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Fit is the New Thin

Society puts a lot of weight, so to speak, on aesthetics. Being “thin” does not always accompany all of the components of fitness and it is important to strive for the “well rounded” list.

The Five Components of Fitness:

1. Cardiovascular endurance 2. Muscular endurance 3. Muscular strength 4. Flexibility/mobility 5. Healthy Body Composition

Instead let’s focus on Healthy Body Composition - a balance of the first four components, plus a healthy, balanced whole food focused diet which materializes as a good ratio between your bones, body fat percentage, lean body mass, and water. A healthy range of percentage of body fat are as follows (and increase slightly as we age):

Women 21-32% Men 8-19%

The lower end of the ranges are considered athletic. Under that for any extended period of time is considered a health risk, just as being higher is. But, body fat is only a fraction of the wholewhich includes muscles, bones and organs. “Muscle Mass” is where the magic happens. The more muscle the higher the metabolism, the more support for the skeleton, better balance, endurance and strength one has for life. Muscle is a heavy, dense tissue – in a good way!

Just as fashion changes over time, so does body type popularity. 2023 appears to be bringing “super thin” back. Seeing this in fashion, celebrity culture and social media influencers is alarming. As impressionable people strive to meet these artificial goals, they may stop eating or go on a temporary trendy diet (often without exercising). This may help you drop weight quickly, but much of the weight you drop may be highly valuable muscle mass which combats the important purposes of this system - body strength, structure, and shape. Sarcopenia, or muscle wasting, is a real issue, particularly for women who focus on quick weight loss. Once it’s gone, especially when you’re older, the harder it is to get it back!

The average healthy weight loss per week is 1-2 pounds with the hope that these pounds lost are visceral fat. This is the dangerous fat stored in your middle and around your vital organs that contribute to Metabolic Syndrome. When Kim Kardashian lost 21 pounds in three weeks to squeeze into Marilyn Monroe’s sacred JFK dress she was doing something severe and potentially dangerous.

Make a commitment to a combination of strength training and moderate cardiovascular exercise partnered with an eating plan that focuses on getting all the Macro and micronutrients. Eat to nourish your body and strive to achieve a healthy body composition. Interested in knowing your body composition? It can be reasonably estimated using a number of devices, but one of the best is a Dexa Scan. These machines are used by doctors to check bone density (which strength training also improves) but are also used to check body composition. Find out where you are and move forward in a healthy way.

Help me eradicate the words skinny, slender, sleek, thin, tiny, and small and replace them simply with “Healthy Body Composition”.

“If you think lifting weights is dangerous. Try being weak. Being weak is dangerous.” - Bret Contreras Trainer/Author

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