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Body Fat Measuring Shootout: Calipers vs BIA vs DXA Scan

 

Body Fat, our nemesis. The bane of our existence.

 

As physique sculptors, body fat is something we all would like less of. It hides the beautiful granite, striations lurking below the skin. It’s the reason we choose to eat better. It’s the reason we exercise, sweat and keep active.

When we look in the mirror, we have an idea of when we are storing more or less fat, but we don’t really know where we’re at percentage wise.

You can snoop around on the net and find general pics and guidelines as to what certain body fat percentages look like, but they don’t accurately tell us what our body fat percentage is. We are left pretty much guessing. The good news is, we don’t have to.

 

We have the technology.

 

The most common ways to measure your body fat are:

 

          1) Body Fat Calipers – A hand held tool and the cheapest method to measure body fat. The good news is, you can do it at home though it has the reputation of being the least accurate method. We will soon find out.

 

          2) Bioelectrical Impedance Technology (BIA) – Two electrodes are used to send a low current through your body. The resulting resistance is then converted into a body fat percentage. It’s based on the principle that lean mass has a higher water content therefore a lower resistance than fat and bone. These can also be bought for home use and are usually in the form of a weigh scale, but are more expensive than the caliper route.

 

          3) DEXA Body Composition Scan – Low dose X-ray is used to determine lean mass, fat mass and bone density. It’s a medical grade test used on professional and olympic athletes and is the Gold Standard for body composition. This is the most expensive option, and would not be very economical to purchase one for home, unless you’ve got more money than you know what to do with.

 

I had a DEXA scan body fat percentage done and the result was 9.9% body fat.

 

 

This will be the standard to which we will compare the accuracy of the other two methods.

For accuracy purposes, all tests were done on the same day.

Let’s get to it!

 

First up…

 

Body Fat Calipers

The two types I used were:

1) Defender – It uses a mechanical pressure indicator that turns green when you have the correct fat pinch pressure.

I read the manual and measured each of the three spots (upper side pec, beside belly button, upper thigh) 3 times and came up with an average of 22, which corresponds to 7.8% body fat on the wheel chart that is included with the calipers.

Over 2% lower body fat than on the DEXA! Not very good, unless you enjoy bragging to the birds about how ripped the calipers said you are hahaha.

I tried a couple more times just to see if I was making any mistakes with the amount of pressure I was applying and skewing the result. NOPE. 7.8% was the highest BF percentage I got from the Defender. The lowest I got was 6.8%. So the readings varied by up to -1%. Not so good

 

2)  Fat Track II – This one has a digital read out and beeps when you have applied enough pressure for the fat pinch. I entered my simple profile (gender, age) into the unit, then it prompts you to go through the 3 pinch spots, then automatically calculates your body fat percentage.

Out of the 5 times I tried it, the lowest body fat it spit out was 5.8% and the highest I could get, trying hard to get closer to my ACTUAL body fat percentage was 8.0%. Not only was the closest I could get to my actual body fat 1.9% less, the range of readings varied a whopping 2.2%. Neither accurate nor repeatable. Not very good at all.

 

Second up to bat…

 

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis

For this test I used the Tanita TBF-410 at my friendly neighbourhood Goodlife Fitness. The trainer showed me how to used it for the first trial. You must go in with bare feet.

You enter these values:

  • the approximate weight of your clothes
  • gender (and body type standard or athletic)
  • height
  • age

Then you step on the scale.

Here’s what I got:

Only 201.6 lbs for the weight and 11.5% body fat.

 

Take two was not much better:

My weight magically jumped up 1 lb and the body fat got even less accurate at 11.7%. On the bright side, at least the readings for this device were more consistent than the calipers, but the error was still quite high with an overshoot of between 1.6-1.8%. Quite significant.

 

Verdict

 

Neither the calipers nor the BIA device were very accurate when compared to the DEXA scan standard. Both calipers showed significantly lower body fat than than I actually had, and varied wildly in range depending on the placement of the device and pinch technique. The BIA device showed significantly higher body fat than what was measured via the DEXA standard, though the device seemed to be a little more consistent in its erroneous readings.

In my opinion, you can’t rely on accurate measurement with anything but the DEXA scan. There are too many variables that leave room for error in both other methods I tested. I suppose one could use the other methods as a way of gauging fat loss/gain as a general trend up or down, but you can’t accurately determine your true body fat percentage with anything but the DEXA scan out of the methods I have tested.

At some point I’m going to test the water floating method against the DEXA to see how it fares, but that will be at a later date.

