Hey everyone, it’s coach AB here from CrossFit Mass. I coach a female athlete who likes to dabble in weightlifting. She recently had a physical, and her physician told her she ranks high on the BMI scale and asked me, “Is that bad?”
In a society where females are pressured by numbers and it can be hard to talk about – the good news is the world is progressively getting better, but I’m going to make it plain and simple.
Looking at the BMI (Body Mass Index) equation itself, it only takes into account height and weight. It simply isn’t enough data to give us a better idea of health. I’ll tell you more about that in a second.
The BMI was introduced in the 19th century by a Belgian mathematician to give a quick measurement to help the government provide resources to the people in need based on those numbers alone.
Factors the BMI equation does not take into account.
- Bone density
- Muscle mass
The main reason this isn’t a great measurement of ‘fitness’ or health is because it excludes so much data.
Bone is denser than muscle, and muscle is twice as dense as fat. So those of us that are a bit more health-conscious and work out more rank higher on the BMI scale just based on those factors. (More muscle, denser bone, less fat – which means you weigh heavier. Not a bad thing!)
Personally, I’m high on the BMI scale because I’m short, I like to work out, and have a bunch of muscle mass.
I assured this female athlete that it was nothing to worry about. We did an inbody scan going over her body composition using the data excluded from the BMI equation and spoiler alert – she has quite a bit of muscle mass that she’s proud of.
Just because you rank high on the BMI scale does not mean you’re more at risk than others. You just don’t have all the data.