1

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Who else has a high BMI but normal bodyfat?

Answered on April 27, 2015
Created July 22, 2011 at 12:09 AM

Discovered something interested today after taking a bodyfat test - while my BMI is considered high at 27.8, my bodyfat is 29.9%, just inside the "normal" range for a female. I had always suspected this is the case, because even when I'm at my fittest I am bumping up against the high end of what is considered "normal" BMI.

I guess this is a good thing, but all of the articles I've read talk about the "skinny fat person" - someone with a low BMI and high bodyfat. I very rarely read about the opposite and am wondering if there are any more freaks out there like me. :)

BTW - I am looking to get to 25% bodyfat. I'm strength training 2-3 times a week plus doing cardio and about 85-90% Paleo (my only cheats off strict paleo are greek yogurt and fruit). Any ideas on how long it might take to get there? I know everyone is different, but are we talking weeks, months, or years?

74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

(713)

on July 23, 2011
at 02:03 PM

what are your results like so far? a lot of people show great results in 30 day challenges

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 22, 2011
at 02:19 PM

actually that makes sense, that these things are always accurate, my waist is 25" and I think my numbers are still kind of high....

030167d1516b20d4a79f326dded608b0

on July 22, 2011
at 01:59 PM

3 weeks is not very long. Depending on your diet before paleo, it might take 8 before you start to see results. Be patient, and don't stress!

F78bfa3ae7886d1ebdbcbc37c0a1b085

(50)

on July 22, 2011
at 12:26 AM

Hi Michael, I've been Paleo for about three weeks. Was doing just cardio before but also introduced weights and yes, some intervals with my cardio. Today I did a 4.5 mile easy run, but my next cardio will be treadmill sprints. I like to mix it up.

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7 Answers

1
F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

on July 22, 2011
at 01:48 PM

I recently got a 'fitness test' at a local gym which included BMI. I am 189cm with a waist around 30 inches and BF of 10% (at most). I came out of the test as 'overweight'. The trainer came across all apologetic at this obviously 'bollocks' result.

BMI and other 'numbers/indicators' are for use by doctors to get a handle on the sick and unfit. With paleo you can (and should) ignore 'numbers'*.

'* (Unless it is to do with chinning and deadlifts). ;)

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 22, 2011
at 02:19 PM

actually that makes sense, that these things are always accurate, my waist is 25" and I think my numbers are still kind of high....

1
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 22, 2011
at 01:35 PM

I dropped from about 25+% to 21.5%, 30lbs and 6-7 months. I made sure not to loose muscle weight, so this was all fat but still relatively a low number of 5%, now I'm that 'skinny fat' (my goal is 20%)

I'm only 5'2 and 115 now so its just a matter of bulking muscles back up a bit and toning those gigglies from the waist down. Lucklily I don't have any folds of hanging skin, except those bat wings under my arms!!!

I'd say if you are working out then the yogurt and fruit shouldn't really hurt much if you are indeed burning fat already. If not, I'd try backing off those two items for a while and see if it helps.

I wouldnt' rush it, give you body time to adapt to the 'shrinkage' of skin and you should be ok! good luck to you!!

1
Medium avatar

(19479)

on July 22, 2011
at 12:35 PM

According to the BMI, I'm "overweight", but at 6 feet tall ~190lbs and ~10% bodyfat, I can confidently say that that is bullshit.

BMI is pretty much worthless and should not cause you lose any sleep if your bodyfat checks out in the normal range.

To speak to your other question, keep checking your bodyfat % every week to two weeks. A reasonable goal is to drop about 1% bodyfat per month (keeping in mind that some of this weight loss will be muscle).

Of course, this depends on a lot of things. If you are particularly sensitive to carbohydrate you might need to reduce your intake of fructose (fruit) and starchy veggies (potatoes, parsnips, etc.) that might be considered "paleo", but are not conducive to weight/bodyfat loss.

You didn't specify the exact nature of your workouts, but if you are not already doing so, adding some high intensity intervals (on a bike, sprinting, etc. a la Tabata style) can help put some heat on your bodyfat reserves.

There is also some evidence that cold temperatures (drinking ice water first thing in the morning, ice baths, etc.) can stimulate brown adipose tissue (fat that burns fat) among other things which might be another strategy that you can consider.

Also, IF (intermittent fasting) once or twice a week and working out on an empty stomach can help if you aren't seeing your bodyfat levels decreasing.

0
1d747827c9dfd361224062229a7b7534

on April 27, 2015
at 11:31 PM

It's far less common to have high BMI & low body fat than the other way around, primarily because on the population-level, we aren't a very muscular people.  

BMI is a good (inexpensive & easy) measurement to use in large epidemiological studies, but not the best for your n=1 'progress' checks... it also says nothing about other important factors like health, fitness, quality of life, etc.

0
8d703407fea67e7e73e619e3a9a7dd05

on April 27, 2015
at 01:19 PM

BMI isn't a good indicator of overall fitness because it doesn't distinguish a difference between fat and muscle. For instance, my own BMI at 236 lbs and 31% body fat was 31 three months ago. After going to the gym 5 days per week since then, my BMI remains at 31, yet my bodyfat is now at 24% and my stomach size is drastically smaller. The only thing that truly matters when guaging overall fitness (besides the normal considerations such as heart rate, blood pressure, etc.) is the percentage of body fat.

0
4968df9f159815c73dca39480838f151

on May 08, 2013
at 02:46 PM

I doubt anyone is reading this still, but my BMI is 31. My %BF is 9 by skinfold caliper 7 sites. As a 40 something male at 5' 9" and 16.5" biceps, 27" thigh, 31" waist and 94Kg (14st 11lb) I think I fit your definition of freak.

0
74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

on July 22, 2011
at 12:20 AM

Sabrina, There are plenty of people who have a high bmi due to body composition(more muscle). I would not worry too much about bmi alone.

How long have you been on paleo? I would guesstimate wildly that you can reasonable ~ 1 % body fat a week, but it depends on a ton of things. Are you doing intervals for cardio?

F78bfa3ae7886d1ebdbcbc37c0a1b085

(50)

on July 22, 2011
at 12:26 AM

Hi Michael, I've been Paleo for about three weeks. Was doing just cardio before but also introduced weights and yes, some intervals with my cardio. Today I did a 4.5 mile easy run, but my next cardio will be treadmill sprints. I like to mix it up.

74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

(713)

on July 23, 2011
at 02:03 PM

what are your results like so far? a lot of people show great results in 30 day challenges

030167d1516b20d4a79f326dded608b0

on July 22, 2011
at 01:59 PM

3 weeks is not very long. Depending on your diet before paleo, it might take 8 before you start to see results. Be patient, and don't stress!

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