BMI, cheap scales and other bogus fitness measures. There’s a better way!

For years, BMI (body mass index) has been used to flag health concerns by classifying people as “underweight, ideal, overweight or obese.” Unfortunately, this scale, created in the 19th century by Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet, was not meant to measure the fitness of an individual. And relying on it to do so can produce deeply flawed results. Fit and athletic people may often be classified as overweight or obese, while conversely, people who fall into the “ideal” range may have too much fat around their organs - a dangerous situation.

Tanita MC-780U scale

That’s why Jennifer Wall, of Nutrition In Motion, partnered with the Zoo Health Club, says it’s crucial to go “Beyond The BMI” and truly understand what the composition of the body is. To that end, Nutrition in Motion uses a Tanita MC-780U scale - the gold standard in portable body composition measurement. The quality that sets the Tanita apart is its use of multiple frequencies, which allows it to measure with much greater precision than the types of bioelectrical impedance scales you might find in someone’s bathroom.

Every member of the Zoo gets a free body composition analysis on the Tanita or a Fit 3D Body Scanner to get started on the right track.

The body scan will provide an accurate reading of the percentage of muscle, bone, water and fat a client has, including visceral fat around the organs, which may be high even in someone with a low BMI.

This visceral fat can be exacerbated by toxins in diet, timing of eating, and especially cortisol and stress, Jenn says.

And this situation won’t be identified by BMI, calipers, or by an inexpensive off-the-shelf scale that purports to measure body fat.

Ernesto Pinder, Jr., the Zoo’s Territory Operations manager, has seen first-hand what can happen when somebody gets bad data about their body.

Ernesto remembers one man who had purchased a $135 bathroom scale from an online retailer. These scales send an electrical current up one leg and down the other. They have a high margin of error. The scale indicated that this fit bodybuilder had 22 percent body fat. He struggled and failed to remedy this statistic through dieting and increased exercise. Then he joined the Zoo.

Ernesto took one look at him and knew the measurement was wrong.

“I said, there’s no way in heck you’re at 22 percent,” Ernesto recalls. They immediately reassessed his measurements on the Tanita, which accurately showed him at a trim 12.5 percent body fat. “He’d been on this thing for over a year, and it’s saying he’s 22 percent.” Ernesto shakes his head. “It’s sad and it’s dangerous when people are using this method of measurement that has a margin of error of 10 percent.”

“Any individual who suffers from the slightest occurence of body dysmorphia needs accurate measurement,” he says. And chances are, if they are trusting BMI or body-fat-measuring bathroom scales, they aren’t getting it.

That’s why Ernesto says the Zoo partnered with Nutrition in Motion, whose technology and expertise in nutrition science will round out the strength training and fitness expertise the Zoo’s team provides.

“We wanted to have a one-stop shop in terms of health and wellness. We searched for years, then came across Nutrition in Motion,” Ernesto says. “They were an ideal fit for what we want to deliver.”

The Zoo has locations in Manchester, Derry and opening in July 2019, Concord, NH. Pre-enrollment is currently available for the Concord location with no startup fee, a $100 savings.