Category Archives: Health

Eat Clean and Live Clean for Less

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I recently had the opportunity to do a little shopping on Vitacost.com online health store. I wasn’t even sure what Vitacost was at the time, so I got on the website to poke around. WOW! Information overload! They have over 40,000 healthy products!! Oh my! So many products, but so little time.

vitacost

VitacostWell, since they looked like that pretty much had everything under the sun, I decided to take a different approach. Instead of looking for things I wanted (which would have been half the store), I decided to look at stuff I needed. I was almost out of shampoo and conditioner, and I needed some argan oil for my hair. I also wanted to try one of the facial products. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve never really ordered essentials like this online. I am also horrible about price comparing or using coupons but, after a little research, I realized that Vitacost was significantly cheaper than what I’ve been paying.

For instance, the Moroccan oil was a dollar cheaper than what I’ve paid in the past. Not Your Mother’s conditioner was also about a dollar less than most of their competitors, and as much as $8.00 less than some stores. The Desert Essence shampoo was also significantly cheaper, at $3.00 – $7.00 less than all the other retailers.

pb2

Even though I didn’t order any supplements for healthy food products, like PB2 (low-calorie powdered peanut butter), I decided to check out the pricing to see if I should switch to Vitacost for some of those items too. Low and behold, it was $2.00 less than what I had been paying at a local supplement store.

“But what about shipping?”, I thought. Would it end up replacing the savings or would their be other hidden costs? Then, to my surprise again, I discovered shipping was free in the US for orders over $49.00 (which would be VERY easy for me!) – and it’s still only $4.99 if my order is a smaller one. Ok, you got my attention, BUT, I’m impatient. I literally only have a couple of days left before I run out of shampoo, so I looked at projected shipping time. OMG! 1-4 business days!? WOW! That sealed the deal!

vitacost

I may not be the best at budgeting money and shopping smarter, but Vitacost was going to make it easy, and convenient. Before I go to the drugstore, grocery or vitamin store, I will punch my shopping list into Vitacost first!

Here’s what I got:

Desert Essence Shampoo ($3.97) and Conditioner ($4.67)

This was my favorite purchase. I LOOOOVE the way this smells!! Best yet, it’s super healthy for you & 100% Vegan!
FREE OF: Parabens, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates, phthalates, artificial colors, silicones, EDTA, glycol, petroleum-based ingredients, wheat, gluten, animal testing, and animal ingredients.

Desert Essence

Acure Organics Shampoo Moroccan Argan Oil and Argan Stem Cell, ($7.63)

FREE OFGluten, sulfate, paraben, phthalate and animal cruelty. Tested on human hair.

shampoo

Not Your Mother’s Way To Grow Conditioner ($5.39)

INFOMade with essential vitamins, herbs and bioactive extracts, this salon formula will strengthen, moisturize and give your hair a silky texture.

conditioner

Organix Extra Penetrating Moroccan Argan Oil Dry & Coarse Hair ($6.99)

Also available in light for normal hair. Formulated for coarse hair, it penetrates, moisturizes, renews, strengthens and softens, while protecting your hair from harmful styling heat and UV damage.
FREE OF: Animal Testing.

argan oil

Onaturals Coconut Collection – Face Cream by Vitacost ($6.39)

Lightweight face lotion featuring a combination of creamy coconut oil and hyaluronic acid for deep long-lasting moisture.
INFO: Vitacost nutritional products are manufactured to high standards of quality, efficacy and safety. Each Vitacost product meets or exceeds the standards and requirements set forth in the FDA’s Code of Federal Regulation (21 CFR, 111) Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP).

facial moisturizer

Price Comparison & Savings

MY EXPERIMENTAL SHOPPING LIST:
$8.99 Shampoo

$8.99 Conditioner
10.99 Shampoo
5.99 Conditioner
7.99 Oil
7.99 Face Cream
$50.94 Standard Retail Total
$35.04 Vitacost Total
$15.90 SAVINGS ON ONLY 6 PRODUCTS!

