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Dexa Scan: Maintain weight and lose fat

being_fit_101being_fit_101 Posts: 12Member Member Posts: 12Member Member
done first Dexa scan today and found out bf percentage 28.5%. I am 5.5 male 138lbs. I was thinking to be around 20%body fat but the real number is higher than i expected. I look thin at current weight and want to lose body fat without losing muscle mass. Any tips would be highly appreciated. I am currently eating around maintenance and doing strength training Push/pull/legs (sun,mon,tues- wed rest, th, fri, sat). Don't do much cardio due to fear of losing muscle mass. Dexa scan result show that I have 35-39% bf on trunk and android region. My legs, arms, and hip areas are around 20%.

Replies

  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 15,507Member Member Posts: 15,507Member Member
    DEXA scans may be the best method for estimating body composition but they still have a margin of error.

    Your muscle gain is driven by your training so optimise that aspect. Are you following a proven program? Are you progressing?

    Diet supports your training, protein and calories are the biggest influencers. Would you be happy to lose some weight? If yes that's the quickest way to lose body fat but keep your deficit small.

    Cardio doesn't use muscle for fuel - that's a myth, you have more than ample fat and glycogen to use so why would your body get rid of muscle that you are actually using?

  • PAV8888PAV8888 Posts: 5,895Member Member Posts: 5,895Member Member
    I am having some trouble with your results which seem to be quite a-typical for a BMI of 23.

    What is your waist measurement in inches?
    Your height?
    Calculate your waist to height ratio.
    Does it show increased risk?
    35-39% abdominal region fat ought to translate into a 63% or higher (obese level) measurement for your waist to height ratio.

    (cribbed off the internet): For the purposes of calculating risk associated with increase abdominal girth, waist circumference needs to be measured at the location that is at the midpoint (i.e. half way) between the lowest rib and the top of the hip bone (called the “iliac crest”).

    This measurement should be taken with a flexible seamstress-type tape measure, being sure that the tape measure is at the same height in the front and the back, when standing in front of a mirror. That is, the tape measure should be perpendicular to the floor (not higher in the back or the front).

    It’s also important that the person’s abdomen (belly) is completely relaxed when taking the measurement, not sucked in. One way to do that is to taking a deep breath and let it out fully just as the measurement is taken. <of course if there is loose skin present that may complicate things quite a bit>

    It is worth noting that a dexa scan is not 100% automated and a technician has to manually select the regions on the scan. The results of a single scan can be re-reviewed and re-interpreted based on the regions selected.

    If my waist to height ratio did not confirm the severe dissonance that is implied by a normal weight BMI of 23 while having abdominal body fat in the obese region, I would give the DEXA people a call and ask them to re-examine the results and regions that they selected.
    edited April 17
  • being_fit_101being_fit_101 Posts: 12Member Member Posts: 12Member Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    DEXA scans may be the best method for estimating body composition but they still have a margin of error.

    Your muscle gain is driven by your training so optimise that aspect. Are you following a proven program? Are you progressing?

    Diet supports your training, protein and calories are the biggest influencers. Would you be happy to lose some weight? If yes that's the quickest way to lose body fat but keep your deficit small.

    Cardio doesn't use muscle for fuel - that's a myth, you have more than ample fat and glycogen to use so why would your body get rid of muscle that you are actually using?

    Thanks. I introduced push,pull,legs 2 months ago and am seeing progress specially in upper body n arms. Couple of months back i did 30 mins cardio after weight. At that time i was using impedance method for fat/muscle change. It showed that i lost couple of pounds of muscle..since then i have impression that cardio also causes muscle loss.. the impedance method might not be accurate to make that conclusion..i will introduce cardio n do slight caloric deficit n see what happens..
  • being_fit_101being_fit_101 Posts: 12Member Member Posts: 12Member Member
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    I am having some trouble with your results which seem to be quite a-typical for a BMI of 23.

    What is your waist measurement in inches?
    Your height?
    Calculate your waist to height ratio.
    Does it show increased risk?
    35-39% abdominal region fat ought to translate into a 63% or higher (obese level) measurement for your waist to height ratio.

    (cribbed off the internet): For the purposes of calculating risk associated with increase abdominal girth, waist circumference needs to be measured at the location that is at the midpoint (i.e. half way) between the lowest rib and the top of the hip bone (called the “iliac crest”).

    This measurement should be taken with a flexible seamstress-type tape measure, being sure that the tape measure is at the same height in the front and the back, when standing in front of a mirror. That is, the tape measure should be perpendicular to the floor (not higher in the back or the front).

    It’s also important that the person’s abdomen (belly) is completely relaxed when taking the measurement, not sucked in. One way to do that is to taking a deep breath and let it out fully just as the measurement is taken. <of course if there is loose skin present that may complicate things quite a bit>

    It is worth noting that a dexa scan is not 100% automated and a technician has to manually select the regions on the scan. The results of a single scan can be re-reviewed and re-interpreted based on the regions selected.