Bottom line

If you’re serious about wanting to gauge your fat loss progress accurately, the only sure fire way is to buck up and pay for a little bit of radiation and find out EXACTLY where you are at in your fat loss journey.

 

That’s a wrap.

Happy shredding.

 

Yours Truly

Dreamscore

 

Let me know your experiences in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter @Dreamscore

Follow me on Instagram @dreamscorelifestyle

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Body Fat Composition Scan: Results are in

 

My commitment to YOU…

 

To bring you dead honest reviews. Introduce useful-practical information to help drive you on your quest to achieve the Body, Mind and Soul of your dreams.  I’m here to do the dirty work for you. To unearth and test products that give tangible, life-changing results!

 

To prepare for my next training program review, and provide accurate, REAL-WORLD results (not just anecdotal bullshit reviews), it is my standard to do a pre-program Body Composition Scan. This will serve as the baseline ‘before‘ stats that will be compared to the ‘after‘ program Body Composition Scan to see what body composition changes occur.

 

So here it is. Results from after the dirty holiday season.

 

Drum Roll please…

 

The key stats are (if you can’t quite make out the numbers on the pic):

Lean Mass: 178.0 lbs

Fat Mass: 19.6 lbs

Total Mass: 205.5 lbs

Body Fat %:  9.9

 

It actually came in a bit lower than I thought it would be. Not bad after letting my hair down a bit this holiday season. But tons of room for improvement to be ‘shoot‘ ready.

 

The full Body Scan report was eight pages long and very detailed. It gives you:

  • Bone Density: Overall and major individual bones
  • Lean mass
  • Fat mass
  • Total mass
  • Fat %
  • Full body composition of each individual body part
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Resting Metabolic rate (calories burned if you just rested all day)
  • Lean mass Balance: Body composition comparison between the left and right side of your body
  • Android/Gynoid ratio: ratio of abdominal fat to hip/thigh fat

 

Other key values of interest were:

Resting metabolic Rate: 2,018 cal/day (useful for calculating caloric intake for fat loss/ weight gain)

Android/Gynoid ratio: 1.04 (bottom value on pic)

 

 

This ratio was the only bit of concern that came out of the scan for me.

I came in at 1.04

Ideally it should be below 1.0

The reason behind this is because the android (abdominal fat) is directly related to visceral fat. More visceral fat is a result of the organs insulating themselves from toxins by covering them in fat. It’s your body’s defence mechanism but it can also impair the function of some organs. So visceral fat is bad.

I was just over the cusp ratio of 1.0, but it’s an area I’d like to see improvement in. No drinking after New Years should help a lot!

 

Lastly, a big shout out to Glenwood Radiology.

Glenwood Radiology 

I highly recommend them if you are interested in getting your own scan done and you’re in or around the Edmonton area. Continue reading Body Fat Composition Scan: Results are in

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Knowingly Eating Poorly: Herd Mentality or Sugar Addiction

Sugar addiction

“They try to make me go to Re-hab, but I said no, no, no.”

– Amy Winehouse

 

It’s disturbing to look around and see people stuffing their faces with food that is literally slowly and methodically killing them.

Sugar addiction

Pizza slice after pizza slice, deep fried hash browns covered in sugary ketchup, fries with gravy and cheese, ice cream, doughnuts, chocolate bars, potato chips, all entering the mouth, day after day after day.

 

It got me wondering…..

“With the almost ENTIRETY of human civilization’s knowledge bank stored in that magical cloud in the sky accessible to us, why in the flying fuck would anyone still regularly eat food that is killing them?”

 

Possible Reasons:

          1) Ignorance

They don’t know any better. Even though all the knowledge in the world is available, the information is not being utilized. These are the people who literally don’t know how bad the food they’re eating is for them. They don’t know the basics of insulin activity in response to eating carbs, fats or proteins. Never mind anything more ‘in depth’ such as the glycemic scale, or inflammation of arterial walls from refined sugar.

Most people fall into this ‘ignorance‘ category. They have an ‘idea‘ of how bad the pizza, donairs, ice cream and doughnuts are for them, but they don’t know ‘why’.

 

          2) They know but they don’t care

They know that what they are consuming is causing harm, but they choose to ignore the dangers.

One possible explanation for this could be ‘Herd Mentality‘.

This is the phenomenon where people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviours. When the majority of the population is eating like shit, it makes it pretty easy to ‘lemming up‘ and eat the way everyone else is eating. There’s comfort in knowing ‘I’m not the only one who eats poorly’.

