You have 14 weeks until 2018.
What? What is this all about? If you had a goal or a resolution for 2017 you still have some time to take action. You may remember my fall theme was to improve my fitness and prove that older doesn’t necessarily mean decline. I have started and I have taken action. I also set a few baseline measures, including my body composition. A measure of how much lean, muscle mass and how much adipose tissue (or fat) that you have.
You may have seen the news about most adults in the developed world are overfat. Not necessarily overweight.
I recently asked you how you feel about your weight. Do you worry about what you weigh? Or how much fat vs. muscle that you have?
3 out of 5 Canadian adults are overweight. 61% of Canadian adults are overweight or obese. The problem with these stats is that they are based on Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI has never been a great measurement, it measures how much you weigh in comparison to how tall you are. BMI doesn’t measure your body composition, that is much harder to do. BMI is a quick and dirty way to get an idea of your health risk.
A better measure would be your waist circumference. For your information, men should have a waist circumference of less than 102 cm or 40 inches and women should be 88 cm or 35 inches or less. The correct place to measure your waist circumference is at your belly button.
Even better, and you can do it yourself, is to compare your BMI and your waist circumference.
These are quick ways you can measure if your weight and your waist circumference, and find out if they could be increasing your risk for metabolic disease, some types of cancer, Alzheimer’s and more.
However, there is still a problem. If you are not overweight and have a normal waist circumference, congratulations! But, you could still be overfat. You could still have more body fat than muscle mass. Why is this a concern? Being overfat is directly related to insulin resistance, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Regardless of your weight. Body fat is not functional. Muscle is functional, it allows us to do all the things we love and need to do. When adults get older, when you are more sedentary, you lose muscle mass.
It really is, use it or lose it. Muscle matters.
If you like to run or ride your bike and you want to stay fast, stay competitive (with yourself or others) you had better care about maintaining your precious muscle tissue. If you want to continue to carry your own groceries, get out of bed in the morning, stand up unassisted, keep your balance, you need to maintain and train your muscle mass.
To measure your current muscle mass you need to have a body composition analysis. There are a number of ways to measure your body composition.
You could go to a clinic and be weighed underwater, very accurate if you are comfortable being completely submerged. You could have a DEXA scan, also very accurate, but expensive. You could have a caliper skin fold measurement, not bad especially if the person measuring is experienced in doing it. You could have one of those Bio-Electrical Impedance scales at home that tells you your % body fat, not very accurate. You could go in a Bod Pod, which I got to experience at Canyon Ranch. Not good if you are claustrophobic (I am not), but generally considered accurate within 2%.
I have done them all except underwater weighing. Once at a trade show one of the impedance scales told me I was obese, certainly not accurate. A DEXA scan will tell you how many grams of fat you have in each limb. The calipers give you a good indication of where your fat is – although you probably know this already. The Bod Pod told me I had 100.5 lbs of Fat Free Mass, that is muscle, bones, organs, and water. This is important because regardless of anything else I want this number to stay the same or even increase!
I want to maximize my muscle mass.
It will make me a faster cyclist, more efficient runner, it will keep me healthier and allow me to do all the things I love to do longer, without injuries. There is only one way to do this. Go to the gym. Lift heavy things. Repeat at least twice a week.
I have 14 weeks to make a difference. The only downside to my current state is that if I want to compare the before and after I have to find another Bod Pod for best results. Or do another type of measurement and of course, take action.
Change your mind, change your health,
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