    If my waist to height ratio did not confirm the severe dissonance that is implied by a normal weight BMI of 23 while having abdominal body fat in the obese region, I would give the DEXA people a call and ask them to re-examine the results and regions that they selected.

    My waist is 31 inches n waist to height 0.48. I was doing impedance method 3-4 times before and was showing around 19 to 21.5 percentage. I did Dexa to see how muscle n fat is distributed.
  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 15,507Member Member Posts: 15,507Member Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    DEXA scans may be the best method for estimating body composition but they still have a margin of error.

    Your muscle gain is driven by your training so optimise that aspect. Are you following a proven program? Are you progressing?

    Diet supports your training, protein and calories are the biggest influencers. Would you be happy to lose some weight? If yes that's the quickest way to lose body fat but keep your deficit small.

    Cardio doesn't use muscle for fuel - that's a myth, you have more than ample fat and glycogen to use so why would your body get rid of muscle that you are actually using?

    Thanks. I introduced push,pull,legs 2 months ago and am seeing progress specially in upper body n arms. Couple of months back i did 30 mins cardio after weight. At that time i was using impedance method for fat/muscle change. It showed that i lost couple of pounds of muscle..since then i have impression that cardio also causes muscle loss.. the impedance method might not be accurate to make that conclusion..i will introduce cardio n do slight caloric deficit n see what happens..

    Muscle loss typically comes from inactivity - not using your muscles.
    If you are an ultra lean body builder cutting down to a low level of body fat that is only sustainable for days then cardio might be an issue. That doesn't translate to it being true for "normal" people.

    I do share @PAV8888's surprise at your DEXA results given your height / weight. A picture would help.

    Push/pull/legs isn't a necessarily a program - it could be a collection of inefficient push, pull, leg exercises done at the wrong volume and intensity.
    e.g. as an extreme example to illustrate my point someone doing 3 reps of "pink dumbbell" wrist curls and tricep kickbacks with a few minutes on the adductor/abductor machine could say they are doing P/P/L. :smile:
    edited April 17
  • being_fit_101being_fit_101 Posts: 12Member Member Posts: 12Member Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    DEXA scans may be the best method for estimating body composition but they still have a margin of error.

    Your muscle gain is driven by your training so optimise that aspect. Are you following a proven program? Are you progressing?

    Diet supports your training, protein and calories are the biggest influencers. Would you be happy to lose some weight? If yes that's the quickest way to lose body fat but keep your deficit small.

    Cardio doesn't use muscle for fuel - that's a myth, you have more than ample fat and glycogen to use so why would your body get rid of muscle that you are actually using?

    Thanks. I introduced push,pull,legs 2 months ago and am seeing progress specially in upper body n arms. Couple of months back i did 30 mins cardio after weight. At that time i was using impedance method for fat/muscle change. It showed that i lost couple of pounds of muscle..since then i have impression that cardio also causes muscle loss.. the impedance method might not be accurate to make that conclusion..i will introduce cardio n do slight caloric deficit n see what happens..

    Muscle loss typically comes from inactivity - not using your muscles.
    If you are an ultra lean body builder cutting down to a low level of body fat that is only sustainable for days then cardio might be an issue. That doesn't translate to it being true for "normal" people.

    I do share @PAV8888's surprise at your DEXA results given your height / weight. A picture would help.

    Push/pull/legs isn't a necessarily a program - it could be a collection of inefficient push, pull, leg exercises done at the wrong volume and intensity.
    e.g. as an extreme example to illustrate my point someone doing 3 reps of "pink dumbbell" wrist curls and tricep kickbacks with a few minutes on the adductor/abductor machine could say they are doing P/P/L. :smile:

    I am using dexa as baseline n see how things change in 6 months. For training i am doing mostly compound lifts..bench press, front/back squat n deadlifts and some isolation workouts for arms n core. Nutrition wise i try to maintain 30/40/30 split. I eat healthy food than most of people i personally know..i might be eating too much healthy fat though, as fat conent in some foods r difficult to count. ..need to log food seriously..
  • pierinifitnesspierinifitness Posts: 2,345Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,345Member, Premium Member
    My first DEXA-SCAN back in January was a humbling experience. But, it motivated me and I was a man on a mission the next three months. Just had second one a week ago and shared my progress here at MFP on another discussion topic. I was pleased with my progress.

    Train hard and smart and you’ll be pleased the next time too.

    Wishing you the best.
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Posts: 5,895Member Member Posts: 5,895Member Member
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    I am having some trouble with your results which seem to be quite a-typical for a BMI of 23.

