Monday, January 24, 2005

How Fat is Fat?

Calipers and guess work are just not going to be good enough any more. Right now the best guess about the bodyfat of yours truly is 15-16%. The problem about guess work is that I have a very specific goal of having a bodyfat percentage in the range of 8-10% by early October of this year - going from 200 pounds to 180-185. And it's hard to begin a journey unless you have a rough idea of what your final destination is going to be. So, beginning with the philosophy of there is no such thing as too much information, I am dedicating myself to getting down to the nitty gritty of finding out exactly what my bodyfat percentage is.

Fortunately for me, the University of British Columbia Sports Medicine Clinic offers a hydrostatic bodyfat test right here in Vancouver and not that far from my humble abode. In essence, you get dunked into a great tank of water, expell all the air from your lungs and they weigh you under water. Sounds like a party to me. It is also the most accurate bodyfat test there is.

At the same time the Sports Medicine Clinic also offers a Max VO2 test on a treadmill that also establishes what your maximum heart rate is. For a data freak like me, this is like the second coming of Christmas.

I've chatted with a few running buddies and we're going to try and get a group rate. The best part of this for me, I think, is the establishment of a clear statistical baseline against which to measure my improvements (or lack thereof) over the course of my training during the next nine months.

And for anybody in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, here is what you need to know;

Nutrition Assessment & Fitness Testing
J.M. Buchanan Exercise Science Lab

Progressive Intensity Test:
A progressive intensity test or maximum oxygen consumption test (VO2max) can be performed on either a cycle ergometer or treadmill to assess cardiovascular fitness. This is a measure of the ability of the heart and lungs to deliver oxygen to the working muscles. Both methods start at a low intensity and progress through a series of stages until maximal point is reached. The individual is fitted with a heart rate transmitter and a face mask to monitor physiological variables every minute during the test. At the conclusion of the test, values are determined for maximal oxygen consumption (aerobic fitness), maximum heart rate, and anaerobic threshold.
Cost: $125 Student rate: $115

Hydrostatic Weighing
Hydrostatic or underwater weighing is a method of assessing body composition by measuring the body’s density. The individual is fully submerged in a water tank and expires as much air as possible while a weight reading is recorded. This value is then converted through a series of equations to give a reading of body fat. At the conclusion of the test, values are determined for body fat and lean body mass.
Cost: $30 Student Rate: $25

Both tests can be combined for an overall assessment of cardiovascular fitness and body composition.
Cost: $150 Student rate: $135

Computer printout interpretation of results and counselling are available on completion of the tests.

Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri from 9 am - 4:30 pm (last appointment scheduled at 3 pm) and Tue from 12 - 8 pm (last appointment scheduled at 7 pm).
Call (604) 822-4356 to book your test.

NUTRITION ASSESSMENT – Registered Dietician
For anyone interested in enhancing athletic performance, improving overall nutritional health, losing weight or learning how to manage a healthy heart diet. Your session with UBC Aquatic Centre’s registered dietician includes an assessment of your current diet, goal setting, personalized nutrition education and the development of practical strategies for your success.

60 min Nutrition Assessment.
Cost: $60 Student rate: $55

60 min Nutrition Assessment with computer diet analysis. Cost: $110 Student rate: $100
30 min Follow-Up session. Cost: $35 Student rate: $30
Combo package = 60 min Nutrition Assessment and two 30 min Follow-Ups: Cost: $115 Student rate: $105

Combo package with computer diet analysis. Cost: $155 Student rate: $145
Appointment times: Tue 5 - 8 pm and Sat 10 am - 2 pm.
Call (604) 822-4501 to register.

As I am just recovering from my bout with bronchitis, the plan is to schedule the testing in ten days to two weeks. By that time I should be fully recovered and back to full strength. Should be fascinating stuff! You won't want to miss this episode!


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