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Monday, October 17, 2011

Are You Fooled by Your Body Mass Index (BMI)?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measurement used to determine whether your overweight, underweight, Or Just right. There are calculators available on internet where you can Enter your age, sex, height, weight and to calculate your BMI. To manually calculate your BMI take your weight (lbs) and divide it by height (in). Take the result of that calculation and divide it by height again in inches. Then, multiply by 703. For example a person that is 6 feet tall and weighs 200 pounds would calculate like this:

200lbs / 72 in. = 2.7777, 2.7777/72in =.03858,.03858 X 703 = 27.12, BMI=27.12

A BMI under 20 is considered underweight; 20-25 is OK; 25-30 is overweight. This BMI calculation however, does not consider the amount of body fat and bone density of a person. Therefore, a person that has a lot of lean muscle and thicker bone density, may register in the overweight category using only the BMI calculator to gauge their weight status.

A more accurate way to estimate your amount of body fat is the Lean Body Mass (LBM) calculation. LBM calculation however is not as easy as plugging in numbers like the BMI calculation. There are various methods to calculate LBM. A very popular method is the use of a skin fold caliper to measure the fat around the abdomen (stomach fat). An inexpensive caliper can be purchased at sporting goods & health stores or online.

LBM is an estimate of how much you would weigh without the body fat. So, it's how much your bones, organs and muscles weigh. As you gain weight or lose weight, it's beneficial to keep track of your LBM so you can determine how much of the weight gain is due to increase in muscle mass.. It is possible to actually lose body weight and still gain muscle mass. Tracking LBM would allow this to be determined.

Calculating LBM is fairly easy. If you use the skin fold caliper tool, it will give you a body fat percentage. The calculation would then go like this. example: If your body fat percentage was determined to be 20% and you weigh 200lbs then:

200lbs X.20 = 40lbs of body fat.

200lbs - 40lbs = 160 LBM

Although it is very difficult to gain 100% muscle and 0% fat. It is possible to gain at a 2:1 muscle to fat ratio on the with the correct diet and exercise combination. These ratios are achievable. Once you start monitoring LBM you can gauge your calorie intake so that your gains allow for muscle increase while not overly abundant for fat increases.

Free calculators for BMI, BMR, LBM, and diet are available at Where you can join in on discussions and information concerning diet and training with proven methods for successfully gaining muscle mass, weight loss and weight gain. Watch our video tutorials and product reviews. I look forward to seeing you there.

Duane Economos

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