Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary DEXA scan in exchange for my honest review.
As a fitness professional who works with clients who want to lose weight and increase strength, I often emphasize the importance of body composition rather than relying solely on the scale as a means of measuring progress. The scale just doesn’t tell you the whole story. For that reason, we always take measurements when a client starts working with me and we track it on a regular basis, with a measuring tape and a handheld body fat monitor.
But recently I had the opportunity to experience a technology that takes body composition measurement to a whole other level — DEXA Scan.
It’s a type of Xray. DEXA, or DXA, which stands for Dual Energy Xray Absorptiometry, uses energy beams to measure lean body mass, fat mass and bone mass. It’s considered the gold standard for measuring body composition. Instead of guessing whether you are making progress in your muscle growth and fat loss, a DEXA scan gives you precise results. And it’s not just giving you an overall percentage of fat mass and lean mass, it measures sections of your body and breaks it all down for you so that you know exactly where and how much.
In addition, it estimates the amount of visceral fat, the type of fat around internal organs associated with medical disorders such as metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
It also measures bone density, which is the thing I wanted to find out the most. I’ve been lactose intolerant since childhood so I don’t drink milk or eat much dairy at all. I always wondered if this had hurt my bones. Plus, I’m at the age where bone density should be evaluated in women, to help head off osteopenia or osteoporosis down the road.
A DEXA scan is safe. I was told the amount of radiation exposure is roughly the same as a flight from LA to NYC.
First, technician Adam Garrett took my height and weight on a regular scale, so they can determine BMI. Then, I was positioned on the cushioned scanner table.
You keep your clothes on, but you’ll need to remove any metal you have on. Ladies, wear a bra without a metal clasp or underwire. I wore a sports bra top. Also, you are instructed not to exercise before your scan, so I didn’t work out that morning.
Basically all you have to do is lie there and be still for a few minutes. The machine slowly moves overhead as it makes a scan of your body, but does not touch you. The table also moves gently at times during the scan. It was no big deal and didn’t trigger any motion sickness in me whatsoever. The scan itself takes about two and a half minutes.
Then Adam printed a report of the results and took a lot of time to go over everything with me and explain what it all meant. He also answered all questions I had.
It was really interesting to see all the data — such as, is my right arm different from my left, in terms of muscle mass and fat? Did I have dangerous visceral fat lurking around my organs? Are my bones strong enough?
My bone strength is great! There’s no doubt, all the exercise I have been doing over the last decade has paid off. All my other measurements were in a normal range as well.
If you are interested in knowing precisely what your fat, muscle and bone levels are, then a DEXA scan is for you. It takes the guessing out of your training or dieting plan.
My scan was done in Durham, North Carolina at https://www.dxabodycompnc.com and cost $75. There are locations across the country. Price varies by location. To learn more and to find a DEXA scan location near you, visit https://dexascan.com.
©2019 Michelle Rogers, Inc.