The thought pattern is, that this is normal.

Everyone else is doing it.

It’s socially acceptable.

So it can’t be that bad.

         

          3) Habit

Dictionary.com defines habit as ‘an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary’

This way of eating becomes such an ingrained part of our behaviour pattern that it becomes difficult to change. It’s like an old, long serving, disgruntled tradesman, resisting new ways of doing things. As they say, old habits die hard.

 

          4) Addiction

We are actually physically addicted to foods that wreak havoc to our bodies.

 

Primary suspect: SUGAR

 

Scientists have proven that sugar stimulates the same pleasure centres of the brain as cocaine and heroine. Scarfing down a Boston Cream or ripping a rail of blow off of a toilet paper dispenser in dingy nightclub bathroom both avalanche the brain with dopamine. You get that physical high, and your brain misses it when it’s gone. Then, in come the cravings.

Just like cocaine.

Most of the food that contributes to the runaway epidemic of health problems contain sugar. That burger bun that comes with your Baconator. That pizza sauce that lurks below those mouth watering toppings. That bran muffin marketed as the ‘healthy choice’.  And you wonder how the hell you got hooked?

The truth is, sugar is added in so many places, we’re pretty much destined to get a taste for it.

So why would someone continue eating things that are destroying their health and longevity? Think about a drug addict and the answer becomes obvious.

Why does a meth head continue to use even though it is destroying his health, his relationships and his life?

Because he is ADDICTED.

He will do anything for that next fix.

How else can you explain a family member having a heart attack, yet still treats himself to doughnuts every day? What better explanation for your boss being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, yet still has the same triple-triple coffee with his 7-11 Taquitos for breakfast?

It’s an addiction. The brain is screaming for that dopamine fix, and it doesn’t care what damage it does along the way. It won’t stop screaming until that void is filled. Satisfy at any cost.

 

“We’re all gonna die from something, might as well die happy.”

How many times have you heard this? If you really examine that statement, it sure sounds like it’s coming out of the mouth of an drug addict. An addict trying to justify it’s self-destructive behaviour.

Conclusion:

Yes, some people are ignorant about how food affects the body on a biological level. But when you become aware of these dangers, what is your excuse?

Yes, it has become habitual to eat the foods that are manufactured and made available to us. But why did it become commonplace and habitual in the first place?

Yes, some people know the risks and choose to ignore them. But why do we choose to engage in actions that are knowingly self-destructive?

ADDICTION

What else could it be?

Let me know your thoughts and comment below.

Follow me on twitter @Dreamscore

Instagram @dreamscorelifestyle

 

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Yours Truly

Dreamscore

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Review: Nutrabolics Supernova Pre-workout

I am not sponsored by Nutrabolics

I paid for the supplement

This is an unbiased review

 

Those who know me, know that I’m a caffeine junky.

 

 

I love the shit. Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Second Cup, Xyience Cran-Razz energy drinks are pretty much a staple of my day to day existence. I have used and abused caffeine like no other substance I have ever come across…except maybe Tobasco sauce.

 

I’ve dug myself such a gigantic, cavernous stimulant hole that I pretty much require caffeine just to feel normal. I can take 24mg of ephedrine right before bed and still sleep like a baby. Not something I’m overly proud of.

 

Because my stimulant intake is already high, it takes pretty much superhuman amounts of ‘stims’ to have any sort of ‘extra‘ kick at all for me. Stimulatory ingredients are far down the list for things I look for in a pre-workout supplement. Nonetheless, if the ingredients in the supplement provide that extra kick, then bonus.

 

What I Look For:

 

I place a high value on the quality of my workouts not just the quantity. So I look for 2 major criteria when selecting a pre-workout supplement:

  1. Mental focus/concentration-  Getting to the gym with the MIND/MUSCLE connection already dialled in. I really want to be connected to my body, focus on squeezing reps, having good form, overcoming pain and trying to not let the sexy gym bunnies take my focus away from the task at hand *easier said than done* haha. If you’re not really ‘feeling it’ that day, chances are you’re not going to have a good quality workout. So having a supplement that can take you from ‘ugggghhh I gotta work out again today’ to, ‘fuck yeah I’m gonna DESTROY that iron’ is a valuable tool in the physique builders tool-belt.
  2.  Muscle fullness/pump-  I’m not convinced that ‘getting your pump on’ DIRECTLY contributes to muscle growth, but foooooooook me… does it ever increase the quality of my workouts big time! The satisfaction factor I get from feeling so hard and full is difficult to put a price tag on. For me it adds value to the quality of workout in two ways. One, the aesthetics of looking so swole, with veins popping out in places where there usually are no veins. Two, the mental aspect of not wanting to leave the gym because you look so damn good! It encourages you to work out longer and harder with more intensity. I suspect, that this is a big component as to why getting the ‘pump‘ factor from a supplement can increase performance/gains.

