We live in a country obsessed with weight! The statistics show that two-thirds
of Americans are overweight or obese with nearly one-third
falling into the
obese category. As personal trainers, you see this trend daily.
Your goal is to
educate and motivate. Clients are often fixated on seeing the
numbers on the
scale drop; however, you know health is not just measured in
pounds. It is
important to educate clients on the benefits of knowing and
their body composition. Health risks such as heart disease,
stroke and diabetes
increase with excess body fat. Also, clients with minimal muscle
at a greater risk of injury due to falls. Accurately assessing
your client's body
composition is crucial to improving their overall health and fitness.
The human body is made up of a variety of components; generally,
we talk about body composition, we consider fat mass and lean
mass (i.e. nonfat).
For better health and appearance, your clients should have significantly
more lean mass than fat mass. Clients need to understand that
muscle mass helps burn fat and is critical for controlling
motion and balance.
Of course, all bodies require some fat to survive as fat aids in
cushions organs and insulates, but too much fat increases health
To help clients meet their goals, a program combining a balanced
with regular cardio and strength training exercises will result
in more muscle
and less fat. Having the ability to track your client's body fat
fat loss and muscle gain will go far to motivate and increase
methods are available to measure body fat percentage, such as
calipers, which measure fold thickness with known formulas to
body fat percentage. Many clients find calipers painful and
Bioelectrical impedance devices can also estimate body fat
hydration, alcohol and caffeine levels may affect the accuracy.
weighing and air displacement systems are accurate but require
equipment and client preparation. DEXA, X-ray Computed
and Magnet Resonance Imaging provide accurate images which can
to not only measure total body composition but also show fat
Unfortunately, these systems are expensive and not practical for
Ultrasound imaging has long been used in clinical settings as a
means of measuring tissue structure. Portable, affordable
ultrasound imaging devices are now available to accurately
body composition as well as provide point specific measurements
of fat and
muscle thicknesses. These ultrasound devices provide clients
that clearly show changes in fat and muscle. If a client is
dieting and exercising,
he will see fat layers shrinking and muscle growing. These
more motivating and informative than mere numbers on a scale.
Your goal as a personal trainer is to change bodies and
mindsets. Not all
weight is created equal -- understanding body composition is key.
diet, exercise and providing clients with high-tech, accurate
will help you motivate so your clients can meet their healthy
Heidi Stark is the CFO of IntelaMetrix, Inc.
She can be contacted at 925-606-
7044 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, you can
also visit www.bodymetrix.com.