Appearances can be deceiving or may not tell the entire truth. Two brothers recently joined a gym. One weighs 65 kgs and leads a mostly sedentary lifestyle with random and inconsistent physical activity. The othern weighs 78 kgs and follows a structured exercise program four days a week. Yet the gentleman who weighs less claims that he is fitter and healthier because he is smaller in size. Most people judging them by their appearance would agree. However, BMI has its limitations. One of the precise measures of health in relation to body size is the state of body composition, and the ratio of muscles and fats in the body. Here note that it is healthy to look proportionately strong and weigh heavy because you work out to gain and maintain muscle mass while lowering your body fat percent. By the same token, it is unhealthy to have perfect BMI weight with unproportioned low muscle mass body. Big does not always indicate that you are carrying more fat and small does not ensure that you are carrying less fat.
Yet, big or small, regardless of size, it is absolutely true that carrying excess fat especially on your waistline is unhealthy and dangerous. Especially visceral fat which is an intra-abdominal fat tissue. In fact I like to call this deep fats vicious instead of visceral because it wreaks havoc on your entire body by increasing the risk of serious health problems.
Unlike subcutaneous fat underneath your skin, visceral fat is wrapped around your major organs, including intestines, liver, kidneys etc. It is an active fat which acts like an organ. It is pro-inflammatory, interferes with hormones and can cause problem in the regulation of appetite, weight, mood and brain function. It increases bad cholesterol (LDL) and is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiac conditions and sleep apnoea. Basically it makes you look and feel bad.
There are many methods of fitness and health tests to verify visceral fat. The methods can range from a simple mirror, an inch tapeor MRI.It is most likely you are carrying excess visceral fat if you have a protruding belly or more mass in your midsection giving you an apple shape. The inch tape measure should not exceed 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men around the waist.
You can also implement waist to hip ratio formula.Measure your waist and hips and divide the waist by hip circumference. The resulting number should not exceed 0.95 for men and 0.85 for women.
Method: Stand up to measure your WHR. For the waist circumference, apply the tape measure just above your hip bone, around the smallest part of your waist. And measure the hips by wrapping the tape around the widest part of your buttocks.
It’s never too late to change things around. The danger of belly fat is imminent and the only person who can make a difference is you. It is very important to know and understand that there is no such thing as spot reduction and only well-rounded exercise program – a mix of cardio and weights – along with healthy food choices is the answer.