Since years, medical professionals, nutritionists, and researchers have relied on body mass index (BMI) as an indicator of good health. BMI is easy to calculate—everyone can measure weight and height, or use an online calculator—and there are numerous resources discussing how maintaining a healthy BMI is key.
Then, why is BMI regarded as outdated?
Well, simply because BMI doesn’t tell you the real story. It does not accurately estimate excess body fat because it solely relies on body weight. So, a person of athletic built can be considered overweight although s/he has more muscle mass than fat. Furthermore, a person with a BMI within the normal range might be at risk for chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes or heart disease.
Therefore, understanding your body composition is crucial.
Here are two other handy metrics that can help you accurately measure your healthy body weight:
The shape of your body is influenced mainly by the distribution of muscle and fat tissues. If you gain muscle, you gain weight. Your muscle mass is also denser than your fat mass. In general, a higher muscle-to-fat ratio can lead to obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and other cardiac diseases.
How to measure the muscle-to-fat ratio?
Measuring the muscle-to-fat ratio by yourself can be complicated, but you can visit a nutrition or fitness studio (or a gym) for this purpose. You need to undergo a comprehensive body composition analysis—this will determine your body fat percentage, water composition, and body mass, based on which your muscle or lean mass can be calculated. These measurements will help you better understand your health and fitness goals.
Some conventional methods used to determine body composition are listed below:
The optimal lean-to-fat ratio primarily depends on the person’s age, gender, and activity level. Experts advise looking at the general trend of this metric as the value can change based on several factors such as food and water intake, time of weighing-in, and physical activity undertaken on that day.
|Low||0.80 or lower||0.95 or lower|
|High||0.86 or higher||1.0 or higher|