That does it! If I saved $15 on just 6 products, think how much I’d save if I did all my shopping on there! That’s about a 30% Savings – with no coupons, no shopping around and no driving to all the different stores. You can get all your beauty, healthy pet care products, food products, herbs, supplements, healthy cleaning products, medicine and baby products all in one place!

You Save

Get $10 off your first Vitacost order with Refer A Friend!

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Do You Need More Hydration?

Oral I.V. Product Review & Hydration Tips

bonnie pfiesterIf you live in Florida, like me, you know how insanely hot and humid it’s been lately – and running in the heat is tough on the body. (This is a pic of me & my BFF at the top of one of the bridges we run on our big group run from our gym, everyone in our town calls “The Loop”.) After our 6-mile run last Saturday, I literally looked like I jumped in a pool with my clothes on when I was done. I could tell I needed some serious hydration – QUICK!

What?

photo copyLuckily, I was given some ORAL I.V.  to try out. What’s ORAL I.V.  ? (What’s what I said!) Well, it’s a liquid hydration aid. After I drilled the company with questions so I could understand their product better, basically what I learned was it was a solution of electrolytes, minerals and purified water that is absorbed more rapidly than typical hydration drinks. That’s why they call it “I.V.” because of it’s rapid delivery system.

It is tasteless (just tastes like water) and is used WITH water or other hydration beverages to help you get the most goody out of it. ORAL I.V. assists an individual’s existing hydration strategy and helping sustain peak performance. It doesn’t replace hydration, it supports it and improves it. (This is a pic of me pouring a vile into my water after my run)

How?

tri sprint bikeSo, when do you take it? You take one vial of ORAL I.V.  with water for every 4 to 6 hours of strenuous activity. So, it’s great for before, during and/or after an intense workout or race like my buddy Jeff did (pictured here). He really felt it help him rock his Tri sprint in this summer heat – coming in 3rd in his age group and 12th overall!

Charles Hobbs, triathlete, also agreed it has helped him. He tried it for 3 months and said “it has increased my performance and reduced fatigue that normally sets in from hot weather training and racing.”

Why?

after runningHydration is one of those mysterious things you can’t really say you “feel”, but what I notice is what I DON’T feel when I take it. For instance, on the day I took it after my run (This was our happy faces that the run was over), we also went to the beach for the day – so I was basically sweating all day. Normally, I would have been exhausted, sluggish, dizzy or even had a headache on a day like that. Instead, I had tons of energy, felt great and played hard all day long.

Who?

ORAL I.V. Who takes it? Well, it was first made available to those who could truly put it to the test – members of the U.S. military and law enforcement communities, but now is used by many different people including MMA fighters (like Phil Baroni), professional football players (like Loni Paxton), Navy Seals, professional singers (like Wilson Phillips), swimmers, motorcross athletes, triathletes, marathon runners, CrossFit athletes, and ordinary people like me!

Here are what some CrossFit athletes say about their experience taking ORAL I.V.

7 Summer Hydration Tips

  1. Drink plenty of water BEFORE, during and after exercise.
  2. Check the color of your urine. It should be clear to pale yellow, not dark yellow or have a strong odor.
  3. Drink beverages with electrolytes in them when working in extreme heat.
  4. Avoid alcohol the day before a hard training session or doing hard labor (especially if you are going to be outside in the heat.
  5. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables to help hydration (fruits, like watermelon, are very high in water).
  6. Weigh yourself before and after exercise to monitor water loss.
  7. Drink at least 3 cups (24 ounces) of fluid per pound of water lost.

Learn more interesting health tidbits from LiveScience.com.

What Counts as Water?  I also found these great tips from WebMD on what food and drink sources actually really hydrate you.

Visit ORAL I.V.  to learn more about their hydration aid!

15 Ways Fido Keeps You Fit

Marley Mantel Great DaneSome of you may have noticed I have a new addition to the family. (I almost feel sorry for my Facebook and Instagram friends who have to endure the million pics I’ve been posting! Sorry guys!) However, if you were one of the lucky ones who’s newsfeed hasn’t been filled up with all my pictures, and you are in the dark, I am now the proud mother to a 10 month old baby boy.

