Why Weight Is Not Important

Concerned about your weight? You may not have to be….
Why Weight Loss Is Not Important

    The human body is an amazingly technical structure comprising of many different tissue types. These tissues are made of different materials and have different densities- they don’t actually all weigh the same!
    On a daily basis I see lots of people who train to ‘lose weight’. This is all well and good, but they slightly miss the point. It is not weight loss they should be aiming for, more fat loss. How much a person weighs tells us very little about their body composition. I will demonstrate this using a man named Andrew. According to his stats he weighs 121kg (19 stones). This sounds very heavy, and his BMI rating is 32.4, putting him in the ‘obese’ category. Now consider this- Andrew, the man in the example, is actually Andrew Sheridan, the England Rugby player. He is an international athlete at peak physical fitness. Is he really obese? No! Does he need to lose weight? No! The figures can be misleading, which is why I urge you not to focus on weighing less, but being leaner.
    A person is considered ‘fat’ when they have too much body fat (obviously, you would think); it has nothing to do with their weight. Rather than obsessing over what the scales say, anyone looking to drop their weight should be more focussed on dropping their body fat levels. There are lots of ways and means of doing this- you don’t have to endure something you hate in order to be in good shape! Depending on what you enjoy you could get down to the gym and work hard, you could play a sport you enjoy, you could join a running club- the possibilities are endless! Although resistance (weight) training is the most effective fat loss method, don’t feel tied down to it. What is more important is that you enjoy what you do.
    So what are ‘Ideal’ body fat percentages?
    Ideal body fat percentages are relative to particular groups. Athletes tend to require lower body fat than the rest of us, as they need to be in peak physical condition for their event during competition. Even in sporting events however, there are massive differences between ideals- the ideal body fat percentage for a marathon runner is going to be vastly different to ideal for a sumo wrestler.
    In general populations, we are more lenient with body fat percentages, as our bodies are required to function comfortably, not function at physical limits. In males, a body fat percentage of 6-17% is considered healthy. In females, a body fat percentage of 12-25% is considered healthy.
    Females have higher body fat percentages than men thanks to evolution. The most accepted theory is that women required the extra fat in order to insulate and protect an unborn baby. The extra fat also provides energy for the feeding, which is physically demanding on the energy reserves of the mother. The extra fat provides the necessary calories.
    So why is too much fat considered bad?
    The vast majority of health problems linked with larger people are down to fat. It is fat, not weight that puts pressure on your heart, increases your blood pressure, clogs up the blood vessels, slows you down, makes you sweat, increases your risk of cancer and diabetes. Problems linked to excess body fat are set to be the most common cause of death in the near future according to medical experts. The good news is you can massively reduce your risk factor by taking a few simple steps. Anyone interested in fat loss can find all of the information they need here
    So how can fit people be so heavy?
    There are two main reasons why fit, lean people tend to be heavier than expected.
  • Muscle tissue is very dense, and is known to be heavier than fat. In people who have trained with resistance over a long time, muscle mass is likely to be higher. The more muscle a person has, the heavier they are likely to be.
  • Just as with muscle, bone also grows over time. This is known as Wolff’s law, which essentially states that over time bone will grow in response to a load placed on it. People who train with resistance are likely to have thicker, stronger bones which weigh more than a non-trained individual.
    1. Dont worry about what the scales say
      As we discussed in the previous paragraph, muscle weighs more than fat. It is for this reason you should not worry too much about what the scales say. I have had clients (male and female) who have actually slightly gained weight, but lost body fat and dropped several clothes sizes. You don’t even need to have your body fat professionally assessed to chart your progress. There are some body fat calculators using only a tape measure, but frankly I think they are next to inflatable dartboards in their usefulness. You can chart progress using a tape measure, if you measure yourself accurately and consistently.
      The following measurement sites (on the dominant side e.g. a right handed person measuring down the right side for the limb measurements) will provide a good overall idea of your original size and any reduction as your diet and exercise regime progresses…
      Chest (around your nipples)
      Upper arms (midway between your shoulder and elbow)
      Waist (around your belly button)
      Hips (mid-point of the pelvis)
      Thigh (midway between your hip and knee)
      Calf (at the widest point)
      These sites have given you an overall set of values for comparison. Measure these on a fortnightly basis, and check your weight weekly. You are more than likely going to lose weight, but don’t worry even if you don’t, as long as your prime sites (waist and hips) are getting smaller! The limbs will not change as much, as they usually have less fat to lose- fat seems to spread from the centre outwards, hence higher fat storage around the waist and hips.
      All of the information you need to succeed can be found here at http://www.total-fit.co.uk.
      Good luck!

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