Measuring Body Composition
So, I am almost sure most of you have heard of the word “BMI” or body mass index. Most doctors of medicine today still use this as a prescribed way of letting their patients know if they are within a healthy weight class (hints why when you go for appointments, they check your height and weight).
As a personal trainer, I have my own reservations when it comes to utilizing BMI with my clients due to the fact it leaves out A LOT of information but at a Dr’s office, they only need to know the basics unless for some reason your health brings up some concern — otherwise don’t expect them to look much further than the BMI system.
When would I use it?
- with the general population
- if my gym didn’t offer other forms of body composition measurement options
- if my client was to ask me
- if their doctor was to tell me that they need to work towards a certain weight range for their height (specifically)
- or if I need a general idea of where my client’s healthy weight range should be (although this can easily be argued pending circumstances)
When would I NOT use it?
- with athletes
- if I have better body composition measurement options available to me
- If my client doesn’t care to know their BMI information
- if my client isn’t trying to lose, gain or maintain weight (they have more specific needs: muscle mass, rehabilitation exercises, etc)
- With clients with an obsession with checking their weight — obviously initially I would have them weigh in; but for some people they need a strict planning for when to check weight because many times when people are obsessed with the numbers on a scale and don’t see the results they want, it brings them down – causes anger, frustration, depression and I want to avoid those feelings with my client when possible. Not to mention, I don’t want having their BMI checked daily to start becoming a thing so, I would introduce the idea if need be but restrict it for certain days and times if possible and work with them more on how they feel and look vs a number. Make them comfortable with themselves and build their self confidence.
- As a means to tell someone their overall health
BMI is important, yes, but not important for everyone — BMI doesn’t take into account our body fat % or how much lean muscle mass we have — so it leaves out details, and categorizes people by their height and weight which can give false readings. For example, for the general population this would be a beneficial form of measurement because most of these clients are everyday people looking to become healthy and currently live sedentary lifestyles or very low activity lifestyles. Whereas, someone who is bodybuilder or basketball player have a very active lifestyle and probably have more specific needs.
The issue is, someone who is a bodybuilder who weighs 190lbs at 5’8 is considered overweight — which is the same for someone who is inactive at 5’8 and weights 190 lbs is considered overweight as well (regardless of male or female). obviously the bodybuilder isn’t overweight – BUT if we base it off only BMI then technically by those terms he or she is (which is unfair and gives people a false perception of themselves)
As a personal trainer, whenever I measure someone’s BMI, I always explain what it means and how it contributes to the person’s well-being — but for all of my clients, especially athletes there are much better measurement methods to determine a precise read on someone’s overall weight/health/and body fat content (which I will speak upon in part two of body composition).
The one thing to take away from this, BMI is very vague and doesn’t take into account other details besides height and weight — so with this being said, there are better, more precise methods to take into account before you decide to rely on just this form of body measurement.
Create a chain reaction (share):
Published by WonderWoman & Fit
You can assume I have a love for fitness & a love for Wonderwoman -- both assumptions are correct.
I am an ACSM certified personal trainer of 8+ years -- I currently reside in Ohio and live a simplistic life at the age of 29. If I am not lifting, I am eating, sleeping, traveling, exploring, or movie watching. I recently moved during a pandemic, now I am focused on self care (self love), building a business of my own in personal training, becoming a professional blogger, starting a podcast and doing things that make me happy! I am a sister, daughter, and loyal friend --- I love everyone's dog and I am on a mission to pet as many dogs as possible everywhere I go! LOL.
My mission is to talk health (physical/mental), design programming, motivational speak, learn, grow, prosper, build others and make as many people smile as possible because I want nothing more than to be the change I seek in the world.
View more posts