Friday, December 7, 2018

Blogger Field Trip: DexaScan Body Composition Analysis

Disclaimer: I received a DexaScan body scan in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are mine.

Sometimes blogging brings the most interesting opportunities my way. When I was first contacted by DexaScan to see if I wanted to undergo a Dexa Scan for body fat analysis, I was a little skeptical. I've had a Dexa scan in the past to determine bone density. I was not aware that the scan could yield body composition data as well. Once I did my homework and learned how accurate the procedure actually was, I scheduled my test with DexaFit in Highland Park, Illinois.

sample scan (not mine)

The location I chose was housed in the back of a Trek Bicycle shop. There was a CompuTrainer class taking place when I got there and I was a little confused about where I supposed to go. Tucked into a corner of the room was the DexaFit office. I guess I was expecting more.



After gathering some preliminary information, the technician, Patrick, had me remove my shoes and lay on the table. I had to lay still and not talk--which isn't an easy thing for me--for most of the scan. The scan takes about 6-8 minutes.


The data was available immediately after the scan. Patrick reviewed my scan with me. I received lots of good news and there were no surprises. Overall, my body composition puts me in the lean category, which was good news to this post-menopausal runner. I was especially concerned about my abdominal fat, which I've been fighting the last couple of years. The scan showed that I am still in a healthy zone and not at risk for cardiovascular disease.


The other good news was that my bone density is normal. With a strong family history of osteoporosis, this makes me very happy.


The scan showed a significant difference between muscle mass on my left side compared to my right side. I've actually noticed this in my workouts with Sammy Jo and in some of my photos that she takes of me during training. Patrick and I discussed this--he said it's normal to have some discrepancy between your dominant side and your non-dominant side, but that mine was higher than normal. I brought this data to my strength session and discussed it with Sammy Jo. We'll be working on it going forward.

I found the data I received from DexaFit to be very informative. My body composition analysis showed that the work I am doing is adequate to keep me fit and healthy. One takeaway from this experience was that the data would really be useful to trend over time. I purchased another scan for next year so I can make sure that I'm staying on track.

Dexa Scans provide a very accurate measurement of body fat and composition as compared with other methods, such as BMI, hydrostatic weights, Bioimpedance, and BodPods. There is a 1-2% margin of error with the Dexa Scan, as compared with 5-10% with these other methods. In addition, the Dexa Scan can provide information that the other methods cannot, such as visceral adipose tissue (a predictor of longevity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease), skeletal strength (bone density), and muscle symmetry. The risks of a Dexa Scan are minimal. The amount of radiation in a Dexa scan is very low--less than 1/10 the dose of a chest xray and less than a day's exposure to natural radiation.

DexaScan offers a variety of testing besides the body composition analysis. There is 3D body scanning, which provides body composition analysis as well as posture analysis, which can help with measuring imbalances in muscle symmetry and strength, flexibility, and joint mechanics. VO2Max testing is also available, which can help athletes with training and improving endurance. While Patrick informed me about all these options, there was no hard sell.

Overall, I had a great experience at DexaScan and would recommend it. I love data--I think most runners do--and the information I received was very validating. You could use the data to make sure you're healthy, track your fitness, measure your goals, and improve your performance. It's just one more tool in our runners' toolbox!

Have you ever had a body composition analysis? A Dexa Scan? How would you use the data?

I'm linking this post with Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness.






40 comments :

  1. I have had a Dexa Scan a few years back. I found out that I was beginning to develop osteopenia in spite of my working out with weights for years and all my cardio. I too have a strong family history of osteoporosis.

    I'm glad for you that your dexa scan showed all positive things, and good for you for following up next year.

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    1. I had a DexaScan last year but it was only to determine bone density. I found this scan to be really valuable!

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  2. Good stuff! This was a fun field trip. I had no idea there was one test that measured both body composition AND bone density since the focus seems to always be on just one.

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  3. You have to be pleased with the results of your Dexascan. Lean is always a good thing to hear. I struggle with more belly fat since I am post-menopausal too. I am curious what a Dexascan would show for me there. I did have a body composition analysis done at the gym where I work out, but that didn't take very long and I question how accurate it is. Thanks for the info!

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    1. The DexaScan is the most accurate test to determine body composition. I liked that it was so comprehensive.

