Using Technology To Enhance Your Personal Training Practice
Technology helps us make life easier in many ways to optimize our time and our results. Remember life before calculators where people used the slide ruler? Remember life before computers? It’s hard to imagine life without these technologies that have drastically improved our efficiency and our time management. So why not use technology in your personal training practice to enhance and optimize your clients’ results?
For many personal trainers, their clients primarily want to lose weight and decrease body fat or build muscle while still maintaining their low body fat percentage. Body fat can be measured by methods such as body calipers, bioelectrical impedance analysis, water weighing, and DEXA scanning. This article will take a look at the various tools you can use to get the best results for your clients.
Body calipers measure the skinfold thickness at various sites to estimate the body fat percentage. Body calipers are the least desirable because they have the greatest degree of potential error if not used by an expert. Also, depending on how big the person being measured is, the fat may not fit in the caliper, so the test may not be accurate. The plus side to calipers is that they are cheap and easy to store.
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) is quick, nonintrusive, and reliable explains Michael Peddicord, Sales & Marketing Manager at Tanita, where the machine uses the opposition of the flow of an electrical current through the body to determine the body fat percentage. The machines are easy to store, decently inexpensive depending on the model purchased, and fast (1-2 minutes). The downside can be variability in regards to hydration status. However, by conducting multiple tests over time with consistent conditions, one can detect changes in hydration which can reduce this variable.
Hydrostatic (Water) weighing is currently the “Gold Standard” with only a +/- 1.5% error rate. Water weighing needs a specialized tank of water for the person to be submerged in order to determine the difference between bone/muscle mass and fat mass. The test is time consuming (it takes 20-30 minutes), expensive, and not as practical as having a small piece of equipment available, so it may not be the best to offer your clients.
Last of all, DEXA scanning is becoming the new “gold standard” because it incorporates all three analyses: total body mineral, fat-free soft lean mass, and fat tissue mass and how the fat is distributed throughout the body. Only about +/- 3% error rate is present. The machine is extremely accurate and precise. However, it is costly, bulky, and time-consuming (10-20 minutes), so it may not be feasible to have in your gym or facility.
Bottom line is this: technology can enhance your results with your clients. A small investment in the equipment can save you time, energy, and increase accuracy so you can provide your clients with exact recommendations to get the results they need to succeed.