He’s just a baby, but he is already about 30″ tall and weighs 130lbs. He may not be human, but he thinks he is. My big new baby is a Great Dane Puppy, named Marley Beaux (Bo). (We are experimenting with names…he came to us as Marley, but we kinda think he looks like a “Bo”. Anyway, I’m completely in love!

Steve Pfiester & TankLast fall I lost my Great Dane, Tank, after 12 fantastic years. Although I’ve had dogs all my life, I took Tank’s death harder than I ever could have imagined. He was my best bud when Steve was away doing both reality TV shows, which was 3 months at a time. We had a special bond. I’m not sure if it’s the breed or what, but we were much more closely connected than any other dog I’ve had. Steve and I were both devastated. Our house was eerily quiet.

Well, we finally decided it was time to get another dog – and there was no question it would be another Dane. The short story is we ended up adopting Marley from a loving family (with 2 toddlers and 2 other Danes) who felt Marley needed more attention and love (which we were HAPPY to give!). It was love at first lick!

Pet Perks

Honestly, I forgot just how great being a pet owner is. I also never dreamed I could love another dog like I did Tank. I also started to notice he added a new healthy component to my life. Over the last 2 weeks, I noticed I made more time to just enjoy life. As a workaholic, I have a hard time stepping away from work, but Marley forces me to take more breaks, get outside, relax and even play more. I’ve even noticed that my activity on my Jawbone UP band (activity tracker) had even increased.

Great Dane

Bonnie Pfiester

This past Saturday I took him to dog training at Pawprints, where Marley went through what I call Doggie Boot Camp – complete with obstacle course, running, swimming (pictured left with my sister’s dog & Marley) and all kinds of cool stuff. At the end of the day, I looked at my activity on my Jawbone UP and I had walked 13,153 steps which is roughly 6.5 miles (compared to a normal pre-pet Saturday day of leisure taking only 6,000-7,000 steps). Then I got to thinking, Marley is so GOOD for me!

So, I did some research to learn more about all the health benefits of owning a dog. Study after study has consistently proven that pet owners are healthier than the average person. Take a look!

