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Are You a Good Pound or a Bad Pound? Weight and Total Health

As a society we are often obsessed with weight. What the scale tells us on any given day - or over time - can dictate our moods and even whether we feel good about ourselves. But is the scale the only way to measure health and fitness? Or even the best? Consider some alternatives (or additions):

  • Body fat. This is a great measure of your body composition. Two people can be similar height and weight, but one 8% body fat and the other 20%. To the scale they are the same, but if you saw them at the beach they would look very, very different. The same person can lose no weight as measured by a scale, but be getting healthier and healthier as he replaces each pound of fat with a pound of muscle. Consider getting your body fat tested every few months as a measure of overall health and fitness progress. What % you should target depends on myriad variables including gender, your goals, the kinds of activities you are training for (marathon vs. ocean swim) etc. Feel free to send me a note for more specifics.

  • The mirror. Personally I’m not a fan of the mirror, but it can give you some objective input as to at least the aesthetic part of your fitness.

  • Your clothes. How your clothes fit/feel on you can be something you use to track your body make up beyond a scale.

  • Various fitness metrics. Things like how many pushups you can do, how fast you can run a mile, etc. are great indicators of where you are and the progress you are making. Pick a few metrics consistent with your goals (e.g. if you are looking to gain muscle, test your bench press max periodically. If you are training for a 10K running race, time your mile every few weeks). Total health and fitness extends way beyond the scale, so use other measurements to assess your progress.

  • Medical tests. These are important to stay on top of, as no matter how hard you work out, if there is something wrong with an organ or system in your body, you will only find out by getting regular blood work/medical testing done. Then you can adjust your workouts, nutrition, lifestyle, etc. accordingly.

  • How you feel ! This is the ultimate indicator of health and fitness. How do you feel day to day (both your body and your mind…and ideally spirit too). How is your energy? How does your skin look? Is your head clear? Are you sleeping well at night and do you feel well rested during the day? How are your relationships? Moods? As with investing, we don’t buy stocks just to buy stocks; we do so in order to have money to purchase a home or send a kid to college or retire comfortably. Similarly, we don’t work out just to work out. We do so in order to be able to function well and to feel good! Physically, mentally, spiritually…so check into yourself on these levels as well.

There are many ways to measure your health and fitness beyond the scale. I have not weighed myself in years, yet I could tell you within 3 lbs how much I weigh, and more importantly I know what it takes in terms of activity, nutrition, sleep, mediation, etc. for me to feel consistently great. To have profound energy to do the things I want to accomplish in life. While weight is a good indicator and proxy for many health and fitness variables, it is not the only one so broaden the things you look at when considering if you are living with optimal health.

Stay Disciplined My Friends!

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