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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 03-12-09, 01:35 AM   #1
Abacus
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Bmi

Just wondering, how many guys/gals in here keep an eye on there Body Mass Index, as closely as they keep an eye on their weight? It doesn't seem to come up in this forum very often.

It seems to be a better indicator of the risk to my mortality than a raw weight figure because it factors in a person's height, as well as their weight.

http://www.docshop.com/education/bariatrics/calculator/

At 225# my overall weight doesn't seem as morbidly dangerous as some of the figures quoted in here, but when I factor in my height of only 5'10, and arrive at a BMI of 37.....it's sobering. A BMI of 40 is considered by health professionals to be "morbidly obese". It doesn't sound good.

There are different scales, but by and large the following BMIs seem to be accepted:

< 20 = Underweight
20 - 25 = OK
25 - 30 = Overweight
30 - 35 = Obese
35 - 40 = Severely Obese
40+ = Morbidly Obese

I am now in the habit of calculating my BMI whenever I weigh myself. The BMI threshholds give me goals to shoot for as well the poundage.
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Old 03-12-09, 02:59 AM   #2
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At my current weight, I might pay attention to BMI a bit, but once my weight gets down to about 150, I'm going to worry about it a lot less. At a 5'2" woman, 150 would still be considered overweight, but if I'm cycling 15 hours and weight training for 2 hours a week, I'm going to have a much higher LBM than a woman of my height and weight who sits on a couch all the time though we'd share the same BMI.

I'll look skinner too.

After all, Arnold Schwarzenegger would have been considered overweight at the very least, if not obese by straight BMI in his Mr. Universe days.
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Old 03-12-09, 03:03 AM   #3
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The BMI is based on statistical averages. It doesn't give accurate results for all people (and ignores ethnic groups completely! - I have heard of an Asian BMI calculator though).

Basing stuff on stats is a good start point, but you need something else. This is why your driving record also counts for your car insurance - not just the demographic you are in or the location you live.

Even when I was at my fittest (late 20s) training 8-10 times a week and racing at a high state level (rowing) I was just over 25 BMI and 'overweight'. You can see the picture here as I collect a medal standing beside my pair partner (to right) who is about 12kg/25lb lighter than me (I'm about 87kg, he's about 75kg). Do I look overweight? (and no, we didn't row around in circles!).

I'm 95kg/210lb now, down from 100kg/220lb. At 100kg I'm borderline obese - do I look obese in this photo?

'Heavy framed' people (like me) will not look good on a BMI, nor will very muscular people (muscle weighs more than fat of course).

The BMI is BS. There are much better ways of measuring your health and weight. Body fat can be measured a dozen ways. So too can fitness and flexibility. Then there are the medical standards of HR, BP, cholesterol, blood sugar etc etc.
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Old 03-12-09, 05:11 AM   #4
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Oooo! A BMI argument! We haven't had one for quite a while.

Yes, I track my BMI.

Here's why. 10 zillion people will tell you how BMI does not apply to them. However, I've only been able to find one guy in the forum who has an "unhealthy" BMI, but still maintains less then 15% body fat. And he spends way more time in the gym than I'd like to.
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Old 03-12-09, 05:12 AM   #5
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BMI is a good average. It is a good place to look for information. It is not perfect, but NOBODY is.

People who are very muscular will not work with BMI. But, on the average, it is a good tool. It is not the only tool. But, body fat measurement is spotty at best. If you use the hand held units or even the ones that send the electric signal through one foot and back to the other all depends upon the fluids you have been drinking. Before or after exercise and even those want your height and weight and are some are still using the BMI to get some of their calculations. We have a hand held at our YMCA. We tried 5 people on staff. I asked them to give me their height and weight. We used the hand held and then compared to the online BMI. They were within 1% of each other. We then tried the calipers per the training some of the people had, and we were about 5% - 15% off.

Use what you are comfortable with.
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Old 03-12-09, 06:51 AM   #6
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BMI does not factor in lean muscle mass.
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Old 03-12-09, 07:03 AM   #7
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I just calculated mine. I'm 6'0" and 260: BMI=35.26

"A body mass index between 35 and 40 is considered very obese" "Your ideal weight is: 171 lbs."

