Which weighs more a pound of muscle or a pound of fat?
Ok, stupid question. Obviously, they weigh the same amount; it’s how they look that makes such a difference. When I walked into BodySpec, the display on the table caught my eye right away. While both examples weigh five pounds, it’s the differences in how they look and feel that make you gasp—proving that weight is more complex than just a number on a scale.
When Elaine, co-founder of BodySpec, reached out about coming in to get my body fat tested, I immediately said yes. I’ve wanted to do this for a while but the only method I knew about was the dunk tank—and getting into a bathing suit to figure out how much of my body was fat did NOT sound fun. Not to mention that I had no idea where you could even get that done.
BodySpec recently opened a storefront in West LA (and also has a fleet of mobile testing trucks that travel throughout CA) to give people access DXA scanners that measure and map your body’s muscle, fat, and bone. Among other benefits, the results can be used to pinpoint the exact impact of your workouts down to specific areas of muscle development and fat loss, all in less than 10 minutes and completely dry.
Scheduling a scan was easy—create an account online, choose a time that works for you, and fill out the intake form. When I arrived, I parked at a meter (free on Sundays) and headed up the stairs and into the building. After checking in, the technician whisked me away to the back. I took off all of my jewelry and my underwire bra (they suggest wearing workout clothes because they have no metal) and got seated on the padded bed of the machine. As I sat still, the machine proceeded to use weak x-ray beams to scan my entire body, starting at my head, lasting about seven minutes.
Once the scan was over, I grabbed my belongings and headed into the seating area where co-founder Jason was already ready with a print out of my results (see below). Jason went over all of the numbers, explaining what they meant as we went. I learned that my total body fat percentage is 29.1%, which is average for my age, but can definitely be improved upon.
It was unbelievable that the scan was able to single out specific body parts to assess muscle symmetry. For example, my right leg has less fat and more muscle than my left leg, but my arms have an equal amount of muscle. Jason said that it is common to see more muscle in your dominant side, but the results can help you figure out how to even up at the gym.
DXA scans are most helpful when done regularly in order to gauge progress for a certain workout routine or diet. BodySpec keeps track of each scan and tracks them on a graph to compare how your muscle mass changes over time. The data is also helpful because it provides an entire report on your bone density.
Curious to see if the mobile testing is near you? Check out the schedule here.
DXA Scan Pricing: one scan/$45, two scans/$85, four scans/$170
BodySpec also has a Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) testing machine that uses breath analysis to accurately measure how many calories you burn at rest. Knowing this number helps you calculate how many calories you should eat a day in order to lose, gain, or maintain your weight. One test is $75 and you can purchase two for $140.
Below are two sheets of data from my body scan so you can see what the results look like. Let’s just say it was a little kick in the butt to back away from the cheese fries 😉