Scan guidelines & conditions
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As with all forms of body composition, the technology of bioelectrical impedance (BIA) requires standardized conditions when scanning to provide proper repeatability of measurements. The technology reads impedance and reactance of tissue at a point in time which can differentiate Lean Body Mass from Body Fat Mass.
The human body is quite dynamic in response to training stimulus, nutrient partitioning and supplementation/medications so those things need to be taken into account with respect to scan readings. The technology is validated in science and used in medicine so generally, variabilities in scan results are mostly due to human factors, this is why we always ensure there are standardized conditions around testing.
The most important aspect of using BIA technology is to ensure the circumstances around comparison scans are controlled, so all scans need to be performed under the same conditions each time.
The key components on your scan results to check are your weight, lean body mass, body fat mass, skeletal muscle mass and total body water.
Whilst people always look at body fat percentage as a show of progression, the reality is that it is only a percentage of your total body weight and not always a reflection of how much body fat has changed. The best way to track body fat is to track Body Fat Mass in kilograms or pounds.
The largest margin of error can be seen by checking Total Body Water. Being a component of Lean Body Mass, this is where you can identify whether the scan result has been affected by a human factor that is influenced by something that has altered Total Body Water. This is why it is imperative to control the scanning conditions as much as possible.
This is also where it is most important to note anything that can have an effect on Total Body Water such as:
Physiologically speaking there are a number of human variables that can attribute to a scan result not reflecting an expected result or change and this is why there is a significant emphasis on controlling scan conditions.
For initial scans, areas to check are:
If you are female, where are you in your menstrual cycle? If you don’t know, always scan the same time of day in 4 weeks or 8 weeks.
Some people will have an expectation of their Body Fat Percentage which might not reflect on the scan result. The BIA device can only provide a result based on the impedance and reactance of tissue, and therefore the result is reflecting the state of the body at the time of scanning. The first scan result is only a baseline and the emphasis should be on the follow up scan results, not the initial scan. Furthermore, where body fat is concerned, the total Body Fat Mass (kg or lbs) is where the emphasis should lie rather than Body Fat Percentage.
From a hormonal perspective, there are significant fluid shifts within the menstrual cycle as you can see from the diagram depicting the controlling hormone changes. You can see where the hormones rise, this is where you will see significant fluid shifts. The first 5-7 days are the best days to scan, where the hormone levels are fairly stable. The levels of hormones estrogen and progesterone fluctuate throughout the cycle and can lead to water retention. Water retention is highest around the midpoint of the monthly cycle and the 1-2 weeks before a period.
It is important to note that this is a guide only and you will come across the odd client that typically holds fluid in different circumstances, but for the most part, use this is a general guide.
Similarly, women in peri, post or menopause can experience fluid shifts due to drops in estrogen and progesterone. The take home message is to scan at the same time of the day within 4 or 8 weeks from each other to try and keep standardized scanning conditions.
Significant training loads can produce inflammation and fluid retention. Sometimes you may experience a scan result where the results may not be reflecting your expectation.
It is not uncommon for some people to experience plateaus and sometimes increases during a fat loss phase. It is never a linear process and the human body is subject to a number of different processes to recover, replenish and normalise certain functions. In most cases, if the client is being compliant, they should re-scan again at another interval (under the same scanning conditions) to reassess. It is always important to encourage the client to stay on track and discuss the various factors that could potentially show a result that didn’t meet expectations.
From a nutrition perspective, reducing carbohydrate consumption will initially provide a substantial change as 1 gram of carbohydrate bonds with approximately 3 grams of water, so this is why there is often a decent change from the first to second scan result in a fat loss phase.
Carbohydrates are also required to replenish glycogen stores in the muscle (as well as the liver). Excess carbohydrates or a high carbohydrate meal can momentarily clause fluid shifts and alter a scan result, so keeping food choices similar in nature around scanning, is important.
Finally, remember that using the Evolt 360 scan gives you some important data about your body. It is a collection of data around your own individual circumstances. It gives you an opportunity to learn what variables effect your body composition.
Managing expectations around scan results is key to keeping motivated. The scan is only one piece of information from the state of the body at the time of scanning. Other key indicators such as increased energy, increased strength, feeling and looking better in clothing, feeling confident etc. are all important factors.
Evolt 360 Scan Result Explanation
Scanning Fasted Vs After A High Fat or Carb Meal
Body Fat Differences Between Genders
Menstruation Cycle and Scanning
Scanning Pre Training Vs Post Training
Body Fat Percentage Vs Body Fat Mass in KG
Learn how to understand the why’s and how’s of scan inconsistencies and how to minimize them.
Explaining the Results Sheet
Challenges are a great way to start your fitness journey. Done properly, not only do they allow you to establish a clear, time driven goal but they offer the necessary support, information and motivation to get you there.