 

So when I went to my friendly neighborhood supplement dealer looking for a new pre-workout supplement, I requested a product that met this criteria. My supplement dealer delivered in a BIG way recommending Nutrabolics Supernova! When I finally tried it, it exceeded my expectations and MORE!

 

KEY Ingredients:

 

For Muscle fullness/Pump

 

          1) Citrulline – It has a whopping 6g of citrulline per serving!!! I am a huge citrulline fan was stoked to find a pre-workout with such a large dose per serving. Citrulline is a MUST for me in any pre-workout due to it’s propensity to dilate the blood vessels via increasing Nitric oxide.

          2) Beta-Alanine. This is the bad boy backed by science that enables you to workout harder and longer. It increases carnosine levels in your body which soak up the extra Hydrogen ions created during exercise keeping your body ph up. This results in not feeling the burn as fast and being able to squeeze out more reps before true muscle failure. This is also the ingredient that can cause that tingling/skin crawling feeling when ingested.

          3) 4:1 Cacao extract – It also contains 4:1 cacao extract which is also a proven vasodilator and contains theobromine and a small amount of caffeine. Theobromine has historically been used to treat high blood pressure via vasodilation and also doubles as a stimulant.

 

For Mental Focus/Concentration

 

          1) Dendrobium – This one is kind of a tweener, and that’s kind of why I like it. Nutrabolics markets this as a stimulant in Supernova’s pre-workout ads. But from my experiences with it, it seems to work more on the nootropic/mind focus side of things. It’s provided me with a noticeable form of clean focus and metal clarity/energy. I would describe this as increasing that Mind-Muscle connection.

          2) Theanine – Theanine is an interesting compound. It gives energy without overstimulation, calms without drowsiness and focuses without sketchiness. Seems like a cool addition to the stack. This helps take the edge of the mixture of stims in this blend, providing zen-like focus without feeling like a ‘meth-head’.

          3) Huperzine – Is known to increase acetylcholine levels. Increased cholinergenic activity is associated with increased cognitive function such as working memory capacity, the ability to adapt, learn and store new information. I’m unsure of how this may benefit workout focus, as it seems more geared toward tasks such as reading, studying and learning. Nevertheless I’m ready to give it a try!

 

Bonus: Stimulation

Caffeine – 200mg pretty standard dose per serving

Synephrine – From bitter orange, used as an ephedra alternative with similar effects

 

 

Verdict:

Nutrabolics Supernova exceeded my expectations in ALL areas. I had the Iced Raspberry flavour and I can honestly say it was the best tasting pre- workout I’ve ever had! I love a tangy, sweet/sour sort of flavour and man….Nutrabolics hit it out of the park for me! I actually crave the taste this shit! It’s like Kool-aid on steroids and I wish I could drink it all the time.

I took a scoop and a half 30mins before my workout on a near empty stomach, and I could feel the beta-alanine tingling within minutes. By the time I got to the gym I was feeling exactly the way I want to feel before a workout: sniper-like focus, ready to endure/overcome pain and a feeling of mindful connectedness to my body. I was in a state where I noticed the hotties at the gym, but I was able to allow them to motivate me as opposed to distract me from my workout. It was literally the perfect state of mind for a high quality workout.

And then there was the pump!!! My god….the pump! After warming up my shoulders, the blood was already flowing. I could see the veins starting to pop and my muscles becoming fuller by the minute. As expected, as the workout progressed, the pump got more intense. More fullness, more veins and more staring in awe in the mirror of how swole I looked! I can honestly say it was the best pump I have ever experienced from a pre-workout supplement. Nice work Nutrabolics!

And the coolest thing was, I did feel a little extra energy kick from the stimulants in it. I wasn’t like a 5 yr old who had just eaten half a bag of Halloween candy or a meth-head tweaking from a couple hits from the glass bulb. It was more like a nice clean focused energy with a mild happiness/euphoria. I happy to be at the gym, but I was also ready to kick ass! And kick ass I did!! And no stimmy crash afterward, just a gentle letdown. Perfection!

