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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 07-22-13, 01:33 PM   #1
bbeasley 
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Your Goal Weight and BMI Relevance

WonderMonkey got me thinking about my goal weight. Is the BMI relevant for you? Was/is your goal weight set with the BMI in mind?

I'm 5'7" and 194 or a BMI of 30.4 I'm still 4lbs into "Obese" and 34 Lbs away from "Normal". I think the BMI is painfully accurate, with a very few exceptions. I'm curious how others view it?
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Old 07-22-13, 01:41 PM   #2
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When I turned 65, I wasn't as obese as per BMI. In fact, if I weighed 1 lb. less, I would have been in the "normal" range.

2 years ago I rode 600 miles in July. Basically 4X my previous monthly best. I gained 5 lbs. but lost a lot of inches. My BMI was worse, even though I was less fat.
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Old 07-22-13, 01:44 PM   #3
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I use my weight as an indicator of trends. Since I don't have all the big time equipment I use the mirror to say "I think I got xx more to go" and then move towards it. Of course way back it was a wild guess at best. I also take into account increases in riding, running, etc. to know that I've gained muscle which influences the scale, etc.

An indicator of trends, early warning device, whatever you use it for just know it isn't the law.
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Old 07-22-13, 01:48 PM   #4
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BMI originated as a population measure. And it works extremely well as a population measure, in that there is a strong correlation between the incidence of >25 BMIs and the incidence of various diseases - CHD, diabetes, some cancers.

Inevitably, when a population measure is applied to individuals there will be anomalies. There are very muscular individuals whose BMI indicates that they are obese but who have low body fat. Many, many people believe they come into that category.

Unfortunately for most of them, such people are quite rare. The number of States in the USA with more than 20% of their population classified as obese has grown from zero to 50 in the last 30 years. Somehow, I find it difficult to believe that this has happened because the whole US population has been working out.

For most of us, BMI is indeed painfully accurate. My own is just about 25. I know from experience that my fighting weight is about 7kg (16lbs) lower, a BMI of 23. I'm a fairly heavily-built, broad-shouldered guy.
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Old 07-22-13, 02:38 PM   #5
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Unfortunately for most of them, such people are quite rare. The number of States in the USA with more than 20% of their population classified as obese has grown from zero to 50 in the last 30 years. Somehow, I find it difficult to believe that this has happened because the whole US population has been working out.
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Old 07-22-13, 02:50 PM   #6
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What's the obese line for 6'1"?

Looks like 227lbs according to this:

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/...MI/bmicalc.htm

I don't think I'll ever weigh that little. But apparently I have dropped my BMI from 52.8 to 44.5 in the last 3.5 months. I guess I will always be obese and need to be culled from the herd eventually

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Old 07-22-13, 02:54 PM   #7
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What's the obese line for 6'1"?
The formula is weight in kilos divided by height in meters squared. If the result is >30, you're obese. If it is > 25 but < 30, you're merely overweight.

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Old 07-22-13, 03:04 PM   #8
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I don't think I'll ever weigh that little. But apparently I have dropped my BMI from 52.8 to 44.5 in the last 3.5 months. I guess I will always be obese and need to be culled from the herd eventually
This is, if I may say so, a foolishly negative attitude. You should be celebrating your weight loss, which is admirable, and using it as motivation to continue. Your belief that it is impossible for you to achieve a "normal" weight can only hold you back. And it is simply a product of your becoming accustomed to the notion that obesity is normal. It isn't. It is common, certainly, but that doesn't make it normal.
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Old 07-22-13, 03:05 PM   #9
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This is, if I may say so, a foolishly negative attitude.
Fair enough
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Old 07-22-13, 03:07 PM   #10
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and need to be culled from the herd eventually
hahahahahahahah, still laughing
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Old 07-23-13, 05:53 AM   #11
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I've never believed in the BMI scale. It was created by the insurance industry(which we all know has our best interests at heart). Yes, there are strong correlations, but some of their statistics and assumptions are flawed. I do not disagree that we are all fatter than a generation or two ago. we are also many inches taller and better nourished.

I will never be "normal". At 5' 11", the top of normal is 178 pounds. I wrestled in college at 167 and about 5% body fat. I continued to lift and exercise for a while after an injury ended my wrestling days. I am not a muscular person and have never been considered a "big dude". Thanks to a thyroid problem, complacency, and an office job; I am a fatty, especially when I was 278 back in Dec/Jan. I am now around 220. My bathroom scale says I am 35-40% body fat, and the hand held meters say 30-35%. I recently got a skin fold test done and I am actually 18%. This puts my lean body mass at 180 pounds. So unless I lop off a limb, I will not get down to normal.

