I had body composition testing using the dexa (DXA scan) which is here.
And, I had my resting metabolic rate tested which is here.
The final thing I had done was a scan of my body using the Fit3D scanner. This scanner takes pictures of your body and takes hundreds of measurements. From this, a 3D avatar is created of your body. The information is sent to you privately at Fit3D. You can log in and get a lot of information, including measurements of core body parts. In addition, you can download a spreadsheet with lots of other measurements. You can also download your 3D avatar.
Under my Dexafit plan, I can get a Fit3D scan once a month.
I actually really like the scan and think it will be very motivating to me to want to improve my avatar and my measurements each month. I will go into some detail here about the Fit3D scan as I didn’t find much online about it beyond basic information.
The scan is done in a room privately. I went in and first created a Fit3D account on a touchscreen by the scanner. For the scan, you stand on a round disk, hold handles with arms straight and then simply stay still while you rotate around for 40 seconds. At that point, you are done.
Here is a photo of me on the scanner before I did the scan.
If you look at my feet you can see 2 white feet shapes on the round base. You stand on those (without socks) for the machine to get your current weight.
I did not actually look like the above for the scan. The idea of the scan is to create a realistic avatar of your body and to take many detailed measurements of your body. (Apparently this same type of scanner is being used to scan your body in order to help with online clothes shopping). So, to get the best results, the fewer clothes you have on the better. If you must wear clothes then form fitting clothes are best.
But, since I was in the room privately I just took everything off except underwear. I had one problem in that my hair covers my neck and that is a problem since the neck is one area that is measured. The tester loaned me one of her hair bands so I could put my hair up.
Once that was done, the test was very easy. I stepped on and weighed. Then I grasped the handles and raised them to the proper height where I could hold my arms straight. There is a button on the handles that when depressed starts the scan. The base slowly rotates for about 40 seconds. Then, I was done. The results of the test were sent directly to the Fit3D account I had created.
The Fit3D Account
The Fit3D Account gives a lot of information, but some of it is a little buried and not that easy to find. The dashboard has your avatar on it with tiles for various information. The avatar is a video that can be played to rotate your avatar. That was cool but the avatar moved a little rapidly for me. There is an overall body shape rating tile, which you can click on to get more information. The 2 tiles I was most interested in were Review My Wellness and then Measurements & Comparison.
I will go into what is on those other 2 tiles later in this post. If you go to scan history, you can actual download the scan. That gives you the gif of your avatar and you can open the avatar in 3D builder.
The coolest thing about the scan is your avatar. It is sent to you privately and you don’t have to show it to anyone. But, I want all of you to know about how this works so I will be posting mine. The one I downloaded is just sort of silver in color. You can take it into a graphics program and color it whatever you want. I saw some on the internet that were purple. But, I just left it as is.
Here is the gif that I downloaded of the spinning avatar:
If you click on it, the avatar will rotate. With a few minor exceptions, this thing is scarily accurate. I think because it is not a photograph, it is easier in a way to actually see the shape of my body. I am not distracted by facial features, or complexion or hair, etc. I just see the 3d outline of my shape.
Here are 4 still images that I took from the avatar.
This is the front:
You can see my skin is pushed up a little on my hips. This is because I had underwear on that is showing where the skin is pushed up above the top of my underwear. And, in the hip and pelvic area you can basically see the outline of my underwear.
From an information standpoint what really sticks out to me is the fat on my upper thighs. I knew it was there, but the outline here is very obvious. Also, the excess fat on my arms in clear. My torso looks pretty good, but it should since I had the tummy tuck and breast lift.
This is the left side and the right side:
The most notable thing is that I can see the excess fat on the back of my arms and you can see hints of excess back fat. That, however, is more clearly seen in the image of the back of the avatar.
Again, you can notice the fat on the upper thighs and on the arms. The notable thing though is the fat on the bottom of my back. Basically from looking at this avatar I can see how even though I weighed in at my goal range at Weight Watchers this month, I really do have excess body fat and it is clear where it is located on my body.
Oh, one other thing. Look at the back of my neck. On the upper right side there seems to be a lump. I had put my hair up in a pony tail before getting on the scanner. I think that a piece of hair came loose and marred the scan of the back. More about that below.
There are a number of online reports. First, there is an overview page, (Click on it to see a larger image):
You have your avatar and then links to several other sections. There is a link to your body shape rating which appears to give a rating of your body for health risks outcomes from the scan population. They looked at the SBSI, ABSI, BMI and Trunk to Leg Volume Ratio. I am in the 83rd percentile which is good. The wellness glossary defines some of the terms used including ABSI, A Body Shape Index, which evaluates total body shape and health risks focusing on the roundness of the waist, BMI and height. SBSI is surface based Body Shape Index and is a more complex way to evaluate body shape. It compares the amount of mass in your torso to the amount of mass in the rest of your body. The lower the score the better. Trunk to Leg Volume Ratio compares the volume of your trunk with the volume of your legs. It is indicated that there are more health risks with having a percentage of your body’s volume in your torso compared to your waist.
