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Is the Scale Your Friend?

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Kirk Charles
Kirk Charleshttp://KirkCharles.com
Kirk Charles is a personal trainer who specializes in wellness. He is a 30-year vegan.

Is the scale your friend or enemy? Of course, it serves a purpose, but there’s more to health and fitness than just numbers. The scale does not take into account muscle mass or body fat percentage, nor does the BMI (body mass index) calculation.

So, is either number worth it? For instance, most people who know me say I’m just a skinny little vegan personal trainer. When I tell them I weigh 195 pounds, they cannot believe it. On the other hand, my BMI is 27.1, but anything over a BMI of 25 means you’re overweight. No one can believe that either.

So, if I were to make physical assessments based purely on weight and BMI, I’d be extremely confused. Therefore, what I tell my clients is to use the weight and BMI numbers as a point of reference, so you know where you are, but not to determine your overall health.

The one thing all of us want is to look good. Numbers can’t make you happy, but being comfortable with what you see in the mirror is priceless. What pleases me is when I can see muscles popping out from underneath any body fat. For instance, if you can see abdominal muscles or a 6-pack, I believe your weight is just fine, regardless of what it is.

The only barometer I prefer to use is waist circumference. Simply measure around your belly button and jot that number down. (BTW, I like to measure around the navel because you will consistently measure in the same place. It’s not how you measure for clothing.) Then you can focus on melting fat away from the belly with diet and exercise.

When you start losing a few inches and going shopping for smaller clothes, you will know something positive is happening. If you can see well-defined abs, you’ll know your around 10 to 12 percent body fat, which is a great number for men. For women, around 15 percent is perfect. This method is much better than being obsessed with weight and BMI.

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