Sunday, February 20, 2005

Weight Lifting and Age

OK. I'm not as young as I used to be. And I'm a little bit overweight... Actually, overfat. You see, the normal standards of weight vs height as expressed by the Body Mass Index are a bit flawed. I'm not tring to make excuses or anything, but focusing on weight alone can be counterproductive.

The medical community has used the weight of average people in computing the range of acceptable BMIs, but it doesn't account for people outside of the norm. For example, Walter Payton, one of the greatest running backs ever to play football was 5'10" and weighed about 210 lbs. That gave him a BMI of 30.2--obese. He was not obese. He probably had about 10% body fat. That is why BMI has problems. It is used as a proxy for body fat percentage. The fact is though that today you can get a scale for under $100 that measures your body fat directly. So if you are an athlete or are somehow outside the norm, you can see your real progress.

Which brings me to the topic of this note, weight lifting as you age. I'm now 47 years old and have been weight lifting at the gym for about seven years, although there have been a few extended periods of relative inactivity. I have been using gymamerica.com to track my results and keep me motivated.

In general, it has been successful. I am carrying a lot more muscle than I used to, I suspect my bone density is better than it was, and generally I look better than I did some years ago. I do need to lose bodyfat. I am somewhere around 30% right now. It's easier said than one, but in my case, simply cutting back portion size will get me there. I have lost about 10 pounds since the beginning of the year. I do not expect to continue this pace, but I think it;s a good start.

Right now I am at 221 lbs., 31.0% body fat and according to gymamerica.com I have a strength quotient of 126.

I encourage anyone to get onto an exercise routine. If you use gymamerica, please put my name (kenckar) as the referring member.

Good luck.