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Unless you are a sports person who needs to make weight there really isn’t any need to focus on the number on the scales. Your overall body weight is made up of many things such as bone, muscle, organs, fat etc. For most people its inches they want to be losing when they want weight loss, and for this we need to look at body composition and fat loss. Assessing your health or happiness based on how much you weight, or your BMI is a poor way to judge your success, especially if you weight train.
Let’s look at BMI first. This is a very simple formula based on height and weight and its aim to tell us how healthy we are. There are issues with this formula and the first one in my opinion is it was created in the 1830s by an astronomer and mathematician. Everything else in the last 200 years or so has evolved and has become more scientific, except this. The next issue, and the most compelling, is BMI gives us a ‘score’ based on how tall and heavy we are but has no way to differentiate between the type of weight.
Let’s say you are an avid bodybuilder, or in fact anyone who goes to the gym and follows a semi decent program. You will inevitably have more muscle mass than the average not so healthy person. The BMI calculation will simply see this muscle as ‘weight’ which adds a few extra numbers onto your final score. Weight training also adds the benefit of healthier, denser bones. But again, this will bump up the numbers of your BMI results. BMI isn’t pointless, but in most cases it’s misused.
Weight loss goals are normally coupled with diets. This leads many to consume fewer calories than they have been and most of which coming from nutrient sparse salads. Mix this with daily cardio and the result is weight loss. But as we have discovered our weight is made up of many things. This kind of weight loss is generally muscle loss. This is where we get the term ‘skinny fat’. These kinds of people will always find it hard to attain the body of their dreams as they are hormonally damaging and physically harming themselves. This doesn’t just happen once; this is a cycle people go through month after month and year after year. The end results are down regulation of hormones and bodily functions as well as lower levels of skeletal muscle.
The muscular system is extremely important and goes further than aesthetics. As well as movement, it’s also needed for posture, balance, strength, maintaining body heat, digestion, and respiration. The more muscle mass we have the more calories we burn at rest.
Your first steps should always be improving on your health. This is a fundamental which most people and commercial personal trainers overlook. Another thing to focus on is maintaining muscles mass. We know how important muscles are in maintaining health, so the last thing we want to do is jeopardise our safety. Another important factor in any program should be strength. Regardless of goals we should always be seeing how strong we can get in the time frame given. Strength training also increases metabolic rate and gives us better muscle tone. Also remember muscle weighs more than fat as it’s much denser.
If following a good program, it’s possible to lose many inches but maintain body weight, or in some cases become slightly heavier.
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