BMI – Body Mass Index

Measuring Body Composition

Part one 

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. 

Published by fitnessgrad

Hello! College graduate in exercise science and ACSM Certified Personal Trainer. My blog has all kinds of fun topics, something for everyone who is anyone that involves themselves with fitness. I like to think of fitness as a confidence booster, something to make us feel good and look good & pushes us to do things that make us feel more productive, unstoppable and stronger mentally and physically. My blog focuses on building people, and helping people see their true potential, while also sharing my journey with workouts, competing with powerlifting, and sharing how to's on workouts, so you step inside the gym with more knowledge. I don't know everything but I am on a voyage to build my character, my strength and work on my weaknesses --- with awesome people in my corner who support me and my goals. I plan on being your cheerleader, friend, coach and trainer all-in-one and most of all, I want to be your listener, the person who can listen and gain more knowledge about you and learn what makes fitness important to you; what's your why! (Your why will carry you to the finish line). It's important to have purpose for something, because you will need that purpose when you start to give up on yourself or want to quit. "Don't let the fire that guides you, dim" - Shay-lon Besides the fitness stuff, I reside in Ohio, love dogs and love pizza. Typical 26 year old trying to build an empire that brings out the best in others and makes me the best person I can be in all aspects in my life. Before I die, I want a reason to live, and I was given that reason each day I am able to wake up --- I have learned to not take life for granted and to explore as much as possible because to live with zero regrets would be fantastic! "I've conquered many things, but I still have much to learn about life, because nobody can know everything. & every battle is different" - Shay-lon

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