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  4. I had a 3D body scan a couple years ago. It was interesting and informative, though the full body picture was a little scary. 😝 Now I wash I’d followed up on the email I got about this. I didn’t know they did bone density too. Very interesting.

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    1. It would be really interesting for you since you've lost some weight this year! I did see some Groupons, so maybe a location near you will have a special.

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  5. Besides noticing it in pictures, do you think the muscle mass difference is something you could feel?

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    1. Oh for sure. My left arm shakes when I'm lifting. Yesterday, I made sure to be conscious of using both arms equally.

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  6. I had no idea this test measured bone density and composition. I have done VO2max tests a few years back. This sounds a lot better than those calliper tests people used to do to measure body fat-oh I hated those! Thanks for sharing your experience

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    1. This is much more accurate than the caliper tests too!

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  7. It's no surprise you had such a good results. That's really interesting about the difference in muscle mass between the left and right sides. Good for you for addressing it with Sammy Jo - that really makes the test valuable to you!

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    1. I had mentioned the discrepancy to her before, but now we have proof! The follow up will be key.

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  8. When I worked with a trainer, we did periodic body fat with the caliper thingies. I'm pretty sure a dexa would put me in a much higher fat zone, I'm not genetically geared towards lean at all #thestruggleisreal.

    I would definitely be interested in the data, though.

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    1. You might be pleasantly surprised, as I was, especially with the visceral fat.

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  9. This caught my eye initially as I used to work for GE Lunar (the company that makes the Bone Mineral Density / DXA) machine. The expanded use of the scans to include more a fitness analysis vs. osteoporosis risk analysis is interesting. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. I wasn't aware that they used DXA for body composition analysis until this appointment. There are plenty of studies to support it though, and it is very accurate.

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  10. How interesting to read about your experience just a couple days after I had my Dexa scan - I didn't think to take pictures until later, so I'll have to paint one with words, LOL.

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    1. I had a Dexa scan last year for bone density but this was a whole different experience!

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  11. That's so interesting it can show muscle imbalances! Thanks for sharing this. How much was the one you purchased for next year? I only had my body comp done with the calipers!

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    1. I purchased a package of 2 scans. They have all kinds of deals and I've seen Groupons as well.

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  12. That's really cool! I haven't done a body composition analysis but it's something I'm looking to try in the new year. It's really good that your bone density info was shared! I do have some muscle imbalances so it would be interesting to see what this says for me. Also, kudos for taking that info and sharing it with your trainer. Getting the scan is only part of the equation, using that info wisely is most of it!

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    1. Exactly! Now let's see if I can improve on that imbalance.

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  13. I'm amazed at all of the great information you were able to get from this, especially about your muscle mass.

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    1. I was really excited about my results, especially at my advanced age! Glad to know all the hard work really does pay off.

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  14. Great info. I'm not surprised that you are in the lean category. You look great!

    I've never had a dexa scan. I wonder if it would reveal that belly fat that I am seeing.

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    1. I was worried about that on my scan, but its the visceral fat--the fat around the organs--that is concerning. Fortunately, I was in the clear.

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  15. I have never had this done, but with my current health concerns, I think that it would be greatly beneficial!!

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  16. Sounds like such a great experience with so much valuable information. I need to see if this scan is available in the Boston area!

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    1. I would think it is! When I scheduled mine, there were a lot of locations all over the country.

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  17. looks like they are getting one in KC! I am going to have to check this out!

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  18. How fascinating: I had no idea you can do this although I was familiar with Dexa scans for bone density as my FIL has issues after hormone treatment for prostate cancer. I love your difficulty with lying for 6-8 minutes without talking - I'd struggle with that!

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    1. I once had an MRI where I thought I was doing such a good job holding still--instead the images were blurry because I was holding still so tightly! LOL

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  19. Very interesting! No surprise that you are lean, but interesting on the muscle imbalance. I bet I have that too. Yeah for the good bone density! My Mom just found out she has osteoporosis and it's not good.

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    1. Yeah, with our family history, I'm very happy to be in the clear!

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  20. They reached out to me too and I'm scheduling my appointment soon! After reading this and Marcia's review, I'm super excited to get mine done. I'm positive I will have imbalances and it will be interesting to see just HOW imbalanced I am - LOL!! Thanks for the great information.

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    1. How exciting!!! I know you'll be all muscle. I can't wait to see your results too!

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