Many facilities don’t offer their clients a way to effectively measuring their progress to ensure they are on track to reach their goals. From a recent survey conducted, over 68% of gyms, health businesses, and personal trainers did not know how effective their member’s training was or what they needed to do to keep their members on track.
The Evolt 360 makes it easy to measure incremental changes in your body composition, allowing your trainer to tailor advice and even programs to suit your individual requirements. With over 40 data points collected from each and every scan, you are able to access a wealth of information at your fingertips.
View your individual scan history and harness the power in the data to keep you engaged and successful in your wellness regime.
Ask your club how you can join their next Evolt 360 challenge.
Are you Super Shredded?
Sometimes you can still look better and perform better, so the emphasis should be celebrating those wins but also looking at the circumstances around the scanning conditions if the result is negative.
If the scanning conditions are adhered to from the check list, then further investigation of your personal circumstances need to be addressed. It is fairly easy for people to be compliant in the first 14-28 days of a transformation challenge but steadily revert back to old eating habits in the second half of the challenge (despite full training and activity compliance).
It is also very easy for individuals not to properly track their food, ie. weigh out portions and unknowingly over consume some foods. If you aren’t tracking your food at all, start tracking using a calorie/macro tracker such as MyFitnessPal or similar. Self-monitoring food intake has been shown to improve the success of fat loss attempts and maintaining dietary changes into the future.
In any event, Fat Loss phases are never linear and there will always be plateaus along the way. Don’t focus on the numbers if you are visibly doing well. Stay compliant and the numbers will change in the right direction eventually.
You will see in the graph below how variable the changes are, however, they still trend in the right direction towards the long-term goal.
The human body is primed to survive and restore homeostasis (the body fat set point at which your body is most comfortable and will often return to). Physiologically speaking, your body has certain processes to keep you from starving and support vital organs and hormones. When people are in a fat loss phase and reduce calories, initially there will be a substantial change. After some time, there will be a metabolic adaption process which is when the body reaches a plateau (the metabolic adaption process is to prevent you from starving to death). This is why nutrition and training protocols need to change at some point in time during a fat loss phase to keep progressing in the right direction.
We commonly see individuals who might lose 5-10 pounds in weight, hence the smaller frame and fitting better in clothing, however, because the member’s weight loss was due to loss of lean body mass and not body fat mass, hence the body fat percentage increases due to the loss of lean body mass.
This is why we always suggest to concentrate on body fat mass rather than body fat percentage as the “mass” component will give you a better gauge of the actual fat lost and provide you with some data to adjust components of your nutrition or training plan.
Again, this is an opportunity to engage with your trainer and ask for advice on how you can reach your end goal. It shouldn’t be perceived as a negative, but rather an opportunity to make some adjustments and improve the next result.
Firstly, Body Fat Percentage is very unique for everybody and no two bodies should ever be compared. Everyone stores body fat differently due to genetic structure, gender, hormonal status and the amount of skeletal muscle mass held.
Body Fat Percentage also includes visceral fat mass, which is not visible like subcutaneous body fat, so people often confuse body fat percentage as being a measure of subcutaneous fat only. For example, some endurance athletes who are quite visibly lean, can carry higher visceral fat mass and lowered skeletal muscle mass which will show a higher body fat percentage than they perceive. Just because someone looks lean, doesn’t necessarily mean they will have a low body fat percentage.
Unfortunately, the perception and expectation of body fat percentage for some people determines whether they are satisfied with their body composition progress. There are a lot of women who expect that they should be in the low 20’s or even under 20%, however the reality is that women under 20% are conditioned athletes and compete in physique sports anywhere from 14-20%. Generally speaking, the healthy range is 20-30%, however, some women can carry higher than 30% body fat and still be very healthy, fit and in good shape. Men typically are in the healthy range at 15-20% but again, a lot of men can carry a higher body fat percentage and still be healthy, fit and in good shape.
Nevertheless, a first scan showing a high body fat percentage is only a starting point and should be used to measure progress (ensuring that lean body mass is retained or increased, and body fat mass is reduced).
All forms of BIA have been established as being identical in terms of the method of operation and the utilization of impedance measures that incorporate an alternate electrical frequency to determine body composition.
The Evolt 360 stands on a platform of substantiated scientific methodology that is consistent with all current evidence-based practice and uses the proper 5-point method to establish a result. Some brands only use a 3-point method so obviously those brands will show variable results.
The take home message is to always be consistent around scanning and that means using the same device all the time. Some people may use their bathroom scale to compare with the Evolt 360, but the measuring parameters and technology are completely different so cannot offer a reliable repeatable measure of progress.
The Evolt Active app is the ultimate health and wellness app for people who are serious about reaching their goals. With the unique capture of bio-feedback from the Evolt 360, the Evolt active app is able to provide detailed and individualized assistance based on the user’s goals.
Setting up the Evolt Active App