I have been body comped going on a million times. There was a period there where I was hoping in a BodPod or DEXA at least every few weeks for student trainings. I have also been bodycomped via MRI and poked and prodded more times than any human should.
Across the board calipers will be low – to the tune of 3 to 5%, especially in training males. This is one of the reason I don’t take any FFMI values based off calipers seriously. I just nod and say good story bro.
MuscleSound is kind of the next level in “pinching” or site measurements as you actually measure the depth of the adipose tissue at seven different sites.
I have always tested very well on any type of caliper measurement between 6 and 8%. I am not 6 or 8% body fat and this is likely because none of these seven sites is my ass. Thus, I was curious to see how MuscleSound compared. It’s similar, as you can see below. We measured me twice and got 8.2 and 8.6%.
I would guess on a DEXA I am 11-13%.
That said, I like the ability to visually see fat at different sites over time. The advantage of this type of photo evidence for weight-loss clients could be interesting. Hell, I might not even show them the overall percentage, and just say, “here ate how many mm of adipose tissue you have. Let’s get that down.”
Also, you do not have to be fasting or maintain any type of consistency with timing or fluid intake. These protocols increase subject burden and increase your potential error rates time point to time point. This is huge, as you are only looking at subcutaneous fat and cannot game the system.
The Downsides or Limitations
- There is not a ton of peer-reviewed literature yet. There is one study that found it much more precise than calipers, but we need something comparing these measurements to DEXA. Maybe, the Fitness Institute of Texas can take this on?
- You don’t get visceral adipose tissue, but to my knowledge the only real way to get this reliably is MRI, perhaps 3D stereovision body imaging will fill this gap.
- Right now MuscleSound is about $500 a month. But, this has gone down significantly in recent years, and will likely go down further. Some docs, gyms, and sports performance facilities would likely get their ROI back by charging for bodycomps and glycogen measurements.