Bio-Signature assessment (29th May 2012)

The Elizabeth Plaza Fitness First was again promoting free health and fitness assessments and this week, members can book in for a Bio-Signature assessment. Yes, you've guessed it - I signed myself up :) All it took was a quick filling of a form at the reception desk and I was shortly contacted by my Bio-Signature assessor, David, to set up an appointment to meet at the gym later that week for my assessment.

So what is a Bio-Signature? This concept was developed by
Charles Poliquin (those of you who take supplements to aid your workouts will be familiar with the Poliquin brand) where skin fold data is gathered to determine a clients' hormonal imbalances - with this information, the assessor is able to help refine their clients' exercise, nutrition and supplement intake to achieve rapid results in fat loss. I met up with David (he turned out to be one of the personal trainers at the gym) around 12pm at reception. He took down my personal details then gave me a brief of what the Bio-Signature is about and how the assessment was conducted. He even showed me his special pair of skinfold caliper that came in its own wooden casing which he would be using to measure my body fat. The caliper looked like a huge medical forcep with a clock-like measuring dial attached to it - looked quite intimidating, I must say!

Down at the training room on the lower ground level of the gym, we proceeded with the assessment. My weight and height measurements were taken and this was followed by David marking the 12 major body fat sites he needed to measure using a black kohl pencil - my cheek, chin, pectoral region, triceps, umbilical (belly button), supra iliac (hip), subscapular (shoulder blade), mid axillary, quadriceps, hamstrings, knee and calf all had a visible black stroke. I felt rather like a kid being the subject of a prank and getting drawn on. "And now I get to pinch you," David said jokingly, opening and closing the caliper at me. Eek! 

Jono would tell you that I'm a very ticklish person and part of me did wonder how I would react when the assessor had to touch and pinch spots around my tummy (my most sensitive area that often when touched gets me in giggles). Surprisingly, I didn't flinch and David was able to work his way pinching all 12 sites with no dramas. There are certain sites that hurt a little when pinched, such as my knee. Did I mention that he had to pinch all the sites again just to be sure he had taken down the correct measurements? Great to get the measurements right though I suspiciously think he finds sheer enjoyment 'torturing' his clients with the pinching...:P 

The whole process took about 15 minutes and the results of the measurements were available straightaway. I have 20.6% of body fat which was within the normal body fat percentages for women (20 - 21%) though David suggested this could be further reduced to about 18% with refinements in my training programme and diet. The results were better than I expected (I thought it would be closer to 25%) but definitely room for improvement. My hamstring, umbilical and supra iliac were the areas that didn't do so well, areas that according to David, were generally where women store more fat. "You should also cut down on carbs," he said, suggesting that I cut out all breads and eat rice only twice a week. Right, the rice part is probably going to be quite difficult for me when I'm Asian, a born and bred 'rice bucket'...hmm...I was also told that I should try to reduce my stress levels as the umbilical skin fold is a direct reflection of cortisol output (stress hormone). Because I already have my own personal trainer, David did not discuss in detail on how I was to reduce my fat percentage but instead sent a copy of the results to Alison (my personal trainer) for her to work on with me. Slightly disappointing as I would have liked to know the answers right there and then but I can understand where he was coming from - it would not be ethical to pinch another personal trainer's client when both are working under the same roof. 

I would highly recommend getting a Bio-Signature done if it's available at your gym. Like any health and fitness assessment, it gives a clear benchmark of where your health and fitness is at and where you need to get to to achieve your desired results. A few tips before going to your assessment - do NOT wear moisturiser before coming in. It makes it really difficult for the assessor to pinch you and the ends of the caliper slips off your skin easily. Also, wear a sports bra and shorts. This allows the assessor to get to your skin for a more accurate measurement (David was happy to pinch me with my shirt on but that would have skewed the results slightly). I was the perfect candidate turning up with no moisturiser and wore shorts and sports bra under my T-shirt :) Oh, and don't forget to rub off the markings before you leave the gym!


  1. Hi, saw your blog on this test does sound interesting. I guess the biggest question after this is - did anything eventuate from this test?
    (ie. switching PTs and following this bio-signature regime)?

    1. Hi jimmijamz,

      The PTs at my gym have a 'no-steal' policy when it comes to clients so I stayed with my existing PT who was given a copy of the results by the assessor and tweaked my next programme to focus on those trouble areas. I did sign up to get another assessment done a couple of months later however it seems that the free assessment were more for the assessor (who is also a PT) to get new clients so I never got a follow up assessment to find out if I've reduce my body fat percentage since :/


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