Many people like to use terms like “body mass index” and “body fat percentage.” From the outside, these words might seem like the same thing. However, these measurements are two different ways to measure your fitness and health. You can use body fat percentage and body mass index (BMI) during your journey to optimal fitness. When you understand how each one is used, you can easily track the progress of your fitness program.
What is BMI?
BMI is the abbreviated term for body mass index. This measurement is one way to determine whether your height and weight are at a healthy, underweight, or overweight level. You should know that the BMI score isn’t the only rule for how much a person should weigh. In most cases, the score is just an educated guess.
If you want to get your BMI score, there is a simple calculation. Most health professionals will score your weight in pounds and multiply that by 703. This number is divided by the calculation of your height in inches, and it is multiplied by your height in inches. As a result of the BMI score, you can find out if you are underweight (below 18.5), healthy (18.5 to 24.9), overweight (25.0 to 29.9), or obese (30.0).
Flaws with BMI
While a BMI score might seem like the best way to determine a healthy weight, there are drawbacks. In most cases, the score does not account for how much of the weight is muscle or fat. With the BMI measurements, there is no difference between the two.
If you are active or an athlete, you will have more muscle in your body than an average person. For those who engage in weight training, you know that muscle can add weight to your body frame. In these cases, BMI does not accurately reflect the status of the individual’s fitness or health. The BMI can hurt athletes since many of them have a higher weight than the average person. Many athletes’ bodies are made up of lean muscles. Football players, basketball players, and bodybuilders might have a high BMI, which can put them in the overweight or obese category. However, the athlete is fit with little body fat and should not be listed as overweight.
Better Measurements for Body Fat
Body fat percentage measures the amount of fat in the body. Muscles are often referred to as “lean tissues.” In most cases, these measurements are far superior to BMI since they provide an accurate representation of leanness and fitness for those who are physically active.
There are different measurements of body fat percentages. For women, 10 to 12 percent is essential fat, athletes are in the 14 to 20 percent category, 21 to 24 percent is considered to be fit, 25 to 31 percent is acceptable, and 32 percent and above is in the obese category. Men have different categories for their body fat. 2 to 4 percent is essential fat, athletes are in the 6 to 13 percent category, 14 to 17 percent are deemed fit, 18 to 25 percent of body fat is acceptable, and 25 or more is listed in the obese range.
Improved Way to Determine Fat Mass
If you want to know why many people are turning to body fat percentage measurements, you should take this example into account. You can have two men at the same height and weight. Both men will have the same BMI due to the limitations of that index. However, one male might consume a diet of unhealthy foods and doesn’t work out. The second man participates in cardio and eats a balanced diet. According to body fat percentage measurements, the second man would have a healthier body. As you can tell, the weight on the scale doesn’t matter if two people have different body types. Many athletes and active people are turning to the body fat percentage to determine their body’s healthiness.
In 2008, research showed that over half of Americans have a healthy BMI, but they have a high body fat range. While the person might seem to be in the healthy range for their weight, they are obese. In these cases, it is just as unhealthy as having a higher weight on the scale.
Due to this normal weight obesity, there is a new term used in the training circles. Many personal trainers are calling the condition “skinny fat.” While the person has a healthy scale weight, there is still a high percentage of body fat percentage on the body that can cover up the essential muscles and organs.
Lower Fat for a Leaner Body
Most people want to get those flat abs through working out in the gym. Crunches, core strength exercises, and sit-ups can help you to achieve those goals. However, people who eat a healthier diet and engage in intense full-body workouts can achieve more well-defined abs and a flatter stomach. You want to lower that body fat percentage for a slimmer body.
Find the Right Score for You
If you are not training or hitting the gym regularly, then it is acceptable to use the BMI to track your health and fitness. However, if you are active or an athlete, you want to stay away from the BMI score. Body fat percentage is a more accurate way to see if your body is falling into the healthy range.
With all these scores, your body composition is critical. There are differences between BMI and body mass percentage. In most cases, there is no “one-size-fits-all” measure to determine your body fat. Many factors come into play with these indexes. Your weight or body mass index often doesn’t factor if you are physically active, and it can give you an incorrect measurement. The BMI is the easiest to measure, and it is the standard body fat measurement. However, you need to find the right system for your own body to chart the progress in your fitness journey.
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