TOTALLY ridiculous in my case. I have 20% body fat right now which means I have a lean body mass of 208lbs. So I would have to lose 37 POUNDS of LEAN BODY MASS in order to be "ideal." In my case I think keeping track of body fat percentage is a far better way to judge my health. I'm aiming for 9% by the end of the year, but hopefully by the end of the summer.
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Old 03-12-09, 07:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abacus View Post
Just wondering, how many guys/gals in here keep an eye on there Body Mass Index, as closely as they keep an eye on their weight? It doesn't seem to come up in this forum very often.

It seems to be a better indicator of the risk to my mortality than a raw weight figure because it factors in a person's height, as well as their weight.

http://www.docshop.com/education/bariatrics/calculator/

At 225# my overall weight doesn't seem as morbidly dangerous as some of the figures quoted in here, but when I factor in my height of only 5'10, and arrive at a BMI of 37.....it's sobering. A BMI of 40 is considered by health professionals to be "morbidly obese". It doesn't sound good.

There are different scales, but by and large the following BMIs seem to be accepted:

< 20 = Underweight
20 - 25 = OK
25 - 30 = Overweight
30 - 35 = Obese
35 - 40 = Severely Obese
40+ = Morbidly Obese

I am now in the habit of calculating my BMI whenever I weigh myself. The BMI threshholds give me goals to shoot for as well the poundage.
BMI was developed so that life insurance agents could determine the rate you pay for life insurance. If you are under 20 or over 25 then you pay more for your life insurance then if your within that range. Medically a high or low BMI means that further investigation is needed, to determine if it's a problem.

For example take 2 men, they are both 5'8" and 225 lbs, giving them both a BMI of 34.2 one has a build similar to Homer Simpson, so an assessment of Obese is probably fairly accurate. The second man, is a professional body builder, obese is about as far from truthful as you can get. Now I would think that in this group, there are more Homer Simpsons then there are body builders, but if your blood pressure is normal, your cholesterol is normal and your blood sugar is normal, then a high BMI should be followed by a determination of body fat percentage. If that is high, then eating better and more exercise will help.
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Old 03-12-09, 07:56 AM   #9
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Haha, 5'8 and 225. . . I am not going to say I don't need to lose weight since I do, I fit loosely into size 38 pants. I wouldn't use the BMI to tell me how much weight to lose, since I am hispanic(latin-american) and as along with african-american, we have higher bone density. Making us heavier at the at the same height and body fat percentage. . .
I can stand to easily lose 30-40 pounds, but no way in hell would I be able to get down to 150 without losing a limb healthily. . .

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Old 03-12-09, 08:16 AM   #10
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At 198 lbs, I had BMI of just over 22. I liked that, a lot. Now I am on the fat side of 220#. So, I kind of prefer not to know what my BMI is at this point.
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Old 03-12-09, 08:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
BMI does not factor in lean muscle mass.
Or bone structure, for that matter. Despite the old saw about being "big boned", some people have a a more massive skeletal structure than others. I was advised by a doctor to try a simple test:
  • With your left hand, grasp your right wrist, firmly, but not squeezing.
  • If your index finger can reach past the tip of your thumb, you're lighly boned, and a BMI index will indicate that you're emaciated when you're not.
  • If your index finger just touches your thumb, a BMI chart will be about right.
  • If you've got a gap between your index finger and the tip of your thumb, a BMI chart will say you're more overweight than you are.

I have about a 1/2" gap using that test. A BMI chart will say that I'm about 20 lbs overweight currently (at 185). Last time I weighed 165, I was flat broke and quite literally didn't have money for food. I ain't going there again, thanks!
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Old 03-12-09, 09:11 AM   #12
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The option better than BMI is waist to hip ratio. As far as determining adverse health effects like heart attacks, diabetes, and strokes, the waist to hip ratio is a much better predictor than BMI. Here is a chart that gives the basic guidelines for good health:

http://www.bmi-calculator.net/waist-...atio-chart.php

Here is a review of the study that found waist to hip ratio to be a better predictor than BMI:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/516170

If the waist to hip ratio is too complicated, a simple waist measurement (an actual tape measure vs your pant waist, which can vary depending on brand). The goal for men is less than 40 inches, less than 35 for women.
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Old 03-12-09, 09:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Or bone structure, for that matter. Despite the old saw about being "big boned", some people have a a more massive skeletal structure than others. <snip>
I took part in some PhD study about 3 years ago that was looking at the links between abdominal fat and tendon thickness (ie why skinny triathletes/middle distance runners get so many injuries VS fatter athletes). As part of this I got a fully body scan that determined very accurately my fat %, muscle mass, bone density and also the % of my weight that was my skeleton.

