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Everything you need to know about DEXA scan preparation

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Whether you're a seasoned athlete or just starting a new workout and diet regimen, there are ways to help you maximize your potential and get the most out of your workouts and diet. When it comes to our bodies' imperfections, we're all guilty of being too hard on ourselves. It is possible, though, that we are not the best at determining our true weight.  

A body composition scan (body tissue quantitation) provides you with an accurate picture of how fat and lean muscle are distributed throughout your body – and whether this is healthy – allowing you to tailor your training to your specific needs.

How does DEXA scan work?

Accurate measures of body composition provide valuable information for assessing and monitoring the human body. Most people are used to sometimes stepping on a scale. While weight tracking is useful, it is not a precise method of measuring health and fitness growth.  

A DEXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) scan is a type of x-ray that is the most precise commercially available body composition diagnostic. It's the gold standard for determining body composition, and it's commonly used in medical research.  

The scan provides extensive data, including full-body bone density, fat mass ratio, lean muscle mass, body fat percentage, visceral fat estimation, and resting metabolic rate estimation. All of this data will help you, your doctor and your trainer know precisely how to improve body composition.

Drinking water before your body fat test, wearing comfortable clothing with no metal like buttons or zippers, are all part of the simplicity of DEXA scan preparation.

For your DEXA scan, you'll lie flat on a table with your ankles and knees gently held in place to align your lower body. The machine's arm will next slowly move over your body for 5-10 minutes. It is not painful, and unlike a traditional MRI, you will not be confined to a small space.  

The DEXA scan can be used to do an initial body composition assessment and to understand how the body changes over time – that is, how much the lean and fat tissue fluctuates over time, allowing you to follow the impacts of training and dietary programs.  

DEXA's body composition capabilities can also be used to measure the visceral fat level in the android (waist) area. Visceral fat, often known as abdominal fat, is of particular concern since it is more involved in a variety of health issues than subcutaneous fat, which you can grasp in your hand. Visceral fat, on the other hand, is found deep within the abdominal cavity, filling in the crevices between our organs. Finally, DEXA offers further bone density information.  

What are the benefits?

DEXA/DXA body composition assessment technology provides far more thorough and precise information than any other technique for calculating weight and body fat, including skinfold calipers, hydrostatic weighing, and bioelectrical impedance analysis. Dexa scan results and treatment can be used to measure body composition and follow the effects of diet and exercise by individuals, trainers, and clinicians. Furthermore, the results are quick and painless.

Perform to the best of your ability in your chosen sport

Several studies have been conducted to determine the optimal body fat levels and ranges required to perform optimally in various sports. Male bodybuilders, for example, will seek for less than 10% body fat during competition, while bikers will aim for 8%-10% and swimmers will aim for 12-15%.  

Motivate yourself to work out

If you can precisely quantify the fat and lean muscle on your torso and legs to the nearest gram, it's a fantastic approach to set training goals. Future scans will allow you to monitor your development and make necessary changes to your activity and nutrition.  

Check your baseline against the standards in your age/weight/body type

The DEXA scan will also offer you with a "body fat ranking," which compares your body fat to that of the general population. You can compare yourself to people your age and gender in this manner.  

You won’t be distracted by the number on the scale

Muscle weighs more than fat. Muscle takes up less space than fat; nevertheless, because muscle is more sculpted and less unsteady, your clothes will fit better and you will appear more toned.  

This is why, when you begin exercising, it is common to lose fat and gain muscle while remaining the same weight. Muscles, on the other hand, burn more calories than fat, therefore if you're dieting, you should also exercise to build muscle.  

Muscle Building Nutrition

By working your muscles to exhaustion with heavy weights and low reps, your muscle fibers will become more active and dense, resulting in a higher metabolic burn every second of every day while also presenting your body with tone and shape rather than bulk.

Protein ingestion promotes muscle growth. Meat, legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, peas and beans, tofu, nuts and seeds, and grains such as oats, brown rice, quinoa, millet, and whole-wheat pasta are all high in protein.

Reduce injury risk

While impact sports, such as walking, can increase bone density, repetitive exercises, particularly those involving joints, shins, and feet, can cause bone strain. DEXA scans provide bone density data to monitor the condition of your bones. While out of the game due to injury, athletes gain weight and lose muscle. A body composition scan can accurately measure these changes and aid in the implementation of a successful rehabilitation strategy.

The DEXA scan is the most advanced method of learning about the unique structure of your own body composition. In your journey toward peak athletic performance, the data it provides, when monitored over time, is as effective as a trainer or field coach.

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