Lots of acronyms and numbers are thrown around when it comes to your military health and fitness. It can be easy to be confused about what you should be paying attention to, what's important and what is not. In this series of blogs, I will be providing comprehensive summary of what some of the common "numbers" mean and whether these are important for you to be concerned about on your health and fitness journey. We all know that your military branch has its standards when it comes to weight requirements and how they calculate and determine whether or not you meet body fat standard for Service. Of course they are important, and as a Service Member, if you are looking to stay in Uniform, those numbers are what you should be tracking. But, as we all know, these numbers don't reflect how healthy a person is. You certainly know someone in your Unit who passes every weigh in, but can barely pass their physical fitness test; someone who maxes out on their physical fitness test, but can never make weight. These numbers are only a piece of what it means to be healthy. So for part one of this series of blogs, I am going to talk about weight.
Weight: Obvious. But let’s look at the scale that the Branches use to determine “overweight.” It lists height and weight per gender and age group. If you are over that maximum number, you are considered "overweight". This weight standard scale does not take into account frame size or body content. If you are a large-framed person with a lot of muscle mass, then you will weigh much more than someone of medium frame and little muscle mass, but higher fat content. Does it mean that the large frame person with little body fat but a lot of muscle mass is “overweight” (i.e. unhealthy)? Of course not! I weigh more than I did when I first enlisted in the Army when I was 17 years old (same height, just a bit older and wiser now). Does that mean I am unhealthier now than I was then? NO! I am in the best shape of my life right now. When I was 17 and I raised my right hand, I couldn't even run a quarter of a mile without stopping. I currently wear clothes 2-4 sizes smaller than I did in high school as well, but I weigh more. At my lightest weight I was in my adult life, 108 pounds, do you think I was at my “healthiest”? NO! I was horribly unhealthy! I was stressed, undereating, over exercising and I had horrible headaches every day and blood sugar lows to the point of passing out. The verdict is: WEIGHT SHMEIGHT. Throw that scale away! Your focus should be on fitness level and body content. We will review body content related numbers in the upcoming blogs, so stay tuned!
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