The scan itself was really simple. I changed into a gown then laid on the scanning machine, which passes over the body three times. My results were prepared while I changed back into my clothes, and my initial scan included a consultation so Phil took me through what all the results mean.
The first figure most people are interested in is the body fat %, but Phil explained why this isn’t the best figure to track if you’re interested in losing fat – you can adjust this figure without actually losing fat, simply be increasing your lean mass. Whilst the lean mass measurement includes everything that isn’t bone or fat (i.e. tendons, organs, etc.), any change is generally a change in muscle mass. As somebody with a decent level of lean mass, the body fat % figure actually flatters in my case! The more important figure is the Fat Mass Index. Similar to BMI, this is a calculation based on the fixed measurement of height and the variable measurement of mass, though in this case it is purely looking at *fat* mass not total mass.
As a comparison, I’m on the 32nd percentile for body fat %, whilst for my Fat Mass Index, I rise to the 55th percentile! That’s for sex/age/ethnicity matching with the scanner manufacturer’s data; for Body Scan’s UK data (matching sex only) I’m up around the 80thpercentile (double !!).
In better news, my Lean Mass Ratio is 18.6, which puts me on the 87th percentile in the US data, and above the 90th percentile in the UK data. I also have a good level of bone mass, so weight training is doing its thing in regards to osteoporosis prevention, which was one of my reasons for starting training with weights many years ago.
The other interesting result was the difference in lean mass between my arms. I know that my right arm is stronger, but there’s a noticeable difference in the amount of lean mass. Definitely an area for me to focus on and try to get some balance. My legs have the same imbalance, but not to the same degree.
So, in summary, “bones are good, lean mass is good, fat is not good!”. That wasn't really news to me, but it’s given me a really good baseline to start making changes to my body composition. I’m keen to lose fat, without losing any muscle, and I think the DEXA scan is a good way for me to monitor this. I shall be booking in again in 12-16 weeks to see how I’m doing. The scan also broke down *where* the fat is stored, so I should be able to see where I’m losing it from as it comes off.
Further information on the procedure, age matched percentiles, and everything else I mention can be found on the Body Scan website.