Deciphering the Truth About Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI: Measuring Height and WeightBody Mass Index is used commonly while calculating body fat and for fitness level assessments, but what does it really mean? Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a measurement that uses an individual’s current height and weight to determine their body fat using a simple equation. This equation is as follows:

BMI=weight(lb) * 703 / height2 (in2)
BMI (metric)=weight(kg) / height2 (m2)

The number resulting from this equation is essentially your body fat percentage. Healthy body fat percentage differs between men and women, below is a chart with each gender’s ranges:

Women’s BMI Chart:

Age Underfat Healthy Range Overweight Obese
20-40yrs Under 21% 21-33% 33-39% Over 39%
41-60yrs Under 23% 23-35% 35-40% Over 40%
61-79yrs Under 24% 24-36% 36-42% Over 42%

Men’s BMI Chart:

Age Underfat Healthy Range Overweight Obese
20-40yrs Under 8% 8-19% 19-25% Over 25%
41-60yrs Under 11% 11-22% 22-27% Over 27%
61-79yrs Under 13% 13-25% 25-30% Over 30%

Keep in mind, each individual requires body fat, and it is essential to a healthy lifestyle. If one were to drop into the “underfat” category it could interfere with normal bodily functions. Healthy and unhealthy ranges also change depending on age because individuals deposit more body fat as they grow older.

Even though the BMI calculation is fast and easy to use, it can be incorrect in certain situations. For example, if you lift weights on a regular basis, muscle weighs more than fat and therefore will cause you to be heavier. Therefore, when calculating your BMI, it is the muscle and not the fat in your body that causes you to weigh more.

Fat Calipers-Skin Fold Test

BMI is a fast and easy equation for giving a rough body/fat percentage estimate, but there are other more accurate ways of measuring body fat. One of which is the “skinfold test” offered during your initial fitness assessment through the Elite Sports Clubs’ fitness centers. Contact the fitness center to make an appointment for your own polar body age and body/fat assessment.

Exercise Can Mean Quality Time With Your Loved Ones

By Hans Bremer, Personal Trainer, Elite Sports Club-Mequon

Exercise and fitness are great ways to get out and have a good time with friends and family. Everyone is at different fitness levels, but there are plenty of options out there for everyone to enjoy.

Family Exercise

With your spouse or significant other, if you don’t share similar interests, you can take some general fitness classes together or do some couples personal training or tennis lessons. If you do share similar fitness interests, like the same sport or activity, get out there and do it TOGETHER!

Go on a nice long walk or a bike ride with your parents or grandparents. Nothing beats an inter-generational workout. You might even learn something along the way. Spend time with your children swimming or practicing their favorite sport. Join a facility that encourages children to get involved in exercise and physical activity. Everyone loves to PLAY, so get out and play with your kids! Be involved in their growth and learning about health and nutrition.

Exercise with your friends! Do group personal training, enroll in a boot camp together, or join a sports league. If you’re going to hang out with your friends you might as well have some fun playing and exercising while you do it.

Exercise and physical activity with your friends and loved ones is a great way to have fun and is extremely beneficial to both your physical and mental health at the same time. Grab your friends and family and GET OUT THERE!

Need help thinking of ideas? Let us help you find the right sports league, exercise class, or youth fitness program for you and your family. Or just start by checking out our activities calendar.

What activities do you use as an excuse to spend time with your family and friends? Tell us in the comments!

Youth Fitness & Nutrition: Country Fruit Stand Salad Recipe

By Rita Larsen, Elite Sports Clubs Registered Dietitian & Nutrition Counselor

Country Fruit Stand Salad
Country Fruit Stand Salad,

This week we had a great opportunity to make a nutritious fruit salad with a tasty dressing for our students in the Scamp (Summer Day Camp) Kids Exercise & Nutrition ProgramChildren learned about the benefits of eating fruits high in antioxidants, especially berries of all varieties, such as, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries. In addition, they learned how to make a tasty fruit-based dressing with orange juice and honey. The topping was an excellent cinnamon granola mixture. The children enjoyed the entire salad and helped me prepare the final mixture for tasting by the group.

Country Fruit Stand Salad

(Original Recipe)

Country Fruit Stand Salad gets its sparkling taste from a marinade of a combo of ginger ale, orange juice and honey. This unbeatable trio of flavors turns an ordinary fruit salad recipe into something special.

Serves: 10

Preparation Time: 35 min

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 medium to large cantaloupe, cut in half, seeds and rind removed
  • 1 medium to large honeydew melon, cut in half, seeds and rind removed
  • 1 medium to large pineapple, top removed, sliced into quarters, rind and core removed
  • 1 quart strawberries, washed and hulled (tops removed)
  • 3/4 cup ginger ale
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup granola

What To Do:

  1. Cut cantaloupe, honeydew, and pineapple into bite-sized pieces; place in a large  bowl.
  2. Cut strawberries in half (or in quarters, if they’re large); add to other fruit.
  3. In a small bowl, combine ginger ale, orange juice, and honey; mix well. Add to fruit; mix well.
  4. Allow fruit to “marry” for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to use.
  5. Just before serving, sprinkle each serving with a bit of granola.


The number of servings this makes will depend upon the size of the fruit you use.

We often send home recipes for children to try at home with their parents. Of course, the supervision will come from the parents; but we do often like to have the children do some assembly work and to actually be able to touch and feel the food.

If you and your children would like to discuss further healthy foods to prepare, family eating schedules and planning, please contact Rita Larsen for a family discussion of “HELP,” Healthy Eating for Life Program. This can be arranged by appointment at a convenient time and location for your entire family.

Have a good rest of the summer and enjoy these summer nights with a delicious healthy meal your whole family will enjoy having, time after time!

