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What is body composition?

Updated: Nov 12, 2018

Body composition, quite simply, is how your total weight is shared across the key elements that make up your body weight, which is basically your soft-tissues and bones.

In more detail...

Bones are pretty straight forward but for scientific purposes (and dietitians like us are fundamentally scientists), your soft tissue is broken up into:

· Fat and

· Everything else which we call fat free-mass. It is often referred to as lean soft tissue.

This includes your muscles and all your internal organs, water, blood vessels etc

Here’s a picture which explains it.

Measuring body composition

While weighing yourself using the scales tells you how heavy you are overall, it doesn't tell you anything about changes in these different components.

And if you are an athlete or anyone doing resistance or weights training, you most likely care about this difference. It is an important distinction if you are gaining muscle Vs gaining fat. And likewise, if you are losing muscle or if you are losing fat.

The most common ways and widely available to measure body composition are body impedance analyses, skin-folds, and the tanita scales. While they all try to measure the different components (particularly muscle and fat), they're all affected by changes in the water balance in our bodies... and the skills of the person taking the measurements.

DEXA and body composition

DEXA data, on the other hand, is considered a more reliable method to assess lean body mass and body fat percentage in clinical research and athletic practice.

A DEXA scan at Physique Science can identify changes in body fat and muscle mass as small as 200-300g. This is much more accurate than body fat scales or skin-fold measurements where errors of 1-2kg can be common.

Got questions? Drop us an email at

But most importantly… book your scan NOW and find out your DEXA health.

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