 370S is present at Bannatyne, Everlast and Jetts gyms. The InBody composition scanner states “Only impedance is used to determine your body composition results.”
As explained above, the readings from body composition scanners using impedance, can be inconsistent by a few % when measuring body fat.
InBody produces a report detailing BMI. As, we explained above this is not the best measure of general health.
The Styku body composition scanner stands apart from others because:
1. Styku does not use the BIA method to determine body composition. Instead, during a 35-second scan of your body, it extracts millions of measurements with 2mm accuracy.
2. Styku reconstructs your body in 3D, producing a 3D image of you. You are able to rotate, pan, and zoom a full body model of you and visualize shape and landmarks.
3. The Styku scanner produces a posture analysis, using a 3D camera streamline.
Styku is “more consistent than traditional methods, such as calipers and BIA and possibly even DEXA (currently under scientific review)”. DEXA (dual x-ray absorptiometry) is viewed as the gold-standard of body composition scanning. The enhanced x-ray technology is used to measure bone loss by medical professionals.
3D image of your body
Styku collates your data to produce a 3D image of you. You can rotate, pan, and zoom your full body image. Visualizing your shape and landmarks. You can also compare the images from previous body scans and overlap or compare them side by side.
Health risk assessment
Rather than measuring BMI, Styku will produce the results of obesity related health risks i.e. diabetes, heart disease? Are these the correct diseases?
This is measured disease using waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, and body fat.
If the user is in a high-risk zone, the technology can also be used to calculate how many centimetres the user needs to reduce their waist size to move into a lower-risk zone.
The Styku scanner enables therapists, chiropractors, and functional trainers a precise and digital tool to address musculoskeletal risks. Precise bone density/mass estimates, posture analysis, using a 3D camera streamline. This is really useful for us in helping to pinpoint areas we can work on with our members to alleviate aches and pains caused by bad posture. Images from historic scans can also be compared by overlaying them or placing them side by side to track progress.
MEASURING AND MANAGING YOUR RESULTS
When you join a Fit to Last programme, the Styku 3D Body Scan & Health Review is the tool we we use to track your progress and is included in your programme.
You may already be following a fitness regime of your own, or even if you don’t have one – we can still help you. The 3D Body Scan & Health Review will give you clarity on your starting point, setting realistic fitness goals or tracking your progress.
HOW DOES THE STYKU 3D BODY SCAN WORK?
STYKU 3D BODY SCAN VIDEO DEMO
The 3D Body Scan takes 30 seconds to complete:
- Step onto the platform.
- Stand still whilst the platform rotates for a few seconds.
- Once scanning is complete, step off the platform to review your results with our fitness professional.
Our fitness professional will review your results together with you. The results of your scan are also emailed to you and include:
- 3D image of your body
- Your body composition statistics
- Your health review
- Your posture assessment
- Your fitness goals
SCHEDULE YOUR STYKU 3D BODY SCAN
To schedule in your 3D Body Scan, simply get in touch.
The investment required for a 3D Body Scan and Health Review is £49.00.
The Fit to Last Framework is our 12-month nutrition and lifestyle coaching programme based on a series of micro-habits. If you’d like guidance, support and accountability in creating small wins leading to big changes, get in touch.
ABOUT JAMES STARING
James Staring is a personal trainer based in Clapham, London. His methods have featured in publications such as Your Fitness, Hello, Healthy, Daily Mail, Closer, and many more. After giving up smoking and entering the fitness industry in 2009, James has focused on his passion to help others transform their health and fitness. However, James is convinced most people struggle so much more than they need to in an effort to improve their fitness. Through his company, Fit to Last, James has helped hundreds of men and women make small adjustments in their daily habits to transform their fitness and to love how they look and feel.