Fighting Fit

Article excerpt

Byline: By David Ashdown

All too often we measure our physical health and wellbeing in terms of weight loss. This week I would like to explain just why this is not ideal and exactly how the scales may be holding you back.

Most of us exercise to lose weight; we modify our diets, wardrobes and lifestyle around this aim and jump on the bathroom scales each morning ( before breakfast, obviousl () just to see if we have lost a little more. We take our shoes off, remove jewellery and watches in the hope of shedding a few grams and all the while we are missing the point; scales don't tell you if you're getting healthier, or if you're reducing your cholesterol count or high blood pressure, they just give you your weight and nothing more.

"Body composition" refers to the measurement of our fat-versus-muscle ratio (ie, exactly what our bodies are made up of). A tiny electrical current is channelled through the body to determine how much of our total body weight is stored fat, this reading can be used far more effectively to see any changes that exercise and diet promote.

Essentially, when we say we would like to lose weight we mean reduce our body fat percentage, we want slimmer waists, leaner limbs and a more flattering shape. "Weight loss" has become the incorrect term for this aim. Using regular scales to monitor any change can be counterproductive as lean muscle tissue is far denser than adipose (fatty) tissue and therefore a smaller amount of muscle is equal in weight to a larger-sized portion of fat. …