Bodyweight vs Body Mass Index

In the world of biometric screenings you would be hard pressed to find a more common debate than bodyweight vs. BMI. First things first, let me go into a little more detail about these parameters and what they mean.

Bodyweight is pretty obvious. You step on a scale and get an instant reading of how much you weigh in pounds or kilograms. It can fluctuate at given points through the day or week, depending on what you eat or drink.

Sometimes it can cause uncontrollable fits of rage, but other times it can make you jump for joy.

That all hinges on your objectives and levels of discipline.

Body mass index is a little more detailed. It is a height to weight ratio. You can determine it in long hand by using this equation – weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared.

For example: I am 185 lbs. and 75” tall. This translates to 84 kg and 1.9m. If you pop these numbers into the equation, it would be 84 / (1.9 x 1.9). My BMI would then be 23.

You can also find an easy calculator online where you just punch in your data and your BMI appears in a flash. The standard BMI chart gives you categories that you fall into.

Underweight is considered 18.5 or less, normal weight is 18.6 to 24.9, overweight is 25 to 29.9 and obese is considered 30 and above.

That’s all fine and dandy, but there is a glitch. Take a look at a short, stocky bodybuilder. He may come in at 5’6” tall and weigh 185 lbs. and read obese on the BMI scale.

However, if you tested his body fat, to your surprise you might find out that he is a mere 10 percent.

The problems of BMI
Or the rugby union prop forward for might be 6ft tall and 120kg and is fearsomely powerful and fit.

THAT is why the BMI is flawed

It can give a false interpretation that someone is unhealthy and overweight when they are not. In reality I would never look at BMI as a gold standard reading for anything.

It is often used in a clinical setting so doctors can get a quick idea of your body size without you even being in the room. But the average person doesn’t find out their BMI in the doctor’s office.

I’m not saying that BMI is worthless

At best it is just a quick and easy overview. Just understand that it is only one metric to take into account. If you are into tracking your statistics and progress, include scale weight, BMI, and most importantly, body fat percentage.

Hydrostatic weighing

Body fat percentage will show you how much fat you are losing, which should be your main objective overweight and BMI.

Underwater weighing, also known as hydrostatic weighing, is one of the best and most accurate ways to get this done.

It can be a little hardcore if you do not like to be submerged under water, but it only takes a few minutes. Before I leave you today, let me give you one more piece of valuable information.

Home devices to calculate your BMI
You can get home devices like scales and hand-held analyzers that give you your BMI. The scale is often a three-for-one deal where you get your weight, BMI and body fat percentage.

For the hand-held devices, you will need to know your weight beforehand because you’ll be asked to punch that data in.

Any one of these tools has a degree of inaccuracy but they work well just for tracking purposes.

All and all, you are best served looking at multiple parameters with your body
As long as you know not to beat yourself up from a high BMI reading, you will be safe.

And even if your BMI is high, and it’s all due to your poor lifestyle habits, you can change it by losing weight, eating healthy and gaining muscle.