During my time as a Kinesiology Exercise Science student, I came to realize that a lot of the things I learned in class would be really beneficial if the public also knew about it. I mean not everything, but some tips that would help them better understand their body and approach fitness at a different angle. And now that I am an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, I feel like I understand exercise topics enough to break them down for non-kinesiology students to understand at a basic level.
So I decided to start this series, A Healthy Body for You, where you can learn tips, exercises, recipes, and gain hopefully new information to kick-start your journey to finding your healthy body. Remember everyone’s body is different, so don’t be discouraged if what you read online or see in a magazine doesn’t work for you. It will be a lot of trial and error, but in the end, you will have learned a lot about yourself and your inner body. So let’s begin!
There are those that want to become buff or as my classmate would say “swol”, getting hard earned muscle and definition from dedicated hours at the gym and changing their meal plans to enhance their exercise routine. And then there are those that just want to maintain body weight for their height, they want some muscle but really they just want to be toned and fit into their clothes.
BMI (body mass index), not the only way to categorize body types, but a pretty good way to track your progress during exercise or even to see if your body balance is borderline unhealthy. The units for BMI is kg/m2 , kg is your weight divided by meters or your height. This is a good way to see if your weight balances with your height. As I am American and here we use lb. (pounds), ft. (feet), and in (inches), I’ll show you an easy way to convert your height and weight to fit into the equation.
Example: 100 lbs and 5’1” (5 ft 1 in)
First convert lbs. to kg: 100 lbs. * 0.454 = 45.4 kg (weight)
Convert feet to inches: 5 ft = 60 in, 60 in + 1 in = 61 inches
Convert inches to cm: 61 in * 2.54 cm = 154.94
Then move the decimal to the left twice and you get 1.5494 m
Insert into the equation: weight (kg)/ height (m2) =
(45.4 kg)/(1.5494 m)2 = 18.912 kg/m2 (your BMI)
Once you calculate your BMI you can look to the chart below and see what category you fall under.
Underweight: < 18.5 kg/m2
Normal: 18.5 – 24.9 kg/m2
Overweight: 25.0 – 29.9 kg/m2
Obesity Class I: 30.0 – 34.9 kg/m2
Obesity Class II: 35.0 -39.9 kg/m2
Obesity Class III: > or = 40.0 kg/m2
Now, once you calculate your BMI and find what category you fall under, don’t go crazy if you fell under a category you don’t think you belong in. Remember! BMI is a way to generalize body types, however, if you are a bodybuilder and have tons of muscle, don’t forget that muscle weighs more than fat (and that extra muscle will for sure throw this equation off)! For this equation, there is no way to distinguish between body fat, muscle mass or bone mass (so take it your category with a grain of salt). There are exceptions to everything, BMI is just a quick way for physicians and exercise trainers to see if you are at risk for any disease based on your BMI and health history.
Don’t get stuck on your BMI category and let it take over your life. If you are someone that isn’t getting their daily dose of exercise and getting your heart rate pumping, AND you fell in a category after Overweight, then maybe it’s time for you to start thinking about exercising. However, if you haven’t exercised in a few months, I’d advise you to visit or call your Doctor before starting something new.
This also goes for those that fall into the Underweight category, BMI isn’t something that your want super low. Here being “normal” is good! For BMI, being too low or too high may increase risks to your health. That means, being skinny isn’t everything, it could actually do more harm than good if not monitored. But that being said, don’t push yourself too hard to get into the normal category, if you are feeling fit and healthy, and you aren’t experiencing any complications then being on the higher side of normal is okay. Remember, you know your body best and gaining weight doesn’t always mean fat gain. It could be muscle mass growing from increased exercise, so don’t get mad at the scale if it reads 5-10 lbs heavier than it did 5 months ago.
A lot of people say exercise doesn’t work for them, and they will just diet. But for the most improvement, diet and exercise go hand in hand to keep a steady lifestyle change. For those that say exercise doesn’t work for them, they probably haven’t been doing the right kind of exercise for their body or for not long enough. The next chapter of this series will talk about exercise intensity and what is good for you!
Every day, Lai day! Don’t forget the sunscreen when you go out in the sun!