"What's the deal with BMI?" - Reboot Fitness Coaching

“What’s the deal with BMI?”

“What’s the deal with BMI?”

I get asked about this on a regular basis.

Questions about whether to pay attention to your BMI (Body Mass Index) or not.

If you don’t know what it is, it’s basically a figure that compares your height to your weight, and tells you if you are: “underweight”; “normal weight”; “overweight”; “obese”; or “extremely obese”.

When asked, my answer is generally, “Don’t worry about it.”

And here’s why…

What’s missing…?

Whilst BMI takes into account your height and weight, it doesn’t factor in what that weight is actually made up of.

Let’s take a 5’4″ woman who weighs about 70+kg.

The BMI scale puts her in the overweight section.

With that info alone you’d probably suggest that she’s unhealthy and should lose some weight…

But what is her body actually made up of?

She could have 32% bodyfat. In which case, yeah, she’d be looking to cut that down.

But she could be at 8% bodyfat, and be lean, muscular and athletic…

Both scenarios, she’d still be the same weight.

Still have the same height.

Still have the same BMI…

But one is clearly a healthier situation than the other…

BMI can be pretty useful if you’re looking at trends and patterns in groups of people (because the likelihood of extra muscle skewing the figures is pretty reduced the more people involved) but for tracking and guiding your own individual development, it’s pretty useless.

And it usually creates all kinds of confusion, either by causing people who are otherwise healthy to panic when they’re in the overweight zone.

Or by causing people who are carrying too much body fat, but are light for their height, to relax and think they don’t need to do anything…

Alongside scale weight, be sure to keep an eye on other things…

Be sure to take tape measurements, use progress photos, track your workout improvements, the fit of your clothes etc etc.

Combining all of this information will give you a much better indication than just scale weight and BMI alone.

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About the Author Alvin Nurse

Alvin runs Reboot Fitness Coaching and has been a Fitness Coach since 2010. When not helping awesome people in their 30s rejuvenate their bodies, you'll find him listening to music, chasing a ball, or avoiding runny yolks...

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