How to utilize Body Composition for Personal Training

Fitness Training

In addition to medical usage, body composition analysis has been used more and more frequently for strength and fitness training. Staying fit is a fairly universal goal, but something that stops most people from maintaining a consistent exercise regimen is lack of clear progress and motivation.

As such, body composition analyzers are invaluable for providing timely feedback, making it easy for professionals to set realistic and quantifiable goals for clients, demonstrating the effectiveness of your program.

While there are many aspects of Charder's body composition reports relating to overall health, we've highlighted the key modules that are most useful for personal training, allowing you to grasp muscle-fat proportion, identify imbalances, monitor change, and evaluate muscle at a cellular level.

The standard and medical result sheets differ slightly in this regard, but both can be used effectively for fitness evaluation!

Standard Body Composition Result Sheet Medical Body Composition Result Sheet
Standard Result Sheet (MA601) Medical Result Sheet (MA801)

Muscle-Fat Analysis

This section allows you to quickly understand the balance between the client's muscle and fat. The black bars get longer with more mass, and the green area provides a guideline indicating "normal range". If Skeletal Muscle Mass (SMM) is insufficient, the burden of body weight may cause or exacerbate joint problems.

Muscle-Fat Proportion

 Although people are generally referring to SMM when they think of "building muscle", it is important to note that SMM isn't the same as "muscle" or "Soft Lean Mass (SLM)" found at the top of the result sheet.

Soft Lean Mass and Skeletal Muscle Mass

The body muscle in your body (SLM) can be divided into three major types: cardiac, smooth, and skeletal. Among the three types, only skeletal muscle can be controlled consciously to move the body. Because it can be developed actively through exercise and nutrition, it is the most useful measurement of "muscle" for training purposes.

Most trainers will recommend that clients develop their SMM into "Over" range.

Segmental Muscle & Fat Analysis

While overall muscle and fat analysis may be detailed enough for a client that's just interested in general fitness, athletes may have more specific needs.

In addition to full-body muscle and fat, Charder's Body Composition Analyzers also provide more detailed measurements for the arms, legs, and trunk, helping trainers check for imbalances, or if muscle is being built up correctly. Becoming aware of an imbalance between the left and right sides early on makes it easier to correct through proper form and training, before it leads to injury or decreased performance.

Segmental Muscle Fat and Radar Chart

Segmental Muscle and Fat

Standard Result Sheet (MA601)   Medical Result Sheet (MA801)

 Both the standard and medical result sheets provide a reference normal range (marked in green) for segmental muscle, making it easy to identify if the client's body is well-balanced. A certain level of upper and lower imbalance may be normal for certain sports, though falling into the "under" range is rarely a good sign for athletes.

Muscle Quality

The sections above are evaluations of muscle mass, which can be largely sufficient for most needs. However, for personal trainers working with senior populations in particular, muscle quality is an invaluable tool!

Body Composition Muscle Quality Body Composition Muscle Quality
Standard Result Sheet (MA601) Medical Result Sheet (MA801)

Research indicates that muscle quality declines more quickly than muscle mass in elderly populations. For example, this paper published in the Journal of Gerontology exploring "The Loss of Skeletal Muscle Strength, Mass, and Quality in Older Adults", it was found that decline in strength was much more rapid than the concomitant loss of muscle mass in seniors. This would indicate that measurement of muscle mass is important but possibly insufficient for evaluation of sarcopenia or risks of falling that accompany decline in muscle strength. Charder's unique Muscle Quality module utilizes a combination of muscle measurement and cellular health to calculate the client's grip strength, which is a widely accepted indicator of full-body strength. This differs from traditional grip strength dynamometers in that it avoids potential pitfalls caused by significant differences in grip measurement results caused by hand size or lack of coordination, analyzing at a cellular level instead.

In addition to the grip strength value (denoted in N and kg), the Standard Result Sheet also compares the client's grip strength with the normal population results for their gender. A higher score would mean that the client has higher muscle quality compared to the average for their gender, which would be normal for younger, fitter clients. For older clients, a lower score would be normal, though a decline can be slowed through persistent and effective training.

Body Composition History

A major benefit of BIA body composition analyzers compared to other methods of measurement such as DXA is that it does not use radiation, and thus you can perform measurements regularly without safety risks. This allows clients to perform clients relatively frequently (recommended: around once every two weeks depending on program) to track progress and adjust as needed.

The Standard Result Sheet displays the 8 most recent results for Weight, Fat-Free Mass (FFM), Skeletal Muscle Mass (SMM), and Percent Body Fat (PBF), making it easy to understand general trends at a glance.

Body Composition History

For example, in this history chart for a client that was unable to train regularly in October, we can see the effects of this setback, with a noticeable increase in fat and decrease in muscle. However, after an adjustment in training frequency and intensity, they made good progress in November.

For more advanced usage needs, Charder also offers a professional PC software that will display the client's entire history results, in addition to combining related outputs into a single chart, making it easy to understand the changes in relative proportion.

Charder Insight Professional Body Composition PC Software

 Trainers that make effective usage of body composition results can provide clients with a higher level of service, educating them about the importance of different types of programming, while simultaneously demonstrating the effectiveness of their program, improving retention.

This is just a small sampling of what can be done with effective usage of body composition analyzers in personal training - contact us to learn more!

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