What is BMI and why should I care with Vancouver Fitness and athletic trainer Jon Bula
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here this morning with Mr. Jon Bula of Groundwork Athletics in Vancouver. He’s a super athletic and physical trainer and we’re going to talk about Body Mass Index. How are you doing today Jon?
Jon: Really good, really good; just suffering like the rest of us from too much eating and drinking over the holidays but plan to sort that out soon.
Mark: Cool, so 2015 New Year, we’re going to talk about a kind of bizarre thing, BMI. What is BMI?
Jon: Well, I’m sure a lot of you out there and yourself included Mark, have heard of BMI, Body Mass Index, you know, I’m supposed to be at a certain BMI or I’m considered overweight, this, that and the other. I just thought I would explain it and the reason being, I just read a couple articles lately of people saying, well BMI’s kind of useless or just some press about it so I thought it would be a good thing to do is explain what it means and really it’s just a way of indirectly measuring your body fat percentage. It uses your weight and your height and basically it’s your weight divided by your height squared and you get a number and then the number is used to put you in a category, underweight, normal weight, overweight or if you’re really high on the BMI scale come in at as obese and it’s a really simple measure to use. It’s not hard to figure out your weight and it’s not hard to figure out your height so it’s really easy to use.
Mark: So, I’ve read just like you’ve mentioned maybe it’s not an accurate way to measure body fat, what do you think?
Jon: Well, because it’s an indirect measure of body fat, you’re making an assumption from height and weight that it’s not a hundred percent accurate but at the end of the day do you really need it to be a hundred percent accurate? If you are trying to track a change using BMI is a good way to track change because your height will stay consistent, your weight will change and conversely your BMI changes. It is also something that gives you a relative idea of where you’re at. You always have to take a grain of salt with these things because you have to think about the people they used to determine their equations with and almost always it’s collage age males who are a huge available resource for scientists to study because they’re at the same universities and so things can be skewed a little bit differently but it’s accurate enough for most people, definitely.
Mark: So, my BMI is high and I’m a fit athletic person, what’s going on there?
Jon: Well, there’s the problem with BMI and this is a case that’s not the case for most people but if you have been strength training for a long time, you’re really heavily muscled and that’s going to obviously affect your weight and BMI doesn’t take into account, is it weight from fat, is it weight from muscle, and you see it all the time with football players and rugby players and hockey players, their BMI shows them as being overweight, sometimes obese and then they take their shirts off they’re ripped so you know they’re not fat. So for those people BMI is not the thing to use but it doesn’t mean it’s not something that’s useful for everyday people.
Mark: So, can you review how best to use BMI then?
Jon: Use BMI as a tool. It’s not the B all and end all measurement. If you are just are a regular working person and you’re starting a fitness program or you’re worried that you’re slightly overweight and you’d like to see where you’re at and you don’t have skin fold calipers and other fancy things, height and weight and using a BMI calculator, it’s really simple and it gives you a decent idea of where you’re at, so that’s how I would use it. Use it in conjunction with other things, girth measurement and other things if you really want to get specific but BMI is just a tool and it’s definitely useful.
Mark: So would you say that the scale, you know, everyone’s focused on how much I weigh, how much I weigh, it sort of falls into that same area, doesn’t it?
Jon: Yeah, but at least BMI it’s more involved than just your weight because when you’re standing on a scale you really have no idea what’s inside the bag that’s on the scale, you don’t know what you’re weighing. At least with BMI, it’s got some work behind it, some research behind it, some numbers that you can compare against so you’re taking into account you’re height and you’re weight and so it gives you a bit better picture, but like I said it’s an indirect measure of body fat and it’s not the B all and the end all, but it’s definitely more useful than just standing on the scale.
Mark: I guess just to finish it off, it’s better as a, here’s where you were and here’s where you are now, it’s a relative gauge that’s probably more accurate than the scale.
Jon: Definitely, and it can also be a bit of a wakeup call. You think you’re doing o.k., you can see your BMI is a bit too high, you’re just above the normal zone in the overweight and so it could be a place for you to say o.k. I can work a little bit to get into the normal zone so to speak, so it’s useful, so just take it with a grain of salt.
Mark: Cool, so I’ve been talking with Jon Bula of Groundwork Athletics in downtown Vancouver. If you want someone who can help you work out safely, efficiently, without hurting yourself and get to your goals in 2015 these are the guys to call. You can reach Jon at firstname.lastname@example.org or go their excellent website groundworkathletics.ca. Check them out, give them a call. These are the guys to talk to in downtown Vancouver. Thanks Jon.
Jon: Thanks so much Mark.