Thursday, February 10, 2011

Body composition

I work with a lot of people who want to loose weight. What they actually mean by this, is that they want to loose body fat and gain a little muscle so they have proper body composition.

Proper body composition is one of the four components of fitness. It's also the component that you can see the most obviously - and it takes more than exercise to achieve!

Exercise alone is only going to get you so far. A healthy diet, eating the right amount of calories AND exercising, is the only way to get it.

To find out what your actual body composition is - what your body is composed of (fat free vs. fat) - you need to get tested from a professional. There are several ways to get tested, one of the simplest is via the skin caliper test.

If you don't have access or the money for a test, there are a couple of things you can do. It won't tell you what your actual body composition is, but it will tell you if you're at risk for obesity related diseases. It will give you an idea of if you need to lose weight. Here are two tests you can easily do with just a measuring tape:

1. Waist to hip ratio
Take measurements of your waist & hips.
Divide the waist circumference by the hip circumference.

If your ratio is greater than .95/men and .85/women, you may at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure & certain cancers.

2. Waist circumference
Simply take your waist measurements.

If you're measurement is greater than 40in/men or 35in/women, you are at risk.

If you find that your measurements are high, don't panic! Just get up, get moving and start eating a little healthier!

Retake your measurements after about 3 months. If you've been diligent, you should see noticeable improvement!