What is a dexa scan?
A dexa scan is typically used to measure bone density and diagnose osteoporosis. It’s a quick test that requires you to lay still on an open x-ray like bed for about 30 seconds while your body is scanned from head to toe. Once the test is done, you’ll be able to see a breakdown of your body composition including fat mass, lean mass, and bone mass.
Now even though the dexa scan is traditionally used for bone density measurement, it happens to give us fitness freaks A TON of valuable information that’s much more accurate than other body fat testing methods like bioelectrical impedance scales or calipers.
What your scan will show you
- Body fat percentage
- Lean tissue mass
- Fat tissue mass
- Bone mineral content
- Body composition – Fat vs lean tissue in arms, legs, etc
- Visceral fat – Fat around organs. Should be as close to 0 as possible.
I do want to mention if you’re thinking of doing one yourself, do a search for “dexa fitness” + your city. Because it’s mainly used for bone density scans in the medical industry a lot of places that offer them will require a doctor’s note, so searching for a fitness specific facility can save you a lot of time.
Now for the fun stuff, my results! I’m pretty happy with where everything is right now. I haven’t been training particularly hard (took a couple weeks off altogether) and haven’t been tracking my food at all or even been attempting to eat clean (hello donuts) for a few months now, so I was surprised my body fat wasn’t a bit higher.
I think the biggest shock to me was that my right leg, which I had ACL surgery on a few years ago, actually has a pound MORE muscle than the left. I’m going to focus on Bulgarian split squats in the future to try to strengthen the left leg.
Another thing to note here, my hips unfortunately aren’t actually that big! When you lay in the bed the fat from your rear sort of drifts out to the side, so it will make your arms, legs, and hips look like they’re holding a bit more fat on the sides when really its dispersed throughout the rear.
I also did a quick fit3d test while I was there, which is basically just a scanner that takes a snapshot of your body. I’ll include that below as well.
|Body Fat (%)||25.4|
|Body Fat (lbs)||34|
|Lean Mass (lbs)||94.6|
|Bone Mass (lbs)||5.4|
Goals going forward
I’ve never actually set any fitness type goals for myself, so I thought it would be a fun experiment to see how much I can accomplish in three months. I don’t want to lose too much weight or anything, but I’m curious to see how my body will look if I take my body fat percentage down a couple notches. It’ll be VERY difficult to increase my muscle mass (or even maintain all of it), so I’ll try to be somewhat realistic and go for only about a pound of lean mass loss (keep in mind this includes water weight!).
I’m also going to throw some training goals in there since these were part of my New Year’s resolutions and I think it will keep me more motivated than strictly body goals.
So here are my goals for the next three months:
|Body Fat (%)||21.4|
|Body Fat (lbs)||327|
|Lean Mass (lbs)||93.6|
|Bone Mass (lbs)||5.4|
|Handstand Time (sec)||2.5|
|Box Jump Max (in)||33|
|Hip Thrust (lbs)||305×2|
|Handstand Time (sec)||10|
|Box Jump Max (in)||42|
|Hip Thrust (lbs)||600×1|
And that’s it! I’ll be eating around 1800 calories to start and training hard 5 times a week. I do have some old injuries that flare up when I squat too much, so I’m going to focus a lot on recovery during this. This means foam rolling and at least 20 minutes deep stretching every single day. On my off days I’ll commit a little more time to deep stretching. I’m also going to take turmeric supplements and experiment with Cissus Quadrangularis to keep inflammation at bay.
I’ll post an update halfway through to discuss any struggles as well as accomplishments. Cheers!