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Love to exercise but love to eat as well? We all do. But all of us have different body compositions, which means while some can stay thin and healthy while pigging out at every meal, others struggle to skip out on the carbs just to maintain an ideal waistline.
What’s obvious then, is that the measurement of a healthy weight can differ greatly between you and everyone else. Is it possible then to look fat and unhealthy but actually pack a punch at a workout? Learn the truth behind what it takes to be truly fit and healthy!
What Is Fitness (And “Fatness”)?
Before we go further into this mystery, let’s ask the very first question that you may be wondering: what exactly is fitness and what exactly is “fatness”?
The answer is simple for fitness: Fitness is a state of health and well-being and ability to perform parts of sports, work and daily activities, such as walking and climbing the stairs. Specifically, 5 components of fitness include cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition and flexibility.
It is even more measurable when it comes to fatness: The BMI scale which most of us are familiar with (or deliberately avoid!) dictates that you are overweight if your BMI is 25.0-29.9 and obese if your BMI is 30 and above. Is BMI really a good measure at all? You will find out soon.
Arguments For Being Fit, Yet Fat
A common conclusion among experts in this camp is that if you exercise regularly, your body is healthy.
Research in this aspect has revealed interesting findings, including a shocking 2012 National Cancer Institute study which found that moderately obese people actually lived about 3.1 years longer than normal-weight women and men!
Similarly, European Heart Journal study concluded that obese people who are also metabolically healthy are at no greater risk of dying from heart disease or cancer than those who are of normal weight.
Yes, you can be fit and fat. But you can’t be round.
A good measure is actually your waist size, which is linked to the amount of visceral (i.e. abdominal) fat in your body. Consider yourself healthy if your waist size is less than 32 inches for women and 37 inches for men.
You will also need to have less than 2 of the following 3 conditions: High blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol.
Arguments Against Being Fit, Yet Fat
Don’t celebrate just yet. While weight alone is not the perfect measure for fitness, it often has many linkages to other risk factors, which basically, makes weight still a significant measure of a lack of fitness.
What do experts on this other camp say? Plenty.
For one, carrying extra weight stresses our joints and makes it relatively more difficult to get off the couch to get a good workout. Not only that, a large-scale study following more than 1.3 million young men for an average of 29 years showed that you are 30% less likely to die if you have a healthy weight irrespective of fitness level.
What’s worse, it doesn’t matter how metabolically healthy you are. If you are extremely obese, how much you exercise may not matter at all!
“A good measure is actually your waist size, which is linked to the amount of visceral (i.e. abdominal) fat in your body. Consider yourself healthy if your waist size is less than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.”
So, which camp are you on now? Our view is that it is definitely possible to be fat and fit. However, it may end up becoming just a phase along the path to becoming fat and unfit if you don’t watch your discipline, even if your weight appears to stay the same!
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