Body composition greatly affects our sporting performance. Knowing how much muscle mass or percentage of body fat determines not only my aesthetic, but my power or agility within a competition and, therefore, also the results that I will get in it. Hence knowing what the percentage of body fat is a common question that athletes do.
Methods of analyzing the composition and percentage of body fat
The methods that exist to determine body composition are many and varied. The ideal is to find a precise, fast, easy, non-invasive and economical method. But this is like looking for the ideal match: it will be difficult to meet all the requirements we want, so you will have to stay with the one that meets the maximum of them (which does not mean that it is a bad choice!). The following are the most accurate methods you will find to know the percentage of body fat:
Anthropometry – or in this case, in fact, cineatropometry – is the science that studies the size, shape, proportionality or body composition to understand the growth process, physical exercise, sports performance and nutrition. From the photo you should imagine what method I mean; it is even likely that you have seen it practiced on some occasion with more or less purpose. The truth is that this seems relatively simple but to be valid and reproducible must be done following a series of methodologies such as ISAK methodology.
Therefore, to use this method as a measure of your body composition and your fat mass, you should go to a professional trained in this subject to do this type of examination. As a result it will give you a somatocarta (graphical representation of your somatotype or “constitution”) and will guide you to where you have to go according to your objective.
They are a series of scales or devices that, explained simply, pass a resistance around the body and determine through equations our body composition.
They have certain limitations; as they should be done without having eaten or drunk the previous 4 hours, not exercise 12 hours before, not urinate the previous 30 minutes, etc. The truth is that they are many requirements and sometimes complicated to follow. This does not mean that it is not valid but that you have to know how to interpret it because if, for example, you just weighed you will see that your fat percentage is higher because you are dehydrated.
It is a fast, simple and economical method so it is one of the most used. You can find this type of scales in some gym or pharmacies or in the consultations of a dietitian-nutritionist, but I recommend that you use those that have sensors in hands and feet as they are more reliable.
The variation of body fat percentage
The optimum percentage may vary depending on the sex, age or sport performed. Even within the same sport, depending on the position in the field, we can find differences in body composition.
In the first edition of the Fitness Training Camp organized by Men’s Health in Cambrils we will talk about this subject in more detail and also analyze one by one the fat mass of the attendees. The idea is to orient you to where you have to direct your efforts according to your personal goals. You know: from 9 to 11 May at the Cambrils Park Resort (Tarragona), I’ll be waiting for you!