Q&A: Nutrition and Technology

nutrition and technology

Emily Schelberg, a Coach and performance nutrition counselor at 12 Labours CrossFit, shares how they’ve brought nutrition and technology together.

BP: What does your nutrition program intake process look like?

ES: We essentially sit down, we talk about what their current nutrition programming is, what their goals are, what their diet looks like, what their sleep is like, are they taking medications, what their work schedule is like, how much and how often they can workout, and then we typically do the body scan with the BodyMetrix system.

BP: What tools can you use in the program?

ES: There’s a few different tools that you can use for measuring body fat. Most people are comfortable with the caliber measurement; it’s usually the easiest tool you can use, but it’s highly subjective and it varies on usability and how well the person has been trained to use it. Other scans include bio impedance, where someone is essentially holding on or stepping onto an instrument that measures their water content, which gives them an idea of what their body fat content is, too. You can also use displacement tools — the BodPod which is an air displacement tool, but it’s kind of expensive, you have to have one in the office, and it’s expensive to go back and forth to measure. The most expensive one would be body composition based on MRI, which very few people do. The ultrasound test is the best one that we’ve found, specifically because it’s affordable, it’s portable — we have three different locations that we do nutrition counseling from — it’s easily reproducible, it’s very easy to learn how to use it and it’s very accurate.

BP: How does BodyMetrix work?

ES: The wand itself works just like it would if you were a pregnant woman and you had an ultrasound or had an ultrasound on some part of your body. So, you use ultrasound gel and you measure the same spots you would for calibers. But they measure the density of the fat, bone and muscle tissue, and then they just find the average of those spots. It’s the same algorithm you would use for the pinchers, but you’re using ultrasound.

BP: What other tech tools do you use?

ES: I try to convince [most of my clients] that tracking their food is really important and really helps to figure out what’s going in and what’s coming out. So I specifically recommend something like a My Fitness Pal app, so just that they’re able to track what they’re eating and then that way I’m also able to see what they’re eating. But using different apps or websites that give you macro nutrient counting or diet tracking is super helpful.

BP: Why is using tech tools when it comes to nutrition important?

ES: We find that a lot of clients come in, particularly if they’re athletes or non-athletes who are coming in and doing CrossFit for the first time or it’s the first time they’ve used resistance training as part of their programming. And it’s not uncommon to have a client say, “I’ve been working out this whole time, but my scales haven’t changed at all.” Or “My clothes feel like they fit better, but I’m still weighing the same.” And the tool really helps us get the message across that you’ve traded out body fat for muscle mass. For most clients, that’s what they are looking for. They want to be healthier and stronger and fit their clothes a little better. For others, the number is still a big issue so that’s part of our counseling to try and help them understand, OK well are you looking to be thin or are you looking to be fit and healthy? There’s certain things we can talk about with that, but at that point you’re trying to figure out, what’s the real goal here?

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.