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BMI is tosh/crap etc in some circumstances.
I actually think it's the other way round. For the VAST majority of folks BMI is a reasonably guage or at least a good starting point but for some folks it isn't. The average punter isn't an olympic rower or an endurance runner. AND these days the average punter is FAT. But because they are ALL fat they think that they are normal.
I have had folks with a BMI in the 30's saying but surely BMI doesn't apply cos then rugby players would be in the 30's and anyway I'm not that fat and I go the gym now and again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
it is funny you should mention that your weight doesn't change although when training. Mine doesn't either. I can train as hard as I like (5 - 6 times a week with 2 big speed seshs and 1 long run) and nothing changes. This has already prompted me to wonder if I did anything wrong...
Maybe our non-weight change means simply that we have reached the lowest healthy weight that there is for our constitution.
Agreed BMI calculation is flawed. I'm 5ft 3 weigh 65 kilos and am just, only just, in normal weight band. One pound more and I'd be obese on BMI calculations, but consistently run 3:35 marathons which I like to think an obese person couldn't / wouldn't?
think my BMI comes out at 65 which really miff's me!
I regularly have big hefty blokes hammering past me in races of up to 10k.
My BMI is just above 20 and I'm 18 pounds heavier than my theoretical "ideal running weight", which is a very scary 6st 6lb (and is what the likes of Gete Wami actually *do* weigh). And that ideal running weight may well be fine for an elite long-distance runner, who is likely to be genetically designed to function well at a lighter weight - elite athletes tend to be a self-selected group with attributes that give them advantages in their particular sport.
But I'm not genetically the same as an elite long-distance runner and I'm not going to starve myself to try to get back to a weight I haven't been since I was 11 in order to be a little bit better at a sport I'm never going to be very good at. Or even to lose 5lb
There's more to life. Including the joy of eating cake and not being hungry
Was talking to an exercise physiologist (and holder of the Irish ironman record) about this today, as it happens. He does fitness assessments for both athletes and people off the street every day. He said that he doesn't put much emphasis on BMI at all. Reckons it's a reasonable assessment of fatness and risk of disease in the average relatively inactive person....but not at all accurate for athletic people. He believes in waist-hip ratio more for sedentary people and would rely on skinfold assessments for athletes.
So boo to BMI. Also had me all anxious before, despite fat measurements being fine....
Ah, TR, the proof of the pudding ... this time in 2001, I *hoped* to go sub-4 at my first pop at FLM the following year. I did a smidge under 6 hours. I weighed slightly less then than I do now
FFS - I'd have to be 2 stone lighter than I am now to have a BMI of 18.5!!!!!!I think I'll stick at my 22.3 thank you very much!!!!!!
I'm 19.3 at the moment...but in the hardest months of marathon training it would probably go below 18.5. A few years ago when I was under a lot of stress it would have been as low as 17.4 (and banned from the fashion runway!)
I used to think that being lighter would be better for racing, but then I noticed that people who had a bit more meat on their bones would often be really strong runners and cruise past me while I would fade. So I started eating more -- as well as starting to eat some fish and chicken this year after 18 years as a total vegerarian -- and put on just a couple of kilos and I think my running has improved because my blood sugar doesn't get so low and I get more iron. I can still fit into the same trousers as even in the 17.4 BMI days, so I guess some of this gain has been muscle as well as body fat.
The article says if you go below the recommended BMI you risk the chance of becoming weak. Paula Radcliffe however, comes in at 18.1 (as would most female distance runners) so lets hope's getting the sponsorship she needs in the deep fried mars bars department!
Paula Radcliffe and her ilk do so well partly because they CAN be healthy and function normally at these very low weights. With a BMI of 18, I'd be amenorrhoeic and probably wouldn't be able to get out of bed.
There is a great deal of misery in the sub-elite bands of athletes resulting from people trying to achieve unnaturally low weights in the hope of improving their performance, often in response to misguided comments from their coaches.
