How In Shape Are You?

Posted on Dec 14, 2012 by 1 Comment
How In Shape Are You?

This post started initially with a conversation I had with my teenage daughter … about the number of her friends that are size triple-zero. Which, by the way, I don’t believe is a real size, and it irritates me that clothing companies have even created such a thing just to appease teenagers and women who find self-worth in the tag on the inside of their jeans.

But I digress.

She and I talked about what being “thin” really means … and if it’s worth it. For example, though these girls all wear a triple-zero, not one of them can do a pull-up in gym and very few can do a full push-up. Yes, they can run fast, but their stamina fades quickly.

So they may be thin, but are they “in-shape”?

Then, when I found out I was pregnant with this little guy, I got weighed for the first time in nearly a year. I threw out our scale long ago because I didn’t want to be tempted to hop on it every day and I certainly didn’t want a number defining me or my daughter.

I tried to ignore the number on the scale and remember that my clothing size had not changed and that I was currently training for a half marathon. That was when the conversation got interesting … with my OB and a personal trainer.

First the OB told me that, according to “guidelines and the BMI chart” I really should only gain around 20 lbs. this pregnancy … code for “you’re actually overweight.” When I questioned that and told her I was in training for a half, she told me that the BMI doesn’t take into account muscles mass, which is a serious problem.

The next day, I was figuring out a new workout plan with a personal trainer at the gym (because, truthfully, I didn’t want to run while pregnant, but I didn’t want to lose any gains I’d made while training either) and she told me that true test of in shape is not about whether you’re thin or in the right color grid of the BMI, but about what your body can do for you.

According to the American Council on Exercise, physical fitness is measured by four things, each designed to measure a different area of your health:

  • a 12- to 14-minute mile (cardiovascular)
  • 2 sets of 15 modified (meaning, the girl kind) push-ups and a set of 20 leg lunges with a breather between the two exercises (muscle stamina)
  • doing a plank (without sagging) for 30 seconds (core strength)
  • the ability to touch your toes (flexibility)

If you can do all of these, you’re considered “physically fit,” regardless of the number on the scale. She also told me that it’s surprising how few people that are “thin” can do them all.

After the chat with the physical trainer, I actually visited the ACE website and found a host of useful information; from recipes and an “Ask the Expert” column to calorie counters (both physical activity and food) and workout videos.

I actually love the site and plan to visit it more frequently as I get ready to pound the pavement again after Mr. Little Man is born.

This time I won’t be training for just a half-marathon, but also the Run for Your Lives race … a zombie-infested 5K obstacle course. I seriously can’t wait!

photo credit: mikebaird via photopin cc

Posted in: Health
Stacie McClintock

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  • Pauline Hawkins

    I love this! We need to help girls know that being in shape/fit is so much better than being thin!