Dexa Scans! At home scales, my results and reference pics


#1

I wanted to share my DEXA vs Tanita vs Nokia results.

DEXA Scans

Dexa scans are the “gold standard” for body fat measurement. They aren’t perfect but they are the best we’ve got other than an autopsy.

They send two different types of x-rays through you to figure out your fat/lean/bone mass.

Measurement Process

Each time I had a DEXA scan I stepped on a Tanita scale and measured body fat with fat calipers in three spots then used this website to determine bodyfat.

From 9/21/2018 onward I started using a Nokia body scale because it syncs online and makes it easier for my to track my day to day weight.

What we see between Jonathan, Chad and I is that the Tanita “regular” setting tracks pretty well with the DEXA and the Tanita “Athlete” setting tracks pretty well with fat calipers.

One thing that a DEXA gets is your visceral and intramuscular fat rather than just subcutaneous like fat calipers do. I think that’s why I see a different ratio, especially between 7/17/2017 and 9/21/2018.

Complete Results

If you want to see my entire spreadsheet you can view that here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Yf_Y59XUgr5qsgeFxOOfNjHjQFMYw5nQ2EjHjQMqx8E/edit?usp=sharing

Here’s my latest DEXA sheet that I got from the imaging service. You can see that overall my fat has trended down (black boxes) and my muscle has trended up (red boxes).

Note: There was a bad test on 1/18/2018 so they had me do it again, that’s why you see two on the same day.

For me, I’ve got a goal to get around 11-12% on DEXA for my A races. I don’t think I could maintain that year round as that’s very lean.

DEXA Bodyfat Examples

DEXA measures way higher than what you’d normally think. Here’s someone at 8% body fat on a DEXA (no that’s not me if any of you were wondering :joy:).

Since (most of) us cyclists have way less muscle than that guy we’d even have LESS body fat since our overall weight would be less if we were the same height.

Here’s a bigger range of some well-known people and a video that shows it. What the guy in the video misses is that the DEXA is measuring visceral and intramuscular fat, which you can’t see.

DEXA Bodyfat Cyclists

Durian rider did a DEXA and came in at 3.9%!
Chris Froome is estimated to be at 4.1% during the tour but stays around 9.5% the rest of the year.

What I’m saying is don’t beat yourself up when you come back with a DEXA higher than you thought you were going to get. 17% looks pretty damn good to me!


Weight scale integration
#2

+1 to the Nokia body scale! I’ve been using it for my training and weight loss and it’s been a great unit. I haven’t had a DEXA in a while, but I’ll be going in for one soon and will report back with the numbers to compare against the scale.

One thing to keep in mind is to make sure you set the height correctly, otherwise the body fat estimations will be slightly off. (The doctors had told me growing up that I was 5’11, but that was either incorrect, or my mild scoliosis has cut me down a minor peg :rofl: so I was bummed when I corrected the height and the body fat increased)


#3

Is the Nokia tracking closely to the Tanita?


#4

I haven’t brought the Tanita home do to daily tests. I will put it in my car tonight so I can test tomorrow. I’ll follow up!


#5

Back when I was seriously doing run and tri training. My Tanita scale would not go low enough. I’m not even close to those numbers now a days.


#6

5.6% Pete!!! How old were you? That wasn’t in your 20s or something (sorry to date you Pete :smiley:)

Edit: I read the scan, you were like 52ish. Incredible!


#7

This is great; thanks for posting the data. Curious to know if you have tracked the body water % in your training? Tanita did a very interesting study of body water % and finish times for IRONMAN Louisville, which shows higher body water % correlating to lower finish times, likelihood of finishing. As I prepare for the LT100MTB, this is something I’ve been tracking with my Tanita scale and have noticed some marginal gains in hydration levels as my training/fitness has improved–there seems to be some adaptation in my body’s ability to hydrate as I gain fitness through my training.


#8

I haven’t tracked it.

I always take this stuff with a grain of salt. In my mind if you get dehyrated during the race to a point where it slows you down, you usually feel it and then try to hydrate back up.

The winner of a race might not be “The most dehydrated person”, but they might be “The most dehydrated person that didn’t get so dehydrated that they totally stopped and hit the aid stations hard”.

There’s probably a line in there. I also wonder how body composition is impact in that tanita study. I’d like to see % BF and finish times and muscle mass and finish times.


#9

I had a good run there for 3 or 4 years. Then I got really old and broken.


#10

What model Nokia scale are you using?
Would it be OK if I made my signature file “You are an idiot.” from your matrix pyramid thing?
:joy:


#11

This one: https://www.amazon.com/Nokia-Body-Composition-Wi-Fi-Scale/dp/B071XW4C5Q/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?tag=trainerroad-20


#12

That video kind of throws the whole typical visual estimation of bf% out the window. Although the guy who did the videowas more of an outlier. A true 12% is basically where you can start to see abs.

Right now my older tanita has a very large difference between athlete mode and normal. I know I’ve still got enough subcutaneous fat to make it down to my desired race weight. Although i am putting that as a secondary goal with the power gains to get to 4.5 w/kg as main goal.


#13

It was on sale directly from Nokia a few weeks ago. Worth a try


#14

I’ve been testing a Garmin Index scale in parallel to a Tanita BF680W and they match up directly. Syncs to Garmin Connect and pushes to MyFitnessPal automatically which is really nice. It also recognizes when I am on the scale and differentiates that to when my wife is on the scale.


Withings, Fitbit or Apple watch
#15

I have Withings scales. My understanding it is the same model as Nokia one, but before Nokia acquired Withings. My numbers between the scales and dexa are not even close.

The scales show around 7%-8%, dexa shows around 18%-19%

Here’re scales measurements around the same time as I did dexa:


#16

Prior to discovering TR and AACC podcast - I bought a Tanita scales about 5 years ago when i resumed serious training for track (running not cycling)

I read 5% body fat solidly but lost about 10lbs. (v odd)

i transitioned to cycling this year due to health issues that sadly curtailed my running …

anyway and took your advice and switched the Tanita to NON-athlete mode … now i am more like 6-6.5%

but this still feels quite low? which seems off

i am 5’11 and about 130-131lbs

however i am encouraged that you say DEXA reads similar to tanita … but it makes me a little scared to try loose weight at any point.


#17

I am so embarrassed to share my results :slight_smile:


#18

Do you have the scale set to athlete mode? If so turn that off.


#19

That is very low! Are you super lean?


#20

hey Nate -

that’s what i have trying to ascertain ?!

i’d say yes(ish) , but i find it very disconcerting as it makes me unsure as to whether trying to cut a couple pounds before my mountain stage race next summer.

its tough cos my FTP is not high, but my w/kg is ok i think (from what you guys reference in podcast ).

i guess runners are usually leaner anyhow though right ?

But whenever you guys mention weight it makes me feel like i might be TOO low on spectrum … ?