The results for those factors are shown in the Body Shape section.
I was reasonably happy with the results. I seemed just a bit above the most common result. I can see room for improvement, but it was better than I expected.
I was a little puzzled by the waist data. The waist circumference that they show here is what is shown in the detailed downloaded measurements as belly max. They also measure waist max (which was larger than this) and the natural waist which is smaller. I was most puzzled by the waist to hip ratio. The measurements spreadsheet gives a measurement for hips and for hips max. They don’t say which measurements they used to calculate the waist hip ration. I tried dividing each of the waist measurements by each of the hip measurements and got results ranging from .81 (natural waist divided by hips max) to .88 (dividing waist max by hips. However, one of the results rounds to .83. That is the belly max (35.3) divided by hips max. I wish they had clearly said what numbers they used to come up with the ratio.
Finally, if I click on Your Reports, I get this report. (Click on it to see a larger image).
It is a good summary of the numbers. The measurements shown are the core measurements. Searching around in their FAQ I found a page that describes where each of the measurements it taken on the body.
This was very helpful to have. For example, I found out that the waist measurement they use in the chart is the circumference at the small of the back. Note that on the avatar it is shown a little below the belly button.
Which brings up how I feel about their measurements.
The results page shows your core measurements. However, you can download a spreadsheet that has more measurements. If you go to measurements on the dashboard you are given the option to download measurements.
You get a spreadsheet with a lot of numbers on it. The spreadsheet gives the date and your height and weight and body shape percentile. Then, you get Fit3D’s estimate of your body fat percentage and lean and fat mass. According to their FAQ this is based upon their own algorithm. They based it off data they gathered from research partners that use both the Fit3D ProScanner and a DXA scanner. They base the body fat percentages on measurements from Fit3D scans where they also have DXA data. Their algorithm correlates with DXA body fat data. That is sort of cool if it is valid and if you don’t have your own dexa (DXA) scan. I do have dexa scan so don’t need their data.
I was, however, startled to see they estimate my body fat percentage almost 10 points lower than the dexa scan. At first, I thought that their algorithm was just bad. But, I finally realized that it is probably because of the bad neck measurement. As you can see from my report, they show my neck at 14.8 inches. That is way, way, way too high. I think the reason for that, though, is because of the piece of hair that fell down on my neck (that lump you can see on the back of my neck on the avatar). Body fat formulas based upon measurements often use neck measurements to get an idea of frame size. I think that the too big neck measurement threw off their body fat percentage measurement.
The cool thing about the measurements spreadsheet is that it gives way more measurements than the core measurements. For example, the core measurements include the bust, which is fairly self explanatory (but is explained in the Measurement Guide above). On the spreadsheet, though, you also get chest and underbust.
Likewise the waist measurement on the core is one taken at the small of the back which seems to be near the belly button. The spreadsheet calls that belly max. However, the spreadsheet also has waist max (larger than belly max) and waist natural (smaller). And, therein lies one of the major problems with the spreadsheet. I love getting the spreadsheet. I love the Measurement Guide. But, I want that same kind of information about all the other measurements. What is the waist max and where is it measured? How does hips max differ from hips? To be even more esoteric, what is torso sagittal? Some of the measurements are clear in what they are (left inseam) but others not so much (overarm). Still, it is a lot of valuable information.
There is another thing that is very important. Virtually all of the measurements are larger than the measurements that I have taken at home. I measure my natural waist at 32.25 inches. This measures it at 34.4 inches. I measure my left wrist at 6.25 inches. This measures it at 7 inches.
But, once I start thinking about it I realized why the difference exists. Even if I try to be careful when measuring (not to suck in my waist for example), I am using a tape measure. When using a tape measure I tend to hold it fairly snugly. I don’t make it a point to try to compress the skin. But, just using the tape measure does compress the skin a bit.
But the Fit3D scan doesn’t do that. It doesn’t press the skin in with a tape measure. It is as if you very lightly held a tape measure around the body not pressing it to the skin at all. So, the measurements tend to be a bit larger than I would get if I measured myself. I measure my bust and hips at 40 inches, while the Fit3D says 40.9 inches.
Oh, one other thing. I wish they used the natural waist on the core measurements. That is what I use when I take my own measurements. I do also measure at the belly button, but the measurement I call my waist is the natural waist.
In the end the actual numbers of the measurements are not that important. What is important is the change over time. The Fit3D dashboard has an entire Compare section where you apparently can compare a prior avatar to your current avatar and can compare changes in measurements. I really like that idea. But, it is not something that I have data on yet as this is my baseline scan.
I really do like this scan and think it will be very motivating for me to visually see the change over time and to see how my measurements change. The scale is important, but there are other metrics of success. In a month, I will get scanned again and will post about how the comparison is shown on the Fit3D page.