15 Health Benefits for Pet Owners

  1. Great Dane MantelThey increase activity. One study showed that people who have pets were 54% more likely to get the recommended amount of daily activity than a non-pet owner. Their desire to walk and play reminds us to get out and get moving too – and I’d have to agree!
  2. They help ease people out of isolation. Dogs are great conversation pieces and make people feel more comfortable facing the world “alone” – because, while they are not with another person, they have a loving companion.
  3. They help people handle stress better. One study showed people with a high-stress job and high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did people without pets.
  4. They help children’s development. Studies showed children who suffered from wither severe ADHD or Autism showed lengthened attention spans. Pets also teach children responsibility and how to communicate with others better.
  5. They help boost children’s immune systems. WebMD says “If a dog lived in the home, infants were less likely to show evidence of pet allergies— 19% vs. 33%. They also were less likely to have eczema, a common allergy skin condition that causes red patches and itching. In addition, they had higher levels of some immune system chemicals — a sign of stronger immune system activation.
  6. Great DaneThey are match-makers. Approaching another person out of the blue can be nerve-racking, but approaching someone with a dog is easy and almost always welcomed. The dog gives people something to talk about that is natural and comfortable, making the initial conversation much easier. Whether you are looking for a date or enjoy meeting people, pets make it easier to make more friends.
  7. They are calming. In a world full of hustle and bustle, people are in great need of “calming down”. Pets help us slow down, stop and smell the roses – or in this case, pet the dog. Playing with a dog actually elevates levels of serotonin and dopamine, nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.
  8. They are good for your heart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have both conducted heart-related studies on people who have pets, which showed owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  9. great daneThey speed recovery. When someone is stuck in bed recovering from surgery, or who has limited mobility, a pet can lift their spirits and boost recovery time. One study showed when a dog was part of the medical team, the patients’ anxiety scores dropped by 24 percent. When a human volunteer visited the patient, it just dropped 10 percent. Without visits, the patients’ conditions didn’t change, he says. (read more about therapy dogs)
  10. They give us a sense of empowerment. Once you have trained a pet to obey your command, it is very satisfying for a pet owner to have a certain level of control, even when life can be completely out of control around you. This sense of empowerment can boost confidence and encourage people to take better care of themselves.
  11. great dane in tubThey make you laugh. Laughing is so good for you, but many of us don’t do it nearly enough. Laughing relaxes your muscles, releases endorphins, boosts your immune system and relieves stress. The more you laugh, the better – and pets tend to do some pretty funny stuff (like getting into the bathtub for no reason and making adorable faces like this, pictured right).
  12. They fight depression. Pets provide companionship, unconditional love and make people feel important and loved. They keep people in a healthy routine, and help keep them active and social. One doctor said he personally witnessed people eliminate antidepressants by the simple act of obtaining a dog.
  13. They can detect cancer. Next time your dog sniffs you out, you may want to pay closer attention. There have been multiple reports of dogs sniffing out cancer. One woman reported her dog keep sniffing at a mole and even tried to bite it off. The mole ended up being a malignant melanoma. Another dog correctly detected cancer in 33 out of 37 samples of people’s breath and stool that scientists had collected.
  14. They help prevent diabetic crashes and seizures. Many untrained dogs have shown behavioral changes when their owner’s blood sugar crashes or is about to have to have a seizure. Therapy dogs are trained to detect a drop in blood sugar or oncoming seizure before the owner begins to feel the symptoms, warning their owners in time to prevent an attack. (learn more about Diabetes Alert Dogs and Seizure Alert Dogs)
  15. They have healing powers for the elderly. Pets help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase social interaction and physical activity in elderly people who often live alone. They also reduce depression and loneliness, associated with aging or illness, as well as take their mind of physical problems, loss and aging. Even Alzheimer’s patients benefited, with fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a dog, or you’ve been trying to convince a loved one you need a pooch, now you have 15 really good reasons to back you up! 🙂

Funny Video: Who Got in the Trash?

Awesome video: And God Made a Dog

Don’t Worry, Be Healthy: Why Worrying is Bad For Your Health

Don't worry, be HealthyIf you are a worry wart, you may be doing more damage than you think. Worrying not only puts a damper on your day, it is down right bad for you. Here are 17 reasons why you shouldn’t worry.

Worrying Can Cause:

  1. Lack of sleep or insomnia
  2. Depression
  3. Anxiety
  4. Stress
  5. Panic attacks
  6. Headaches
  7. Fast heart rate
  8. Irritability
  9. Inability to concentrate
  10. Muscle tension and muscle aches
  11. Nausea
  12. Sweating

worryWeb MD explains that when you worry for a long time, you have excessive fuel in the blood that isn’t used properly (like pinned up energy to use for exercise or activity), which can cause a host of other major problems like:

13. Suppression of the immune system
14. Digestive disorders
15. Short-term memory loss
16. Premature coronary artery disease
17. Heart attack

Stress is not what causes health problems. It’s how you handle stress in your life. If you don’t handle it well (or at all), and you just worry about it – eventually it WILL come out and attack your body. You cannot pin all that anxiety up without exploding eventually.

6 Ways to Handle Stress Better

If you catch yourself worrying, here are a few things you can do to control it so it doesn’t affect your health:

