Category: Gym

How To Use Your Body Mass Index To Improve Your Health

What Is Body Mass Index, or BMI?

Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a formula that looks at your weight in comparison with your height, in order to help determine how healthy you are. It can be a useful tool among a variety of factors that should be examined together when assessing your health. Athletes and serious fitness fanatics make use of BMI in building fitness, along with intense physical activity and diet adjustments, like snacking on energy bars.

You can calculate your own BMI score, using either metric measures, or pounds and inches, to see where you fall on the Adult BMI Chart. The result is your BMI. It places you in a category that gives an indication of your “degree of fatness.” The BMI formula takes your weight in kilograms (kg), and divides it by your height in meters, squared (m2).1 The result is a number that will fall within a range on the BMI charts, indicating that you are either:

  • Underweight – with BMI less than 18.5
  • Normal weight – with BMI between 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight – with BMI at 25 to 29.9, or
  • Obese – with BMI at 30 or more.1

If you prefer using height in inches and weight in pounds, just follow this formula: calculate weight x 703, divided by height squared.1

How Is BMI Used?

Health professionals may use BMI as a screening tool to get an estimate of your total body fat. High body fat and obesity are potential risk factors for illness later in life. If your reading indicates a high BMI, you should undergo additional diagnostic tests to get the full picture and to sort out causes for the reading, apart from body fat.2

Some groups of individuals will obtain different readings than others, apart from their level of body fatness. For example, women generally have more body fat than men, and older adults will usually have more body fat than younger adults. Nevertheless, as a measuring tool, the BMI is used for men and women in the same way, and the adult weight distribution charts are also identical for men and women.

Using Body Mass Index

The difference comes in how the readings are interpreted. Children and teens are calculated the same way, but the outcome is judged differently because of the greater differences in body fat between boys and girls.2 When a high BMI is obtained, indicating overweight or obesity, the health care provider should perform additional assessments, such as examining diet, level of physical activity, skinfold thickness measurements, and other options, to obtain a fuller picture of an individual’s health.

Using Body Mass Index

If you are a highly developed athlete with greater muscle mass, chances are you follow a regimen of intense workouts, which demand high nutrition levels, as well as often being supplemented by nutrition bars. You may get a BMI reading that suggests you have more body fat than you do, when, in fact, you are not overweight. Your greater weight is possibly the result of high lean body mass, or bone and muscle, rather than high body fat.2

Why Is Obesity Such a Big Deal?

The health care and medical communities are very focused on health consequences of obesity because they are so significant. Obesity puts people at risk for a greater incidence of diseases including: high LDL cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and stroke, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, some cancers, and many other factors.

What Is a Healthy BMI?

In general, BMI status from 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, while 30 or more is considered obese. Athletes are generally assumed to have a higher BMI due to increased muscle mass, but they should be evaluated by a professional who will take into account all related health factors to get an accurate assessment of body fat. By contrast, aging adults who have lost muscle mass may get a low body fat reading that is inaccurate.

Measuring Body Fat – A More Complete Picture

There are limitations to the BMI method of assessing body composition, due to the factors described above, like differences in muscle mass. Obtaining a more accurate reading may require adding other methods that are considered acceptable by the medical and health communities.

  • Skinfold Caliper Testing – Often used in combination with the BMI measurement, this test is widely and easily available. It can be performed by someone with the experience and training needed to get accurate assessments. As the name implies, it uses a set of calipers to pinch and measure areas of skin and fat underneath, in several specific locations around the body. The results are converted to a body fat percentage estimate. Experts suggest this method should be combined with a measurement of deep belly fat (not measureable with the skinfold calipers).
  • Bioelectrical Impedance – This method sends a very slight electrical current (don’t worry—you won’t feel a thing) through the body, to measure the degree of resistance. Fatty tissue returns the electrical impulse more slowly than lean tissue, so a faster response rate indicates that you have a leaner body. You can keep a scale at home that measures body fat percentage in this way, and some personal trainers and gyms make them available. Experts note that the results can be affected by factors like your level of hydration and how recently you’ve had a meal, so it is best to use this method always at the same time of day, and to combine it with one or more other approaches, in order to obtain a fair comparison of results over time.3
  • DEXA or Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry – A more scientifically accurate test, DEXA scans are x-rays that measure density of bone minerals, along with lean body and fat mass. The test is fast and painless, but the price is higher than other methods, and availability is limited to certain medical professonals.3
  • Hydrostatic Weighing – Depending on your spirit of adventure and fondness for water, this may or may not be your method of choice. It measures body fat by submerging you completely under water and measuring your weight. This number is compared to your weight on dry land, and, together with the density of the water, gives a measure of body composition. Access and cost make it less appealing for the average person, or even the average health enthusiast.3