I've always been 5-10kg heavier than most people would guess by looking at me - even people who are pretty good at picking it (coaches, trainers etc). You can see the links to the pics in my post above.

So, I've had this scan and the operator/researcher starts going over my results. He says "you know that old wive's tale about being 'heavy boned'? Well, that's what you are."

The BMI is a rough guide. At times very rough. If it works for you, cool. However, don't get hung up on it. Learn to know your own body better and you will know where you are.
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Old 03-12-09, 09:37 AM   #14
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Or bone structure, for that matter. Despite the old saw about being "big boned", some people have a a more massive skeletal structure than others. I was advised by a doctor to try a simple test:
  • With your left hand, grasp your right wrist, firmly, but not squeezing.
  • If your index finger can reach past the tip of your thumb, you're lighly boned, and a BMI index will indicate that you're emaciated when you're not.
  • If your index finger just touches your thumb, a BMI chart will be about right.
  • If you've got a gap between your index finger and the tip of your thumb, a BMI chart will say you're more overweight than you are.

I have about a 1/2" gap using that test. A BMI chart will say that I'm about 20 lbs overweight currently (at 185). Last time I weighed 165, I was flat broke and quite literally didn't have money for food. I ain't going there again, thanks!
Are you sure it's the index finger and not the middle finger? I always understood it to be MF to thumb, not IF to thumb.

I get about 1/4 inch gap from MF to thumb, but see at least a full inch from IF to thumb.
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Old 03-12-09, 09:40 AM   #15
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The top end of the healthy BMI is what I used to set my weight goal (184 lbs.). I am "big boned" according to wrist thing, but I think the high-end of the BMI is pretty realistic for me (201 lbs. now).

Once I get there though, I am going to focus on more weight lifting to tone up. I don't want to be huge or ripped, just solid. So if it goes up because of muscle I'll be OK with that.
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Old 03-12-09, 10:22 AM   #16
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...10 zillion people will tell you how BMI does not apply to them. However, I've only been able to find one guy in the forum who has an "unhealthy" BMI, but still maintains less then 15% body fat. And he spends way more time in the gym than I'd like to.
My BMI is around 38. I spend 3 - 4 hours/day, 4-5 days/week riding. My legs are solid muscle, as are my arms. Yeah, I have some belly fat that I could loose, but notthe 70 pounds I would have to loose to get my BMI into the "normal" range.

I don't know what my BF percentage is, but I know that I get more exercise than anyone else I know. I mean everyone else works out less than I do.

BMI is BS.
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Old 03-12-09, 10:27 AM   #17
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BMI measurements have always scared me about my health, and made me angry to boot. About 2 years ago, while riding like a maniac, I got down to about 6-7% body fat (measured hydrostatically, scale that measures it said that I was at 5% body fat - WRONG). My BMI was still 27, which put me firmly in the overweight category. I had lost LOTS of muscle strength doing almost nothing but riding that year too, so I definitely did not have lots of extra muscle-bulk. I'm just built that way.

I guess that the jury is still out on what BMI means to people that remain heavier, even with lower-than-average body fat. Not that I have lower than normal body fat now, but it would be nice to know that I it is freaking POSSIBLE for me to be considered in the "healthy" or "normal" if I work hard at it.

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Old 03-12-09, 04:27 PM   #18
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i also need to lose more than fat to get to the normal range. 6' 225 which puts me at 30.something BMI wise. so I am just obese. I will get to overweight but i would have to lose a limb or muscle to get to the normal range.

