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What The Heck Is That?

Posted Nov 29 2008 12:25pm

What the heck is that?  is dedicated to keeping you up-to-date with the ever evolving equipment of the health and fitness industry. With the emergence of functional, core, and corrective exercise training, there are a lot of funky looking exercise 'toys' being used in today's health club. I will explain what they are, why you would want to use them, and how to get started.

Today's Equipment:

 BioelectricalImpedanceAnalysis (BIA)

What is it? 

You probably won't see this thing laying around the club, but you may see it in the personal training office or fitness assessment room of your gym. Forget the behemoth slamming weights, the boot camp class instructor, or the disgusting locker room - today's piece of equipment is one of the most feared and intimidating things in the facility! It is a handheld BIA whichestimates your body % fat and pounds of fat

How does it work?
  • The BIA sendsnon-detectable electric currentthrough your body from one hand to the other. 
  • Based on the fact thatmuscle cells are composed by more water than fat cells. 
  • A body with more muscle (and thus more water) will bemore conductiveto the electrical current causing it totravel faster
  • Theless resistance(fat) the current faces thelowerthe estimated percent body fat %

More on BIA:

  • There is3 to 5%error in this measurement
  • Because it is influenced by your hydration levels - eating, drinking, and exercise can all influence your reading.
  • May be more appropriate to estimate the body % fat of a very overweight or obese individual than skin calipers

LANCE'S Bottom line on BIA:

Although it isnot the best methodfor body fat % estimation (like underwater weighing), it can still be used to help track your progress. Even if it is not 100% correct, I justwant to see a downward trend every 4 to 6 weeks. I'll pair BIA with the scale, circumference measurements, and/or a skin caliper assessment to have something to compare it to.

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