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Rocking the Healthy Look MY Way

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

A recent experience at the gym motivated me to write this post today. For my complimentary personal trainer session, the guy took my body fat measurement with one of those digital monitors.

NOTE: That's not one of the most accurate ways to measure body fat.




He then started talking about how I need to bring down my body fat ratio from 24.2% to 18.9%.

First off, according to:


"For women in [20 - 40] age group, any level under 21% is “underfat” and 21-33% is considered “healthy”."

Also, this link says top athletes are in that 18% range. Normal is considered about 22%:


I'm not saying I'm perfect and don't need to tone my muscles. But this 18.9% figure is SUPER idealistic.

Healthy looks different on different people. That's why this body fat chart and even the suspicious BMI chart have RANGES. Because people aren't cookie cutters.

I'm about 153 pounds and 5'6". That's BARELY within my BMI (and if I were on a digital scale, I'd probably be about 156, OUTSIDE of my BMI). But I exercise about 6 days a week - running 2 - 3X a week, yoga, spin class, the works. I eat healthy meals - salads and veggies and fruits and lean meats. I don't drink much, I don't smoke, and I don't do drugs.

Just because I don't look like a sports model, doesn't mean I'm unhealthy. Yes, I need to add muscle tone - that's because while I lost weight, I did lose some strength. Also, if I want to continue to run, I want to have strong muscles to power me. But does that mean I need to shoot for an unrealistic body fat percentage? Absolutely not!

And this is what irritates me: a lot of people still don't realize that health isn't a stick thin woman or a super-buff man. Health means:

+ Being active
+ Drinking water
+ Getting your sleep
+ Eating right

It doesn't have one look. It isn't one particular thing. It varies depending on the person.

People will constantly tell me that because I'm not a size 6 or 8 or weight X pounds or have a body fat of X% that I'm not healthy. But that isn't true. I know what my body feels, what my body can do. I can still strive to improve myself, but I'm not going to shoot for something unattainable. I am healthy in MY WAY, not anyone else's.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I LOVE IT! How many Personal Trainer appointments would you have to buy to reach that unrealistic level? Maybe they'll sell you "magic" supplements, too!

    At least that advice was free. I figure it was worth it to learn that your body fat level is well within the healthy range. Of course, you know that you've got a program in place to optimize your numbers. You're going to get healthier and fitter. Who knows, maybe your journey will take you down to path to becoming an elite athlete. (and maybe not...)

    This is a great blog! It's just too easy to let a "professional" prey on our ignorance and fears. Let's hear it for the strong woman who does her own research! Thanks for sharing it with us!


    1631 days ago
    That doesn't sound like a very good trainer to be recommending that low of a BF percentage. He is setting people up for unrealistic expectations and ultimately failure because only the very elite athletes reach those levels of BF%. I'm glad you aren't listening to him and doing your own research.

    Be happy in your body regardless of what anyone else says or thinks!
    1632 days ago
    The fitness industry has very few standards for personal trainer certification. You're better off asking a sports-medicine physical therapist for advice about training than going to a personal trainer at a gym.

    And your most recent encounter proves it.

    If you really wanted to know your % body fat, you'd be best off getting a DXA scan done.


    And second of all, you're dead on correct that 18% -19% is a ridiculously low amount of body fat for a person who isn't looking to become an ultramarathoner or physique competitor.
    1632 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/2/2013 9:55:59 PM
    You rock.

    You are being true to your own life and your own experience. You ARE healthy!
    1632 days ago
    I soooo hope that you give that "trainer" a copy of this blog, including the links. Apparently he has a need to update his education.

    You might also want to remind him that the most important part of "selling" his services is to determine what the CUSTOMER (that would be you) actually wants and needs!

    Personally, I'd be having a chat with his boss about this. It's not a good "feature" for the gym to have a "trainer" who is pushing un-safe goals based on inaccurate data. You have the knowledge and the confidence to ignore his idiocy, but he could do some physical and emotional damage to someone else in the future...
    1632 days ago
    Jeez that is a super low body fat % to even try to achieve. When I started Medifast 3 months ago my body fat % was 42.1. I'M A CREAMPUFF. I am just hoping and dreaming that I get to around 25% by Christmas. But 18-19??? Gah.
    1632 days ago
  • CHERYLA2012
    Good. For. You!

    Healthy is where it's at!!

    1632 days ago
    You're on top of things and you know what's right and what's not. I've been measured like that before too and never understood how a machine you hold in your hands can tell you all that information and be accurate? He was probably trying to sell you his services and was trying to make things sound like you "need" them. You look great and you're doing a great job. Keep up the good and hard work!!
    1632 days ago
    Love it! Glad you wrote this blog. I needed that reminder. Based on my body shape I dont think I will ever really have thin legs...but despite that, they are getting stronger and if I can replace fat with muscle, thats great! LOL
    1632 days ago
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