Bioelectrical Impedance Digital Scale, are they worth it? (30 days and counting.)

Well, I surpassed another 10 days of my Lent Fitness Challenge, which I started March 6, 2019 –  Ash Wednesday. 16 more days to go! It is certainly not without its trials but I forage on and is now nearing the end of my temporary “fasting”. As is true for the goal of this blog, I’m doing this to create better habits and to continue on the journey of self-development, preferably on a budget. Fitness plays a major part in my overall well-being and thus I endeavor everyday to be better than I was yesterday, even if at times it becomes daunting because life happens that makes it difficult to carve some “me time”. What have I learned this past 10 days? Read more below.

The Goal

To reduce my body’s fat mass and increase muscle mass by exercising 6 of the 7 days of the week using free exercises on YouTube.com, while also restricting processed sweets off my diet temporarily.

The Journey

The update

I. Am. Perplexed.

And so, I did some research as to why my body analysis digital scale is showing no improvement on either my fat or muscle measurement. At all! (I’m not talking about tenths or hundredths but whole number difference.) Ugh. It’s proving to be quite difficult to achieve my goal.

A Little Science Background

From what I read, my body analysis digital scale (Bioelectrical Impedence Analysis or BIA) measures my fat/muscle mass by sending a low (and safe) electrical current up one foot through the leg, across the pelvis, and back down the other leg to the foot pad. Electrical current travels faster through water and muscle than it does through fat. The speed is then calculated to determine fat/muscle percentage.

The Predicament

Up to this point, I have been using a Bioelectrical Impedence Body Analysis Digital Weighing Scale to measure myself. The scale measures the following: Body Fat, Hydration Levels, Bone Mass, Muscle Mass, BMI, and Calories. However, I am finding, despite my workouts predominantly focused on my legs, and the measurement only circulating the legs and pelvis, I have yet to see my muscle percentage increase or my fat percentage decrease. I should be seeing some form of results by now, right?!

Instead, I am left to decipher whether: A.) My weighing scale is broken; or B.) I’m just not doing enough exercises to build muscle. Oh, there is so much about fitness I have yet to learn. So the journey continues.

Perhaps a Better Way to Gauge Health

  • Because BMI is calculated using weight and height, and muscle (or bones even- especialy for larger bone frame) weighs heavier than fat, using BMI as a health gauge is not enough for me.
  • Because my weighing scale is doubtfully accurate at this point, my weighing scale is not enough gauge for me. There are actually a lot of articles about whether Body Analysis Digital Scales are all that accurate. I only have access to mine and my sister’s, which are two different brands. Her’s measured me at 26% fat, whereas mine measured me at 38% at the beginning of this fitness challenge.

So, I kept researching how to better gauge my body’s fat and muscle calculation. I have read that Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR) is a better way to measure health status, especially for measuring risk to heart diseases. It measures the hip circumference against the waist circumference. So I gave it a go. My ratio is at 0.784. It falls under Low Risk but it’s on the higher end of Low Risk. So I still got quite a bit of losing or toning to do.

Here’s the WHR Chart:

(Categorized at levels of risk of Heart Disease and/or other conditions linked to being overweight – according to Healtline.com)

  • Low Risk
    • 0.80 or Lower (Women)
    • 0.95 or Lower (Men)
  • Medium Risk
    • 0.81 – 0.85 (Women)
    • 0.96 – 1.0 (Men)
  • High Risk
    • 0.86 or Higher (Women_
    • 1.0 or Higher (Men)

Here’s how to get the measurements:

  • Stand up straight and breathe out, no sucking in! Use a tape measure to check the distance around the smallest part of your waist, above the belly button, where the body naturally curves in on the sides. This is your waist circumference.
  • Then measure the distance around the largest part of your hips, the widest part of your buttocks. This is your hip circumference.
  • Divide your waist circumference by your hip circumference to get your WHR.

What I did Differently this set of 10 days

  • Replaced running outdoors 3x a week with a Stationary Bike 3x a week, about 20 mins each time. It’s pretty boring but man, does it give me a better sweat output! And my legs feel like “jello” afterwards. I’m hoping this will help me improve my run speed. We will have to wait and see.

My Stats in a Nutshell

*As there are several ways to measure a “healthy” body, I’ve included measurements for other body parts I’ve read about. I was on a roll with the measuring tape. haha

BMI: 121 (Normal/Healthy)

WHR: 0.784 (Low Risk/Healthy)

Left Thigh: 21.5″

Right Thigh: 22”

Left Calf: 14″

Right Calf: 14.25″

Left Wrist: 6.25” (Medium Boned Body Frame)

Right Wrist: 6.25” (Medium Boned Body Frame)

Left Ankle: 8″

Right Ankle: 8″

Fat: 38% (Obese)

Muscle: 33%

Water Percentage: 45%

Bone Mass: 16 Lbs.

Interesting Reads

Final Words

It’s interesting to me that by measurement standards, with the exclusion of fat percentage, I am healthy. What it boils down to for me is toning. I still have the extra flab around my mid section born from my pregnancy days and up until now, I have not really done much to try and get rid of it. I still have the muffin top, the love handles, the flabby arms, which should disappear as I continue to workout. (I am starting to hold my plank pass 2 minutes at a time. Yay progress!) It will just take time, being older and all that good stuff. At this point, I’m not too worried about the digital body analysis scale. It would seem, to me at least, that mine is broken. haha Tune in next week as I reveal the brand I’m using, as well as my final measurements. I’ll see if I can squeeze in a measurement with my sister’s weighing scale as well to compare the two.

As always, a precaution: I am not a fitness expert nor a doctor and the information I presented to you on this post is for informational purposes only. Thank you for understanding. Please seek the advise of your doctor before starting a workout regimen.

Until next time.

Mabuhay!

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