Body Fat Testing - BodPod vs DEXA

After The Arnold, I had to decide whether I was going to drop weight and shoot for doing the USAW Nationals, or to put some weight back on and just focus on being the best strong(wo)man that I could be. The first step in that was to get a body fat test to see if I even had enough fat to lose without detriment in a drop from 173 lbs to 165 lbs.

I decided to pursue the strongman route, but I got the body fat test anyway. At least it would be a reference point for my gaining period. After I hit my target weight I can see if I put on mostly muscle or too much fat.

The DEXA scan is considered the “gold standard” of body composition testing. But it was harder to find and make an appointment, and it generally cost twice as much to do as the Bod Pod, which is a close second.

So I found a Bod Pod testing center at Berkeley and UC San Francisco. Berkeley got back to me first so I went there. This is back mid-March

All you have to do for the BodPod is wear tight fitting shorts and sports bra, put a swim cap over your hair, and sit in this literal pod for a couple of minutes. It makes some weird noises, so if you’re claustrophobic at all, it might be a little freaky. You have to wear the tight clothes and swim cap because any space taken up by clothing or hair will register as more displacement and bump up your body fat reading.

Here are the results from that:

22.8% body fat. No abs. Frowny face.

This seems about right, considering I track my food and weight.

Seemed about right to me. When I was 26 and a judo player, I was at about 19% and you could see my top four abs. You can’t see my abs right now, except first thing in the morning, dehydrated, and in a specific angle of light. So 22.8% it is!

You can see they also have a base metabolic rate given, based on various tissue levels, and a range of calories needed for maintenance at different activity levels. Given that I was bumped up to ~2800 calories after The Arnold, I’d say that this part is pretty accurate as well.

Then, United Barbell reached out to Body Spec, a company that has a DEXA scan machine in an RV and brings the body fat measurements to you much like the dunk tank did. This was about four months after doing the Bod Pod so I jumped at the chance to get retested with what is considered the Gold Standard of body composition testing.

Here are my results and readings from the DEXA:

Down 0.5% and up 10 lbs! Boo-yah!

Bone density is off the chart, mofos!

Again, seems about right.

So according to the DEXA scan, I’ve put on 10 lbs while dropping my body fat percentage by 0.5%. I feel pretty good about that! That means my muscle gains outpaced my fat gains by ever so slight of a margin, telling me that my nutrition approach and training focus were pretty spot on. (Thanks, Jon and Joy!)

So given how close these results are, and my personal experience with testing and the mirror, I’d say that both of these methods are pretty spot on accurate. Irregardless of whether I LIKE the results or not (of course, I’d want to be told I’m a 15% body fat anomaly!).

They’ll be back at the end of October and we can see the DEXA update a month after Strongman Nationals!