  1. running Exercise – People who worry, tend to be very frustrated because they can’t do anything about their current problem. Exercise, hands down, is the best way to relieve stress and get out your frustrations. It also will help you fall a sleep better so you don’t stay up thinking about your problems.
  2. Eat healthy – You need to fuel your body with good food if you want to feel good. Unfortunately, people who deal with a lot of stress tend to eat poorly, and eat more – as if to get some type of temporary satisfaction when they are so unsatisfied with other areas of their life. Poor choices may help you feel better for a moment, but they will leave you lacking the energy you need to handle the rest of the day – and the weight you gain will leave you even more discouraged.
  3. yoga meditationSlow down – many people who are stressed out, try to keep busy to keep their mind off things. They tend to work longer hours, stay entertained, avoid quiet and self-medicate themselves with alcohol or drugs. What they need most is what they avoid most – silence. This is where yoga is very good. You get to stretch tense muscles, control your breathing, meditate and even pray. Remember, you can’t go 100 miles an hour without eventually crashing. You need to purposely slow your body down to prevent wrecking your health.
  4. Rest – This is something that often times will not come naturally. You will have to FORCE your body to rest. Even if that means taking a mild sleep aid (like Tylonel PM), it is imperative you get the rest you need to stay both physically and mentally healthy. If you miss rest, you are setting yourself up for a ton of other problems – and you’ll have even more to worry about, with no energy to do anything about it.
  5. caffeine stimulantsLimit or avoid stimulates – If you are a big coffee drinker or smoker, you are probably making things worse. You need relaxation, not stimulation. If you don’t plan to give it up, then you need to give your body a way to blow off steam. Take a walk or jog, workout, play a game of tennis, go to the batting cages or driving range, or take some boxing lessons. If you are going to stimulate your body, let your body use that stimulation to be active.
  6. Get help – If you feel you can’t do any of these things on your own, or you have tried them and you are still dealing with excessive stress and anxiety, see a doctor.  Seek professional counsel and talk with a friend. It is super important that you have people who care about you monitoring you, supporting you, and helping you through this difficult time. Whatever you do, don’t go it alone.

Are you a chronic worrier? Read 9 Steps to End Chronic Worrying

Worry

Read Joyce Meyer’s Devotion on Worry:

What the Kale is THAT!?

GiGi Eats KaleMy friend GiGi is one Kale of a blogger. 😉 She totally cracks me up with her fun wit, but inspires me with her passion for eating healthy – and just making healthy living super fun. After one of her recent blogs about Kale, I’ve just had Kale on the brain – and on the plate!

Ironically, while I was picking up some kale at the grocery store this weekend, Steve was researching Kale online and was amazed with it’s nutrition. By the time he got hom that night, I already had Kale cooked and waiting – and had no clue he had already gotten on a kale kick himself! Great minds think alike!

See What GiGi has to say about Kale:

Don’t believe us? Check out What WebMD says about Kale:

kale“One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.

Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.

Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.” Read the whole article, The Truth About Kale.

Simple Kickin’ Kale Recipe

cherry peppers1 Large Package of Fresh Organic Kale
2 Cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (to taste)
1 TBSP Cento Cherry Peppers (to taste)
Salt and pepper

Kick it even another notch by serving it with your favorite hot sauce. 🙂

Do you eat Kale? How do you cook it? Share you kale story!

Follow GiGi on twitter, facebook & youtube!

Fat vs Muscle: 4 Myth-Busting Truths

It’s amazing how easily people adopt certain beliefs or principles just because it sounds good. People spew out headlines from the latest magazine articles without even thinking twice. Or they take pieces of information someone shares with them in the gym, without even questioning it, or researching it further. We are too gullible  As a result, the world is riddled with partial truths, misunderstandings and downright lies.

Get After the Truth – pFACT or pFICTION?

Here are 4 statements that are often either misunderstood or just plain wrong. Find out if these claims are fact or fiction.

1. Muscle weighs more than fat. 

If you fill one container full of fat, and another matching container full of muscle, the container of muscle would outweigh the container of fat. If you needed the two containers to weigh the same, you’d have to remove some of the muscle to balance the scale. To help our clients understand this better, we actually bought a replica of 5lbs of fat and 5lbs of muscle to show our clients. With the help of our replicas, it’s now easy to see why you would weigh the same but appear smaller if you were to lose 5lbs of fat and gain 5lbs of muscle. Also, it is shocking to see just how BIG 5lbs of fat is. We often act like gaining, or losing, 5lbs is no big deal – but you can see here that it is indeed a HUGE deal. Answer: pFACT. Muscles does weigh more than fat.

