Hello all, today we will talk about our weight, specifically our Body Mass Index (BMI). Whenever we go in to the doctor, they take our height and weight, consult a chart, and define us as “normal”, “overweight”, etc. Now I am by NO means bashing on our medical professionals (they work really hard by the way) but I do have to disagree with their cut and dry analysis on this matter. The reason I put the previous words in quotation marks is because the result on the chart is such a one dimensional answer to a truly complicated question: Am I Overall Healthy and Fit?
Body weight alone is not a good indicator of overall health and fitness. Total body weight alone does not show the ratio between lean body mass (non fat components such as muscle, bones, etc) and fat mass (essential and non essential fat). Rather than use the BMI chart, use body composition instead. First off, having fat mass, especially essential body fat, is important. This fat protects delicate organs, provides insulation, and helps nerve conduction. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that optimal health males should have 10-18% of the body weight as body fat, and females have 15-23% body fat. Now you ask how do you determine your body fat percent? First off, you will need to by an Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) device ( seen to the left…it can be bought on amazon for a fair price). The BIA device well help give you your body fat percentage without being invasive or requiring skills or training. Once you have the device, follow these steps:
- Weigh your self.
- Use the BIA device before you eat and smoke and avoid vigorous activity 24 hours prior to the test.
- Do this test multiple (2-3) times to ensure an accurate measurement.
- Take the percentage and multiply against your body weight to get your body fat weight.
- Take your body fat weight and subtract it from your body weight; this will get you your Lean Body Mass
See pretty simple! As a rule of thumb, you want to increase your Lean Body Mass while reducing your Body Fat Weight. So, if you decided to diet and see a rapid loss of body weight, you are probably just losing water weight and lean body mass; that is NOT healthy in the long run. Remember, body weight does not reflect how in shape you are.
To round everything off, the best way to increase your Lean Body Mass is to do a combination of aerobic exercise, resistance training, and a healthy, well rounded diet (carbs and all). So they next time you step on a scale ask your self, “Am I ACTUALLY in Shape?”
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