DEXA Scan Results and the Importance of Knowing your Body Fat Percentage
Today I’m getting a DEXA scan. I do it for one single reason:
To correlate my current waist measurement with a body fat percentage.
Your waist measurement compared to your height is a great way to estimate body fat percentage. I made a video about that if you want to check it out.
Our waist goes up and down with your body fat so if I can accurately determine my body fat now then I’ll know what waist measurement I need to hit in the future to have a certain body fat percentage.
For example my waist is now 76cm (29.9 inches) at a height of 183cm (6 feet). I’ve been this lean before and I always thought this to be around 8% body fat.
My philosophy for building a great body is to alternate your cut and lean bulk cycles in the range of 8 to 13-15% body fat. This way you look good at all times and you allow yourself pretty substantial changes in weight during the course of a year. You can gain a lot of muscle in one cycle of going from 8% to 15% for example.
The way I tracked when it was time to stop cutting and start bulking or the other way around was through my waist measurement. I knew that my waist is around 76-77cm when I’m 8-9% body fat so that was the point where I ended my fat loss phases.
From my experience each centimeter on your waist is equivalent to 1 percent body fat. So when I switched to a lean gaining phase I would allow myself to gain weight until my waist hit 81cm. That’s when I knew I was getting too fat to look good so I went back to cutting.
Now, this is a great system to use IF you’re sure that your waist measurement is equivalent to a certain body fat percentage.
So I want to make sure that 76-77cm on my waist truly is 8-9%.
How much body fat do you really have?
You see most people seriously underestimate how much body fat they have. For example 7 weeks ago I thought I’d only have to lose 4kg (9lbs) to get to my current condition. But in reality I had to lose almost 6 kg (13lbs).
Some people I know had the same experience. Greg O’Gallagher my friend from Kinobody thought he’d be shredded at 185 lbs. In reality he had to drop down to 165-172 lbs to get there.
Another good example is Christian Guzman. If you’ve been following him on his latest cut, you know he had to drop down to 163 lbs to get stage ready. Much lower than he anticipated.
My point is most people seriously underestimate how much fat they need to lose. When someone looks like me at the start of my cut tells me that they only need to lose a little bit of fat from their lower abs I always chuckle. In reality they probably need to lose two or three times as much as they think to reach their goal physique.
Are my DEXA results right?
Ok so after carefully analysing the huge amount of data DEXA gave me, I’ve reached a final conclusion. So the picture below was taken this morning and DEXA says my body fat percentage here is….
Disappointing I know.
So the machine tells me I have 11 kg (24lbs) of fat on my body. And considering I weigh 76kg that means 15% of my body weight is fat.
Well there you have it folks. Apparently I’m much fatter than I thought. On YouTube I’m technically obese…
I’m joking now haha I think the results might be incorrect.
First of all the doctor told me the machine was calibrated for women, it didn’t have reference data for body fat percentage in males. That probably affected the results.
Also, I did a bit of research on Google and DEXA seems to overestimate body fat in some cases. For example a number of contest lean bodybuilders got a reading of 9% on DEXA.
To quote Lyle McDonald on the matter: “Personally, I find it a little bit off that DEXA is putting someone who is at a BF% near death/their essential body fat levels (3-4% in men) at 9% but so be it. And clearly DEXA is measuring something else that is causing it to give these higher values. I truly have no idea what.”
Or there is the possibility that I’m just making excuses. Maybe I truly am 15% body fat but all my experience working with clients tells me otherwise.
In the end I still think I’m somewhere around 9% but I am now not discarding the possibility that I could truly underestimate my body fat by 2-3 or percentages.
I can’t wait to diet to 6% body fat one day and see exactly how that will look. But I’m not going to do that now. I would look absolutely scrawny at 6%, I need to build more size first.
Let me know what you think about this video in the comment! I’m really curious about what you have to say about these results.
The Aggressive Fat Loss Program
This is the diet I’ve used on this cut. I’d have no trouble cutting for another 4 weeks this way because this is so enjoyable!
The way I spread out my food throughout the day makes sticking to a deficit basically effortless.
What I do is this:
- morning – black coffee and water
- 2 pm – 50g of protein and a large bowl of veggies
- 5 pm – a chocolate bar
- 9 pm – 100g of protein with some veggie sauce
- 10 pm – a huge bowl of my special fat-free fries
This is only one way you can setup the diet. The program gives you so many more tools to craft your perfect fat loss diet. I highly recommend you check it out!!! -> learn more about the program here.
Your right in regards to your body fat estimate of 8-9% body fat. I think your comparison on waist size and body fat is correct and accurate. I’m currently 33.50 inches at a height of 71 inches (157.50lbs). I know that I’m at least 5-8 pounds away from being at 31.00 to 32.00 inches (44-45%). One thing I have noticed is that as you get leaner the fat from the waist seems to drop faster. Most likely the reason being the last bit of fat is located in the midsection and if your lean everywhere else, your body has no choice but to use the fat in the midsection. Lastly, people have to except the fact that they will be light when the achieve a low body fat level.
Keep up the great work!
I agree with everything you said here.
Bun rezultat, bravo !
Enjoying your work man. Just wanted to clarify something. You said your height is 6 feet and waist is currently 29.9 which you believe to be 8-9% body fat.(judging by the pics I agree with).
At a height of 6 feet that puts your waist at 41.5% of your height. According to your waist/body fat measurements that’s pretty low.
Have you noticed these measurements are just lower for you?
I’m 5’10 with a 31″ waist and 10-12% looks pretty spot on for me.
Yes, it’s exactly as you said. I naturally have a slim waist.
For example when I’m 15-16% body fat my waist to height ratio is 45%. For other people that is around 10-12% bf.
Good eye 😉
Does that mean we have to lose more weight to get 6 pack abs
I’m 6 feet at my waist at the moment is 75 cm and cant see my abs i would say that im above 15% even when I had an 71 cm waist i wasnt lean enough to see my abs. Currently weighing 160 lbs. What does this mean?
Interesting. I don’t think you’re fat, I’d say you need to develop your ab muscles more.
Why are you so concerned with how much body percent fat you have? If you want really low percent (4-5%) your face will look like skeletor. I know because I had extremely low body fat. When your body fat drops really low your sex drive will plummet too. If your sex dive is non existent you know you have an extremely low body fat percentage.
You might be 15% but is that bad? The human body has all kind of components with varying densities and volumes that might make 15% ideal for you body type (in terms of looking and health) relative to someone with 8%. I don’t think you should just depend upon one number. In fact, the most recent studies suggest 12% body fat is optimal in terms of physical apperance in males and their immune system. So you may be better off a little higher. The second point, is many studies and personal trainers use various measures that will have different errors so the range may be highly variable itself what is the ideal. DEXA scans are new and not used in many studies or by personal trainers in the past.
More calibation of dexa scans with historical studies and peronsal experience using other methods would be needed.