Metabolic Analytics is the name of the most recent update of world renowned Strength Sensei, Charles Poliquin’s body composition program. Previously known as Bio-Signature & now Bio-Print, the program has continued to develop to provide coaches with, in my mind, a valuable tool for better supporting both athletes & the general population with guidance around hormone imbalances. Not only does the program provide the coach with accurate data around overall body fat & lean muscle mass, the skin fold testing of 14 sites on the ‘body find areas’ of disproportionate fat, indicating imbalances can then be corrected through; nutrition, supplementation & also various lifestyle factors in order to promote wellness & optimise a person’s performance.
We use this system at our Gold Coast Personal Training gym on a daily basis with a mix of both athletes looking to improve performance & with the general population who want to drop body fat. We encourage most clients to check in once a fortnight for a measure. I find a huge amount of value in the data; it provides me about an individuals unique physiology & allows me to tailor support that reaches far beyond the traditional “nutrition” advice. Each of the fourteen sites gives me information relating to hormone balance with which I use, along with a comprehensive questionnaire, as the first step in developing an individualised plan of attack. Of course overall calories are important, however Real Movement Project founder Keegan Smith explains,
“Energy intake still matters but the drive to eat & the drive to deposit fat… those things are governed by hormones”.
So what do the sites tell me? For those who have had skin folds done with me before you know we start at the top of the body & work our way down…
Chin & Cheek are overall wellness indicators & will often be the first sites to drop with positives change. I have also found that reducing (or removing) caffeine consumption can have a massive impact upon the cheek measure due to its over stimulation of the adrenals.
Pec, Triceps & Biceps are linked to testosterone. Women will have naturally higher readings in these areas, however, that’s not to say that it’s an area that can’t be positively impacted by strength training to boost testosterone & a reduction on alcohol consumption to limit its estrogenic affect on the body. The impact of alcohol is often seen in the form of “man boobs” in guys who drink large amounts. I’ve experienced that the introduction of Zinc can have a positive impact on testosterone levels in men & will influence a reduction of fat in this area.
Sub Scapular is a brilliant indicator of your tolerance to carbohydrates. If this reading is greater than 10, you should be taking steps to improve your bodies response to insulin by doing a protocol improve this such as a two week “No-Carb-Boot-Camp”.
Measurements of the Mid Auxiliary & Supra iliac lets me know if a client has been compliant with the meal plan I’ve set them. The consumption of inflammatory foods will impact the fat stored in this area.
Amusingly known as the Australian site the lower back “love handles” are indicative of poor gut health. The introduction of probiotic foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut & yoghurts can have a positive impact in these areas.
Extended periods of elevated cortisol can impact the fat held on the belly or umbilical which is commonly incorrectly associated with food. Stress is the major cause of fat being held in this area & that can be stress from any area, training, lifestyle, caffeine, work, family life etc. Whilst utilising carbohydrates & supplements, such as glutamine, this helps to reduce cortisol post training & can be helpful when working with athletes. Also a reduction of stress can be key to reducing fat in this area for the general population. Meditation, Yoga, Wim Hof breathe exercises can all have a positive impact on getting a lean mid-section.
I use the Calves & Knee readings to tell me if I’m pushing an athlete too hard in training without adequate recovery. If everything else is dropping & these areas are increasing we need to correct the balance as they are indicative of a lack of good quality sleep & recovery. A reduction in coffee can also bring these areas down as they’re linked to adrenal health.
Quads & Hamstring measurement areas very commonly show up as the priority area, as they relate to the balance of oestrogens in the body. Quads are linked to oestrogens produced by the body, however hamstrings related to external oestrogens that the body is unable to clear from its system. External oestrogens are the toxins from everyday modern life such as chemicals in beauty products, fluoride & chlorine in our drinking & tap water, additives in our food and the list could go on & on. Actively reducing the consumption of these stressors on the body will reduce fat on the hamstrings supported by a good super greens product & fibre supplement to pull toxins from the body.
Do I think that Metabolic Analytics provides all of the answers? No. But do I think it provides valuable data that I can share with my clients, both athletes & general population, to better support them to make better lifestyle choices & optimise wellness… absolutely!
By Jen Davis