What are you made of? DEXA Knows
For the past several months I’ve been experiencing serious performance decrease in my sport, especially in cycling. Trying to find the root cause I stumbled on such an interesting term as RED-S. According to Wikipedia:
“Relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S) is a syndrome in which disordered eating (or low energy availability), amenorrhoea/oligomenorrhoea, and decreased bone mineral density (osteoporosis and osteopenia) are present“.
It also says that:
“… an athlete’s bone density may decrease, but may not yet have dropped below her age-matched normal range. These signs can be considered “occult,” as no one symptom may be severe enough to seek medical attention, leaving the Triad to go unnoticed or untreated…”
Sounds pretty serious. I needed to rule out the possibility of having a low bone density so I went ahead and booked an appointment for the DEXA scan. Why DEXA?
A dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan is a low-radiation x-ray that accurately measures how much of your body weight is made up of fat, muscle, and bone. It also measures the bone density. Tt tells you your total body fat, muscle, and bone, and breaks it down by body part. I cared less about the body fat and muscle – just tell me what’s my bone density.
I did my test at the place called Studio Athletica in Toronto. I would recommend this place for the several reasons:
- Location – 5 Stars
- Customer service – 5 Stars
- Overall experience – 5 Stars
- Pricing – 5 Stars
I did get the number I was looking for, however I also got a lot of other very interesting information about my machinery. Let’s dive in!
Below you see three pictures of me:
- Bone (left)
- Muscle (middle)
- Fat (right)
According to the readings, my lean mass is 138 lb (63 kg), while total weight is about 156 lb (70 kg). Lean mass is the sum of all the muscle and soft organ tissue (internal organs, ligaments, connective tissue, etc.). What makes the rest 20 lb? Not the poop – Fat.
Fat mass includes all the fat found within the organs of the body as well as the subcutaneous fat found under the skin. 8.8% of Sasha is made out of fat.
Below is a breakdown:
This is the off season and I gained about 2-3 kg of my typical weigh. Even considering that 8% seem to be on the edge of health/performance. Below is the picture of me one month before this DEXA. I was about 2 kg lighter then, therefore I would assume that my body fat was 1-2% lower. However, to give you an idea of what 6-8% body fat looks like:
Next screenshot shows the more precise body fat percentage as well as RELATIVE SKELETAL MUSCLE INDEX (RSMI). What that is?
RSMI helps to determine your risk for sarcopenia.
Sarcopenia is a disease associated with the aging process. Loss of muscle mass and strength affects balance, gait, and the ability to perform daily living tasks.
It basically tell how old you are. Not too old yet, according to the readings. Also, with such a low body fat %, I might need to consider putting on some weight, as 8% is almost critical for my sport.
Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)
This is interesting, as it shows how much energy your body needs just to keep you alive. This energy is just enough to maintain your body temperature, heartbeat, and keep you breathing.
My machinery requires about 1,700 calories a day not to die. This makes me wonder, how would that look in terms of food?
worth of FOOD
Ok ok, I got distracted here… Basically, what I showed you is that to simply stay alive, mine and yours bodies require quite a bit of food. Try to eat almost 2 kilograms of salmon or 1,5 kg of sweet potatoes! Then multiply in by 7 to estimate the weekly intake. Also consider the thermic effect of proteins vs carbs and fats… I definitely underestimated the energy requirements of my body.
Muscle Balance in Body
This is a comparison of my body’s right to left muscle mass symmetry. Despite the fact that I am right-handed, left side of Sasha appears to be stronger. Abnormally big heart, bigger left arm, leg, runk… everything is bigger on the left side:
- Bone Density is within good range. It’s not included in this report, however I got the results separately.
- Resting Metabolic Rate is 1,700 calories/day, which is a lot of food.
- I might consider putting on some weight, as 8% body fat is pretty low – almost critical for my sport.