This is the story of how one terrifying but cutting-edge piece of gym equipment changed my outlook on my body, my fitness, and my workouts forevermore.
Building muscle and losing weight are two of the most important things to men around the world. In an age where body transformations are plastered all over the internet and social media on a regular basis, the urge to train hard and stay healthy is more apparent than ever.
That’s why when I was offered the chance to tryout one of Sydney’s most luxurious inner-city gyms — SOMA — I jumped at the chance. Located in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, while it was the promise of state-of-the-art training equipment, an infrared sauna, and an absolutely unbeatable location for the 9-to-5 cityslicker, one particular piece of equipment changed the way I train for good.
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What Is A Body Composition Scanner?
The machine first came on to my radar when I was discussing SOMA with my mate Steve, who happens to be a longtime member of the gym and close friends with its Co-Founder and PT-to-the-stars, Simon Anderson. Steve told me that while Simon was a flawless personal trainer, he did possess one special piece of equipment that Steve had used a few times before but, after a few harrowing interactions, had sworn to never go near it again…
So what exactly is this machine that sends shivers down the spine of fully grown men? The Body Composition Scanner. While this may not be a machine designed to make you sweat or find yourself short of breath, it can definitely have this effect. How? From the incredible amount of detail about you, your body, and your training that it can observe and analyse in less than a thirty-second scan… which can, sometimes, be a little confronting.
Being a big believer in trying anything once, I booked in for a PT session with Simon which began with a body scan. Having turned up at 6:45am after a night of unexpectedly heavy beer drinking with work colleagues, safe to say I was feeling a little fragile and more than a little sceptical about the scan. However, I hopped up onto the machine and let it pick me to pieces…
Here’s what one of these machines looks like. Image: Fresh Start
My Body Composition Results
Now, there’s no denying that a couple of the numbers that quickly flashed up onto the screen were a little unsettling. Namely, I’d somehow managed to ‘gain’ three kilos in the space of two days, likely a result of having been overindulging the night before and carrying some much-loved hangover bloat. Once I’d processed this news, however, the numbers that followed actually lead to something of a revelation…
While my bodyweight was a little higher than I would’ve liked, my body fat percentage and BMI were actually a little better than I’d hoped. The machine also showed me data which I’d never even knew existed, let alone that I could access it anytime I wanted: my visceral fat levels — the amount of fat clinging to your vital organs, i.e. the most dangerous kind of fat — were at a very healthy level, as was my metabolic age, which was nearly six years below my actual age.
On top of this, it also gave me an accurate basal metabolic rate. For the uninitiated, that’s the amount of calories that someone of my size and composition will burn on any given day befoere you factor in hard exercise. Once you know this number, it makes it much easier to set weight-based goals and track your calories.
In the spirit of transparency, here are my full results… Image: Finlay Mead/DMARGE
What’s So Good About The Body Composition Scanner?
Now, I’m not sharing all of this simply by way of a cheap brag. Rather, what my experience with this machine of terror made me appreciate was that my training — which I’d been undertaking somewhat inconsistently for a number of years, a pattern that I’m sure many people with full-time jobs and/or families understand — had been doing my body a lot of good even when I couldn’t see the changes in my body or on a standard scale.
Not only did this give me a massive confidence boost — knowing that even though the six-pack was still a good way off I’d managed to improve my physical health significantly — it also equipped me with the knowledge I needed to help take my training to the next level, to tweak my regimen int he right places so that I could, hypothetically, get that six-pack in time for summer…
And thats where Simon’s expertise came into play; in the session that followed the scan he explained the changes I needed to make to both my training and lifestyle to hit my next milestones, should I wish to do so. He also, importantly, booked me in for another scan in eight weeks time so that I could return to the ultimate-accountability machine…
So, if you’re looking to get a long overdue reality check on your training regime, get yourself down to SOMA and book in for a session with Simon and his not-so-terrfiying body composition scanner; it could well be the start of a whole new chapter for you and your body.
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