2. Muscle can make you bigger.

Look at the replica of 5lbs of muscle. It is clearly smaller than its equal weight in fat – I’d guess at least two-thirds the size. Food makes you bigger, not muscle. And, muscle can get stronger without necessarily getting bigger. If you keep your calories the same and workout, you’ll likely change your shape but not your weight – gaining muscle and losing fat. If you do this, you will actually be smaller, not bigger. The problem is, many people who start lifting weights tend to eat more (thinking they can “afford” to eat more). Or, if they boost their protein, they forget to reduce calories from other substrates to make room. As a result, they accidentally increase their overall calories, causing weight gain. Answer: pFICTION. Muscle can’t bulk you up unless you eat to bulk up.

3. Muscle can turn into fat.

Muscle is always muscle, and fat is always fat. Muscle can’t change its very nature and turn itself into fat, or bone, or anything else for that matter. However, it can decrease in size (muscle waste) if it’s not used and perserved. And, in the event you lose muscle mass, your metabolism can slow down causing weight gain. Another issue is people, like football players and other young athletes, continue to eat how they ate when they were active. As they slow down, their eating should slow down as well. That’s why many once-fit football players are now fat ex-football players. They pack fat on top of their muscle simply because they don’t adjust their eating to fit their new activity (or non-activity) level. Answer: pFICTION. Muscle doesn’t turn to fat.

4. Muscle helps you burn fat.

Muscle is less efficient than fat. Muscle is like a Dodge Viper, and fat is more like a Toyota Prius. Another words, muscle burns through the gas (calories) faster than fat. 1 gram of fat gives you 9 calories of energy, but 1 gram of protein only gives you 4 calories. So, you can see how fat stores give you more “mileage” per say. Why this is important to understand is because we want to BLAST through the calories, we don’t want a fat efficient body. We want a gas guzzling muscle car body that burns gas like crazy. With that said, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn – which is very helpful when you are trying to lose weight. Answer: pFACT. A muscular body burns more calories, even at rest.

#GetAfterIt! Ten-Four Good Buddy

As a ambassador for Reebok, I have to say, I’m proud that Reebok is encouraging people to “get after it” (that’s why you may see the hashtag #getafterit in many of my tweets.) It’s not enough to “just do it” we need to GET AFTER IT – and chase your goal like never before. “Get After It” has a sense of urgency, a sense of forward motion, a sense of of taking something all the way to the finish line. Get After it isn’t easy. It’s not just showing up – it’s being in it to win it. As a CrossFit partner, Reebok wants you to put your body to the test and train like a champ. If you are ready to get after it, burn fat and tone muscle with this intense BCx circuit! Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

TEN-FOUR BCx WORKOUT

10 rounds of the following 4 exercises for time with little to no rest. You can slow down, but try not to stop.

10 Jax

10 Burpees

10 Push-ups

10 Sit-ups

10 ROUNDS FOR TIME

Note: Track your time each time to track your improvement.

Try more BCx Workouts on our BCx Youtube or Join in our online BCx Boot Camp program at FitStudio.

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

BMI: The Unreliable Formula that Costs You Money

Many health professionals rely on unreliable methods to measure your health and determine insurance premiums.

Insurance companies are getting smarter and smarter by the minute. They now realize rewarding people for good health and providing fitness incentives pays. Maybe they are a little slow to learn but, overall, they are starting to get the whole “healthy” concept. However, there is a big loophole in their plan. Many insurance companies use unreliable methods, like BMI (Body Mass Index), to help determine if someone is a risk.

What is BMI?
BMI is a mathematical formula, based on height and weight, to help doctors determine if someone is at a healthy weight or not. The problem is the BMI does not take body fat and muscle mass into consideration. Basically, it’s just measures how much mass you take up in space for your height. If you are over the limit, you are labeled “overweight” no matter what how low your body fat is.

For instance, when using an online BMI Calculator for Steve, his BMI was 28.29, which is overweight – although Steve’s body fat percentage is normally around 8%.  After the calculation was made the site said he “would benefit from finding healthy ways to lower his weight, such as diet and exercise.” I almost had to laugh, but the BMI is no laughing matter to fit people who are getting charged more for being so-called overweight, according to the BMI.