Member Stories: Gerry & Donald Vogel

We’re extremely proud of our members. Over the years their work out agendas and sporting endeavors serve as healthy examples of how it feels to be Elite, and how exercise not only adds years to your life, but life to your years! Today we’d like to highlight another member’s accomplishments:

Member Stories Gerry Donald Vogel

Within one year of joining Elite, Gerry & Donald Vogel both lost significant amounts of weight. Gerry lost 60 pounds, and Donald lost 40 pounds. They exercised four or five times a week and were pleased when their entire fitness profiles improved.

Over the years, Gerry and Donald have utilized and enjoyed a variety of programs at Elite including: healthy eating programs, pilates, and the exercise machines. Donald attends pilates twice a week and uses the bike, treadmill, elliptical, and weights on other days. Gerry began taking treading classes when they first joined and now she uses a combination of the elliptical, bike, and treadmill four days a week and weights two to three times a week.

Their short term goals were to lose weight and increase their total fitness. Happy with their results so far, they still strive to maintain and improve upon their overall fitness.

“There have been so many positive experiences during our time here,” Gerry explains. “We have met so many people and that is a big part of getting us here every day. The interaction with the training staff has been so beneficial. Having knowledgeable professionals who encourage you to improve and who correct you if needed. Elite is a major part of our lives because of the professional and social contacts. The parties are great too!”

Gerry and Donald have been members since 2001 and continue to stay active at the club. Submit your own “Elite” story! Or tweet us @MyEliteStory!

How do the people you meet at the club affect your exercise routine and strides towards accomplishing your own goals? Tell us in the comments!

Maintaining & Even Improving Your Health As You Age

Pick up any fitness magazine these days and it’s likely to contain an article about exercise and aging. You’ll read about losing muscle tone and muscle mass at an alarmingly increasing rate as advanced age sets in. What’s more, you’ll read that as you lose the muscle it’s likely to be replaced by fat. Muscles and skin lose tone and start to look more like drapery. Very depressing, and it all starts at ripe old age of 40.

The technical term for this process is “Sarcopenia“. It’s something that is built into the human aging process. Until recently it was believed there was nothing to be done to slow it down. And the simple truth is, it is inevitable. But there’s some hope! Studies performed on older athletes that exercise seriously and are dedicated to their workout routines can dramatically delay the loss of muscle.

There is a lot of good advice available on-line, in magazines and in books on how to deal with muscle loss. One of the best books is “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley and Dr. Harry Lodge. The book is an easy read. The authors use humor, and switch back and forth to keep it interesting.

Standard Aging/Decay Delaying Aging/Decay

The authors use a simple graph to demonstrate the aging process and the human ability to stay conditioned. The graph is in the form of an arc. Starting as a young person the arc curves upward gently and reaches a peak at about age 28. It may level off for a while and then starts to drop off as we age. As we approach our 80’s most of us find ourselves on a steep downward slide. What I find really interesting about this is that for some of us the arc drops of very rapidly after 40, while others glide down more gradually into old age. Some people manage to stay active and even compete athletically well into their 90’s.

Improving Aging/Decay

The purpose of the book is to show us how we can slow down the rapid decline of our condition or even reverse it to a point where we become more fit than we were in years previous, thus the term “Younger Next Year.”

A recent study on muscle loss has shown some very dramatic and encouraging results. The research was based on men that were dedicated to exercising most of their lives. In response to the arc described earlier, this study asks: “If a person is dedicated to staying active throughout their life, as they finally start the downward slide in their physical condition, at which point (age) is their condition equal to what it was at age 19 when they were on the way up?” If you thought this point would arrive at a much younger age, the answer may surprise you. The study showed that an individual that takes exercise seriously can be in as good condition at age 65 as s/he was at age 19.

Senior and Teen Lifting Weights

In the March/April copy of AARP magazine, contributor Gretchen Reynolds points out how important it is to be aggressive about your workout routine as you age. She asks, “Are the changes in our bodies due to aging or to lifestyle?” In other words, do we talk ourselves into slowing down just because we’re 60 or 70? When in reality, taking those regular long walks, as many older people do, may benefit your cardiovascular condition but you need to include serious weight resistance training at least three times a week to slow down the loss of muscle and bone strength.

For some of us, that’s not as easy as it sounds. We are conditioned to believe slowing down is good as we age and we look forward to “time on the couch.”

The first wave of the “Baby Boomers” are already over 65, and believe it or not, we are seeing more and more “seniors” coming in to the club to work out. They are no longer “too busy” to have a daily dedicated exercise routine. They just need to be a bit more aware of their heart rate, and recognize when they are over doing it and learn to throttle back. But beyond that, many of our older members are right there with the younger ones, working out regularly.

Senior Woman Exercising on Weight Machine

As you age, it takes longer to recover from injuries when they do occur (and you are more susceptible to disease). Recovery time means “down time,” which in turn allows backsliding to happen. Inactivity means “decay” as Crowley calls it in his book. Decay will come with time. It is inevitable. However, fighting it off can give you pleasantly surprising results. You can become more fit than you were in previous years. Granted, it does take hard work, dedication, and a steady hand on that throttle. If you’re willing to invest, the payoff is great. You’ll not only feel good about yourself, you’ll look better and your quality of life will improve.

The investment is well worth the return.

At Elite we strive to offer health & fitness programs for all age groups, including our growing senior population. But don’t wait to get old, to get fit! Start now with a fitness assessment and orientation to see the areas you need to improve or maintain. Not familiar with our five Elite Sports Clubs locations? Take a tour today!

Do you believe age is just a number? What is one thing you are already doing or plan to do to help “delay your decay”? Tell us in the comments!