Health check – Waist circumference

When writing a battery of fitness tests for my clients I often like to include waist circumference. Whether the client has a weight loss goal or a weight gain goal it can still be applicable and more importantly can be used as a in indicator of health status.

What does waist circumference tell us?

Simply using the scales to indicate our health status is not reliable enough as it does not differentiate between what the weight is composed of i.e what is muscle, bone, water, or fat. It also appears that where our fat is stored is more important. Abdominal adiposity (tummy fat) in particular can increase our risk of a heart attack or stroke therefore it is more important that we monitor fat distribution in this area. 

What about strength athletes?

Well, actually in my opinion it is just as relevant to them as it is anyone else. Whether you are a body builder, fitness model, sprinter, or MMA fighter you are still going to benefit from a healthy waist circumference. In fact body builders and fitness models want as little abdominal adiposity as possible to enhance/define their abdominal muscles. Sprinters need a very high strength to bodyweight ratio so excess abdominal fat will only hinder their speed. Finally MMA fighters are in a weight classified sport and will benefit from being as strong as they can without going up into the next weight category. Excess abdominal adiposity can suggest they are unnecessarily using up some of their baggage allowance! Better to replace that fat with some force producing myofilaments ‘MUSCLE’.

So what is a healthy waist circumference?

health risk

Now don’t forget these figures represent a statistical analysis of health risk. The athletic populations mentioned above would be aiming for a waist circumference even lower.

Invest in a tape measure and start tracking 😉