    What is your waist measurement in inches?
    Your height?
    Calculate your waist to height ratio.
    Does it show increased risk?
    35-39% abdominal region fat ought to translate into a 63% or higher (obese level) measurement for your waist to height ratio.

    (cribbed off the internet): For the purposes of calculating risk associated with increase abdominal girth, waist circumference needs to be measured at the location that is at the midpoint (i.e. half way) between the lowest rib and the top of the hip bone (called the “iliac crest”).

    This measurement should be taken with a flexible seamstress-type tape measure, being sure that the tape measure is at the same height in the front and the back, when standing in front of a mirror. That is, the tape measure should be perpendicular to the floor (not higher in the back or the front).

    It’s also important that the person’s abdomen (belly) is completely relaxed when taking the measurement, not sucked in. One way to do that is to taking a deep breath and let it out fully just as the measurement is taken. <of course if there is loose skin present that may complicate things quite a bit>

    It is worth noting that a dexa scan is not 100% automated and a technician has to manually select the regions on the scan. The results of a single scan can be re-reviewed and re-interpreted based on the regions selected.

    If my waist to height ratio did not confirm the severe dissonance that is implied by a normal weight BMI of 23 while having abdominal body fat in the obese region, I would give the DEXA people a call and ask them to re-examine the results and regions that they selected.

    My waist is 31 inches n waist to height 0.48. I was doing impedance method 3-4 times before and was showing around 19 to 21.5 percentage. I did Dexa to see how muscle n fat is distributed.

    A 31" waist and 0.48 waist to height ratio are congruent with a BMI of 23 and dissonant with an abdominal fat level in the 35% to 39% range.

    Whether you want to post a picture of your abdominal area or not is up to you... but, to me, it sounds as if your DEXA scan people need to have another look at your results and the "areas" they have selected for the calculations on your scan, and also discuss with you calibration, sources of error, retests, and what have you.

    Your weight, height, waist, and waist to height ratio all say that your android result, as presented, is bunk.
    edited April 18
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Posts: 5,895Member Member Posts: 5,895Member Member
    For the sake of comparison my closest DEXA scan to your current BMI of 23 was with me at a BMI of 23.77 about a year and a half ago.

    It was a 23.4% body fat DEXA with my android fat % at 24.3%.

    My waist is a bit hard to calculate due to a some excess skin; but, my waist to height ratio comes to just over 0.5, with my waist being closer to 34 and bit than 31!

    I am still at the same weight and height and don't believe my composition has changed significantly since that scan.

    The results of my last two DEXA scans, both in the normal weight BMI range, were so close to "as expected" for my BMI that I decided that I didn't need to continue scanning unless and until I made significant changes to either my weight or body composition.

    "as expected for my BMI" for the 23.77 BMI scan at age 51 would be around 24.05% based on common conversion formulas.
    edited April 18
  • mom23mangosmom23mangos Posts: 2,820Member Member Posts: 2,820Member Member
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    For the sake of comparison my closest DEXA scan to your current BMI of 23 was with me at a BMI of 23.77 about a year and a half ago.

    It was a 23.4% body fat DEXA with my android fat % at 24.3%.

    My waist is a bit hard to calculate due to a some excess skin; but, my waist to height ratio comes to just over 0.5, with my waist being closer to 34 and bit than 31!

    I am still at the same weight and height and don't believe my composition has changed significantly since that scan.

    The results of my last two DEXA scans, both in the normal weight BMI range, were so close to "as expected" for my BMI that I decided that I didn't need to continue scanning unless and until I made significant changes to either my weight or body composition.

    "as expected for my BMI" for the 23.77 BMI scan at age 51 would be around 24.05% based on common conversion formulas.

    If he has abnormally high levels of visceral fat, wouldn't that account for the discrepancy?
  • being_fit_101being_fit_101 Posts: 12Member Member Posts: 12Member Member
    i have 6.4lbs of lean mass and 4.2lbs of fat in android region. visceral fat is 1.9lb. it might be visceral fat contributing to higher android fat percentage. I was very thin till my 20's around 100lbs, and gain weight later just following poor lifestyle and diet. i am doing workouts and watching diet since couple of years now. i think i have skinny fat situation. dexa image attached
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Posts: 5,895Member Member Posts: 5,895Member Member
    You're throwing some "curve-balls" in that having been "around 100lbs" at 5ft 5" is a severely underweight BMI (16.7) which implies the possibility of a prior ED which implies that calorie counting and this site may not be the best options for you!

    Your DEXA scan scan is also from a different machine (GM?) than the one I used (Hologic) and so the color coding is a bit different; but, best I can tell, the picture does show overweight levels of fat reserves and would be compatible with the percentage figures given.

    Are you sure about your height being 5ft 5" and weight being 138lbs or are you converting and there is a possibility of an error?

