Overweight vs. Overfat

“WHAT?!?! That can’t be true, that’s not right. I know I need to lose a few more pounds but I am NOT obese!  I’m a  nurse, I know the difference!” That’s what I left the gym with last Friday ringing in my ears. It stuck with me the whole day and over the weekend. Monday morning I walked in and there was Betty, the little obese lady. She had used the handheld impedence device that all gyms have around and it had told her she was about 36% body fat. Upon seeing me she asked if I would pinch her myself.  Apparently it had stuck with her the whole weekend too.

I got out my calipers and performed the assesment before my first client showed up and out came the numbers: 37.7% BF… She was not happy.  At 150 lbs she was over 50lbs of fat and under 100lbs of Lean Mass (basically everything that isn’t fat, i.e. muscle organs, bones, etc.) I began to explain the difference to her of Overweight vs. Overfat.  “The guidelines of being Obese are primarily based on the Body Mass Index (BMI) which is not always a very good indicator of body composition.  Many of my clients come to me falling right into the ‘ideal’ category they should be in according to BMI but they aren’t happy with their body.  They know they carry a bit extra weight but the scale says they only need to lose 5 lbs.”

This is where the division occurs between BMI and Body Fat Percentage.  Simply weighing a certain amount is hardly a guarantee of a specific “look” that most people want to achieve.  BF% on the other hand is based on how much fat the person carries.  Obviously most people want to carry a lot less than they do now, or at least if you are a client coming to me you certianly do.  Unfortunately clients don’t often just hand me a bunch of money and say “I just wanna bathe in the aura of awesomeness that is your birthright!” which totally sucks because I am pretty awesome.  So getting back to bf%…. this is the first part of the educational process that I take my clients through.

With so much external pressure to weigh less, less consideration is put on bf% and health.  Getting a female client to understand that dropping that last 40 lbs to reach that coveted weight of 83 lbs may not result in the body weight they want can be a bit challenging.  Images usually help.  If they have questions or don’t pick up what I am putting down Leigh Peele has a fantastic visual aid you can get by just signing up for her newsletter.  It helps them see what bf%’s look like across the spectrum and where they may want to end up.

Bottom line is to get that lower body fat% that you are looking for the key is lifting heavy objects.  The treadmill and elliptical rarely offer enough of a stimulus to get the results you desire.  Get out of the “cardio” area of your gym and hit the weights.  Lifting heavy objects will get you leaner and give you a butt you can bounce quarters off of rather than one that feels like a beanbag chair.

Blast!  Getting kicked out of the little cafe I am in!  Or at least they are closing with me in it I should say.  Either way I have overstayed my welcome.  Have a great week and lift something heavy that isn’t pink!

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