Use any of these methods as a comparison device to track progress toward your overall life and health goals, including a lower body fat content. It is recommended that repeat measurements are not taken any more often than six to eight weeks apart, to give the body time to adapt to any changes you make in exercise or nutrition.3 As part of a healthy, balanced diet, many highly active health enthusiasts and athletes supplement with healthy snacks like Promax Nutrition protein bars. For more information about their bars and other protein products, contact them at 888-728-8962.

1.http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/dietandphysicalactivity/bodyweightandcancerrisk/body-weight-and-cancer-risk-adult-bmi
2. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/#trends
3. http://dailyburn.com/life/health/how-to-measure-body-fat-percentage/

Muscle Building: How Much Weight Should You Be Lifting?

Muscle Building

It’s one of the first questions that people ask once they start going to the gym or seriously considering buffing up their physique: “How much weight should I be lifting?” It’s an important question, and getting the wrong answer could lead to doing a lot of work only to fail getting the results you’re looking for. That said, it is a question with more than one right answer, with the one that’s right for you depending on the fitness goals you’re trying to achieve.

How Much Weight to Lift?

“Building muscle” seems like a simple goal, but there are different ways to go about it. If you’re looking to gain strength, you’re going to want to do different exercises than if you’re just looking to add bulk.

If your main weightlifting goal is to build as much muscle strength as possible, then the answer to the “how much weight question” is going to be “a lot.” The target range includes weights that you can rep only 1-6 times. Specifically, you’re going to want to do lots of multi-joint movements like dead-squats, bench presses, and squats that exercise groups of muscles and joints like the elbows and shoulders. These exercises strengthen and grow fast-twitch muscle groups, which are the muscles that also get worked out during resistance training.

Keep in mind that fast-twitch muscles tend to tire out quickly, which means that strength building will entail long rest periods of up to five minutes between sets. You’ll also want to do a lot of warmups, and will have to be disciplined enough to stop yourself from doing more than your body can handle.

Bulking Up

If you’re more interested in muscle size, you’re going to want to choose less heavy weights than are used for strength training. To achieve maximum muscle size, you should be able to comfortably perform 8-12 reps per set with the weights you are using. Keep in mind that this is the weight range that lets you perform “true” reps with perfect form – no bouncing the bar off your chest to give yourself a lifting boost or only bringing your arms down halfway.

Where strength training focuses on working out multiple muscles at once, bodybuilding is about exercising one muscle at a time in order to tone it as much as possible. Maintaining proper form is essential to bodybuilding – if you’re activating joints other than the one that the exercise you’re working on is meant to tone, you should revisit your technique to ensure that you get the results you’re looking for.

Bodybuilding also requires activating fast-twitch muscle fibers (i.e., the muscles that give you the strength to lift heavier weights the more you train). Like with strength training, that means doing multi-joint exercises. Whereas strength trainers focus on doing just a few of these exercises at their maximum lifting threshold, bodybuilders will want to use smaller weights so that they can perform more of these exercises with shorter weight periods. You should be able to perform 3-4 sets of each multi-joint exercises, with rest periods lasting only 60-90 seconds.

Whether you’re looking to bulk up, or lift more than anyone else, you’ll need a healthy source of protein to fuel your exercise. Promax bars are loaded with the protein that fitness buffs need, and they come in a variety of flavors. For more information, feel free to visit our .

Sources:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/28-laws-of-lifting-for-muscle.html

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/how-much-weight-should-you-lift.html

How Much Weight Should You Be Lifting?

http://www.boxingscene.com/build-muscle/10077.php

 

5 Steps for Getting Six-Pack Abs

Workout Tips

Is there any better shorthand for a physically fit body than a set of well-defined, six-pack abs? For many people into fitness, a perfect six-pack is the ultimate sign of success, the thing they’ve putting all that sweat into. But what happens when your six-pack never appears, no matter how much work you put into it?

As with all things fitness and lifting, different bodies have different thresholds and different requirements for results. A routine that gives one person a six-pack in no time at all may never work for someone else. If you’re having trouble building your six-pack, here are some tips you can try to get the muscles you want:

1. Lose the body fat – If you’re doing thousands of crunches every week and still not seeing defined, well-toned abs, your ab routine may not be the problem. It’s a simple fact of six-pack abs that, in order to appear, you need to be able to see them. In other words, excess body fat may be hiding your abs from view. The target body fat ratio for men who want a six-pack is less than 10%; for women, it’s less than 18%. If you’re over those numbers, step up the cardio and weight lifting to burn off the excess body fat.