The BMI Lies – and YOU are the one who pays
One of our members has experienced this first hand. Every year he stresses out about his company health insurance tests because, although he is not a big bodybuilder kind of guy, his muscle puts him in the overweight category. He gets docked for that, costing him an extra $500 a year for being “overweight”.

Meanwhile, people with less muscle and more body fat, who register at a healthy weight, save money even if they haven’t worked out a day in their life. While our member works his butt off in the gym, this other lazy guy gets rewarded for not doing anything.

False Readings Give False Hope
LiveStrong actually addressed this very issue, referencing a study from the Mayo Clinic. The study found as many as half of all individuals with a “normal weight” according to the BMI test, were actually overweight or obese when they tested their body fat. We see this all the time at the club because we use a high-tech InBody machine to do our body compositions. Our machine not only measures height and weight, but it also considers your age.  Then it measures your intracellular water weight, extracellular water weight, muscle weight and body fat, resulting in a very accurate report.

Many people are completely shocked when they see their body fat-to-muscle ration puts them in the overweight category, even if their weight is normal for their height. Since most people lose muscle as they get older, unless they are purposefully working to maintain it, this is even more common for seniors. The InBody machine is one of the few machines that gives accurate details of what is actually going on inside your body, beyond the scale.

Insurance Agencies Still Live in the Dark Ages

Insurance companies need to get out of the 1800s, which is when the BMI was first actually first devised. Originally known as the Quetelet Index, BMI finally made headlines after a paper was published in 1972 by Ancel Keys, stating the BMI was the best proxy for body fat using the weight and height ratio. However, everyone seemed to ignore Keys’ remarks about BMI being appropriate for population studies, but inappropriate for individual diagnosis. So, not only is the BMI as out of date as polyester and bell bottoms, it’s also not being used as it was originally intended.

Some insurance companies may argue they also measure body fat, but many insurance agencies are not using reliable methods. Fat caliper measurements test the fat in the skin folds, but results can vary depending on the person doing the pinching. Also, the less pinching, the less reliable. A 7-site skin fold test is the best, but you still have plenty of room for error depending on the person’s expertise. Two different people can do measure the same person and come up with two different results.

While some insurance companies attempt to do caliper testing, many rely on the easy route, which requires no technical skill at all. Cheap body fat machines, like a body fat scale or a handheld device are their method of measurement. These machines use electrical impedance to measure body fat like our machine, but it only uses two points of contact, where our machine uses 8 conductors. This means the scale version only measures your lower body, and the handheld device only measures your upper body.

Then you have the issue of your thighs touching each other on a small scale or your arms touching your sides on the hand held machine, which can throw off the already less than accurate reading. In addition, hydration and food intake have a huge effect on the reading, making you look like your body fat is 15% higher or lower depending on your hydration prior to the reading. All in all, these cheapy body fat machines could cost you money.

While I love to hear insurance companies offering incentives and holding people accountable for their body weight (and maybe something is a little better than nothing) I hope the medical industry can catch up with the fitness industry, when it comes to using more reliable ways to measure someone’s body composition, so fitness and health can see eye to eye.

How to get an accurate InBody Analysis
Measure first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
Do not receive your analysis right after a shower. Skin and hair should be nice and dry.
Space legs and arms apart, not touching other body parts.
Do not drink prior to your analysis.
Do not workout prior to your analysis (as it will skew muscle mass from the muscles being pumped up)
Make sure your body temperature is regulated before your reading, not being excessively hot or cold.
Do not wear jewelry.
Avoid measuring during your menstrual cycle.
Always measure the same time of day for the most accurate comparisons.

Bring a printed copy of this blog and get one InBody Report at Max Fitness Club for $20.00 (regularly $50.00) or 2 for $30.00.

Credits
BMI Comparison Cartoon: HowStuffWorks.com
Chart: Healthy Weight Forum

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