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I am just a few weeks shy of 49; took up running about 18 months ago for a 6 month period; resumed about 4 weeks ago. I have two questions, which I'll post as separate topics.

One has to do with BMI and body fat measurements. I am 6'4" and
235 lbs. Crank those numbers into a BMI calculator, and one gets a
BMI index of 29 - at the high end of the "overweight" range.

Now, I'll be happy to send pics to anyone who doubts me, but seriously overweight I am not. lol. I am striving to get back to 215 lbs, which
would be a very good weight for me - I was often described as "skinny"
at that weight.

So, my question, is there any research on people who don't fit the
norms? I am, among other things, proportioned differently - long
torse, 32" inseam - one thick cylinder ( torso ) requires more mass
than two slender cylinders ( legs ), for the same height. In addition,
I am muscular and large boned.

Are there more reliable methods of determining body fat?

Which brings me to a second question - what factors influence the
popular body-fat measurement gadgets?

Thanks for any advice.

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Welcome gramps. My personal opinion of BMI is that it's not very accurate. I am also listed as borderline overweight according to BMI calcs and I'm nowhere near overweight.

The most accurate method of body fat calculation is a water immersion test. I'm sure you could google it and find additional information.

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:1:
Same here.
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I wholeheartedley agree. Congrats on the weight-loss and welcome to the board. (I'm brand-new myself) I am a former fat boy that has slimmed down by substituting running for weight-training (I weighed about 45 lbs. heavier last June). I am 5 ft. 8 in. and my BMI is 25.8 which means that I am "overweight." I wouldn't mind losing another 5 pounds, but no one I know agrees that I should - they don't think that I am overweight. I think the BMI is BS. Personally, I go by how my clothes fit (small clothes that is) and how well I feel when I run. If I start putting on a little weight, I feel it when I run. When I'm light, I feel like I can run forever. Well, maybe not forever, but I feel like I could just keep on running when I finish my daily 6-7 mile run (if I had the time). :D

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Can a person have a higher BMI and be fit? Definitely. Can a person have a higher BMI and have good endurance? Definitely. Can a person have a higher BMI and run to their fastest potential? Probably not. That's where I see the rubber meeting the road. Your BMI is likely an irrelevant number if you're looking for something to measure your fitness or endurance. But I would wager, that if you could take people and chart out their speed potential against their BMI curve, it really is going to be advantageous to carry as little weight as you can to get the fastest times in racing that you can.

If being fit or getting to finishlines is your goal, then ignore the BMI tables. But if you want to really crank your race times to the highest potential you can reach, then I do think there's more than enough examples of having to shed all the extra weight you can to get in stellar racing form. That being said, those last 10 or 20 pounds to get to your "ideal" BMI might only buy you 60-seconds in a 10km, but for some people, it's worth it. You just need to determine for yourself what you feel is the best trade off between body shape and race times.
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Muscle weighs more than fat
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I am 19.9 on it. Almost underweight (<18.5) hmmm....that's strange, I'm not super skinny..... can someone explain?
I don't think it's accurate for young people either.
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BMI should not be used by "abnormal" people. If you have a low body fat percentage and a high body weight, you can't use BMI.

BMI is a good measure for the typical normal-active (i.e. not very active) person and should be used only as a starting point.
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I agree with Rob. A true measure of body fat would be the water immersion test. Otherwise, a set of calipers will do the trick.
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as a someone in the medical field and has an understanding of BMI i say it sucks...it takes nothing into account besides the minimum information. which has been pointed out here already.

a few things are out there for measurements

Tape tests, the military's fat check. measurements at key points of the body according to gender, a couple of calculations and whallah. a nice screen slightly better than the BMI.

Bioelectrical impedment. electrical shock (minimal) sent thru the body (feet normally) and read. hydration, last meal, last bathroom visit will have an effect on this this is the BODY FAT scales you see. easy screen at home.

Infrared fat measrement. sending an IR beam thru the bicep and measureing the "rebound". weight and height and build are taken into account and the CPU determines numbers. hydration is a big factor here.
can be done at hospitals thru public health seminars classes.

Calipers, used by most of fitness indusrty, Cheap portable and fairly accutrate. Operator errors normally due to lack of math skills

water immersion/displacement. ya got no alibi, it's brutally honest. requires a large tank of water in which you are slowly lowered into. fat floats so your bouyancy and displacments are measured. expensive and not easily acessable.
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Thanks, Hyperashel!

The test I last took was the infrared, I guess - the guy at the gym asked how much I exercise, my height, weight, age, put some sort of gadet on my biceps, told me to "make a muscle", then to relax, and the PC spat out the figure of 16.5% bodyfat.

You mention hydration as a factor. I had just finished a 30-minute run, so it's entirely possible that I was lower on water content than my norm. Any data on how much this would skew results?

Thanks!
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