Have you ever been at the gym and overheard a conversation about body fat percentage and wondered where you fall? Or better yet, where you should fall? Now you can quickly get insight thanks to a wearable fitness device, InBody BAND, that uses four sensors to measure your fat mass, percentage of body fat, heart rate, muscle mass, and body mass index. All you need to do is place two fingers on the front of the band and it will gather the information in a matter of seconds. The Band can also track your steps, the calories you burn, and your sleep. But with all of this information we wondered… is there an ideal body composition and if so, what is it?
“It’s hard to say, as questions surrounding what is ‘ideal’ or ‘perfect’ when it comes to human bodies have been around for centuries,” a rep for the brand told us. “The Vitruvian Man is often considered to be an expression of perfect and ideal human symmetry and form. Over 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci penned this picture of what is perhaps the most famous drawing of any man in the world. But, is he really perfect? Many of us look at bodybuilders and athletes for fitness inspiration. Do they have ideal bodies?” Let’s take a closer look at these idols.
InBody notes that during competition season a bodybuilder’s body composition puts them dangerously close to reaching their essential fat: Fatty acid that the human body requires for good health. “Researchers have indicated that there are several negative outcomes consistent with over-training to achieve these levels, such as decreases in physical performance and a reduction in immune system function. On the other hand, unlike bodybuilders, successful athletes are judged by what they are able to produce while on the field. Instead of seeking to simply be as physically developed as possible while maintaining the absolute lowest body fat percentage, athletes must have a more nuanced body composition that gives them an edge in whichever sport they play.”
When asked to elaborate, InBody noted that a football player’s body composition can differ dramatically from a basketball player’s, but they both could be described as being athletic. “For this reason, you often see a range of body fat percentages presented as athletic instead of a baseline number as in bodybuilding.”
So What Is The Ideal Body Composition?
Short answer — there isn’t one. There are many healthy types of bodies and body compositions. One underlying factor of all healthy body compositions, however, is a body fat percentage in a healthy range and an option for measurement and comparison, InBody says, are the ranges based on the standards set by Lee and Nieman in Nutritional Assessment.
While we haven’t tried InBody’s band yet, there’s certainly great benefit to be had from being able to track progress and see the impact fitness and diet have on body composition on a day-to-day basis, so that the right adjustments can be made based on long-term goals — something that will undoubtedly make InBody and like-devices a major player in the wellness space in 2016.