My goal is a healthy lifestyle and about 12-15% body fat. Body composition is much more important than the numbers on a scale.
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Old 07-23-13, 07:18 AM   #12
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I've never believed in the BMI scale. It was created by the insurance industry(which we all know has our best interests at heart). Yes, there are strong correlations, but some of their statistics and assumptions are flawed. I do not disagree that we are all fatter than a generation or two ago. we are also many inches taller and better nourished.
The highlighted statement is not true. Americans are not "many inches taller" than they were a generation (or even two) ago. Average height in the US has remained essentially stagnant since the 1950s wikipedia and there is some recent evidence that average male height is actually in decline in the USA. This is attributed to bad nutrition, especially among the poor. Americans may have plenty to eat in terms of quantity, but I would argue that they are, mostly, worse nourished than they were in the recent past.


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My goal is a healthy lifestyle and about 12-15% body fat. Body composition is much more important than the numbers on a scale.
I agree. That doesn't mean that BMI does not work, though. Any population-based measure is going to be inaccurate for the outliers. But the outliers remain the exception, not the rule.
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Old 07-23-13, 04:26 PM   #13
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The BMI standard has a lot of deficiencies, it's not hard to find things wrong with it and its accuracy and propriety can be debated until the cows come home. Nonetheless, it's the standard my Internist, Orthopedic Surgeon(s) and Cardiologist use and on the subject of my health, I do listen to those guys. I don't always like what they have to say, but they're the pros with the educations and the many years of experience.
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Old 07-23-13, 04:58 PM   #14
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I've never believed in the BMI scale. It was created by the insurance industry(which we all know has our best interests at heart). Yes, there are strong correlations, but some of their statistics and assumptions are flawed. I do not disagree that we are all fatter than a generation or two ago. we are also many inches taller and better nourished.
Actually, BMI was created by a Belgian, Adolphe Quetelet, between 1830 and 1850. I do agree with you, though, that the more athletic and muscular you are, the more you will tend to be in the "overwieght" or "obese" category. You kind of have to use your own judgement about how much BMI works for you.

Body fat measurements using a bathroom scale or even calipers can be very iffy, too. I remember one exam I had many years ago. While I do have too much abdominal fat, I have virtually no fat on my legs. About the best you can do is pinch a fold of skin. The technician measuring me got frustrated with that and simply put the calipers around my entire quad muscle. Needless to say, my body fat percentage reading was through the roof. The most reliable methods of measuring body fat are a DXA scan or hydrostatic weighing. The hand held meters, which use bioelectrical impedance, often measure abdominal fat levels incorrectly.

Honestly, most guys can just look at their bellies and tell if they're too fat or not.
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Old 07-23-13, 05:55 PM   #15
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I think it's bullsh...
I dont agree with it.

I'll post pictures of me and let you guess my BMI if you want
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Old 07-23-13, 05:56 PM   #16
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I have had two separate doctors lecture me on losing weight based on my weight, and then they say ''you have very muscular legs"

That was before I started cycling too.

SMH
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Old 07-23-13, 05:59 PM   #17
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Although BMI can be used for most men and women, it does have some limits:
  • It may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build.
  • It may underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle.

As long as youre not an athlete, or older then it's accurate.

