The Body Mass Index - or BMI - is an algorithm of weight and height that was created by insurance companies many decades ago to help determine a person's risk for disease or mortality.
Fast forward to the present day and it's commonly used as a measure of health - but it shouldn't be. From a fitness perspective, this simply doesn't make sense because it doesn't factor in muscle mass or bone density. A person who is lean and muscular but has big bones could have a very high BMI. And on the flip side, someone with a healthy BMI can be 'skinny fat' and unhealthy. (Here's a detailed article about its shortcomings, if you're interested in more detail.)
So if the BMI isn't reliable, what IS a good measure?
If you search Instagram (or just about anywhere else) for "fitness", you'll be bombarded with chiseled bodies, videos of people lifting huge heavy weights, and (far too many) toned-ab selfies.
It suggests that fitness is an extreme, all-or-nothing thing. Which it isn't. And that's why you won't find any greasy posed muscles in our feed. We believe that success looks different for each of us, and is about more than what you see on the outside.
One of our favourite 'traditions' at Nielsen Fitness is to capture - and celebrate - our clients' goals as they achieve them. Here are some recent ones that our clients gave us their blessing to share with you.
We think they're a great reminder that fitness is for everyone and success can take so many different forms.
Want to join these healthy folks? Click here to learn more about our process, and here to read about how we're different. When you're ready, give us a shout and we'll come to you for a free, no-obligation consultation and mini workout.
What's YOUR motivation for working out? Whether we like to admit it or not, for most of us, it's to look good.
This is just fine, but I always advise new and potential clients to think more broadly and deeply than that and see their exercise efforts as an investment in long-term health, and the benefits you can't see on the surface.
In my experience, it tends to be a more powerful, long-term motivator - and for good reason. Almost immediately, your health will begin to improve as a result of exercise - even if the scale or measuring tape are taking their time. Some key benefits:
So, as much as you may want to fit into that dress or bulk up your muscles for the beach, remember that each work out is doing wonderful things for your body that just might not be quite as visible. Plug away at it and, before long, you'll start to be able to see the benefits on the outside too.
Poul Nielsen is the owner and operator of Nielsen Fitness, Toronto's leading team of in-home personal trainers. He has 16 years' experience in the fitness industry and has taught courses in Fitness and Lifestyle Management at George Brown College.
In addition to exercise (obviously), he loves spending time with his family, playing the guitar, strong coffee - and dark chocolate!