This week, our Aussie friends conducted a study that found that about 60 percent of men in the country were clinically overweight.
Big deal, right? We Americans can beat that!
But, the more surprising finding was that, of all those pot-belly men, only 36 percent perceived themselves as being overweight.
Sure, that may be beneficial to their self-esteem, but it doesn’t change the fact that they could be setting themselves up for more serious health complications by ignoring the keg resting on top of their six pack.
Just like your last AA meeting, the first step is to admit you have a problem. That means stepping up and facing the cold, hard numbers.
Waist to Hip Ratio
Of course, the quickest way to get an overview of your weight situation is to simply step onto a scale. For many, the number staring back at you will be enough of a wake-up call.
Then, there’s always the BMI (body mass index), but that doesn’t take into account your lean muscle mass, so it’s less effective at separating the fatties from the fitties.
One of the most accurate measurements is the waist to hip ratio. The WHR is better for tracking your visceral fat (the most dangerous kind that gathers around your stomach).
It’s very simple (provided you can handle 3rd-grade level math), and all you need is a measuring tape. You can man up and use the abrasive yellow metal one from your toolbox, or you can check your ego and spring for one of these cheap, but softer and easier to use, MyoTapes:
- First, measure your waist at it’s thinnest point (usually right above your hip bone and below your rib cage). Try to calm your trembling hand, and write down that gargantuan number.
- Measure around your hips (down near the top of your butt) at their widest point. Whoa, and you thought the last number was big! Write down this King Kongian number.
- Now, just divide number 1 (your waist measurement) by number 2 (your hips measurement), and that’s your waist to hip ratio.
For example, I just tried mine, and here’s the results:
- Waist measurement (between hip bone and rib cage) = 32.2 inches
- Hip measurement (widest point, top of butt) = 38.6 inches
- My waist to hip ratio = 0.83
I managed to measure in under the recommended “OK” level of 0.92, but anything under 1.0 isn’t devastatingly bad.
Get Low, Low, Low, Low…
If you’re over the one-to-one ratio, it means you have too much dangerous belly fat, causing your stomach to jut out and sag in classic beer-belly fashion.
But, you only have to lose a couple of inches in your waist to get back under that 1.0 level, and eventually under the magic 0.92 level.
Let’s say you’re pretty out of shape right now: Your waist measurement is 40, and your hip measurement is 39, so your WHR is 1.03. That’s a red flag that you need to start changing your body composition, but it doesn’t take much.
If you lose just 2 inches from your waist, which is entirely possible in a matter of 2-4 weeks with proper exercise and nutrition, your WHR would drop all the way to 0.97. Stick with your new diet and exercise plan a little longer and drop 2 more inches: Now your waist to hip ratio is officially fit at 0.92!
One of the best ways to burn belly fat is HIIT (high intensity interval training), and the new technique can be even more effective.
Find out your waist to hip ratio right now, and start bringing it down!
Don’t be shy. Post your own waist to hip ratios below in the comments (no pictures required!).