I hate the BMI Index

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Old 06-16-2010, 10:11 PM
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Default I hate the BMI Index

I am curious to see how many other men out there have the same problem I do. I suffered a serious knee and shoulder issue three years ago and put on about 30 lbs. Both knees have been a problem (football and basketball) for the past 25 years so I have to watch the types of exercise I do. I am 5'10" and currently weigh 300 lbs. Now that means I am extremely obese but even the trainers at my gym agree there are extenuating circumstances. I wear size 13 shoes, can palm a basketball in either hand, have a 36" shirt sleeve length and and wear a size 8 hat. In other words, I am very very big boned (not kidding - they agree). I have a friend who is 6'6" who is the same height as me (from the waist up) when we are sitting down. Short legs and a long torso.

When I was 275 lbs, my body fat % was 31%. An ideal body fat was recommended to me as 15%. Using their formula, I would be 15% at 212 lbs. The BMI index recommends I weigh between 128 and 176 lbs. According to the numbers, if I lost ALL OF MY BODY FAT I WOULD STILL WEIGH 190 AND BE OVERWEIGHT.

If there is anyone out there with a similar height/weight issue I would appreciate hearing from as to how they approach their diet/exercise program.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:49 PM
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Yeah, in the Marines, they went by a height/weigth chart. I was very fit and struggled to stay at the upper limit of the chart. I had to have a doctor verify my body fat percentage to stay off the 'fat-body platoon'.
Now, years later, I am obese (according to BMI Charts). I think the mirror is the most important ruler to labeling weither or not I am fat, chunky, obese, over-weight, and all other labels in between.
When I lose enough weight to make me happy (and not the charts), then I'll label myself 'fit'. Of course, there can be other factors, like high blood pressure, diabetes, ect... that I don't have a problem with, but if I did, it would modify my definition of fit.
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:10 AM
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BMI is a fairly useless, outdated measurement. It's a wonder the medical community at large still uses it. I go by bf% measurements, lipid panel, my own feelings of mental focus and physical bloat, body weight, and weight lifted (size/strength ratios).
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by tandoorichicken View Post
BMI is a fairly useless, outdated measurement. It's a wonder the medical community at large still uses it. I go by bf% measurements, lipid panel, my own feelings of mental focus and physical bloat, body weight, and weight lifted (size/strength ratios).
I have lost a lot of strengh since beginning my diet. I weight 265lbs and can bench press 315lbs only 2 reps. Just a little over a month ago, at 278, I could bench press 315lbs 5 reps, 5 sets, ate like a pig. So, as you can see, I am feeling pretty bad about my workouts. On the other hand, I went from walk/running 3 miles in 37 minutes to running 3 miles in under 30 min.
Can you explain a little about the siz/strength ratios and what I can expect as I continue to lose (goal is 250lbs body weight)?
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:14 PM
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I don't know of a way to compute your strength loss when dieting. I only know that it will probably happen. You would think that when you diet your body would just use its surplus fat stores to provide energy. Unfortunately if you diet and don't work out your body actually only fills 50% of its energy needs from fat stores, the rest comes from muscle catabolism. Working out can minimize the loss of muscle as you are building muscle. But if you are not getting enough protein you can't build muscle. Carbs and fat in your diet don't have the amino acid building blocks required for building muscle.

I also read an article recently that talked about dieters depleting their glycogen reserves. Glycogen is stored in the muscles and fuels your muscles. When your glycogen stores are low your muscles have less fuel and so the problem you are seeing with reduced reps.

So to minimize muscle and strength losses try to get at least 30% of your calories or 1g to 1.5g per pound of lean body mass from protein. Hope this helped.
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Old 06-18-2010, 04:49 PM
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Thanks, that makes sense. I'll try to eat an energy bar/drink before working out and then eat/drink a protein bar afterwards. That is going to change my calories in/out deficet, but I guess it's worth slowing down the weight lose process if it prevents me from losing muscle/strength.
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Old 06-18-2010, 11:28 PM
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As rpmc mentioned, strength loss could be due to a couple of things: one, your muscle mass has been sacrificed as food for the body during calorie restriction, so your real strength is reduced, or you're simply low on muscle fuel, i.e., glycogen. If you work out often, then some carbohydrates are essential to replacing the muscle glycogen fast for your next workout, otherwise you burn out. Otherwise, you can generate enough free glucose through gluconeogenesis (conversion of amino acids and glycerol into glucose) to replenish intramuscular glycogen steadily over time.

Your muscles actually have two sources of fuel when lifting. The first 15-20 seconds of a lift run on the creatine phosphate system, which is like lighter fluid on a fire. After glycolysis (breakdown of glycogen) catches up, sometime after 15 seconds, the creatine system is depleted and shuts off. This is why athletes take creatine, to beef up the first system to give them a crucial few seconds of boost. Unfortunately, the supps give me really bad nausea, but you can get plenty of it from beef and fish. This will help improve reps per set also.

There are a couple of different calculators that can give you a numerical benchmark for size vs. strength. The one I use is the ranking calculator at Virtual Meet.
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Old 06-21-2010, 07:40 PM
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Thanks for the info guys. I have brought a 23g protein PowerBar to work today and I'll eat it about an hour before my workout. I raised my calories this weekend, so I feel as strong as I normally did before I started dieting. Today is chest day, so I'll get a good idea where my strength is at this point.
I have tried creatine in the distant past and stopped because I felt it was giving me cramps. I am thinking of trying it again to see if, in fact, it was the creatine or something else in my diet.
I am not expecting a miracle today, but if I improve from last Monday, then I'll make the investment in more energy bars/drinks. I would love to add more beef to my diet, but I have a hard time spending the money, the cost of good meat is outragous these days!
I was Elite on weight/strength calculator until I saw I was using the metric system. LOL
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Old 06-24-2010, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by The_Overlord View Post
I have tried creatine in the distant past and stopped because I felt it was giving me cramps.
Hydration is of utmost importance with creatine. Stuff will suck the water right out of your muscles once it's in the bloodstream, then once it makes it's way into the cells, will suck the water out of the bloodstream. The first step leads to cramps, the second step causes nausea.
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Old 07-14-2010, 06:08 PM
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BMI is a pretty outdated statistic. When I was in high school I wrestled at the higher weights 160 and 171, and I was great shape, but even then my BMI was in the "overweight" range. It's odd for someone who was 13% bf at the time to be "overweight." It just goes to show you how flawed BMI is. The BMI index seems like it was made for those long and slender body types, when its applied to someone with a stockier more muscular build the chart can definitely be way off, not just a little off.

For example I'm 5-10 and 218lbs my BMI is 31 which puts me in obese range. I currently am 21% body fat which is actually on the low end of overweight. And when I reach my goal weight of 180 I will still be in the "overweight" range. To me it seems like the BMI chart thinks you should be all skin and bones or have the physique of a marathon runner, when I want the physique of a sprinter.
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