Weight Scales Only Measure You While Standing

When you stand on a weight scale and read the number, the first thought that might come to mind is how much fat you have. Looking at yourself in a mirror might solidify this idea. Could this scale and mirror be the only measuring tool that describes your weight and ultimately performance. Fat is only one of the components that make up what is body composition. Muscles, organs and everything else in the body is your fat-free mass, which is the other part of body composition.  

Too much body fat can affect skill and non-skilled based movements depending on the event that you engage in. Extra weight brings drag and heat to the body during performance. You must get proper calories to fuel the body with carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Balancing the input of calories, and the timing of calories for performance is important. Proper measuring techniques for body composition is one area that you can input into your program.

Measuring the body composition with field and lab tests, along with fitness principles using the periodization phases inputs information on the practice and performance realm. These fitness principles can alter your progress through training variables and can lead to success. 

Essential Fat is Where it's at

One part of body composition is fat and is needed to perform.

These are the important characteristics:

a) Insulates the body from the cold weather (regulates temperature).

b) Protects the internal organs from hits (trauma) to the body.

c) Maintains the fat-soluable vitamins, A, D, E, and K.

d) Energy source used depending on the duration and intensity of the activity.

e) Range of numbers for participation men: 10% to 22%/ women: 17% to 24%.

Fat-Free Mass

Everything else besides fat

 A) This is everything else the human body is: internal organs (brain, heart, lungs), and the muscles and bones.

B) This part of body composition is just as important as fat. To be lean can aid in smooth and agile movements for overall quality performance.

C) To become lean does take into account of reducing caloric intake slowly. When reducing caloric intake quickly, such as a fad diet; the body's response might be to store those calories, instead of using them.

D) Proper monitoring to cut about 500 calories each day is a healthful weight goal. Keeping a food journal on specific times of when you consume calories is a good idea, especially when the time period is long.


What Comes Next is Calories

Calories are the main product to measure the amount of energy you will need . In order to do this, you must first find these measurements at rest:

1) The Rate of Basal Metabolism: This is one part of the summary of calories that your body needs to work. The vital organs (heart, brain, lungs) as well as the body (muscles, bones) need to have energy to survive as well as do.

Original Harris-Benedict Equation revised by Roza and Shizgal (1984):

conversion factors: 2.2 lbs = 1kg/1 inch = 2.54centimeters

Men = BMR =  88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) -(5.677 x age in years)

Women = BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + (3.098 x height in cm) - (4.330 x age in years)

2) Your Activity Levels: This is what you need as calories to complete practice and performing at your best. Multiply what number 1 is with your activity level.

Amount of Exercise                                       Daily Calories Needed

Sedentary or small amount                                BMR x 1.2

Exercise lightly                                                    BMR x 1.375

Exercise moderately                                            BMR x 1.55

Exercise heavy                                                     BMR x 1.725

Exercise strenuously                                             BMR x 1.9 

3) Thermic Effect of Food: Digestion plays a role in getting those needed calories and it takes energy to digest the  essential nutrients. Put down 10% for this as you calculate the two above  (BMR and Activity level).

 A) BMR + Activity level + Thermic Effect of Food = this is the total number of calories you need.  


Calories from Nutrients that you need

The balance between calories in and calories out, and the timing of when you get those nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) is an important practice.  A person who specializes in nutrition can help you in obtaining proper calories.   

Eating only three meals a day with too many hours in between places you at a disadvantage, since metabolism is effected. This may lead to taking in more calories at the next meal, which can store extra calories. The result could be weight gain and a decrease in performance technique.  

This balance of nutrient intake and lifestyle factors can result by following these five steps:

1) Plan meals throughout the day that meet the caloric intake of your fitness(suggested idea: six to seven small meals and snacks)

2) Emphasize complex carbohydrates and protein (ratio of 2, 3, 4, to 1 respectively)

3) Record time of day when you begin and complete practice and accomplishments

4) Maintain when possible at least seven to ten hours of sleep

 5) Nutritional dense foods at proper times to receive energy from your intake (i.e., eating a carbohydrate with a protein within a range of 20 to 25 minutes of completing activity).


Measuring For Performance

Energy in measured by energy out is a tricky maneuver and is of primary importance when training. Knowing your caloric intake is only one step in being aware of your body composition. Measuring your body composition is the other part when it comes to practicing day every day and finally competing in your chosen sport or activity. There are many varied methods used to measure the body: field tests and laboratory methods that are functional to prepare you for competition. 

