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Body Composition: The DEXA Scan

December 5, 2014 By Jason Sissel Health

To measure body composition for the 30 Day, No Alcohol biohack with Ben Greenfield, I set up a DEXA scan with DexaFit Chicago. The DEXA (duel-energy x-ray absorptiometry) scan provides one of the best measurements of body composition available, registering fat and lean mass distribution throughout the entire body. It is capable of detailing overall and "regional" fat mass, lean mass, and bone mass -- all for the relatively inexpensive price of around $50-100.

As an endurance athlete, this is one of my favorite body composition methods because it provides valuable information in addition to bodyfat percentage. While the scan was initially developed for bone density (osteoporosis) testing, the GE Lunar Prodigy machine that I used also splits the body into different "zones," and perhaps most importantly, indicates android fat (waist) versus gynoid fat (hips).

This information is incredibly valuable for endurance athletes for two reasons:

  1. It highlights muscular imbalances between the left and right sides of the body which is imperative in reducing injury risk. In just 5 minutes, you can get an accurate assessment of any muscle imbalances you have that even the world's best physical therapists would be unable to discover.
  2. As Ben Greenfield points out, "carrying too much fat in the wrong area can make you more disposed to serious health problems. For example, seeing the ratio of android to gynoid fat distribution will give you a good indication of your susceptibility to heart attack, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Excess android fat around the abdomen and trunk and inside the abdominal cavity potentially puts you at greater risk for metabolic disorder, heart disease, and stroke."

While my body is in very good overall balance, my composition is seriously out of whack. I can't wait to finish this 30 Day, No Alcohol business so I can change my diet STAT!


Jason Sissel_Before DEXA Scan

Jason Sissel_DEXA Scan