Body Analysis Part II – Does this even matter?
Nope. It doesn’t matter at all if we’re talking about BMI.
What is BMI? Your Body Mass Index, or even more simply, the amount of mass (lbs) distributed on your frame (height). It’s easy to find out what your specific BMI is. All you have to know is your height and your weight offhand, be able to type the letters B-M-I into google, and choose one of a bazillion sites that will offer to calculate it for you.
So, of all of the calculations we receive from running a body analysis, why is BMI one trainers generally don’t care about? Well, because all it really tells you is what it proposes your “thinness”, or your “thickness” to be based off that equation, and can sometimes be misleading as it disregards other relevant characteristics.
Most BMI charts, as well as our InBody results, will tell you what range your BMI falls into: Underweight, Healthy, Overweight, or Obese. And while you may be curious where you fall, these results can also be severely misleading when you take into account that the equation for BMI does not factor in lean body mass (muscle, bone density, etc), nor fat body mass (the amount of fat lbs. on your body).
Let’s use an example. Have you ever seen an Olympic gymnast? Someone like Shawn Johnson, or Simone Biles? These women are incredibly petite (under 5 feet tall), and incredibly strong (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, go check out a photo). Often times when measuring the BMI of someone like this, the results will fall in the Overweight category, sometimes even Obese! It seems absurd to call an Olympic athlete obese, yet because muscle is denser than fat (ergo it weighs more than fat), when you divide their incredible strength in weight, by their teensy height, you’re told that they are quite thick and therefore must be overweight when it simply isn’t true.
Let’s get more personal for a second. Let’s assume you’re an average person coming to the gym, looking to get into shape. You hire a trainer, tell them you want to get lean or strong, both of which require the acquisition of some muscle, and start out on your plan. The first day, your trainer takes your weight, let’s say, for the sake of this example, you weigh 180lbs, are 30% body fat, and because you’re of average height, your BMI is 26 – indicating that you are Overweight! Three months go by and you’re seeing results in the mirror and feeling that extra room in your jeans! Those muscles you were hoping for are starting to show through, you look strong or lean and are excited to head back onto the InBody and take your newest Body Analysis. You find that you are now 180lbs, 20% body fat. Congratulations! Even though you weigh the same amount of pounds, you still converted 10% of your body mass from fat to muscle, which is incredibly impressive, and why you’re seeing those striking results! Rock on! But wait – your BMI is still 26, indicating you’re overweight! That’s disheartening, given your hard work and the fact that you look athletic at this point. However, since your weight didn’t change, and your height didn’t change, neither did your BMI. The BMI doesn’t account for muscle or fat, it only takes two variables into its equation, making it somewhat useless when you really want to identify your results. So go ahead and celebrate those gains! It’s much more impressive when you get the numbers that actually count to change, not the one based on a very limited equation that ignores important variations.