Thursday, January 12, 2012
Why do you use the BMI, and is it useful for weight lifters?
The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple way for men and women to estimate body fat based on their height and weight. From the BMI, it is possible to determine your healthy weight range.
One of the limitations of BMI is that it can overpredict overweight or obesity in people who are lean and muscular. For instance, someone who is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 220 pounds, with 12% body fat, would be considered obese based on BMI standards. Obviously, someone with 12% body fat is not obese.
The scientists who developed the BMI guidelines readily admit to this limitation. But their rationale is that most Americans are not lean and muscular and so for most people, the BMI is an accurate assessment of body fat and increased health risk.
It is important to know that people who are classified as overweight or obese can still be healthy as long as they are fit. In one well-known study, fit people with BMIs that classified them as overweight or obese were healthier and lived longer than unfit people who were at normal weight.
The BMI, for the majority of Americans, is the most up-to-date and scientifically sound method available for determining healthy weight.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Signs someone is trying to rip you off:
• Extravagant claims of massive improvement in a short period of time with little or no effort. If it sounds too good to be true, guess what? It is.
• Claims of secret or suppressed knowledge that "the [diet/fitness/medical/exercise] establishment" doesn't want you to know about. Claims that all well-established forms of exercise like running and lifting weights are wrong.
• Claims about spot reduction or converting fat to muscle, both of which are impossible. Losing fat and gaining muscle are possible, but you don't literally turn one into the other.
• Use of meaningless language like "toning" or "sculpting" instead of talking about quantifiable changes to body composition, strength or endurance.
• Magical language. Your personal spirituality is beyond the scope of this guide, but appeals to vaguely defined concepts like "energy fields" that are never actually explained and "internal cleansing" of various "toxins" that always remain nameless are usually strong indicators that someone is trying to con you.
• Overuse of scientific-sounding language that is never actually defined. Real programs may have some jargon in them, but they will explain what the jargon means. At worst, you'll be able to easily find the meaning of their terminology, because they're using real concepts with a real scientific basis. Con artists just tend to throw lots of big words at you in the hope that you just give up and assume that they're smarter than you are, and you can never find out what they actually mean, because they just made it up to sell you something.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Progress beyond poundage
The thing about your weight is that it doesn't tell you what you're made of, just how much of you there is. The name of the game is losing fat, not muscle, so what happens if fat goes down and weight stays the same or goes up? You made up the difference in lean mass, of course. You shrink in areas that were full of fat, because muscle is more dense than fat. People on good programs often see larger changes in clothing sizes that their weight change would suggest. This is a good thing, because your real progress in terms of appearance is better than the scale is telling you.
The best way to track your overall progress appearance-wise is by measuring yourself with a tape measure in areas you want to get bigger or smaller, and by taking pictures of yourself at regular intervals. This way you can see how your body composition is changing for the better.
Monday, January 09, 2012
Watching your weight
Your body weight isn't everything - composition is more important - but it is certainly good to know. What follows are tips for tracking your weight.
A common pitfall in tracking weight is to weigh yourself at different times of the day. You body weight can easily swing 5 pounds based on how hydrated you are, when the last time you ate or had a bowel movement was, and so on. For most consistent results, weigh yourself first thing in the morning, preferably fully evacuated. Incidentally, this is also a lower weight than any other time of the day.
Don't weigh yourself every day, you'll see too much random variation to know if anything is going on, and the overall change you are looking for is only going to be a few pounds a week. So weigh yourself once a week.
Friday, January 06, 2012
Lifting weights: example programs
The following are good, proven programs to follow for weight lifting. The key thing to keep in mind is that you don't need a perfect program for you, because one doesn't exist anyway. You just need to follow a program that is fundamentally sound and work hard at it. Some of the programs are more bodybuilder-oriented or athlete-oriented, but in truth they all do the same basic things and work on the same basic principles. For a normal person working hard at them, they'll produce the results a normal person would want: more strength, more muscle and less fat.
Recommend beginners do dumbbell rows instead of Pendlay Rows or Power Cleans (because they are easier to do correctly), and stick to the military press instead of the optional hang cleans (for the same reason).
Bill Starr Linear 5x5:
This is a very good, basic workout from a renowned strength coach.
Big Boy Basics:
This program is a bit more complex than the other two and incorporates more workouts per week, but is definitely worth a look.
HAVE A FANTASTIC WEEKEND!
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