Friday, August 18, 2006
Body composition. We hear a lot about it... but what exactly is it? Well, to be considered "fit," you have to meet minimum standards in 5 different areas, known as the Components of Fitness. Body Composition is one of them (in addition to flexibility, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and aerobic fitness). Body composition itself deals with four areas: weight, fat mass, lean mass, and fat distribution.
Weight measures total body mass. We're all too familiar with this one, in most cases. But weight alone doesn't tell you the whole truth about your progress or fitness level. For example, it doesn't tell you how much fat you carry. People want to lose "weight." You could start lifting weights and actually gain weight...but that doesn't necessarily mean you are tipping the scales towards obesity.
How to use it: Forget your preconceptions about the number on the scale. Knowing your weight is good, but not crucial—you want to lose fat, not necessarily weight. If you must weigh yourself, don't make it a daily habit. Weight tends to fluctuate throughout the day, and from day-to-day, by as much as 5 pounds or so. Most of these regular changes are due to food and water. If weight is an important record to you, then do it under the same circumstances (no clothes or shoes, first thing in the morning before eating, etc) and no more than every 1-2 weeks.