Why is it important to learn what body composition is?
Well, for one, body composition analysis allows a person to know how much fat and lean body mass they have. With this, you will also be able to find your ideal weight. You might be hearing this all your life, but what does it actually mean?
I know you are already familiar with the charts you see at the doctor’s office – these charts give you a rough idea of your ideal weight. They will take note of your weight, height, frame size, and your gender. With this, they will estimate your appropriate body weight. Using the charts, you can get classified as underweight, at a proper weight, or overweight – depending on the size of your frame. However, these charts don’t provide your body composition. Knowing your body composition allows you to know how much lean body mass and body fat you have.
Your body weight or body composition has two parts: your body fat and your lean body mass. Under your body fat, it is divided into two types: the essential fat and the storage fat.
The essential fat is made up of a tiny amount of fat that can be stored in your organs such as your heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys, and intestines. You can also find them in your muscle tissue, the tissues found throughout your central nervous system, and in your bone marrow. Simply from its term, it is called so because the body needs this to maintain normal bodily processes – temperature regulation, absorption of shock, and production of energy. Did you know that women have more essential body fat than men? Women’s bodies need more of it in order to store energy in the form of fat for support in childbearing and other functions that are hormone-related.
On the other hand, storage fat is the kind of fat that cushions your internal organs. Your visceral fat or abdominal fat and the fat lying beneath your skin’s surface serve as a cushion for your skeleton and to also conserve body heat. It is essential to keep your body fat in a healthy range as an excess accumulation of visceral fat can be associated with several health concerns.
Everything that isn’t fat is your lean body mass – this includes your bones, organs, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fluids.
Your body’s lean and fat masses are divided into two different types of cells and tissues – this is the reason why muscle can’t be transformed into fat. It might seem as if that’s what happens when you stop exercising your muscles. Your muscles can be smaller without resistance training – which can make the surface fat more apparent.
You can identify who’s thin and who’s lean and who’s overfat and who’s overweight using the body composition analysis.
Say, if someone weighs less using the height and weight table, it would classify the person as thin. This is where body composition isn’t measured by the height and weight table. What the table might not be saying is this person might be carrying excess body fat – or they’re overfat.
If a person weighs more in the height and weight table, it will then suggest that the person is overweight without having to consider the body composition of the person. What the table might not be saying is this person could have a low body fat percentage (think: athletes who have a lot of muscle.) hence, making them fall in the category of lean.
The excess body fat of a person must be known (not just the excess weight) as this is important and has an impact on the overall health and well-being of a person. For men, the healthy body fat levels are around 15% while it’s 22% for women – depending on age. Keep in mind that you still need to carry a bit of body fat as they are essential in your other body functions.