Measuring your Body Fat, Bone Density + Cardiovascular Health: Why You Need to Do This

I know it doesn’t sound as exciting as trying a new clean lip balm,  but it’s actually way more important. I recently went through the DEXA and VO2Max assessments. The data from these tests was so incredibly insightful I kicked myself for not having done them years ago. I’m sharing the details below in hopes you’ll consider seeking out the tests for yourself. The tests produce a tremendous amount of data, including:  body fat percentage, where you store it, muscle symmetry, bone density and cardiovascular health, including calculating your personal precise training target heart rate zones.  

As for the actual testing...the DEXA is easy, you just lie still for 6ish minutes and the scan is open (no claustrophobia). The VO2 Max is a bit intimidating, but absolutely doable. The challenging part is not the actual workout on the treadmill as they increase speed and incline gradually, it’s the psychological aspect of running with the mask on and thinking you won’t be able to breathe. I still argue the data is worth the few minutes of slight freak out. Read on to find out more about these two assessments.  

What is a DEXA Scan?

Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry Scan (DEXA) uses a low dose x-ray to measure how much muscle, body fat, and bone mass  your body contains, including its’ specific distribution.

Why should I get a Total Body Composition Analysis and Body Fat Test with a DEXA Scan?

To learn your body fat percentage and lean tissue mass percentage. You will get a break down of your body's muscle symmetry. You will also discover where you store body fat. You will get a measurement of your bone density. Your first test will establish a baseline for your body, moving forward you can confidently track your training and health progression.

How does a DEXA scan work?

Using a DEXA (DXA) scan to perform a body fast test is quick (about 6 minutes) and simply requires you to lie down in your street clothes. Yes...this test uses X-rays which means you will be exposed to radiation. The same amount as you receive when you pass through the TSA scanners at the airport or the equivalent amount of radiation you receive standing outside for 3 hours at sea level.

Measuring your Body Fat, Bone Density + Cardiovascular Health-Why You Need to Do This-Scan-LIFE SMART by Carrie Dorr


What is a VO2 Max Fitness Test?

VO2 Max is the ultimate indicator of cardiovascular fitness. This test measures your precise target heart rate based on anaerobic threshold, then calculates your unique Target Intensity Zones.

Why do the VO2 Max?

Each person has optimal training zones that are unique to you. Exercise equipment and charts that tell you target heart rates are actually just averages based on age and weight. The VO2 Max Fitness Test calculates your Target Intensity Zones, which allow you to work out smarter, not harder! These Zones give you the precise heart rates necessary to optimize each level of exercise and maximize your results. The test reveals the exercise level that will optimize your ability to burn fat or improve your cardiovascular health. Frequently we push ourselves thinking, “no pain, no gain.” The truth is, pushing beyond one’s optimal training zone leads to fatigue and discomfort. It will also cause increased soreness after the workout and may contribute to exercise related injury. When you know your zones and use them for training, cardiovascular exercise is comfortable.  

How does the VO2 Max test work?

Put on a heart rate strap and face mask.

The technician will begin a treadmill protocol appropriate for your fitness level. The intensity of the exercise will gradually increase over a period of 6 to 20 minutes.

The equipment will indicate when the test is completed.

You cool down while your Target Intensity Zones are calculated.

Measuring your Body Fat, Bone Density + Cardiovascular Health-Why You Need to Do This-Mask-LIFE SMART by Carrie Dorr
Measuring your Body Fat, Bone Density + Cardiovascular Health-Why You Need to Do This-Treadmill-LIFE SMART by Carrie Dorr