I suppose it also depends on WHY you are that weight. If it's due to restricting calories I can imagine that would adversely affect performance. But if you eat a really nourishing, calorie packed diet and still burn it off because you run so much (which is probably the case with most elite runners) I guess you could function.
I'd rather be strong than too, too skinny. Athletes like Carolina Kluft and tennis player Amelie Mauresmo would probably be in the middle of the "normal" range of BMI.
According to my BMI I'm underweight, as far as I can remember back I would have always been in the same bracket. I would guess most of me is bone, skin and essential organs and my BMI goes very slightly up and down with muscle when training.
If the 'medical' definition of BMI was right my body would be eating itself alive on a long bike ride..... how does that work.
My personal experience suggests that weight loss = faster is absolutely right. I was ill last year my weight has dropped from 12 and a half stone to 11st 5lbs as of Saturday morning. I am 6ft 1.5" tall, so I am now around half a stone above the point where the BMI calculators say I would be "underweight".
I got back to my marathon training in April this year and right now am running about 20 miles a week less than I was this time last year, doing only the key sessions (threshold run, hills, intervals, marathon pace, long run) plus around 100 miles a week cycling. My 10 mile time has come down by about 3 minutes. My cross country times are down markedly too. Everything is much easier, especially hill running, exactly as the article says. Don't know about my half or marathon times yet, but the calculators suggest big things and I have a half and a marathon coming up, so should know soon.
I'm not sure about the implication that we should eat less carbohydrate though. Carbs are where the energy for training comes from - you need more not less when you're training hard for long distances - not just in the run up to a marathon but all the time!
I'd be inclined to use waist measurement rather than BMI as an indicator of whether someone is overweight. It's the central obesity that determines a person's risk of heart disease, diabetes etc. So, a pear-shaped person (almost certainly a female ) is relatively protected (till her shape changes after the menopause) even if her BMI is a little on the high side, but an apple shaped person with a prominent belly is at risk - no matter what the BMI says. For males, the cut-off point is 37 in, for females, it's 31 1/2 in (which is probably too generous in fact, especially for non-whites): by the way, waist measurement isn't the same as trouser measurement (which can be 10in less for those with beer bellies) - it's the measurement taken at the most prominent bulge around the midriff.
Incidentally, I deliberately lost 7 lb over 2 months a few years ago (in the process dropping my BMI from 22 to 20.5) in a last-ditch attempt to get my marathon time under 3 1/2 hours - and achieved a PB of 3hr 21min. So, definitely, your weight makes a big difference to your ability to run fast for longer. And I felt so much better at my new weight that I've stayed at it ever since.
All those people out there who think that the BMI doesn't tell the real story - just measure your waist, at its biggest circumference. It will tell you whether your weight is abdominal fat or well-developed muscle. A protruding belly isn't muscle - it's fat.
Doctors are being advised to use waist measurement as a more sensitive indicator of abdominal adiposity (and hence heart disease risk) than BMI, though taking an accurate waist measurement is trickier than calculating BMI.
Interesting thread. I have had a facination with BMI for a while, but don't understand it.
Being slightly on the stumpy side (but I don't think overly fat) I have a BMI of 25.2 so technically a 'Biffa', but... if grow an inch and put on 3lbs it drops to 24.8 which although borderline - is not. How does that work?
Having lost quite a bit of weight since running (4yrs), I have plateaued(?) for the last 18 months and whether I starve or munch my way through mountains of food I seem to remain the same weight. Whilst I know that my running has to improve if I lost half a stone, I can't see anyway of that happening - short of drastic surgery! Any suggestions?
Having said that, like velocirapter, in order for me to have a BMI of 18 I would have to loose almost 2 and half stone, which I reckon would render me incapable of standing as it is more than a quarter of my current body weight !
My hopes have also been dashed after just measuring my waist which also dips just over the cut off point stated by HC.