Spot reduction of body fat had always been a hot topic in fitness circles. Every person has their problem areas they wish would just magically melt away.

Now although no-one ever got a shredded 6-pack doing ab crunches alone; is there any truth in the ability to spot reduce body fat? Speaking from personal experience, I can confidently say, 'YES! There is!' 

THE BIRTH OF BIOPRINT

Ty Phillips Personal Trainer Caliper Client Bioprint

It was world renowned strength coach Charles R. Poliquin who pioneered Bioprint’s predecessor, Biosignature modulation, after noticing the correlation between lifestyle, hormones and body composition.

It was by gathering data from skin fold measurements, blood, urine and saliva testing from multitudes of athletes he has worked with over the years, that the correlation between hormonal balance and site specific fat storage became evident. It was from these early findings, that Charles patented his Biosignature modulation system which involved taking skinfold measurements, to gauge a reading of how ones hormonal imbalances were driving fat storage specific to certain areas.

Many years later, and he has long since perfected this method with the introduction of an improved algorithm, that incorporates readings from an additional two sites from the lower extremities into it’s calculations. The result is his new and improved Bioprint modulation system which has rightfully earnt its crown as the gold standard in body composition assessment software today.

HOW IT WORKS

Charles Poliquin Bioprint skinfold sites
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It has been said that the formula Charles has built into his software, has the power to calculate a persons body fat percentage with such precision that it rivals the DEXA scan. For those unfamiliar, a DEXA scan is widely considered one of THE most accurate methods of calculating overall body fat and lean muscle mass. I can vouch for this first hand, as I have personally compared my Bioprint readings with clients DEXA scans in this past, and have been surprised to find differences of as little as 0.7% between their Bioprint and DEXA results.

However it should be noted here, that the accuracy of the Bioprint results relies gravely dependant upon the proficiency of the practitioner in taking skinfold measurements. Sloppy skinfolds will result in a skewed result.

IN THEORY & PRACTICE

Besides being able to accurately assess body fat percentage and lean muscle mass, what makes Bioprint so gosh darn attractive to someone like myself, is how it allows me to gain a clearer picture of their hormonal health and overall metabolic health.

This has application not only in looking at hormones per se, but I have found in my practice that much of the information gathered from Bioprint analysis I conduct has told me a heck of a lot about someones metabolic type, nutritional deficiencies, lifestyle and underlying health conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, sexual dysfunction and PCOS just to name a few.

A Bioprint reading can help pinpoint many of the following:

  • Testosterone/estrogen balance
  • Thyroid function
  • Detoxification
  • Blood sugar management
  • Stress management
  • Sleep quality
  • Inflammation

CONTROVERSY

Admittedly, Charles’ Bioprint system has attracted the attention of skeptics who would cry 'bullshit.' Although I will agree 100% that correlation is NOT causation, there is evidence that confirms what Charles claims. There are mountains of research available online alone, that describe the patterning of site specific fat storage on the abdominals in relation to high cortisol, and the legs being storage sites for people with estrogen dominance.

I personally have found that an in depth assessment of a clients lifestyle via a health appraisal questionaiire, speaks volumes in validating information provided in a Bioprint reading. This is even prior to ordering blood tests to screen for evidence of inflammation, blood sugar dysregulation and other common health complications.

I was once told, by my good friend and colleague Rawdon Dubois, 'Knowledge and theory is all well and good, but never discount the validity of real world experience.' Just because something is your experience doesn't necessarily make it so, but at the same time a lot is to be said for the results that I have seen, alongside many of my peers, whilst employing this system. As Charles would even say, 'Success leaves clues.'

THE 14 SKINFOLD SITES

In the Bioprint software panel, the algorithm will present results based upon the readings input and will give you a priority based upon the deviation. A deviation of 0 or minus is considered optimal.

Once you have your readings, you will have ONE PRIORITY. From there you can manipulate training protocols and make nutritional recommendations in order to assist that client with optimising their hormonal makeup to accelerate their results. This may include the addition of botanicals and micronutrients proven to help restore balance in certain areas. The body is self regulating and self organising, therefore there really is no voodoo-black-magic-witch-doctor stuff here, often it is as simple of correcting micronutrient deficiencies such as magnesium or zinc that help with balancing blood sugar and increasing hormone output. Or you may add super greens to alkalise, or a high quality fish oil to increase omega 3 fatty acid intake and lower inflammation. These prescriptions are entirely dependant upon the individual.

See below for more detailed information of each of the 14 sites translate to hormonal patterns in fat storage as per the Bioprint methodology.

Cheek/Chin – Fat Loss

These sites are not really specific in terms of any particular hormonal patterning, but they are usually the first to drop once when someone begins a fat loss protocol. However, an elevated cheek reading can be correlated with adrenal stress.

