LBM & BMIBy Linda Ericson // Personal Trainer and Operations Manager at RCSN Fitness February 2018
A well-known method of measuring the weight classes underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese, is Body Mass Index (BMI). To find out your BMI, you first take your weight in kilograms, multiply your length in meters with itself and then divide the weight with that number. For example: 70 kg / (1.70 m X 1.70 m) = BMI 24.2, which is considered normal weight. BMI is a useful way of analyzing larger groups such as different populations, but it is rarely a successful way at an individual level. In particular, it may be misleading in cases where the person has a greater amount of muscle mass than average. This is the main reason to why people who are engaged in fitness or other sports where increased muscle mass is desirable should lose the thoughts of an optimal BMI and instead focus solely on body composition and LBM.
The weight type we are referring to in this article (LBM) does not only reduce inflammation, contribute to increased strength and agility, but it also speeds up your metabolism. This makes it easier in the long run to achieve and maintain a healthy total weight. Not only muscles but also organs are a lot more qualitative than fatty tissue, not to mention the pure aesthetic aspect of it.
Naturally, the proportions change as we age. Some studies have shown that after 50 we lose somewhere around 1-2% of muscle mass per year, which of course has a negative impact on our LBM. The typical older man or woman usually has more body fat than the typical young man or woman. The reduced amount of muscle mass is said to be one of the reasons we increase our actual fat mass. As we look at studies made with the older population we also see that this storage of fat occurs mainly in and around the stomach region, which is an area directly associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The problem with blindly trusting the digits on the scale is that it’s impossible to measure your actual progress as there are more factors than just one to take into account. These include undigested food and drinks, calorie excess, water weight as a result of extra glycogen or increased salt consumption, and so on. All of these factors will show themselves on the display and therefore make a simple weighing an unreliable measuring method if you are interested in seriously determine your physical status. In particular, the levels of fluid tend to change during the day as a glass of water may very well twist the weight half a kilo and is therefore easily misinterpreted as an increase in either fat or muscle mass.
In other words, there is only one reliable method to use if you wish to establish your actual body composition and that is to have it professionally analyzed. If this feels somewhat overkill, the measuring tape is the second best alternative as it is a far more effective and reliable tool than the bathroom scale.
Getting yourself in shape is not done overnight. It takes perseverance, dedication and time - just how much time depends on you and your habits. You might be aiming to improve your physical shape a little faster than normal if you have an event coming up or you can feel the summer just around the corner. Like with almost everything in life, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly. No half measures, no short cuts, no extreme fad diets and no four-hour gym sessions. If you want to get in shape fast and stay fit over the long-term, it’s worth forming the correct habits now, so you can take a new recipe for fitness forward with you.
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