Bye, bye, BMI

Old habits die hard. One of mine is the morning ritual of checking my heart rate and weighing in. I can go back for some time and tell you my weight, BMI and heart rate. Well, this morning, one of those data points disappeared from my spreadsheet.

I’ve always been a little skeptical of the Body Mass Index. There may be some value in measuring it in a clinical setting where the equipment can give you an accurate assessment. However, the formula driven BMI scores based on your height, weight and etc. seem to leave out some important things like bone density.

Still, when I picked up a scale to start my process of measuring, I chose one that claimed to give me my BMI just by standing on the scale. The score got recorded religiously along with the heart rate and weight. Over time, though, I paid less and less attention to it.

Tracking your resting heart rate is a good idea if you are training. I can tell when I begin to over train when my resting heart rate begins to elevate. It is definitely time to take some rest.

Right now my resting heart rate is around 50 bpm with an occasional dip into the upper 40s. I remember a time when my resting heart rate was in the 40s with 38 bpm popping up ever so often. However, that was nearly a decade ago.

What is important is the trend — not so much how low or high it is. I have pretty good confidence in the tool I’m using to measure. It helps me make good decisions about my health.

I have no questions about my weight either. Right now I’ve settled into a rest period weight of around 172 pounds. When I am in a training block, I’ll drop down to around 168 pounds. The things I watch for here are 1) seeking to get my resting weight down under 170, and 2) making sure that there are not large drops in weight over a short period.

I’m happy that I’ve gotten myself down to 172 after being up around 185 pounds back in February. Dropping the weight has me feeling good and it certainly doesn’t hurt my times up Paris Mountain! The goal is to reach the point where I have a balance between weighing the least I can and maintaining power and good functional health in my real world life.

That brings us back to BMI. I’m not sure how to practically apply the number to my training even if I knew the accurate number. More than that, I have absolutely no confidence that I know the accurate number.

Take the last two days for instance. I noticed it because my weight was exactly the same – 172.2 – for the two days. Then my BMI popped up this morning at 19.2. Yesterday the number was 17.1. How could that be? Did I lose that much muscle and put on that much fat in one day?

I don’t think so. I think it is the scale. I’ve noticed in the past that I can weigh in a few seconds after the first attempt and get a totally different BMI reading.

Seems to me it is a waste of my time and bandwidth to keep tracking it. That being said, I think it would be interesting to find out what my actual BMI is. According to the calculators you find on the Internet my BMI is 22. That puts me in the “normal” range. According to the chart, I’m underweight with the scale readings I receive.

Anyone else out there track BMI? If so, what do you use to measure it and what role does it play in your exercise? For me, for now, I’m leaving it off my chart.