As many of you know, I am a fitness enthusiast. For me, it is an essential part of health and what makes me happy in my day to day. I get up at 4:40 am Monday through Friday in order to go through my routine of exercise. I get to the gym before any one else does, and even before it opens, most days. I like to listen to podcasts about health and other interests while I wait, and I drink my preworkout drink, Axio, at that time.
I like to track everything. My old business coach used to say, what you track, improves. I track my macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) with an app called Fatsecret, to make sure that I’m staying within certain guidelines. I don’t track much more than that nutritionally, because I eat a varied diet of greens and other vegetables, and am certain I’m getting the nutrients I need from a completely whole food diet. I also track my workouts, how much I lift, how fast I run, etc. That is with the BTWB app.
I used to be overweight
Because I’ve had weight issues in the past, I also keep track of my weight and bodyfat measurements. As to the latter, there are multiple ways to do this, with varying accuracy. I’ve used several methods myself, but have always heard that the most accurate measure was with the water displacement method. This method submerges a person in water to see how much they displace. Then you get their weight, and through a calculation, you determine their density. You can then extrapolate how much fat they have on their body based on that.
Enter the Bodpod(TM). This device uses air pressure to simulate the method of water submersion. I used this method at Multicare, locally, and got a reading of 12.9%. At the same time, my caliper readings showed 10%, and I wasn’t doing anything else. Other ways of checking would include waist to hip measurements, and scales with bioelectrical impedance.
Okay, here comes the story: I went back to check in with them again and see how I was progressing. I had gained weight since then, but I’d also improved my scores in many exercises, running faster, and lifting much heavier weight than previous attempts. So I was six pounds heavier, but my waist had dropped to a level I hadn’t seen since high school. When I checked in again, I was shocked to see that it measured me at 16.4%. According to the bodpod(TM), I’d managed to gain fat!
I knew this couldn’t have been true, and the person doing the exam actually told me that was within the acceptable 1-3% error rate.
As important as tracking is, this experience has taught me something, the thing I want to share. And that is this: Don’t worry about the scale, or the calipers, or the bodpod. Ask yourself a few questions:
How do you feel?
How well can you move?
Do you get out of breath easily?
Are you in a lot of pain?
Do you have energy to do what you want to do every day?
How do your pants fit you?
All of these are better questions from a health standpoint than seeing what a number on a scale, any scale, says. For me, I can lift more weight, exercise harder than ever, feel good in my body, and move with little pain (except aches from working out and being sore).
Please try not to obsess about these numbers. They are just information, and they have a certain accuracy. Despite the bodpod showing me I’d gained fat, I feel fantastic, and am happy to be alive. I hope you can say the same.