Field Tests:

1) Body Mass Index (B.M.I.) : A chart that displays height and weight. Finding those numbers on the chart leads to a specific percentage and within that column you will see a number. Depending on where that number is, that is indicating what range you are in. Beginning at 12% to 18% indicates underweight; where numbers from 19% to 24% are healthy, 25% to 29% is overweight, 30% to 39% is obese, and 40% and up is extremely obese.  

2) Skinfolds: this method is reliable especially when you have a fitness professional who has completed multitudes with a technique that has a positive result on your body. You are at rest with three sites tested, depending on gender: (a.triceps, b.chest, c.abdominal, d.suprailiacus, and e.thigh) being measured. Measure each area three times, finding the average by placing these numbers into a math equation which is body density.

Female: Body Density = 1.0994921 - 0.0009929 x sum + 0.0000023 x sum squared - 0.0001392 x age (Triceps, Suprailiac, and Thigh)

Male: Body Density = 1.1093800 - 0.0008267 x sum + 0.0000016 x sum squared - 0.0002574 x age (Chest, Abdominal, and Thigh)


triceps skinfoldCredit: www.wku.edu

b.  Credit: www.wku.edu 

c.Credit: www.wku.edu 


Credit: www.wku.edu


Credit: www.wku.edu

 3) Waist-to-Hip ratio: Measuring circumferences around the waist and hip. These measurements are on the right side of the body by placing the tape around the waist above the umbilicus. The tape measurement for the hip placed where the gluteal muscles are at their farthest point. Taking the waist measurement and dividing the hip measurement into it and the result is the amount of fat distributed in this area. A number of 0.9 for men and 0.7 for women are ideal.


Credit: www.wku.edu


Laboratory Tests:

1. Hydrostatic Weighing: This technique is the main standard for body composition  measurement. You begin seated and are slowly lowered into a large container filled with water. As you lower into the water, exhale as much air you can until your head is completely under. A scale attached to a chair where the test monitor will write a number once you stop moving. A mathematical equation is then computed with the residual air of the lung. Since muscle is a dense tissue compared to fat, the number you see can give a close approximation of body composition.

Based on Archimedes' Principle: density of object/density of fluid = weight/weight-apparent immersed weight 

Body density = dry weight/[(dry weight - wet weight) /water density) - RV - 0.1]

conversion factors: weight in kg: 2.2lbs = 1kg/RV is in Liters: 1 gallon = 3.784 Liters

Once body density (BD) is calculated, then place the (BD) in the equation by Siri: %fat =(495/body density)-450] x 100  

 hydrostatic weighingCredit: www.bionetics.ca 

2) Bod Pod: This machine is a seated measurement with a large window on the door. The door is closed and as you sit there and breathe normally, the body composition is computed and you receive a report from the computer.


Credit: www.bionetics.ca


3) DEXA (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorpitometry): This procedure focuses on the contents of the mineral makeup of bone. The machine takes the body (fat and lean mass) which are scanned in an estimated equation.

 Dual Energy X-Ray AbsorptiometryCredit: www.anatomiimaging.com 

   4) Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis: (B.I.A.): This procedure occurs while in a supine position. Electrodes are placed on one hand and the other electrodes are placed on the foot. Then a small charge flows through the body and a reading is obtained.

 equation: Lukaski & Bolonchuk: Total Body Water = 0.372 (S squared /R)  +  3.05 (Sex) + 0.142(W) - 0.069 (age) 

S = height in centimeters :1 inch= 2.54 centimeters /R = resistance/W = weight in Kg:2.2 lbs = 1kg/Sex Males = 1 and Females =0/age in years

Bioelectrical Impedance AnalysisCredit: www.oshu.edu

The Performance Realm

You now know the number of calories needed, and with body composition measured, you can move on to these principles to aid your program:

A) FITT principle:

1) Frequency: the number of times per week you do activity

2) Intensity: the amount of work you do, how hard you go

3) Type: activities or skills you practice to prepare for competition

4) Time: Preseason/In-Season/Post-Season/Out-of-Season: Periodization methods put to use during training periods broken into:

B) Periodization principle: Fitness program that is established with cycles of activity:

a) Microcycles: workouts that you do per week

b) Mesocycles: workouts that you do on a monthly basis

c) Macrocycles: monthly workouts that are planned over one year period

C) Overload principle: Beginning with a preparatory session of 15 to 20 minutes. Then depending on the activity, steadily increase the time and intensity to overload progressively. As the program develops, you are able to sustain a performance level of 60 to 90 minutes.

D) Interval Training Principle: training with intervals can bring another dimension to your program. By moving quickly and slowing down at specific intervals, the body's composition is effected, since the body is kept guessing about what you are doing. 

E) Knowing your energy needs and training properly with these principles can lead to success.