Know Your Numbers
I am often asked by individuals to create fitness and nutrition plans for them. I am more than happy to help, while remaining within my scope of practice. So I typically ask a series of questions to help lead and guide the individual to a plan that may work best for them, while most importantly directing them to their doctor or another medical professional (or a trusted Personal Trainer or registered Dietitian). During my “individualized inquiry”, I often find that most people are not knowledgeable about their bodies, which is probably the reason for their past unmet and/or unrealistic expectations. There are certain things that you should know about your body in order to create a plan of action that is realistic for you. Along with a list of activities you enjoy, the list includes (but is not limited to) the caloric needs for your activity level and body type (Are you over or under eating? Possibly over or under exercising?), your waist to hip ratio (Tape measure, anyone?), and your risk factors (What is your average blood pressure, cholesterol level, max heart rate for exercise).
I usually steer clear of BMI (Body Mass Index) as it doesn’t always take certain body types into account. This is the number on a chart that almost had me thinking that I suffered from body dysmorphia in college!! During a routine visit, my doctor told me that I was obese for my height, with no explanation... He did not explain that muscle is heavier than fat, which meant that the number on the chart meant nothing to a person with an athletic build like mine. This number can be helpful for some, yet dangerous for others, so I like to use other measurements to determine an appropriate plan of action. I also recommend that people stop checking their weight so often... There are so many misconceptions around how much weight loss is healthy in any given amount of time. Instead, I like to assess progress and needs by asking how well you the individual sleeps, their energy level, current diet choices and water intake. So do you know your numbers? If not, please visit your doctor to get accurate measurements before beginning any workout plan or regimen. Your health depends on it!