One of the ways that medical professionals determine if you are overweight is by a rating called body mass index. BMI is an approximate measure of body fat based on weight and height proportion. BMI was designed to get an approximation, or snapshot of body fat. However, it can overestimate body fat in those with a lot of lean muscle mass, like weightlifters and bodybuilders.
BMI is calculated by taking your weight in pounds, multiplying by 703 and dividing that number by your height in inches squared. Compare the results as follows:
|25 – 29.9||Overweight|
|30 & Above||Obese|
BMI Can Present an Inaccurate Assessment of Body Fat in Weightlifters
Professional weightlifters and especially professional bodybuilders — whose regimen and diet is specifically programmed to increase lean muscle for “show” and eliminate as much body fat as possible – can have an inaccurate reading on their BMI.
A competitive bodybuilder, for example, has on average only 4% body fat!
But for most of us, the shocking truth is, if you hit in the 25 or over range on that chart above, there is no better way to lower that BMI and get in shape than weight lifting.
Weight lifting eliminates most of the problems of yo-yo dieting by building lean muscle mass and increasing metabolism. Especially for ageing baby boomers who see those BMI number creeping up and want to do something about it – weight lifting is the way to go.
Weight Lifting and Weight Control
For weight control, it is best to combine weightlifting with cardiovascular workouts, and of course healthy eating. Foods rich in fiber and whole grains and low in fat are the keys to effective weight loss when combined with weight training and exercise. And don’t forget to also drink a lot of water. It is important if you really want to lower your BMI and get in better shape that you combine your weight lifting with cardio workouts.
First of all, you should never lift weights without doing some kind of cardio warm up first – just to get the heat and lungs pumping. Also, if you are really weight lifting to sculpt a defined and toned body – you need the cardio to burn calories and fat.
In developing a weightlifting routine designed to maximize health, strength, build muscle and reduce your BMI – it is important not to over-train.
That means rotate your muscle groups. And you also need to be aware of primary and secondary muscle groups. What that means is that there are weight lifting exercises that are designed to work a primary muscle group, but since almost all muscles are interconnected they also will train a secondary muscle group.
This is the very reason why weight lifting gives you so much “bang for the buck” and a total body workout. For example, just about every lift to build chest and shoulders also works the triceps. So, if you do triceps on one day, followed by chest the next, and the shoulders the following, you will overwork and over-train the triceps.
A good rotation or split would be: Monday – Chest/Triceps, Tuesday – Break, Wednesday – Back/Biceps, Thursday – Break, Friday – Legs/Shoulders, Saturday & Sunday Break.
Bottomline on BMI
If you’re a bodybuilder or another type of athlete, you really should use something other than BMI to evaluate your health and fitness, because for such people BMI results can be deceiving.
But for anyone else that falls into the “overweight” or “obese” categories on BMI, weight lifting is a great way to get in shape and back down into the normal ranges.