Are You Fit, or Just Not Overweight?

Filed in Diet & Exercise by on November 20, 2014 4 Comments

Are You Fit, or Just Not Overweight?You’ve finally lost that extra weight you’ve been carrying around for years, or even decades. What a great accomplishment! You feel much better, fit into your clothes more easily, and look fantastic.

So you are now skinny. But are you also fit?

I know, I can be a pain in the ass. Whatever you do is never good enough!

There is a fairly important difference between being skinny and fit. Skinny is beneficial, in that you are no longer carrying around all of that extra weight, especially the fat that can surround your heart, lungs, and other internal organs, which is so deleterious to your health. However, if you achieved your reduced weight through dieting alone, this unfortunately did very little to improve your fitness level. As such, you are not as healthy as you might think you are, or as you could be.

After age 30, you will begin to lose about 1% of your muscle mass per year unless you regularly engage in some type of physical labor or resistance exercise to offset the decline. A loss of muscle tone and mass is bad for a number of reasons. It makes you weaker and less able to perform daily functions, such as carrying groceries, performing yard work like planting and trimming, walking longer distances, etc. It also results in you burning fewer calories throughout the day, since more muscle mass causes your body to burn more calories, even when you are resting or sleeping. Also, osteoporosis (age-related bone loss) begins to present itself if you don’t often enough engage in some sort of weight-bearing labor or exercise.

Overall fitness also requires that you maintain your cardiovascular health, which is achieved by walking, running, biking, swimming, playing tennis, or engaging in other active sports, and is quite important, but in this post I am focusing mostly on fitness as it relates to muscle tone, mass, and strength.

How can you tell if your muscles aren’t fit? If you don’t have a manual labor job and haven’t done any resistance training in a while, then you probably aren’t very fit. A quick test of your muscle fitness is simply to grab your upper arm, forearm, thigh, and calf to see how firm they are. Are they solid, or sort of mushy? Soft and mushy muscles are a sure sign of a lack of muscle tone and fitness.

If you have achieved a healthy weight, then you should be sincerely proud of yourself. Very few people are able to achieve and sustain a proper weight in our culture of fast food and oversized portions. However, if you want to be optimally healthy, then you need to incorporate some conditioning and resistance training exercise into your weekly routine to maintain muscle tone and strength. Your reward will be a slowing, or even reversal, of age-related muscle loss and osteoporosis, which will allow you to fully participate in all of the activities life has to offer. Here’s to a long, active, and full life!

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

Comments (4)

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  1. Michael Quinlivan says:

    Squeak, as a graduate of fourth floor Stanford Hall Studs, I think you would agree the more relevant question is am I sober or just not drunk? Just ask Brutzy. Oli

    • Tim McIntyre says:

      Olaf, first, thanks for revealing my college nickname to all of my readers. Now I’ll have to do a post on how I perfected the squeak dunk in Nerf basketball, circa 1978.

      Second, you are correct, as always, the sober/drunk question must be explored in detail. We can do that at our upcoming reunion in April, with our good buddy Boston as host.


  2. Colleen McIntyre says:

    I agree with you, Tim. Being physically fit and being thin enough to just look good in clothes are two different things. Thanks for admitting you can be a pain in the ass….however, you are right again about how being fit is really the key. You told me in person about five years ago that I am not fit but….I still love you!

    Your sister,

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