It seems that even statstically this is a poor measurement too the wideness of the distribution (kurtosis i believe) must be huge given the number of people it seems to not fit at all.
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Old 03-12-09, 04:54 PM   #19
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First of all I do need to lose some weight. At 5'8" I would like to get back to 190-200 lbs. The BMI where I feel the best is about 30. But I think I'm one of those heavy boned people. When I was a kid I almost failed swimming lessons because when I was supposed to float on my back I sank.
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Old 03-12-09, 05:15 PM   #20
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I track VO2 max and body fat % (with one of the handheld meters). The only time I weigh myself is for the body fat calculation (weekly).
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Old 03-12-09, 05:19 PM   #21
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One thing that's frustrating to me is how inaccurate all of these tables seem to be at the tall end. I'm 6'5" tall. My scale says I have around 12% body fat, I weigh between 186-189 lbs. The calculator linked to says I have a BMI of 22.3, which might be okay. But the low end of the scale says I'd still be "healthy" (BMI of 19) if I weighed 160 lbs. Are you serious? 6'5" tall and 160 lbs? That's just ridiculous.
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Old 03-12-09, 05:19 PM   #22
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OK we got work to do:

Evaluation Results:
27.00
BMI ResultA body mass index between 25 and 30 means you are considered overweight for your height. At this BMI range, you are likely taking in more calories than you need to. This makes you statistically more vulnerable to health problems. Through healthy diet and regular exercise you can lower your weight, which in time will decrease your risk of illness and extend your overall life expectancy.
Your ideal weight is: 138 lbs. ( Means I need to lpose aalmost 40 more pounds.... I was at BMI of:


Evaluation Results:
34.72
BMI ResultA body mass index between 30 and 35 means you are considered obese. Obesity is associated with significant health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. If you are not getting enough exercise and exceeding your recommended calories per day, your goal should be a significant change in lifestyle. If you have tried to lose weight and been unsuccessful, consider contacting your physician for advice.
Your ideal weight is: 138 lbs.


So net net I went from obese to overweight since May and buying the bike! So I have changed my life style and hopefully next year when I write this I will be considered fit as a fiddle!
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Old 03-12-09, 08:45 PM   #23
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Bottom line for me: At 6"3"; 220 lbs, I am fat. I have a belly, I have "love handles", and I barely fit into size 38 pants.

At 198 lbs, I have none of that and fit nicely into a 34" waist.

Consider that, regardless of weight: My arms are solid and not wimpy; my gluts are tight and thighs are exceptionally strong; the muscles supporting my knees are like pythons that have powered me out of countless injury situations, where anything less would have blown out a knee; and my calves look like Arnold's arms (in the day). Plus, according to the wrist thing I am big boned.

At 198, my BMI was below 25.

Draw you own conclusions...but, I'd say that we (average person living in our modern Western Civilization) could all stand to drop a few pounds.
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Old 03-13-09, 05:13 AM   #24
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Bottom line for me: At 6"3"; 220 lbs, I am fat. I have a belly, I have "love handles", and I barely fit into size 38 pants.

At 198 lbs, I have none of that and fit nicely into a 34" waist.

Consider that, regardless of weight: My arms are solid and not wimpy; my gluts are tight and thighs are exceptionally strong; the muscles supporting my knees are like pythons that have powered me out of countless injury situations, where anything less would have blown out a knee; and my calves look like Arnold's arms (in the day). Plus, according to the wrist thing I am big boned.

At 198, my BMI was below 25.

Draw you own conclusions...but, I'd say that we (average person living in our modern Western Civilization) could all stand to drop a few pounds.
This is a very good statement.
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Old 03-13-09, 10:05 AM   #25
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Gee, I didn't expect this to be such a controversial issue.

Having looked into it a bit more, it seems that the "standard" BMI calculations probably aren't entirely valid for all people. There are always going to be people of more delicate stature, or heavier frames, or with those gifted with unusually muscular physiques who would require a somewhat tweaked version of the scale.

But for the rest of us, I tend to think that the "standard" scale is pretty close to the mark. At 5'10 and with a BMI of 37 I have a 44" waistline and wear 46cm (18") neckline shirts. I don't have trouble accepting that I am at the high end of obese, verging on morbidly obese.

For all it's innacuracies, I kind of believe that a scale that tries to link weight to height is better than a simple reliance on poundage.
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