Understanding Lean Body Mass and Skeletal Muscle Mass: Key Factors For Body Composition Analysis


Achieving a healthy body composition is a goal for many individuals on their fitness journey.

To better understand your body and its composition, body scans, such as the ones conducted using the mfBIA body scanner, provide valuable insights.

In this article, we will explore the difference between lean body mass (LBM) and skeletal muscle mass, their significance in metabolic rate, protein and carbohydrate requirements, effects during weight loss and weight gain, and strategies for preserving muscle mass. Let's dive in!

Lean Body Mass (LBM):

Lean Body Mass consists of muscle, protein, and minerals, excluding body fat. It plays a crucial role in improving metabolism and maintaining a healthy overall body composition.

Some of the valuable insights from measuring lean body mass include:

a) Determining Metabolic Rate:

Lean Body Mass is closely linked to metabolic rate. Having a higher LBM generally leads to a higher metabolic rate. This means that individuals with more lean mass burn more calories, even at rest, contributing to an increased metabolic rate. By assessing your LBM, you gain insights into your baseline metabolic rate.

b) Calculating Protein and Carbohydrate Requirements:

LBM also influences protein and carbohydrate requirements. Higher LBM generally requires more protein for muscle maintenance and growth. Protein repairs and builds muscle tissue, while carbohydrates provide energy for physical activities. Knowing your LBM allows you to tailor your nutrition plan to meet the specific protein and carbohydrate needs of your body.

c) Effects of Weight Loss and Weight Gain on LBM:

During weight loss, it is common to experience a reduction in both body fat and lean mass. However, with proper exercise and nutrition strategies, muscle loss can be minimised, preserving LBM. Our team can help guide you as to what would be considered a reasonable expectation of LBM when we assess your current body composition, along with nutrition, training and other lifestyle considerations.

Conversely, weight gain can often increase both body fat and lean mass. Incorporating resistance training and consuming a calorie surplus with adequate protein intake promotes muscle growth and increases LBM. For a healthy weight gain scenario, we assess guide you on appropriate ratios of fat and lean tissue changes, when taking in to consideration your current body composition, along with nutrition, training and training history, and other lifestyle considerations.

Skeletal Muscle Mass

Skeletal Muscle Mass refers to the muscles attached to bones used during training and cardiovascular activities. It plays a significant role in burning fuel, increasing Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), and supporting overall metabolic health.

Some of the valuable insights from measuring skeletal muscle mass include:

a) Determining Appendicular Lean Mass:

The body scanner utilises Multi-Frequency Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (mfBIA) to measure appendicular lean mass. This measurement focuses on muscle mass in the arms and legs, providing insights into overall skeletal muscle mass. Assessing appendicular lean mass helps evaluate muscle development, guide training programs, and track progress in response to exercise and nutrition interventions.

b) Importance of Skeletal Muscle Mass Measurements:

Measuring skeletal muscle mass is crucial as it indicates the amount of metabolically active tissue in your body. Skeletal muscles contribute not only to calorie burning but also to strength, mobility, and overall functional capacity. Monitoring skeletal muscle mass allows individuals to make informed decisions regarding exercise and nutrition strategies to optimise muscle health and overall well-being.

c) Rates of Change in Skeletal Muscle Mass:

Rates of change in skeletal muscle mass can vary depending on genetics, exercise routine, training history, nutrition, recovery and individual response. Our team can help guide you as to what would be considered a reasonable expectation of skeletal muscle mass changes over time when we assess your current body composition, training history, along with nutrition, training plan and other lifestyle considerations.

During weight loss, it is crucial to protect skeletal muscle mass to minimise muscle loss. Incorporating resistance training exercises, consuming adequate protein, managing a moderate caloric deficit, and sleep optimisation can help preserve muscle mass while losing body fat. Aim for a gradual weight loss with a focus on maintaining strength and resistance training to support skeletal muscle preservation.

Strategies For Preserving Muscle Mass

To preserve muscle mass effectively, consider implementing the following strategies:

a) Strength Training:

Strength training is among the most effective ways to build and maintain muscle mass. Aim to perform strength training exercises , at least 2-3 times per week. Focus on compound exercises that engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and overhead presses are excellent examples of compound exercises.

b) Adequate Protein Intake:

Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair. The quantity you need, may be different that what is usually suggested. We can use all of the factors mentioned earlier in this post to help set some targets and see how the body responds over time. Diversify your protein sources, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, beans, and lentils.

c) Calorie Deficit

If your goal is weight loss, create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you burn. However, ensure you still consume enough calories to support your muscle mass. Inadequate caloric intake may lead to muscle loss alongside fat reduction.

d) Prioritise Sleep

Adequate sleep is crucial for muscle recovery and growth. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night to support optimal muscle maintenance. The period between 10pm and 2pm, where a lot of your deep sleep can take place is a really important time.


Use body scan data along with a comprehensive dietetic assessment to personalise your nutrition.
Professionally built by our Dietitian.

Additional Tips For Preserving Muscle Mass

e) Lift heavy weights:

Focus on challenging yourself with weights that stimulate muscle growth and prevent muscle loss during strength training. Incorporate exercises that target different muscle groups and progressively increase the weight as you get stronger. This helps promote continuous muscle growth and maintenance.

f) Take breaks:

Allow your muscles time to recover between workouts to avoid overtraining. Overtraining can lead to muscle fatigue and increased risk of injury. Schedule rest days in your workout routine and listen to your body's signals for rest and recovery.

g) Listen to your body:

Pay attention to any signs of pain or discomfort during workouts. Pushing yourself too hard can lead to muscle strain or injury. It's important to find a balance between challenging yourself and knowing your limits.

h) Stay hydrated:

Drinking an adequate amount of water is crucial for muscle health. Hydration supports muscle function, prevents cramping, and aids in the transport of nutrients to your muscles. Aim to drink enough water throughout the day, especially during and after workouts.

i) Balanced nutrition:

In addition to adequate protein intake, ensure you're consuming a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods. Essential vitamins, minerals, and other macronutrients play a role in muscle health and recovery.

j) Consistency and patience:

Building and preserving muscle mass takes time and consistency. Be patient with your progress and stay committed to your workout and nutrition routine. Results may not happen overnight, but with consistent effort, you'll see improvements over time.

Where To Find Lean Mass, Skeletal Muscle Mass and Segmental Muscle Mass On Body Scan

When examining your body scan report, you will encounter several assessments related to lean body mass. Lean Body Mass and Skeletal Muscle Mass are numbers 1 and 2 on your body scan report.

Down in the segmental analysis section, you will find information around upper and lower body balance. You can also view data around lean mass across the left and right arms, legs, as well as the torso.

By acquainting yourself with these measurements on your body scan report, you gain valuable insights into your body composition. Armed with this knowledge, you can embark on a targeted journey to measure and manage your lean mass profile, promoting improved strength, balance, physique and overall well-being.

Figure 1: Where To Lean Mass and Skeletal Muscle Mass Measurements On Your Body Scan Report


Understanding the concepts of lean body mass and skeletal muscle mass is essential for optimising body composition, supporting muscle health, and achieving fitness goals.

By utilising body scans like the mfBIA body scanner, individuals can gain valuable insights into their body composition, including LBM and skeletal muscle mass, to make informed decisions about exercise, nutrition, and overall wellness.

Embrace the power of knowledge to enhance your fitness journey and promote a healthier body.



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