This will not be another article about how body fat analyses are inaccurate.
Those articles are everywhere. If you wish to read one, use Google.
Or, I can give you the “tl;dr”
- They are inaccurate.
- Some are wildly inaccurate.
- The handheld deals are god-awful.
- The scales might be worse.
- Calipers are often used by untrained people who don’t know what they’re doing.
- Bod Pod readings aren’t much better.
- DEXAs are the best, but even those are flawed……..and they cost way too much.
The only truly accurate body fat analysis is done at the morgue.
Go ahead if you wish. But you can only have one……….
The inaccuracies of body fat analysis mechanisms has been widely popularized, but that isn’t the real reason why I don’t recommend them to clients.
Actually, when a client has body fat data, we don’t take it into consideration with our decision making process.
The reasoning has to do with the mental framework and the habits we are trying to put in place.
It’s a case of input vs. output.
We all know what we SHOULD be doing.
We know what we should eat, we know how we SHOULD train, we know which behaviors we SHOULD have.
So, we set ourselves up with our plan and we try to execute.
Some, like our online client Jeff, go out and just crush the plan.
Look at the data differences for Jeff in 10 weeks’ worth of work for a fat-loss protocol:
Here we are, 10 weeks into our time together, and Jeff is straight up murdering his workouts.
Fat is melting off Jeff’s belly like an ice cream cone in August.
By our fat loss estimations and parameters, Jeff has lost 15-18 pounds of fat and has gained some muscle in the process.
In 10 weeks.
Jeff was all jacked up, both literally and figuratively.
Then, he got a DEXA scan.
Up until this point, Jeff had been getting his body fat analysis done via calipers.
After he got his DEXA test results back, he emailed me, dejected.
The body calipers had him at 18% body fat, and the DEXA scan had him at 30% body fat.
Jeff was upset. He was totally bummed. He told me of his frustrations, and I felt for him.
Getting back shitty DEXA results seems to invalidate everything you’ve worked hard for.
Which is exactly why you shouldn’t give a shit about those numbers.
Our training clients get freaking amazing results, no matter what the read-out says.
What does it change, Jeff?
My response to Jeff was simple………
If we look at this data objectively, without a DEXA scan, there is NO WAY we would be upset with it.
Your measurements are being whittled away quickly.
Your scale weight is dropping fast.
Your lifts are all going up.
You’re doing an amazing job.
Because we’ve seen this DEXA scan…..does that mean we should change something?
Should we adjust our training program? Our macronutrients? Our meal set-ups? Our food choices?
Do you want to do cardio more? Less? Train longer? Higher reps? Lower reps?
As a Coach, I can only do the best I can do. I can look at your situation, compare it to others who have come to me in similar situations, and give it my best guess. It’s pattern recognition at its finest.
I would say, judging by these results, that we nailed it!
Would you agree?
So, who gives a shit about this test?
What would you have done differently for the last 10 weeks?
What do you want to do differently now?
I don’t want to do anything differently – you’re destroying your goals here, dude!
This stupid, little test is making you feel like a failure.
And you are a massive success here, dude!
Screw the test, keep doing work, and don’t let it take away from your accomplishments, my man.
Luckily, Jeff agreed.
He’s still doing work, kicking ass, and taking names.
Jeff’s experience is a huge reason I don’t mess with body fat testing at all.
There’s no reason to.
It won’t change your plan, it won’t change your habits, it won’t change your execution, it won’t change anything.
It will make you feel good if you like the numbers.
But will make you feel like shit if you don’t like the numbers.
It’s just a little, piece of paper from a computer read out.
That has the power to make you feel powerless, instead of powerful.
Screw DEXA scans,