2. Don’t just stick to crunches – There’s a common misconception that doing a lot of crunches is all you need to build a six-pack. Like any workout routine that says one exercise alone will get you perfect results, the all-crunches approach is all wrong. Why? Because crunches don’t work the lower abs enough, meaning that other ab workouts like hanging leg raises are also required.

3. Give the abs a rest – Think doing ab exercises 5-7 times a week is going to get you a six-pack faster? If you do, you might instead be sabotaging your fitness efforts. If you work your abs every day, or even every other day, you’re not giving them the time they need to rest and grow. If you want that six-pack, only do ab exercises once every three days. Any more than that is probably too much.

4. Challenge yourself – If you’re not slowly increasing the difficulty of your workout, you’re never going to meet your fitness goals. Muscles grow based on a principle called progressive resistance. In order to develop, the difficulty of your workout needs to increase. That means upping the amount of weight lifted, the level of pressure applied, and the number of exercises done.

5. Protein, protein, protein – There’s a reason fitness buffs and professional sportsmen won’t shut up about the amount of protein they intake. Protein builds lean muscle and helps burn body fat; the body burns lots of calories just breaking the protein in your system down. Your body needs fuel to burn in order to build that six-pack – eat lots of protein before your workout, and follow it up with carbohydrates for your post-workout meal.

Need to add more protein to your diet? Promax protein bars are loaded with healthy protein, and come in many delicious flavors. Visit www.promax.com today for more info, or to place your order.

A Beginner’s Guide to Gym and Weight Room Etiquette

Gym WorkoutWhen beginners start coming to the gym, it can seem like walking into a place filled with strangers who all expect you to know and follow a whole host of unspoken rules and traditions. While the “rules” will become a lot clearer after just a few workout sessions, there are definitely some workout etiquette rules that beginners should remember. Along with obvious rules of public decorum (don’t go into other people’s lockers to steal their protein bars, etc.), be sure to follow these rules for proper gym behavior:

  • Respect the gear – One of the most important rules to pay attention to at the local gym is to treat the building and the equipment with respect. When someone new comes in and clearly doesn’t respect the gym or its patrons, they’re on the path to not being accepted and possibly being asked to go elsewhere. Use weights and machines as they’re intended, don’t drop or mishandle them, and clean all your gear after you’re done. No one wants to be cleaning up after you or mopping up your sweat in order to use the gym once they’re done. And remember: gym mirrors aren’t there for primping, pampering, or applying cosmetics. That’s what the bathrooms are for.
  • Put away the phone – Everyone’s addicted to their smartphones these days, but the gym should definitely be considered a “cell free” zone. Unless you’re running a fitness app, there’s no reason you should be fiddling with or talking on your phone while using the gym equipment. People waiting for you will start getting impatient when it looks like you aren’t taking your workout seriously, and the people around you are likely to get annoyed pretty fast with your yakking on the phone. Remember, the gym is a shared space: treat the people around you like you would want to be treated.
  • Be sure to share – Sometimes there aren’t enough machines or weights for everyone, and that means having to wait. If you find yourself waiting for a spot, don’t crowd the person you’re waiting for or bother them by trying to push them along. Instead, do some stretches or easy workouts that don’t take up too much walkway space while waiting for your turn. If you find yourself in the position of making people wait, on the other hand, don’t linger longer than necessary or try to prevent someone else from using a machine. That said, don’t let yourself be pushed around or pressured into giving up your spot or trying to do your workout too fast, either.
  • Remember you’re in public – It may seem like an obvious thing to say, but people at the gym sometimes seem to have a hard time remembering that there are other people around them. While the gym certainly has more lax dress standards than most other public spaces, that doesn’t mean that you should be wearing something so revealing, dumpy, or gross that the people around you are embarrassed to be seen with you.
  • Practice good hygiene – When you’re at the gym, you’re going to get sweaty and smelly, and there’s not much you can do about it. But that doesn’t mean you should completely forget your manners and good hygiene. Be sure to clean up after yourself, and try to be as un-gross as possible. Also, remember to wear your deodorant. Please.

Get more workout and exercise tips today by visiting our blog or contacting us at Promax Nutrition.