Students and faculty can find personal trainers every Monday night and Wednesday morning sitting at a table behind the Front Desk at the Student Recreation Center eagerly waiting conduct body composition assessments, free of charge.
The method the personal trainers at the Student Recreation Center use for the body fat testing is called Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA). The trainer enters individual information into a calibrator including height, weight and age. Then the person holds onto the caliber for about five to ten seconds while a low-level electrical current passes through the body.
“Fat is an insulator so it sends a weak electrical signal through the body, so you can’t feel it,” Adam Levine, personal trainer at the Student Recreation Center said.
Before Levine checks participants’ body fat percentage he checks their Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a height to weight ratio; however, it is not as detailed as the body fat percentage results
“[BMI] doesn’t take lean body mass into account; it doesn’t take gender into account,” Levine said “A body-builder would appear obese on a BMI chart. And body fat percentage is the amount of fat relevant to the other tissues in the body.”
Sabreena Woods, freshman, tries to go to the Recreation Center at least four times a week and has utilized the body composition assessment twice so far this year.
“I was just curious as to what it was,” Woods said.
Matt McCarroll, sophomore, got his assessment for the first time with Levine Monday night because his friend had it done before and because he was interested in his own results.
“I’m pretty sure I’ll utilize it again,” McCarroll said.
Some students are so motivated that they try to get it checked every week; however it is not what Levine recommends.
“Sometimes I think it’s a little bit redundant because you can just do it on a scale or you can do it with your waist circumference to measure it,” Levine said. “I would say maybe once a month.”
Levine also said there are certain sources of error with the method of body fat testing such as hydration.
“Since it sends an electrical signal through your body and measures resistance, if you were to take the test when you’re dehydrated you would get certain results than if you were to chug a bunch of water and come back and take the test 10 minutes later,” Levine said. “You would actually appear leaner because the amount of conductors in your body would now be bigger than before in relation to insulators.”
Regardless of the error, Levine said he receives around 20 to 30 people in his two-hour shift of Monday nights, which he said depends on the trainer’s ability to greet and be friendly to patrons.
No matter what a person’s height or weight, anyone can come to the Student Recreation Center to have their body composition assessment on Mondays between 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Wednesday mornings between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
“It’s important to stay as fit as you can when you’re young because body fat increases with age and you to set yourself up for success and make it easier on yourself,” Levine said.