Pectorals – Aromatase/Estrogen

The first marker of estrogenic activity in the body. A high pec site is an indication of increase of aromatase activity. Aromatase interrupts the testosterone pathway by increasing the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. This is common in men who drink alcohol frequently, as alcohol causes depletion of nutrients such as zinc,  that act as anti-aromatase agents.

Biceps – Overall Androgen Health

In Bioprint, the arms are assigned to indicate optimal testosterone levels, and the biceps site is the mother indicator of overall androgen health. Lean biceps mean optimal androgen management. Relates heavily to the individuals DHEA-S status and goes hand in hand with the triceps site in determining overall androgen health, and recovery capacity. 

Triceps – Total/Free Testosterone

Lean triceps are suggestive of optimal free/total testosterone levels, as well as recovery. The truth of the matter is that how hard you can train is dictated by how quick you can recover. Therefore, if testosterone is low, recovery will suffer. If a client is stressed and beginning to enter an overtrained state, then the triceps will usually be the first to go up. 

Mid-Axillary – Thyroid Function

Charles attributes increased fat storage of the upper ribcage as being the chief indicator of thyroid health. The thyroid is a complex organ, yet functions as your body's thermostat and chief regulator of overall metabolism. Thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism and hashimoto's disease, are becoming increasingly common but unfortunately often go undiagnosed. If you are storing heavily in this area, the chances are high that it may be linked to your thyroid. .

Sub-Scapular – Genetic Carb Tolerance

If you have a fat sub-scap, then I’m sorry to say that carbs are not your friend. The upper back is a marker of genetic carbohydrate tolerance and can often be verified by screening a clients HBA1c blood marker. This site can be most valuable for designing nutritional protocols for individuals, as there is a link between ones genetic carb tolerance, and required carb intake. A high reading on the upper back, is natures way of saying to abstain from carbs. It is your bodys way of telling you to put down the doughnuts. It will blow up almost instantaneously when an individuals carb intake is too high. For anyone who cuts down carbs, this site HAS to reduce as their insulin management and glucose tolerance improves.

Australian – Inflammation & Challenged Insulin

Everyones favourite problem area, and one i often get asked the most questions about. This is located on the lower back, typically what we refer to as the ‘love-handles.’ Increased fat storage in this area is typically related to, or a combination of high cortisol and/or an imbalance in bad gut bacteria. Gut dysbiosis, or an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut goes hand in hand with inflammation and increased cortisol levels. Even mild insulin resistance can put the body in an inflamed state, as chronically elevated blood sugar is acidifying and creates an inflammatory response.

Abdominal – Cortisol

Countless research has been conducted on the links between Abdominal obesity and cortisol, as well as its links to increase in inflammation and heightened risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Commonly seen elevated in stress heads and people with underlying conditions where the body is under physiological stress, such as digestive disorders etc where the body increases cortisol production. 

Quadriceps – Estrogen

One of the main problems that females often face, particularly when preparing for stage, is getting lean through their legs. Naturally, their bodies produce higher concentrations of Estrogen that creates hormonal patterning resulting in fat accumulating on the lower extremities. However it should be noted that others factors such as obesity, poor nutrition, impaired liver function and poor digestion can all contribute to increased estrogen production, which only compounds the issue. This is also why now more than ever; it is not uncommon to see men with higher than normal skinfolds on their quads.

Hamstring – Detoxification

The efficiency of ones detoxification channels is indicated here. In an increasingly toxic world, it is not uncommon to find people of all ages with a high hamstring reading.

Knee – Liver Function/Hepatic Function

In Chinese medicine it is said that it is one of the main energy meridians related to the liver is located on the knee. The knee site in bioprint is also the key indicator of liver function. If I even have a client with a pinch on a monday morning, usually this will be the lie detector test as to whether or not they have snuck in a cheeky few over the weekend.

Calf – IGF-1 Status

Calves correlate to diisturbed sleep patterns. This is due to a disturbed growth hormone pulse at night, which also is an indicator of liver function providing that the liver modulates the synthesis of growth hormone.

BECOMING A BIOPRINT PRACTITIONER

I would have to admit that completing the Bioprint course is amongst the best money I have ever spent on continuing education to date. Hands down. From the moment Charles opens his mouth, I promise that you will be floored by both the scope and the depth of this mans knowledge of human physiology and nutritional medicine. 

One word of caution though: do not expect to be spoon fed everything. Completing this course is a commitment to ongoing education, and consistently upgrading your knowledge of how the body works. You can't expect to do one course and then know all there is to know about human metabolism and biochemistry. People do years at university to receive that level of education. Do the work, and you will have a better understanding of how the body works and then that knowledge will always empower you to better serve others.

To learn more about attending a Bioprint course in your area, I would strongly recommend heading over to Charles' website, Strength Sensei for more information, via the link provided below:

 

References:

  • ‘Strength Sensei – Bioprint’ Retrieved from: http://www.strengthsensei.com/bioprint/
  • Biosignature, Charles R. Poliquin. Retrieved from: http://www.mybiosignature.com.au/biosignature-program

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