What are you made of?


The next instalment for the man on a journey.

As part of my journey, I wanted an accurate starting point to measure any bodily changes...of course, I took some body measurements (as I set out in my first blog), but then I also wondered about BMI. For anyone unsure, BMI (Body Mass Index) is an individual's score based on a calculation of their weight divided by the square of their height. The individual's score is then plotted within thresholds of "underweight", "healthy weight", "overweight" and "obese". However there have long been criticism of the BMI model as it fails to take into account body fat and lean mass; using the BMI model, Chris Robshaw (the England Rugby Captain) has a BMI of 31.1; Zydrunas Savickas, the 2014 Word's Strongest Man has a BMI of 46.5 – which categorises both as obese!! Clearly a different option was needed!

A bit of research later and I stumbled upon Body Composition Scans.

BMI
Standard BMI

The Doctor will see you now...

Having booked a scan, I arrived at a private hospital in Brentwood, checked in and was escorted to a large van in the car park, which was not exactly what I had imagined at first, however the interior was professionally kitted out and the two members of staff within were friendly and knowledgeable.

A quick chat later, and I understood that the same company are commissioned to scan the England and Wales national rugby teams, Saracens rugby club and Manchester City FC, to name but a few. The scan itself, which is very similar to an x-ray, took around 15 minutes, and consisted of me lying down and staying still.... after which I was given an initial print out showing my results. A further analysis would be sent to me shortly, once it had been reviewed by the company doctor.

The scores are in!

I was pretty nervous on the morning of the scan.....there would be no hiding from the truth that I would be presented with; I already felt a little ashamed and depressed at having let myself go over the years, but tough facts and figures were what I wanted to face up to.

All in all, I was actually quite pleased with the results....sure I had a body fat percentage of 34%, which needs significant improvement, but it was also confirmed that of all adult males scanned across the country with my approximate height and weight, I had a muscle mass that was higher than 90% of them! Beefcake! Ha Ha!

One of the really interesting elements of the scan, is that the results are broken down into regions of the body; left arm, right arm, trunk, left leg, right leg and head.

One quick glance of my results, below, confirms that the majority of my fat mass is located on my trunk; however a closer look reveals some interesting variances – with my right leg containing over 600g more lean muscle than my left.....this may not sound a big deal, but when visualised in real terms, this is the equivalent of the steak in the gallery below: This kind of variance analysis can be extremely important for athletes, where an imbalance can lead to less than best performance and potential injuries.

Below you can see my actual scan – yellow shows fat, red is muscle and blue is bone.

Now you see me.....

Hopefully next time, you'll see less of me?

Progress on my journey so far has not been as easy or as natural as I would have hoped...but I take each day as a new opportunity to improve. It is definitely a marathon, not a sprint!

While I was a little apprehensive ahead of the body composition scan, it has since given me a more comprehensive knowledge of what I am made of, and I intend to press on with my fitness and weight loss programme and redo the scan in about 6 months so that I can track my progress, with my aim to reduce body fat and increase lean mass - you guys will be the first to know the results!

If any of this has raised any questions, please feel free to ask – I'm definitely not an expert on the subject of body composition scans, but I'll do my best to answer!

Punchstrong, people!

Alex Johnson

By Alex Johnson

My friends think of me as a mixed martial arts ninja and I don't disagree with them. I live in Essex (UK) with my wife and dog Kingston, who eats more protein than I do.

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