What Your Body Fat Tells You
I recently had my body fat tested. It’s something I do about twice a year. I like to do this because not only does it tell me the muscle and fat makeup of my body, but the information gained from body fat testing is foundational to my exercise and nutrition protocol.
Information gained from body fat testing is foundational to my exercise and nutrition protocol.
Body fat also reveals a lot about our general health and wellness. For example, by not managing stress levels or hormone levels you could be storing extra fat. Or, if you are not allowing your body to get enough sleep, it may be showing up in additional unwanted fat.
There are many ways to measure body fat… there’s the DEXA scan (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) which measures body fat and bone density. I’ve also had the InBody test completed, which measures body composition and provides total water, lean body mass and fat mass. My favorite method, called Biosignature Modulation,™ uses calipers to measure specific sites throughout the body to not only measure body fat overall, but to identify where my body specifically stores fat. My longtime trainer, Cliff Edberg, Senior National Program Manager – Personal Training at Life Time Fitness uses the measurements from this method to guide my workouts.
Biosignature Modulation™ was developed by strength coach, Charles Poliquin after conducting years of research and practical application. It is a process designed to reduce body fat in specific areas of the body by balancing the hormone profile. This method involves measuring fat using a caliper at 12 sites on the body. These measurements provide information on which hormone imbalances are present and guide decisions for specific nutrition and exercises protocols, based on where fat is stored in the body.
Body Fat Measurements
Chin and Cheek
Of the 12 sites that are measured, the chin and cheek are the only two sites which are not related to hormone changes. Instead, these sites are an early detection system for fat loss because they are generally among the first areas to change when the body loses fat.
Pectorals and Triceps
The pecs and tripceps are ‘androgen’ sites. Androgens are steroid hormones produced in the testes, ovaries, and the adrenals. Androgens are important in both men and women. In men, they are responsible for male physical traits and reproductive activity. In women, androgens play a key role in the prevention of bone loss and regulate body function.
When these sites are measured, the values show how much testosterone your body is producing and whether or not your body is converting testosterone to estrogen.
Upper Back & Love Handles
Per the Biosignature Modulation method, the upper back and love handles are called ‘insulin sites.’ Measurements taken here provide information about your body’s insulin sensitivity levels and ability to manage sugar.
The mid-axillary site (also called the ‘thyroid site’) is located on the side of your torso, midway between your hip bone and armpit. When measured, the value tells whether the thyroid is functioning normally, so lower measurements indicate better thyroid function and high measurements indicate that further testing and screening should be done.
The cortisol site (stomach/torso region) has the most current scientific research behind it – it is a marker for both how much cortisol is produced in relation to stress, as well as how your body deals with stress. Measurements taken at this site are often high, even when other sites are low, because of the enormous amounts of stress we confront and deal with in our day-to-day lives.
Knee and Medial Calf
The measurements taken from the knee and calf are referred to as ‘growth hormone sites’ and give an indication of growth hormone levels. Because growth hormone production is dependent on sleep, these sites reveal information about sleep quality, sleep duration, lack of sleep, etc.
Quadriceps and Hamstrings
The quads and hamstrings are ‘estrogen sites’ and indicate your body’s ability to manage estrogen levels. The measurements taken at these sites are related to overall estrogen levels, so in men the measurement ratio here is generally lower than in women.
Your Body Fat Story
What I really like about this method of body fat testing is that it tells me where I carry my fat and more importantly, what that means. Cliff helps me take the information from these measurements and translate that into actionable items based on my current health and wellness goals.
Something super important to keep in mind here – don’t be afraid of having fat on your body or in your diet! We all need fat for healthy body function. It’s not about eliminating all fat, but instead the focus should be to eat healthy fats and to be informed about our bodies.
If you’re interested in having this assessment done, check with your gym. Most elite trainers have knowledge and training of the Biosignature Modulation method!