    Attached is an equivalent picture to yours from my scans at the following body fat/android % / BMI combinations:
    BF 38.8 A 46.5% BMI 36.2
    BF 32.9 A 32.9% BMI 31.4
    BF 29.4 A 33.6% BMI 29.6
    BF 24.9 A 27.6% BMI 26.4
    BF 22.7 A 24.0% BMI 24.8
    BF 23.4 A 24.3% BMI 23.8

    I am not going to disagree that your attached picture looks to me closer to the first three than the last three, so the picture you're showing looks compatible with the numbers you've been given.

    Except with how far off your BMI seems to be from your scan.
    OK we all know that BMI can be off. Even dramatically off.
    Well that's why there are corroborating measurements.

    But your waist measurement at 31" is agreeing with your BMI that you're normal risk.
    And your waist to height measurement of less than 0.5 is agreeing with your BMI that you're normal risk.
    Yet your scan argues that you're overweight to obese.

    Is it the right picture? Far fetched as it may seem.
    edited April 18
  • MikePTYMikePTY Posts: 3,215Member, Premium Member Posts: 3,215Member, Premium Member
    i have 6.4lbs of lean mass and 4.2lbs of fat in android region. visceral fat is 1.9lb. it might be visceral fat contributing to higher android fat percentage. I was very thin till my 20's around 100lbs, and gain weight later just following poor lifestyle and diet. i am doing workouts and watching diet since couple of years now. i think i have skinny fat situation. dexa image attached

    If you were previously underweight, especially from an ED, it's possible that you lost significant muscle mass so you could have more fat for your weight than is to be expected because of that.
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Posts: 5,895Member Member Posts: 5,895Member Member
    Oh well. I can't argue with reality :lol:

    If we accept that your picture is correct and you do have highly overweight levels of fat reserves the fastest way to correct this involves reducing the reserves while engaging in progressive strength training.

    I would argue that given that you are prioritizing lean mass and that you have been very underweight in the past, that engaging in a large caloric restriction could be potentially counter-productive.

    Thus a caloric restriction aimed to losing half a pound a week and a proven progressive strength training program are the way to go as I have some concerns whether aiming for a faster loss rate would be appropriate for you.

    Have a read here in terms of good programs you may want to try: https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10332083/which-lifting-program-is-the-best-for-you/p1
    edited April 18
  • being_fit_101being_fit_101 Posts: 12Member Member Posts: 12Member Member
    It has been a long time i stopped using BMI, as it doesn't give my health picture correctly. Even @140lbs i have border line cholesterol and gulcose level. This also explains higher bf @ android region. since i already look thin (on clothes), i don't want to lose weight. My current goal is to stay on maintenance and do progressive overload to build muscle. ideal goal is to gain muscle and lose fat @ same time and maintain 140lbs till bf drops to low 20's.
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Posts: 5,895Member Member Posts: 5,895Member Member
    Sounds like a good general plan. I would argue that since progressive overload and muscle building are priorities a proven structured beginner program may be the way to go as compared to your own programming
  • magnusthenerdmagnusthenerd Posts: 844Member Member Posts: 844Member Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    DEXA scans may be the best method for estimating body composition but they still have a margin of error.

    Your muscle gain is driven by your training so optimise that aspect. Are you following a proven program? Are you progressing?

    Diet supports your training, protein and calories are the biggest influencers. Would you be happy to lose some weight? If yes that's the quickest way to lose body fat but keep your deficit small.

    Cardio doesn't use muscle for fuel - that's a myth, you have more than ample fat and glycogen to use so why would your body get rid of muscle that you are actually using?

    Thanks. I introduced push,pull,legs 2 months ago and am seeing progress specially in upper body n arms. Couple of months back i did 30 mins cardio after weight. At that time i was using impedance method for fat/muscle change. It showed that i lost couple of pounds of muscle..since then i have impression that cardio also causes muscle loss.. the impedance method might not be accurate to make that conclusion..i will introduce cardio n do slight caloric deficit n see what happens..

    Cardio won't cause muscle loss - it can impede muscle gain, particularly in the legs, but there are some major caveats to what extent it causes an interference.
    1. Intensity matters. HIIT style training is going to generate more interference than sprints, and sprints more than endurance jogging. Something like warming up to do lifts is only going to be beneficial by improving lifts.
    2. Exercise matter: biking / cycling seem less interfering than running.
    3. Timing matter: keeping them separated helps cut down intereference and allows recovery to improve performance. They should be at least 6 hours apart if possible, and better still different days entirely.
  • pierinifitnesspierinifitness Posts: 2,345Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,345Member, Premium Member
    There seems to be a mindset that puts building muscle in the front seat with only an occasion whisper of building strength. I think a better mindset is one that puts building strength in the front seat because muscular development will tag along for the ride.
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