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How a body scan can help you get fitter

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Are you looking to reduce excess body fat, improve your fitness and get lean? DEXA body fat scanning will analyse your body composition in terms of fat and muscle mass and their distribution so you can eat and exercise more effectively. 

What is a DEXA body scan?

DEXA stands for ‘Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry’. The scanners, first devised to measure bone health, particularly low bone density (osteopenia) and osteoporosis, use low-radiation X-rays to accurately measure how much your body weight consists of fat, muscle, and bone.

Unlike other methods of measuring body composition, which typically provide a single, overall number, a DEXA scan gives results for different regions of the body – arms, trunk and legs. Those regional results all include a range of metrics – body fat percentage, fat mass, lean body mass, fat-free mass.

By comparing or isolating results from different parts of the body, a DEXA scan offers insights into fat and muscle distribution. For example, comparing fat levels in the belly/hips, trunk/legs and trunk/limbs reveals how ‘healthy’ your fat distribution is. Fat stored proportionately less in the upper body/belly and more in the limbs is regarded as ‘healthier’ than fat stored predominantly in the trunk. This is because upper body fat will inevitably lead to higher internal (visceral) fat, which is widely associated with life-changing diseases such as type-2 diabetes and colon cancer.

Why get a DEXA scan?

Knowing your body’s composition can help you tailor your fitness plans to get the most effective results.

While there is nothing you can do about your fat distribution (it is genetic), an ‘unhealthy’ fat distribution (as explained above) should encourage you to increase your level of activity, particularly fast cardio. That’s because: (a) internal fat is metabolically active and responds directly to exercise, just as muscle responds directly (increases) to the stimulus of resistance training in the gym; and (b) increased activity will contribute to the calorie deficit you create by consuming less food and drink and therefore reduce your overall level of body fat. Fat around your organs will decrease as total body fat falls.

Most people who come to Bodyscan are looking to reduce body fat (ie, they know they are overweight). What most people don’t know is how much muscle they have. Many people (especially men) are surprised to find they have much less than they believed.

A low lean mass index, or LMI (essentially how much muscle you have for your height) will encourage you to get to the gym and/or optimise your current programme. Muscle gain, as we explain in the consultation, is all about the effectiveness of your resistance programme (while fat loss is all about the calories).

The advantage of the regional breakdown provided by DEXA is that, whilst you cannot spot-lose fat, you can certainly spot-gain muscle – by working on those specific muscle groups with resistance work (weights) in the gym. Your scan will reveal muscle imbalances not only between left and right but also across the regions. Imbalances or variations are not necessarily ‘bad’ – we would all expect a sprint cyclist to have most of her muscle in her legs.

Where to get a DEXA scan in London

First up, be aware that most clinics offer DEXA scans to assess your bone density; their DEXA scanners are not designed to scan the whole body and/or they have no experience at all in performing body scans or interpreting the results. For more information on the difference between bone density scans and body scans, read this or watch this video.

To assess body composition accurately you need a DEXA body scan and Bodyscan (as the name suggests!) has the most experienced and knowledgeable team of DEXA technicians anywhere in the UK (or Europe). We have two locations — one in the City of London (near Bank) and one in Marylebone (near Baker Street and Regent’s Park).

Get support from Bodyscan

At Bodyscan, the scan is just a small part of your first step to a better body composition. It is our skilled interpretation of your results and explanation of what they mean for you that will really bring your results alive. Every customer receives realistic goals, achievable calorie targets and a sustainable timeline. And you might consider our nutritional plans as an option to keep you motivated and focused and get you to your target more quickly.

What’s the cost of a DEXA scan in the UK?

Bodyscan offers the best value and most experience of any DEXA provider. Our DEXA prices are competitive and you will not receive the 5-star customer service anywhere else (read our live Google reviews and see for yourself!) You can significantly reduce costs by opting for a prepaid package of multiple DEXA scans (such as our VF2, VF3 and VF4). All our DEXA prices (single scans and packages) are on our pricing page.

Why not book an appointment today?

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