Body composition is the ratio of fat to muscle to water and bone in your body. 

There are four ways you can measure body composition;

  • BMI
  • DEXA scanner, which will scan your body and tell you what percentage you are fat
  • Good old-fashioned scales
  • Skin fold caliper measurements that measure the amount of fat that you can pinch in certain areas of the body.

These measures are all fine and well, and sometimes you do need a start point; how much do I currently weigh, how much fat’s in my body, these are important, particularly where that fat is located. If it’s around the middle, then it’s around the organs, and that’s an unhealthy place to carry fat. But I prefer to focus on how you feel, and that’s the question I always ask people when they want to know more about their body composition.

If you are plainly carrying too much weight for health reasons, then that’s obviously something you want to address. Equally, it might be a lack of muscle, and you want to build up more muscle to prevent falls and just be more functionally fit. But how do you feel? I mean, look in the mirror. Are you happy with what you see? Based on your perception of what you see, not what you think other people want to see or compared to fitness models and whatever else it might be, do you feel happy with how you are?

In the context of the fact that to get a very rich and shredded body, whether that’s for men or women, you must make a great many sacrifices. There’s a lot of food you can’t eat, a lot of drinks you can’t go near, and for most of us, it just isn’t desirable or necessary to look that shredded. Have a look in the mirror. Are you happy with what you see? Are you happy with what you feel?

Are you functionally fit? That’s a real key one for me. Can you lift your suitcase off the conveyor belt or off the escalator or the carousel in the airports? Can you carry shopping? Do you get exhausted when you carry a laptop bag home from work? These are all things that I’ve heard of. It’s important that you are functionally fit. Are you able to keep up with your friends and your family? Do you have enough energy to do what you want in the day? Do you have good mental health? Is your body composition affecting how you sleep or how you feel about yourself in an adverse way?

These are all important aspects of body composition. Rather than looking at what the scales say, which can be something to beat yourself around the head with, or worrying about a DEXA scan, unless you’re very overweight, focus on what you can achieve with your body, rather than the aesthetics of how it looks, something I talk about in my TedX talk, Why Fitness is More Important Than Weight.

If you’ve got questions or feedback, drop me an email to [email protected].

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Leanne Spencer is an entrepreneur, coach, TEDx Speaker, author of Remove the Guesswork, and founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. Bodyshot is a health and fitness consultancy that helps busy professionals get more energy by removing the guesswork around their health, fitness and nutrition. Visit or email [email protected] to register your interest in our services and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


  • Leanne is an award-winning entrepreneur and the founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. She delivered a TEDx talk on 'Why fitness is more important than weight', is the author of bestselling books 'Remove the Guesswork' and 'Rise and Shine', and hosts a podcast called ’Remove the Guesswork‘. Leanne is the founder of Bodyshot Performance, an award-winning health and wellbeing company. Bodyshot Performance work with businesses of up to 500 people who want to create a culture of energy, vitality and performance through the business and position wellbeing as a competitive advantage. Bodyshot intersect the latest science and technology to provide unique solutions to the challenge of wellbeing in the workplace that have a direct impact on the bottom line. Our clients have won awards for wellbeing and recognise it directly improves employee engagement and retention and attracts talent into the business.  We also work with chronically stressed or burned out professionals to get you back in control of your health and able to do the things you want to do in life. My expertise is around health, fitness and wellbeing, specifically focusing on sleep, mental health, energy, body composition, digestion and fitness. I host a popular podcast on iTunes called ’Remove the Guesswork ‘, and in November 2016 I delivered a TEDx talk on 'Why fitness is more important than weight'. I’m the author of the bestselling books 'Remove the Guesswork' and 'Rise and Shine' and I regularly speak to corporates on health and wellbeing. My personal values are to live truthfully, considerately and to "suck all the marrow out of life" as Thoreau said. I support the charity Diversity Role Models which works to combat homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. I recently completed the world’s toughest ski race to raise £10,125 for Alzheimer's Research as my father-in-law was profoundly ill with Alzheimers, and I am on a constant mission to find ways to live in a way that is sustainable and environmentally friendly. I love sport, fitness, reading, gardening, business, podcasting, and being with my cat and our scampish little rescue dog, Kami from Romania.