Dexa scans are the “gold standard” for body fat measurement. They aren’t perfect but they are the best we’ve got other than an autopsy.
They send two different types of x-rays through you to figure out your fat/lean/bone mass.
From 9/21/2018 onward I started using a Nokia body scale because it syncs online and makes it easier for my to track my day to day weight.
What we see between Jonathan, Chad and I is that the Tanita “regular” setting tracks pretty well with the DEXA and the Tanita “Athlete” setting tracks pretty well with fat calipers.
One thing that a DEXA gets is your visceral and intramuscular fat rather than just subcutaneous like fat calipers do. I think that’s why I see a different ratio, especially between 7/17/2017 and 9/21/2018.
If you want to see my entire spreadsheet you can view that here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Yf_Y59XUgr5qsgeFxOOfNjHjQFMYw5nQ2EjHjQMqx8E/edit?usp=sharing
Here’s my latest DEXA sheet that I got from the imaging service. You can see that overall my fat has trended down (black boxes) and my muscle has trended up (red boxes).
Note: There was a bad test on 1/18/2018 so they had me do it again, that’s why you see two on the same day.
For me, I’ve got a goal to get around 11-12% on DEXA for my A races. I don’t think I could maintain that year round as that’s very lean.
DEXA Bodyfat Examples
DEXA measures way higher than what you’d normally think. Here’s someone at 8% body fat on a DEXA (no that’s not me if any of you were wondering ).
Since (most of) us cyclists have way less muscle than that guy we’d even have LESS body fat since our overall weight would be less if we were the same height.
Here’s a bigger range of some well-known people and a video that shows it. What the guy in the video misses is that the DEXA is measuring visceral and intramuscular fat, which you can’t see.
DEXA Bodyfat Cyclists
Durian rider did a DEXA and came in at 3.9%!
Chris Froome is estimated to be at 4.1% during the tour but stays around 9.5% the rest of the year.
What I’m saying is don’t beat yourself up when you come back with a DEXA higher than you thought you were going to get. 17% looks pretty damn good to me!