Friday, June 25, 2010

Hydrostatic Bodyfat Testing



My gym offered this service the other day (for a fee of course) and I decided to do it. SC checks my body fat regularly with calipers at nine sites, and actually seems to delight when it comes the the abdomen since he has to grab a handful of skin and fat...I think he tends to exaggerate the whole process actually.

He checked it Friday, and with the measurements and factors used, my body fat came out to 5.44%. Yes that is low, extremely low. I am a lean person, I never have a very high body fat level. I am much lower than usual though because I have a competition soon.

Tuesday I step into the mobile truck at 6:00 am, I have never done this before. Mike explains the process, I have my swim suit on and he checks weight, I am at 122. I was 124 on Friday...things are moving a little too quickly again, time to increase calories a bit (and that means beef!)

I swing my feet around into the tank, it is 90 degrees, not bad, but I could use it a bit warmer. He tells me we will do this three times, to take an average reading. The tank is a large, rectangular stainless steel tank that I will lay face down in, underwater...hmmm.

I am told to lay on my stomach, head above water, rest on my forearms. I will inhale, then exhale very slowly, then inhale again and exhale as fast and hard as possible till Mike shouts "down"! then I am to completely submerge in the water, still exhaling and pushing all of my breath out as he continues to shout at me until I feel I cannot continue, he seems to stop yelling when only a small, tiny bubble escapes my lips then he pounds on the side of the tank, I push my head up and gasp for air like a fish out of water.

Damn! Now I have to do this two more times!

After the first test Mike asks if I am a triathlete, I tell him no, I am not. He explains that they don't like to see women with body fat this low, I go on to explain that I will not be this low for long, I have a competition in 18 days and will be a nice 9 pounds heavier within two weeks of that. He seems to feel better about it all then we chat a bit about Figure competitions.

No doubt I place well in my age group he says, most women my age have much higher body fat levels. I said yes, this is true, for once I am glad to have a "boyish figure".

We do the test the remaining 2 times and I get my 4 page analysis. The end result:

6.2% body fat
Weight of fat 7.6 pounds

Lean body mass 93.8%
Weight of lean body mass 114.4 pounds

Resting metabolic rate 1625. This was the interesting part for me, I didn't realize that I needed so many calories just to breathe. You see, the higher percentage of lean body mass you have, the more calories you need to survive. So I need 1625 calories just to rest! Add in weight training, cardio, my strength shoe exercises, and I need quite a bit more!

I have to take a look at my diet again, I realized I have increased lean body mass in the last year and a half and have not significantly adjusted my macro nutrients...If I want to be sure to add some more lean mass, I need to fuel my body with enough clean foods to grow.

This was interesting, and by comparing the method against the skinfold test that SC does, I was able to adjust the "factor" I use when he takes the readings with the calipers so I know I can continue that method, as it is free and easy and dry!

If you want to have yours tested, you can contact Mike or one of his colleagues at Body Fat Test