Not All Bodies Are Created Equal.

Not All Bodies Are Created Equal.

As you can easily see walking down the street, we are all different. We are different weights, heights, body types etc. When people get fixated on the number on the scale and comparing their fitness to those of others they can be fighting a losing battle because of the fact that we are different. What makes one person healthy and fit isn’t necessary the same for another. For example, a person who is 5’5” and 115 lbs. would be considered a normal weight but a person who is 5’9” and the same weight would be considered underweight. When calculating our level of health we need to take more into consideration then just what the number on the scale says and how we size up to our peers (*cough, *cough, ladies).

One example of this is called Body mass index or BMI. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. BMI is found by using a formula that then places you into different categories based on output of said formula.

BMI Categories:

  • Underweight = <18.5
  • Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
  • Overweight = 25–29.9
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

I won’t bore you with the actual math but if you want to see your BMI you can use a calculator like the one linked below:

BMI

BMI too has its limitations though. A fact about our bodies is that muscle weighs more than fat.  A muscular individual can be in very good shape but have a higher BMI then someone who is not in-shape because the muscle will cause them to weight more, thus throwing off the BMI equation. This goes reverse for older people. Their number may be underestimated because of the loss of muscle that can come with old age. To help alleviate this, an extra factor can be added to things, body taping or the use of a body fat caliper. This will calculate your Body fat percentage.

Here is the cart used for body fat %

General Body Fat Percentage Categories

*American Council on Exercise

Classification

Women (% fat)

Men (% fat)

Essential Fat

10-12%

2-4%

Athletes

14-20%

6-13%

Fitness

21-24%

14-17%

Acceptable

25-31%

18-25%

Obese

32% plus

25% plus

 

The easier of the two is body taping which involves using measurements of the neck and abdomen with the height and weight to figure percentage of body fat. Take me for example. I go to the gym and most would say that I look like I am in decent shape but if you calculate my BMI it is 28.3. That would make me very over weight and close to obese according to the BMI chart. Taking my measurements and calculating my body fat % gives a much more accurate picture of where I fall fitness wise. My body fat % is 18% which would place me in the acceptable classification, almost in fitness.

For more information and a calculator for body fat % you can go here:

Body Fat %

To wrap this all up, when calculating your level of fitness look deeper than the numbers on the scale and more importantly don’t subject yourself to “gym envy.” Your body is unique to you. We can’t all have the body of a supermodel but we can all be healthy in our own unique way. The only person that you need to compare yourself to if you want to determine if you are fit and health is yourself.

Jerry….Daddy’s Perspective

 

 

About Amber, the Hippy Fit Mom

Avatar of Amber, the Hippy Fit Mom
I am a mother of two and military spouse, who tries to find balance in life as a wife, a mother, and everything in between while staying fit and healthy. I am a fairly new mother and playing the “learn as I go” game. I have had an interesting ride so far and had to learn from mistakes that most all new moms make.

One comment

  1. I enjoyed this post, especially the part about the need to recognize that we all come in different shapes and sizes and the idea that there is not a universal ideal weight. However, I find the BMI virtually useless. It doesn’t take into account body composition. At 5’9″, 215 lbs, 5% body fat, NFL running back Thomas Jones and I are both obese, a ridiculous notion, considering you can’t be obese at 5% fat. On the other side of this is skinny fat, a dangerous condition that elevates one’s risk for heart disease and diabetes. Check out my post on skinny fat at http://www.bobwellsfitness.blogspot.com and the problems associated with it. I look forward to your comments, but more importantly more posts. Keep up the good work.

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