Damn, this stuff can get confusing, can’t it? We have BMI, BMP, LMP, WOE, WOL…WTF???? What does all this mean and how can it help me be a BAMF (Bad Ass Mother F….)? No fear, the Hobbit is here to help and you don’t even have to brave the fires of Mordor :). Understanding these acronyms will go a long way to helping you figure out what people are talking about, especially when perusing different Facebook groups and message boards where people can get a little nasty to newbies (the same people who were a newbie once themselves…).
BMI – Body Mass Index
BMP – Body Mass Percentage
LMP – Lean Mass Percentage
WOE – Way Of Eating
WOL – Way Of Life
WTF – I hope you know this one already 🙂
While BMI, BMP, and LMP seem like they should be the same thing, they are not, but they are used by some interchangeably and this is where the confusion can set in. There’s a specific distinction between WOE and WOL but that is more a ‘mental thing’ than anything else. Let’s get those two out of the way right now – WOE general means ‘I’m eating low carb\keto but it is for a specific goal, I’m not sure I will be doing this forever’ where WOL means ‘I’m making a permanent lifestyle change, this works for me and I’m going to be doing it long-term.’ Why is this distinction important? In reality, it isn’t. This is your life, your body, your health. What you plan to do in 6 months or a year is none of our business, but you know the internet and everything is everyone’s business. Some people will react to you differently depending on which term you use and what THEIR goals are. Just keep that in mind.
If you go to your doctor or hit one of the many health and fitness calculators, you will see BMI listed, used, referred to with charts, etc. The medical profession general sees BMI as valid and something that they use when determining risks for obesity-related conditions. It does have it’s place, but within the fitness world and specifically those who are working on body re composition (changing their shape, not just losing weight), it doesn’t cut it. BMI is a simple calculation based off your weight and height. You can look up one of the many charts out there or fire up your calculator – I’ll wait as you start it on your phone, you have your phone handy, right? Do you even still have a pocket calculator? Is it where mine is, buried in the junk drawer with dead batteries and a burnt out solar chip? Thought so:) Ok, got your app running? Good. Ok, here you go:
- Multiply your weight by 703
- Divide it by your height in inches
- Rinse. Repeat. (Divide that number by your height in inches again)
That number is your BMI. As far as the medical professionals are concerned, If your number is between 18.5 and 24.9, medically you are considered low risk for weight-related illnesses and complications. Good to know. Well, good to know except it really doesn’t take some factors such as body type, bone density, or if you have just eaten a massive amount of Pizza Hut and haven’t gone to the bathroom yet today.
BMP and LMP are basically the same thing (I’m going to interchange them for the rest of this post) and are calculated in a couple of different ways with varying levels of accuracy. Regardless of what way you measure, you can at least hopefully get into the ballpark. The options for measuring BMP range from highly accurate and expensive, to pretty accurate and cheap, to kinda accurate and cheap.
- Whole body plethsymography – expensive, hard to find and who in the hell can even pronounce that? It is quite accurate but for the average person, $10,000+ is a bit much
- Hydrostatic weight analysis – also difficult to find, you get wet (basically submerged in a pool), and not really cheap either.
- DEXA scan – expensive, hard to find, requires radiation applied to the body. HIGHLY accurate but no thanks.
- Skinfold calipers – relatively accurate, easy to do and obtain equipment, infinitely repeatable, mildly inconvenient.
- Bio-impedance – accuracy depends on quality of equipment, time of the day, hydration, and probably phase of the moons around Venus. Cheap, easy to find, and good chance you already have it built into your bathroom scale.
So, what should you do? For most of us, we can immediately toss out the first three options and look right at the last two. Bio-impedance you might already have in your bathroom, most newer digital scales that cost $20 or more from Walmart have this feature. On the upside, they can get you in the ballpark with a little work. The best time to use them is first thing in the morning before you’ve had anything to eat or drink but after you’ve voided your bladder. Take the readings each morning for 3-4 days, then average the numbers. This should get you in the ballpark. For example, if you get readings of 22.5, 21.3, 23.7, 22.4 your estimated BMP would be 22.48. Because the accuracy of these is suspect, your real BMP could be several points higher or lower. Depending on your need to know and application (covered briefly below and in more depth in a later post), this could be enough.
Skin fold calipers are my method of choice as well as most who are interested in the best information on a budget. You can pick up calipers from a variety of places in several different qualities (as well as pay a fitness trainer to do it for you) at places like Walgreen’s, RiteAid, Medical Market, or Amazon. I use these:
As a disclaimer, Amazon and Ozeri wanted so badly for me to test these that they let me search and research them independently, shop around for the best price, place my order, and pay for them out of my pocket with no compensation of any kind. In other words, outside of my order history, they have no idea I got them nor do I suspect they really care :).
Using these are simple, figure out if you are a male or female (hoping you have that nailed down by now), then take a trip over to Bodybuilding.com and follow the simple, visual instructions on how to use their calculator. BAM. Done.
Once you have your BMP, you can then easily calculate your LBM (Lean Body Mass) or what percentage of your body is NOT fat. This is important to know so that you can properly configure your diet to achieve your goals. Remember, diet and nutrition are the keys here. You’ve already read the simple primer on keto and macronutrients, right? It’s ok, you can fib and say you did while you go read it :). In a nutshell, LBM is important to calculate your daily protein intake. I will get more into macros, tracking tools, and goals shortly in another post. For right now, if you want to lose or maintain weight while maintaining muscle mass, multiply your LBM by .8, if you want to build muscle then multiply it by 1.2. For example, if your Weight is 125lb and by using the calipers or fancy scale you have a 20% BMP, your LBM would be 100lbs (125 x .20 =25lbs of fat, 125 – 25 = 100lbs of lean body mass). So, for the first situation, you would want to eat in the ballpark about 80g of protein (320 of your total daily calories), or to help build muscle (in conjunction with exercise) your protein grams would be about 120g (450 calories) per day. Fill in the rest with fat calories while keeping carbs below 30G (120 cal) a day. Again, see a later post on more specifics soon.
So, my friends, get to now your BMP so you can be a BAMF!!!