Are us cyclists athletes?
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Old 07-23-13, 06:36 PM   #18
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I don't find BMI works all that well for me. For a start I'm naturally big. Large bones and 192cm in height. Second I cycle everyday and 200km+ every weekend. My legs have a lot of muscle. Its almost impossible for me to get below 85kg and 88kg is more likely on any given day. There is almost no way I'll ever get in the middle of 'normal' unless I get to 82kg or less.. which I tried, but it makes me so stupidly skinny it affects my job and it takes a massive amount of dieting and overexercise which leads to weakness during the day.
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Old 07-23-13, 10:54 PM   #19
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When I was at my goal weight (a long time ago -- sigh), my BMI was on the high end of "normal", borderline "overfat".
My body fat was classified as "underfat/athletic".
I am naturally fairly strong and have a large frame.
Most women 5'6" tall do not have size 11W feet, have 5-liter lungs, nor can they benchpress their body weight (freeweights).
I don't consider BMI when setting my goals. I just want to be at a smaller size where I can climb hills well on the bike, feel strong and healthy, appear lean, and not be hungry all the time.
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Old 07-24-13, 03:34 AM   #20
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I don't find BMI works all that well for me. For a start I'm naturally big. Large bones and 192cm in height. Second I cycle everyday and 200km+ every weekend. My legs have a lot of muscle. Its almost impossible for me to get below 85kg and 88kg is more likely on any given day. There is almost no way I'll ever get in the middle of 'normal' unless I get to 82kg or less.. which I tried, but it makes me so stupidly skinny it affects my job and it takes a massive amount of dieting and overexercise which leads to weakness during the day.
Er, but you are already in the normal range, with a BMI of c.24. 24 is no less "normal" than 22.5, it is a range precisely because people's build differs. So in fact, BMI does work very well for you. The fact that you are one end of the normal range and others are at the other end doesn't invalidate the measure. The reverse is true, if anything.
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Old 07-24-13, 07:36 AM   #21
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One of the reasons I posted this is a trend I've noticed on my group rides. I can't use BMI to predict who is in the A group (~20 + average speed) but If I used it to exclude folks, I would be correct except for 2 folks out of the 20 or so that regularly ride. Of the 2, I'm 1 of them. I can tag along with the A group on a flat ride, in the hills I get dropped and have to catch up at store stops.
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Old 07-24-13, 07:43 AM   #22
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I just want to be at a smaller size where I can climb hills well on the bike, feel strong and healthy, appear lean, and not be hungry all the time.
^ you and me both!

At 5'7" I have to wear a Garmin HRM strap all the way extended and it's still stretched. Despite my chest and shoulders size I can't deny that when I graduated HS I was right around 160 lbs which would put me at the high side of normal. Some day maybe.
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Old 07-24-13, 07:43 AM   #23
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One of the reasons I posted this is a trend I've noticed on my group rides. I can't use BMI to predict who is in the A group (~20 + average speed) but If I used it to exclude folks, I would be correct except for 2 folks out of the 20 or so that regularly ride. Of the 2, I'm 1 of them. I can tag along with the A group on a flat ride, in the hills I get dropped and have to catch up at store stops.
I feel your pain. I can sit in all day with the fast guys on the flats, but it's a different story when the road turns up. My BMI is 24 point something, but at 195 lbs it's still tough to climb like Quintana.
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Old 07-24-13, 08:43 AM   #24
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I've never believed in the BMI scale. ...

I will never be "normal". At 5' 11", the top of normal is 178 pounds. I wrestled in college at 167 and about 5% body fat. I continued to lift and exercise for a while after an injury ended my wrestling days. ....

I recently got a skin fold test done and I am actually 18%. This puts my lean body mass at 180 pounds. So unless I lop off a limb, I will not get down to normal.

My goal is a healthy lifestyle and about 12-15% body fat. Body composition is much more important than the numbers on a scale.
Your own assumptions are a bit flawed. As you lose weight, it is almost impossible to retain all of your lean body mass (muscle)... you'll lose some of that too. So, you don't have to worry about "lopping off a limb." (and skin fold tests are less accurate than BMI - they can be off by 2% to 10% depending on the experience of the practitioner performing the test and taking the measurements.)

BMI is a "guideline." However, I believe it is a fairly accurate guideline. About the only groups that I believe it does not pertain too are fit bodybuilders and highly trained athletes that obviously are lean and possess a lot of strength (football running backs come to mind.) For the rest of us, it's a difficult job to try and justify why it wouldn't accurately classify us into an appropriate group... morbidly obese, obese, overweight, normal, or underweight. BMI isn't the only gauge I use to assess my fitness (or lack of it) but it's still a very useful tool.

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Old 07-24-13, 10:58 AM   #25
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if all of this is indeed the case then I need to reassess my goals I guess. My goal weight would just barely get me out of obese. What are some exercise and nutrition techniques for losing muscle mass? Although, I've always been under the impression that more muscle is always better to help burn fat.

I wear a 19/37 dress shirt and a 50" suit jacket and I can finally wear my 36/32 pants again. I hope to be into 34's. To get to 170 I need to lose another 50 pounds(I've lost 58 so far). My doctors have been of little help. I tried to get DEXA and/or a immersion body mass assessment. They just referred me to a nutritionist. So all I have to go by is the skin fold test done at my health club and the electrical resistance numbers from my bathroom scale and handheld meters.

Ultimately, what is a good body fat percentage? In wrestling we had to get doctor's permission to drop below 7%. I ended up in the hospital from a flu when I was around 5% so I'm a little leery about going below 10%. I also don't know if my marriage would survive trying to maintain it either. I already am having issues with getting to ride a few hours a week.
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