After using it for a couple weeks, I tried a few workouts without it. Instead just slamming an energy drink for a pre-workout. The difference was night and day. I did have my natural focus and mindset, but it wasn’t anything near the enhanced awareness and connection I had with my body using the Supernova. The pump was very ‘normal‘ as expected from not taking any enhancers. The bunnies still looked good, and they certainly distracted me a bit more. Overall, there was much left to be desired from working out not using the supplement.

I’m a huge fan of Nutrabolics Supernova and would never recommend something that I didn’t try myself and know works well. This supplement WILL help you get the most out of your workouts by focusing you, pumping you and yes…..even stimulating you.

I encourage you to give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below.

 

Yours Truly

Dreamscore

 

 

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If You Dream It You Can Conceive It

 

DreamScore Lifestyle is an ongoing behind the scenes look at the most effective methods I have found to create the absolute “Best version of yourself”. The focus of this site is on FOUR main areas:

  • Physical Training – Sculpting the Body of your Dreams
  • Healthy Lifestyle Eating – The Powerful foundation on which the body is built
  • Anti-Aging/Skin Care – Looking MUCH younger than one’s chronological age
  • Mindset – Control of Emotional state and the Powerful Force that Drives you toward Success

Through years of trial and error, research and implementation, success and failures of methods, techniques and products, the goal of this site is to share with you EVERYTHING I have learned, will learn, implemented and will implement to help anyone SCORE the absolute best BODYMIND and SOUL of their DREAMS!!

Yours Truly

Dreamscore

 


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Build the Body of a Statue: BE ABNORMAL

 

Dictionary.com definition:

abnormal 

1. not normal, average, typical or usual; deviating from a standard

 

I have always been intrigued by the abnormal.

 

What made Michael Jackson such an icon? What made Vincent Van Gogh such marvel? When I started noticing girls, I wondered, “What made girls treat some guys more favorably than others?”. Then I became aware of how celebrities, professional athletes and government officials were given certain advantages and were treated differently than the average person.  Even something as simple as people watching my band play and liking my music, I noticed that people treated me differently. All of these people had one thing in common…they were ABNORMAL. They had traits or skills that were not typical of the norm.

 

They were treated advantageously because others had noticed something abnormally remarkable about them.

 

I didn’t want to be average. I did not want to be a wallflower. I did not want to “blend-in” with the crowd. I wanted to be treated “differently“. I wanted to experience what I had witnessed so many times before. This became something that resonated within me and I became convinced to accept and embrace abnormal as a positive. This was my new modus operandi, my new way of doing things.

 

So I made a conscious decision to make it a priority to BE ABNORMAL. I would do whatever it took, find the methods, find the means find the will to never be average, never “blend- in” with the crowd, and never settle for anything less than greater than the mean in anything I truly cared about.

 

For you, if you truly want to start shifting the momentum towards changing your life for the better, and building the Body of your dreams, one of the ways is for you to make a conscious decision to adopt and implement the philosophy of being abnormal. To accept the fact that being abnormal is positive. That being abnormal is not a fad or a trend. It is who you are. It is a Lifestyle. It is the mental Law upon which you now govern yourself and all future actions under.

The goal for you is to literally wipe out the hard drive of your mind, erase the old, outdated operating system and re-program it with the software (ABNORMAL version 2.0) that will change your daily habits, change your behaviour and drive you like a Rabid, Ravenous Beast to obtaining all that you truly desire.

 

This may be scary at first as there will be a lot to think about once you accept this philosophy as your own.

What will your friends and family think? What will your significant other think? Will they judge me for not engaging in some of the same activities that I had before? Will we still be as close?

Maybe your friends like to go out and get shit-faced every weekend. You don’t want to miss out on the fun. You enjoy letting loose every now and then. Everyone is always saying, “What’s the point of living if you can’t let your hair down a little bit?”

 

These are all very natural thought processes when a major internal paradigm shift is being contemplated. While I’m a big proponent of letting your hair down a bit (getting shit-faced at the clubs, having cheat meals, going on vacation, etc), if you really WANT something, there will be sacrifices involved. The great thing is, they cease to become sacrifices at all once you dial in your mindset. They become who you are. They become your lifestyle. They become a point of disgust because they provide road blocks to your ultimate goal.

 

You cannot expect to have the body of a God by eating normally, training normally, and thinking normally.  You have to be ABNORMAL.  You have to embrace abnormality. You have to make it your best friend.  It is now the new way you operate.

 

Immerse yourself in Abnormality.

Stray from the usual.

Deviate from the standard.

Take pride in not being average.

 

BE ABNORMAL

Yours Truly

DreamScore