Sunday, July 28, 2013

Variations Of Ideal

The Washington Institute of Sports Medicine in Kirkland, WA offers a DXA Body Scan that will measure a person's body composition of fat, lean muscle and bone.  I recently underwent the scan, and given I wasn't sure what to expect I've been surprised to realize some of my expectations!

They promise the results of the scan will determine your ideal body weight.  Going in I expected a single ideal body weight would exist for every person of my height, gender and build.  That expectation cracks me up now that I think about how different each person is in their body preferences, activities and lifestyle.  I think of athletes that are performing at the peak of their field and how different their bodies are.  Even with comparable height, body fat percentage, and activity level, a runner and a gymnast have very different body types!  One isn't necessarily better than the other, and each athlete would not be able to perform as well in the other athlete's field.  Each athlete just prefers to practice a different sport.

What may be obvious to others was a revelation to me.  My ideal is different than anyone else's, and my ideal will change throughout my life given what I want to be able to do, what I'm willing to do, and how I want to feel.

I subsequently found a posting online by  that displays the body fat ranges using the research of Jackson and Pollock (1985).

I fall smack dab in the middle of average. Not bad, but I'd prefer to be in the ideal range IF it doesn't require a two-a-day exercise regimen, compromise other aspects of my health or demand other drastic changes to my lifestyle.  I still have to work full time, and I want to enjoy myself!

The technician's assessment of my scan results and the ideal weight I provided on my intake form was that ideal for me would be to essentially reduce my body fat by three pounds and increase my lean muscle by the same amount.  Her recommendation was (verbatim and I'm not making this up) "keep doing what you're doing and add 20-30 minutes of strength training per week."  I'm relieved that her suggestion is doable for me!

So I'm committing to adding dedicated strength training to my existing activities and will see in six months or so how my body composition, physique and overall health has changed.  I'll share my results then!

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