Good morning! I finally got around to re-testing my own body fat (I know, I'm a trainer, right? You'd think I'd be on top of these things. More later on why I'm not...) and it was where I expected. That's the good news. The bad? It isn't where I want it. OK, so I up the effort a bit and lose a bit of weight. I sat down with my morning java (seriously, painfully, irrevocably addicted to my morning coffee) and ran a few numbers. Let's use some fake and easy numbers for this. If I weigh 100 pounds (HA! I weighed 100 lbs in 6th grade!) now, my body fat percentage is 25%, that means I have 25 pounds of body fat. OK, I want to lose 10 pounds. Let's assume I only lose body fat (kinds unrealistic but without calculus, it's the only way to do this math) that means.....WHOA. My body fat would be WICKED low - 16% - if I lost the weight I want to lose. Hmmmm..... Maybe I need to re-think this.
Now, the weight numbers above are not accurate for me but the percentages are pretty close.
If I were thinking about doing a fitness contest (tried that once, more later on why it was a fat mess trainwreck), the 16% would be fine. Actually, a little high. But for me and my personal goals and lifestyle, that's a bit low. I'd like to be below 20%, no lower than 18%.
Am I losing you in all the percentages? Let me go back to my title of today's Morning Musings - Realistic Irrationality. I'd like to lose about 15 lbs. (that one is real) But if I lose that much in fat pounds, my body fat percentage will be too low for maintenance and the effort to get there will be more than I'm personally willing to do. So - my "realistic" goal of 15 lbs might be completely irrational.
I could lose the weight but would have to lose muscle in order to not go below 18-20% body fat.
You're probably wondering why I'm so wrapped up in that percentage. Your body fat percentage is an excellent way to gauge general health. 25% is the average point for health. As you start to creep above that and head for the 30% mark, your body becomes slowly more unhealthy. Excess body fat puts strain on your heart, lungs, circulatory system, bones and can contribute to the onset of LOTS of diseases.
So, yeah, I focus on the percentages.
Also, it is an EXCELLENT indicator of your fitness in numbers. At or below 25% body fat and you automatically will have more muscle (cuz it's not like you can grow more bone).
Throughout my journey as a personal trainer, my body fat percentage has been all over the board depending on what I was training for. I've discovered that I feel my best somewhere around 18-20% body fat. The weight doesn't seem to matter; the percentage does. Of course, it is a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy - if I'm at that 18-20% body fat percentage range, I'm probably at a good weight for my height and build (let's be honest, I'm built like a brick sh!t house. Skinny jeans? Probably not. Lift your car? Sure. My husband refers to it is 'dense') and that is a good place to be. I'll never be described as skinny and that's OK. Athletic, in shape, strong, healthy - yes, I've gotten all those. And I'd rather be described as those than described as skinny.
Back to the title - Realistic Irrationality. Sometimes your goal may seem realistic but once you dig into, you realize it is a bit irrational. So, adjust those expectations to fit what you really want to achieve.
Now, off to lose 15 pounds..... Kidding, kidding...