The little pool was warm – 95 degrees. Imagine a human-sized produce scale with the basket part, made out of blue pipes, in the pool. My job was to sit in the basket, submerse myself, blow all the air out of my lungs, and then hold still for a couple of seconds. I am not a swimmer so this is something that is NOT in my skillset. Steep learning curve for me – waaaaaayyyy outside my comfort zone. The closest thing to a pool I’ve been in is a hot tub and I haven’t done that in a long time. I needed to practice this move a few times.
(An interesting side note…I was comfortable shedding my outer layer of clothing down to my new 1-piece black Speedo that I got for this activity. Even walking around the place to get weighed in it. That’s a new thing. Maybe getting on stage in a posing suit won’t be so bad.)
Once we got started, I thought I had the hang of it. The first one went pretty well – I thought. I was wrong. They wanted more dunks. Attempts 2-4 failed. I was given a “tip” that basically triggered a panic reflex that caused me to suck in water rather than blow air out. We had some small talk so my heart rate would come down a bit. Once I figured out that the “tip” was throwing me off and started doing it my way, I had two more fairly good attempts. I thought at least one of them was really darn good. I blew out all my air. I was able to blow out a few more bubbles and I sat still for a second. I did feel myself sink more each time I pushed out air.
Afterwards, I got the results. The guy said that he thinks the number is a little too high because I wasn’t getting all my air out. What? Sure felt like I did. The number they came up with was 25.9% body fat. The last time I had it checked in March with the DXA scan, it was 26.3% body fat. Really??? I paid $50
and practiced “not-drowning” just to get no new information? Not pleased. But according to their little computer, I’m in the “Optimal Fitness” category and isn’t that just wonderful? Really? Ok, thank you. I’m not fat anymore. And then they go on to tell me that I should never want to be below 18% bodyfat/134 pounds and that if anyone tells me that I should be smaller than that, I shouldn’t listen to them. I’m thinking “You boys are missing the point, aren’t you?” When I walked in, they asked me why was getting this test done, so I reminded them that the point of my being there is that I have a goal to compete and I will need to be well below 18% to step on stage. Ignoring me, the guy goes off on a tangent about cholesterol and heart disease and tells me I should get a fancy cholesterol test for $80 because he just had it done.
I’m not happy.
When I pulled into their parking lot, I knew I was somewhere less than 26% body fat. When I left, I knew I was somewhere less than 26% body fat, my hair was wet, and I had $50 less in my checking account. I understand that this type of body fat testing is supposed to be the most accurate – assuming you can blow all your air out and sit underwater quietly. I don’t regret having the experience. I just regret paying for it because I don’t have any new information. I cannot use the data from this test to compare with the previous body fat measurements because it’s from three different kinds of measurements – DXA, calipers, dunk tank. Apples, oranges, and bananas.
After an hour of being bummed, crying a little, quitting bodybuilding for a few minutes, starting again, and pulling myself out of the funk I was in, I decided to go back to ‘apples’. I called and made an appointment to have another DXA scan tomorrow afternoon. I really hate to spend more money, but it will help me figure out what is going on. This is an important piece of information that I need to make a big decision. This is a transition point in my training. I have less than 3 months left, so I have to decide if I’m really going to have a shot at the August 25th show, do I find another show in the fall, or do I wait another year? I need something reliable that I can compare to previous numbers to determine if there has been progress or backsliding. It doesn’t really matter if it’s the most accurate number. It’s just like weighing yourself on the same scale all the time. Standardization.