August: The Low Down on the BMI Calculator

As a personal trainer, clients are always asking me about their body mass index and they worry whether they fall in the “normal” weight category. Sometimes I think they are more worried about this BMI thing than actual body fat percentage.

So what is the deal with this thing we call BMI? What does it have to do with weight loss? Well, body mass index is just one way to assess your body composition. Body composition is your body’s total makeup of fat-free mass (muscle, bones, organs etc) and fat mass. More specifically, the BMI calculator helps determine if you are underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese by assessing body weight in comparison to height.

You might see the flaw already. It uses body weight and height without adjusting for fat mass. Yes, it tends to overestimate those that are muscular and those individuals that are athletic, while underestimating those that are small, yet “over-fat” in terms of body fat percentage. However, studies have shown a strong correlation between body mass index and body fat in most people. For that reason, BMI is not a bad place to start when trying to determine a reasonable goal in terms of body weight.

However, I want you to know that it is not totally uncommon for a person to gain muscle and loss fat without a change in the number seen on the scale and, as a result, the BMI number won’t change either. Understandably, this can be frustrating.

For this reason, I repeat, BMI is just a place to start. The best ways to determine your success is by determining your body fat percentage through circumference measurements, skin-fold measurements, and bioelectrical impedance (most gyms offer these services). Last, but not least, and certainly my favorite, the way your clothes fit and how you feel is the best way to determine if you are on the right track.

So, know your BMI, but if your clothes sizes keep dropping don’t stress over the number too much.

I could give you the actual formula but a professor of mine back in college gave me a much easier way!

body weight X 703 / by your height in inches/ by your height in inches again

Or, even easier, use this chart…

Move of the Month!

Squating Bicep Curls

Again, a great exercise for us moms. Squating Bicep Curls combine upper body and lower body. I love to combine upper body and lower body exercises, especially when I am in a time crunch. Added bonus...combo exercises tend to get your heart rate up for a little extra calorie burn.

Also, they don’t take a lot of time and all you need is a set of weights (5,10 or 12). Work them into your workout a couple of times a week!

Target Muscles:

Biceps, Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings

How To:

• Feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, sit down into a squat with feet slightly pointed out (you can use the wall to sit against for a little more support but work up to doing them without the wall)

• Bend forward slightly with your back and place elbows on the insides of your knees

• Straighten your arms completely

• With the right arm, raise the dumbbell up toward your bicep by bending at elbow

• Keep upper arm still, elbows glued to your knee and wrists locked stop ¾ way to the top

• Hold for a beat

• Return to start position with slow and controlled movement

• Repeat with your left arm

Important: To isolate your biceps, keep the upper part of your arm still. Use slow controlled movements, especially on the way down. It is easy to just let the weights drop…you’re cheating yourself. Also, make sure you straighten your arms at the bottom of each rep to ensure full range of motion

More on Strength Training

Kick Butt Cardio

The elliptical is an incredible way to burn some major calories. I particularly love the ones with handles. Using the handles turns the cardio workout into a full body workout, engages more muscle groups and,in turn, increases your calorie burn. And, as long as you keep a good posture and resist the urge to lean on the handles, your core feels the burn as it continually works to balance your body.

If that isn't enough, it is an excellent way to mix up the monotony of running. Running is incredibly hard on your joints, in particular, your knees, ankles and back. For that reason, it's a good idea to give them a break every once in a while. The elliptical provides a non-impact workout while still enabling you to get a kick butt cardio session.

Some good things to remember:

• Keep a good posture, core tight, elbows in next to your ribs

• Don’t lean on the machine

• Keep the right cadence...go too slow and you'll cheat yourself out of maximum calorie burn

• Avoid bouncing…use smooth strides

• Don’t be afraid to breathe hard…get out of your comfort zone!

Recipe of the Month

More New Recipes

Hot Fudge Cake
Chunky Crock Pot Applesauce

Drink Like a Fit Chick!

Like I have said before, alcohol can really sabatoge your weight loss goals. Having said that, it’s not realistic to ask you to cut out alcohol completely. So, be smart! Stay away from the sugary drinks!

Let me is one of my favorite drinks that I love to sip on while I sit around the bon fire and enjoy the company of good friends!

Talk to Me!

I recently added a page in which you can contact me . So, if you have a healthy recipe, a new awesome strength training move, a suggestion for a future newsletter or even an inspiring success story, I would love to hear from you. Don't hesitate to ask a question or share an idea. Also, feel free to forward this onto a friend!

Sommer Tucker

"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."
John Bingham, running speaker and writer