Using a Dexa Scan – Turning a DEXA or RMR into an action plan
Posted on 20 Aug, 2022
Running cool down image.

In our last DEXA blog, we went into all the detail that a DEXA Scan shows – but ultimately what does this mean for you? How do you use DEXA scan results to inform your goals, and improve your likelihood of success?

How Your DEXA Body Fat Results Can Help You

It’s easy to think of body fat as just a number. Some people have a higher number, some people have a lower number. Same with muscle mass – its all just numbers isn’t it? But can the figures really help you practically?

The answer is a big fat yes! Body fat is one of the most important figures you can have for your health, and should be the primary way that you go about determining your plan of action.

We do this primarily through the use of the Personal Action Blueprint. This is our way of helping you to translate the data into actionable insights which will guide your fitness and health journey through the next stages.

Body Fat – Your Personal Action Blueprint

Let’s start with Body fat. Once you have your DEXA Scan, we will have an overall level of body fat for you. Now there are certain things we know about body fat which can help us to construct your plan:

Group 1:  20%-25% (Female) or 10%-15% (Male)

If you are between 20%-25% (Female) or 10-15% (Male), then we can make some assumptions about your state of health. We know that you are probably processing carbohydrates just fine: that there is unlikely to be an insulin resistance. If well properly all the processes to turn over energy and build muscle will be working great.

Group 2: 25-32% (Female) or 15-20% (Male)

If you are between 25-32% (Female) or 15-20% (Male), then it’s possible that while you are mostly healthy, there might be a slightly impaired processing of carbohydrates. In some people issues around insulin resistance start to creep in at around this point. This is still, however, in the healthy range. The processes to build muscle might not be working as efficiently as people in group 1.

Group 3: Over 32%(Female) or Over 20%(Male)

If you have over 32%(F) / 20%(M) body fat, then you are in the unhealthy range. Some level of insulin resistance is highly likely, and as such, building muscle will be inefficient and will likely come with more fat.

How many Carbs? 

So from body fat alone, we have the following guidance: if you are in group 1 then we can probably increase the overall amount of carbohydrates in your diet – Carbs are your friends, and you shouldn’t be afraid of them unless you are striving to get really really lean. If you are in group 2, we would have to take a moderated approach to carbohydrates, and possibly start to restrict them overall. If you find yourself in group 3, this is a level of body fat that it is a priority to reduce, and additionally, you may see significant success with a lower-carbohydrate approach.

Visceral Fat – Dangerous in High Quantities

Next, we can look at visceral fat. As you may have read, visceral fat is a particularly dangerous type of fat to have in high quantities, as it is strongly correlated with cardiovascular disease. If your visceral fat is above 100cm2 we will talk to you about ways to bring it down. This will involve reductions in stress and alcohol, and improvements in sleep. For many people, only one or two of these factors can be improved. 

If the high visceral fat is also accompanied by high body fat, then reducing body fat will be a priority. If it is accompanied by low body fat, we really need to identify the cause of the visceral fat first, and the three factors above will be the first place we look after talking about levels of exercise.

Lean Mass

The Next thing we get with your DEXA scan results is Lean Mass. Lean mass is a really important figure to have because from lean mass we can determine a couple of things.

  1. if your lean mass index (lean mass divided by height squared) is significantly below 16.8 (f) / 19.8 (m) then adding some lean mass may become a priority.
  2. If your lean mass is close to these figures then we might look at improving lean mass over time, but other factors may take priority
  3. If your lean mass is over these figures then we can solely concentrate on other factors unless adding lean mass is a real priority for you.

Finding your Basal Metabolic Rate

The other thing we get from lean mass, and possibly the most important bit of information overall, is the ability to estimate your Basal Metabolic Rate. Your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories which you burn if you were to spend 24 hours in bed. The figure we come to based on lean mass has been shown to be far more accurate than the figures based on age, height, sex, and weight which are what is usually used by online calculators.

Of course, if you choose to take our resting metabolic rate test, we are able to measure this directly, and we can leave behind all the calculations.

The Most Important Number – Your Real Calorie Target

Once we know your Basal Metabolic Rate – we combine it with your projected level of activity, and your goals, to give you a real calorie target. As a single figure, this is probably the most important thing we can give you. Knowing exactly how many calories you need to eat for your goals will take out all the guesswork and help you on your way.

How to use your Dexa Scan Results? – It’s more than just a body fat scan

So as you see, a DEXA scan is so much more than a body fat figure. From the key figures in the scan, we are able to construct a full plan for you to follow which can include a total calorie target, advice on what goals should be the priority, and guidance on what you should be doing with your macros.

Want to Know More?

If you’d like to know more – just get in touch below and we’ll provide expert information about DEXA Scans, How you might use your results, Metabolic Testing and More!

 
 
 

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