I had a huge shock last week when I weighed myself on a Body Composition Monitor (ala Top Range weighing machine). I responded with disbelief, then with a bit of depression, and then with some hopelessness and then with some conscious mindset changes and a new goal for 2015.
Let me explain what this machine does first. #notaproductreview
A Body Composition Monitor is one of the upscale, top of range weighing machine that measures your Weight, Body Fat percentage, Muscle percentage, Fat/Muscle ratio for Whole Body, Arms, Legs and Truck, Visceral Fat Level (the very bad fat that’s surrounds your organs), Metabolic rate and Body Age. Amazing ya?
In my church group, we have a friend who owns one such machine. She would bring it once every quarter, and all of us would take turns to weigh ourselves. It is always great fun to see how the super fit have such incredible fat/muscle ratios, or how an regular looking guy can actually have a very low Body Age because of his healthy metabolic rate. And of course, for the very very ordinary people like me, we check out our own visceral fat levels (shocking esp for some who aren’t even big-sized) or areas we need to work on.
We’ve used this machine about 4-5 times thus far. And my numbers have always shown that I’ve a LOT of fats, and very little muscles as a whole. The ratio is unhealthy, and I’ve a high percentage of visceral fats. Since the first time I realised this, I was careful with what I ate, and I have been going for runs 2-3 times a week, and ahem, I even climbed a mountain! Hahah!
The numbers improved a little. But it was still very unhealthy. And my body age was a ripe old age of 43! Usually, a healthy person’s body age is about 5 years lower than actual age. And if you are FIT, the body age can go down to even 15 years lower than your actual age. So you can imagine how unhealthy and unfit I am!
Back to what happened last week. We just ended out 40 day fast, and naturally, the few of us felt very clean, detoxed and light. We knew for a fact that there was definite weight loss, but how about all this body composition numbers? Was there an improvement? I was prepared for a lower fat/muscle ratio and definitely a lower body age. And I was wrong.
There was little change to my fat composition. The Visceral Fat especially, was still the same!! And my body age? Well, it dropped down to 41. Two years shaved off. So at the point when my body is supposed to have the least amount of fats, I’m still no where near healthy! Why? Why? Why?
I did some research, spoke to a few sportsmen and this is what I concluded:
My entire life thus far (yes, 40 years of that) was never to build muscles. I’ve never exercised until 2013. Growing up, all my activities in school were sedentary, all our family outings were visiting libraries, museums or watching a play or orchestra. I never went to any park to play ball or catch or to cycle around. I just never ever consciously built any muscles!
The solution now is to build muscles. No, not those bulging weightlifter type (i think even if I wanted, it probably would be impossible!). But literally, build muscles for my arms, my thighs, my tummy, my back etc. Those who are familiar with working out would know I have a really WEAK CORE.
What’s a Core? It is the section from your shoulders to hips, all the way around the body and deep within the body. There are 29 muscles in the core and they include: Outer Abdominal muscles, Deepest abdominal muscles, Entire Back muscles, Pelvic muscles, Side muscles, back of hip muscles, Upper thighs and more!
Why is a Strong Core Important? How we move and balance ourselves comes from our core. When we have a strong core, it improves our posture, protects us from lower back pain, helps us in our running and exercising. (No Wonder I always get a backache after a run!)
Do I have a weak Core? Here is a really very simple basic test you can try out to see if you have a weak core. Get into a Plank Position on your elbows and time yourself. Hold the plank for as long as you can. When your hips start to sag, shut off the timer. If you held the plank for 90 seconds or more, you’re exceptional. If you held it for more than 60 seconds, your core muscles are in good shape. If you can’t hold a plank position for at least 30 seconds, your core muscles need work!
Core muscles also affect your balance. Try another simple test: Stand up, Close your eyes and lift one foot off the floor. Time yourself. Try to balance as long as you can with your eyes closed. If you can’t hold the position for at least 10 seconds, you need to work on your core!
Do you have a weak core? If yes, join me in strengthening your core! It should go concurrent with your weight loss mission, if you are on one! Just for this week, practice your planks daily. Remember we are trying to hit the 30 second mark by the end of the week!
Join me on my journey as I celebrate turning 40.