My next stop for Canyon Ranch’s peak performance program was to the dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan machine. As I understood it, the machine would pepper me with gamma rays and turn me into a superhero.
“This generally doesn’t hurt,” said Dr. Brewer, which of course is the money quote they’ll print in the newspaper story describing my grisly death and charred corpse. Fortunately my fears were groundless and the scan only took a few minutes. Soon we were looking at the enchanting picture you see here. Control yourselves, ladies, but that’s me with nothing on—not even skin, fat, muscles or internal organs.
The readout showed I had 20,945 grams of fat on me—about the same amount as a porterhouse at your local Sizzler. My body was 30.7 percent fat.
I was freaking out for the better part of the day until exercise physiologist Mike Siemens explained that the DEXA scan measures all the fat in my body, including the thin threads throughout the lean, or, as I unappetizingly called it, my marbling.
To demonstrate the difference from a normal body composition test, he used the calipers on me and measured out 23 percent fat. Still not good, but at least I had a better reference.
Mike explained that even though I’m a thin guy (5’11”, 154 lbs.), I’m lacking in lean mass, or, in layman’s terms, muscle. Mike had to throw a net over me as I tried to lam out of there. I knew where this was heading: the weight room.
But I got a short reprieve. I had to take one final test before the remedies began: an aerobic capacity test, better known by runners the world over as a VO2 max test.
Next up: I finally get to run!