Body composition includes all the elements that make up your body. It includes fat mass, muscle mass, bones, water and, depending on the definition, may also include some other fluids, gases and acids. Understanding how those core elements are distributed in your body can help you better understand your overall health.
Body composition can give you a more accurate overall picture of your health, compared to other calculations such as BMI or body fat percentage, which don’t account for factors such as lean muscle mass. Knowing all about your body composition can help you determine the general state of your overall health. Even if you appear to be healthy on the outside and weigh in at a seemingly normal weight on the scale, you may still have an unhealthy or altered body composition.
Body composition is the body’s relative amount of body fat to fat-free mass, the latter of which is made up of your organs, bones, muscle, and body tissue. If your ratio of body fat is much higher than your fat-free mass, then you could be putting yourself at risk for severe health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, fatigue, cancer, and more.
As we mentioned, the different types of fat you can carry in your body play a large role in body composition. To dramatically improve body composition, a good place to start is with fat. Reducing fat mass is good for a number of reasons: it helps you to get smaller, places less strain on your body and internal organs, and build up muscle. To reduce fat mass, you can begin with diet and exercise. Exercises for fat loss usually depend on where you are carrying your fat. If you are like most people, the midsection is your problem section, so it is important to focus your attention there. Some exercises for fat loss include:
As far as diet goes, focus on increasing lean proteins such as poultry, eggs, seafood, tofu, and legumes. Also greatly increase your fruit and veggie intake, consuming between 5 and 9 servings of both daily.
Increasing lean body massmeans toning and building up lean muscle throughout your body. This is usually where you see the flat stomach, toned arms and legs, and a strong back. To increase lean body mass, you’ll want to engage in certain exercises.
A big part of increasing your lean body mass is maintaining it. This means that you should be constantly tracking your progress and keeping notes on your body fat percentage as you move forward. You don’t want to be backsliding and not even know it! Keep track by taking weekly measurements, daily pictures, or personal assessment (sight, touch, etc). In addition to this, ensure that you get at least 9 hours of sleep each night, be sure to manage your stress through mindfulness exercises and the like, and take time to relax when you can.
We’ve already talked a bit about improving diet and which foods to eat, but you can take things a step further with the help of DexaFit’s DNA Fitness Test. This test assesses your genetic disposition toward certain diseases and chronic illnesses so that you can lower your risk and potentially avoid them, returns data on specific bodily needs such as vitamins, supplements, and prime dietary choices, and even help you understand how your body respond to certain types of exercises. In addition to this, a DNA Fitness Test comes with a personalized workout and nutrition guide so that you know you’re getting the right results for you and you alone. This is a great step towards creating a health plan and changing your diet because it helps you find a plan that’s not just another generic fad, but something proven to work for you and your body.
When you begin the journey to improving your body composition, the road ahead can seem long and daunting. While you will have many moments of trial and error, frustration, and discouragement, you will also find moments of triumph and victory. This year, give yourself the gift of health and wellness by starting with your body composition. Improvement is possible, and we hope to help!