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Paralysis by Analysis – Why You’re Going Nowhere Fast

Question Mark Sitting over Blue Financial Bar Graph

We have a few clients at Bodyscan who measure EVERYTHING you can possibly imagine on their quest to improve body composition. At every visit they present slick graphs on impressive apps, bursting with meticulously measured and time-consumingly entered data.

But, despite their efforts, a lot of these people are seeing absolutely no progress in terms of lower body fat or muscle gain. Why? Because they are obsessed with measuring rather than focused on actually doing!

Tracking some data is important. A Bodyscan DEXA scan is itself an essential measurement. Without some quantifiable numbers, it’s mostly just guess work. And guess work doesn’t lead to outstanding results.

To lose body fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit, ie, consume fewer calories than your body burns (we often recommend a daily deficit of 550 calories because it equates to about half a kilo a week). So of course you need to track (or at least be mindful of) the meals you are eating to be sure you adhere to that overarching principle. Similarly, to build muscle, you need to see progress in the gym in terms of weights lifted and/or reps performed. If you are not keeping a record of your performance, it would be impossible to see any trends. There is a point however where additional data analysis does not provide better results and people often end up over-analysing. Paralysis by analysis

At Bodyscan we recommend keeping it simple and focusing only on three or four key metrics. There is no need to complicate what is a very straight-forward process. So what should you track? 

1. Calorie & protein intake
Without an accurate figure for the overall number of calories you are consuming, it’s difficult to know if you are in an appropriately sized deficit. At your first DEXA scan, your Bodyscan consultant will give you a very good idea of how many calories will put you in a deficit required to lose fat. As die from total calories, the only macronutrient (macro) you need to keep an eye on is protein. You need to consume a sufficient amount (2g per kilo of bodyweight is a good rule of thumb) to help maintain muscle mass, whether you are doing resistance training or not (you should do!)

2. Body weight
Of course, changes to body weight on their own do not paint the full picture because your weight tells you nothing about body composition. However, if you are very overweight (over-fat) most of your weight-loss will come from fat (and follow an initial rapid loss of weight from glycogen and body water), so your weight on the scales in that instance is a good indication that you are losing fat. You can provide firmer assurance if you track body weight alongside:

3. Gym performance
If you are maintaining or increasing your numbers in the gym, it’s a great sign that you’re maintaining your muscle mass. If your bodyweight is dropping at the same time, we can deduce that the change is due to a reduction in body fat.  For those who just can’t resist a bit of extra data you can also look at:

4. Measurements (waist, arm, chest, thigh)
Seeing a decrease in your waist measurement is a good proxy for fat-loss. Arm, chest and thigh measurements may decrease slightly too (especially if fat is being lost around these areas), which is why these measurements should be considered in conjunction with 1, 2 & 3.

To sum up, tracking data alone doesn’t dictate success, you have to actually put the effort in to alter the numbers. Instead of focusing on useless data like how many meals you eat per day or at what time or how many grams of this or that supplement you need, focus on the basic metrics which govern the majority of your progress and track these over time so you can determine the trend. From there, adjust accordingly.

Robert Webster
Bodyscan Consultant

How a DEXA scan can beat analysis paralysis and fast-track your results

A DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan does not measure your weight, it measures your body composition. That’s why a DEXA scan is the perfect complement to your fat-loss, muscle-gain or body recomposition programme.

Bodyscan clients have discovered that their change (or lack of change) in body weight has been either an amazing success or a disappointing failure. For example, we had one client whose DEXA body scan revealed he lost 6kg of weight but only 1kg was fat. A lack of protein and weight-training (and poor genetics) meant that what seemed like great weight-loss actually increased his body fat percentage.

Other customers’ scans show they lose more fat than they do weight – meaning they increased muscle mass at the same time; this is known as body recomposition (or ‘nirvana’!)

A DEXA scan will cut through the distracting minutiae of macros, meal timings, glycaemic indices, banned food groups, pyramid training regimes and so much other nonsense and show you, with medical-grade certainty, what is working and what is not.

If you are dieting and not losing weight, or hitting the gym regularly but not increasing muscle size (or the weights you lift), then book a Bodyscan DEXA scan now and finally start making progress. This 3-minute video and our hundreds of 5-star reviews should be enough to convince you to stop doing stuff that isn’t working for you.

If you have any questions, please drop us an email at [email protected] or search our FAQs.