Do NOT use the Body Mass Index as a means of determining whether or not your body is in good shape – it’s rubbish!
“Body mass index (BMI) or Quetelet Index is a statistical measure of the weight of a person scaled according to height. It was invented between 1830 and 1850 by the Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet during the course of developing “social physics”.
Basically, the BMI index tells you if you are an ideal weight for your height. There is:
- Normal Range
The BMI Chart to the right is likely the one your doctor uses.
(By the way – Kg is pounds divided by 2.2)
Also you can have the NHS tell you whether you’re a healthy weight by inputting your figures into this BMI calculator and having them do a calculation.
Why It’s Crap
BMI is an inferior tool for most people and almost totally useless for bodybuilders. The main reason is:
It takes absolutely no account of body composition
By solely focusing on weight the BMI ignores the important distinction of whether that weight is fat tissue or muscle tissue.
For example, a 5’8’’ bodybuilder weighing 170 pounds at 7% body fat will be classed as overweight! This is clearly absurd because at 7% body fat he is extremely lean.
Likewise, a 5’11 individual weighing 165 pounds will be advised that he is in the normal range. However, this person could have next to no muscle tissue, a big gut and man-boobs! This is what they call a ‘skinny-fat’ person and it is clearly unhealthy. This individual could weigh 120 pounds lean, giving him a body fat percentage of around 27% – well above average for a male!
And what about other factors not taken into consideration. What about:
- Bone Structure
- Body Type whether, mesomorph, ectomorph, or endomorph?
This is a rubbish tool folks, plain and simple.
Get your Body Percentage for an Accurate View.
Ascertaining your body fat percentage will give you a much clearer picture of the condition of your body. Knowing your body fat percentage gives you an accurate picture of your body composition. Unfortunately, we live in a society too obsessed with weight, but the scales aren’t telling us the full picture.
To measure your body fat percentage, simply input your relevant measurements into the box at the top left of this page and hit ‘calculate.’ Otherwise, the best instrument I know is the Accumeasure body fat calipers.
The charts below are much more useful to us. The bodybuilder should note, however, that when cut, he or she is probably going to be classed as ‘Underfat’. Well, that’s fine by me, I’m pretty much underfat all the time and I feel great!
Male aged 7 – 18
Male aged 18 – 79
Female aged 7 – 18
Female aged 18 – 79
I’m not saying you have to through your scales out, but use your body fat percentage in conjunction with weight. If you are in a bulking cycle you’ll want to take your body fat and weight readings weekly. If you see your weight go up but body fat levels remain the same (or even drop) congratulations, you gaining lean muscle only! If you’re cutting, you want your body fat levels to drop and also your weight to drop slowly (or even remain the same), meaning you’re retaining your lean muscle while shedding fat.
Body Fat Percentage is the king of body measurements, ditch the BMI. I’m very confident that this knowledge will permeate the mainstream in time, but for now you can choose to be one of the few who are assessing their body’s condition accurately.
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There’s a body fat percentage checker I use at my gym. It’s a digital device where you enter your age, gender, height, weight and then hold it with both hands so that your palms and thumbs are against the appropriate metal pad then hit start. I’m not sure if it runs electricity through the body or what. Have you heard of these and are they accurate?
It seems like it works. According to it I’ve gone from 25% down to 15%. Also, in order to get those abs, what percent should I be shooting for?
Hi again Caveman.
Yes it is sending a little electrical pulse through, harmless though. These things are often inaccurate and also depending on what time of day you get on it gives you a different reading!
Mornings will give lower readings than say 3PM, water and food causing the fluctuations.
Get yourself some calipers bro, they’re only $5.
Anyway, it doesn’t fluctuate 10% so congratulations, you’ve done tremendously well! Honestly, losing 10% is something to be proud of. As far as abs go, you’ve another 5% to lose as 10% and below is when you start to see them shining through. So, you’ve already done most of the work!
By the way, I stumbled your ‘Caveman Conclusion’ article, funny stuff. I hope that brings you some traffic, it can be hard for a new blog to get going so we’re in the same boat. You should add social bookmarking icons to your blog, search your ‘sociable plugin’.
Okay man, hope all that helps you out.
Thanks for the info. I’ll definitely grab some calipers. Yeah man, being fat sucks, I’d much rather be svelte. It is really coming along nicely though. I should’ve done this shit years ago!
I’ve actually been meaning to add a plugin like that, I also need to get a related posts plugin. Thanks for the tips bro.
I am glad someone finally spoke my words and feelings about the BMI. It is a totally bogus means of measurement. I am 5’09” at about 7% BF and I weigh between 210 and 215 depending on water consumption. According to the BMI I am Obese. I cut up for 12 weeks for a show and had my progress measured in terms of BF not just weight. We measured BF every week. I went from 16.6% to 6.6% and lost 21 pounds during my cutting phase. I don’t think I am obese.
Thanks for the good information.