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The Problem with BMI

What is BMI?

health-and-fitness-motivation-by-elisaBMI or Body Mass Index is a frequently used to measure or quantify an individual’s body shape based on a correlation between that person’s height and weight. BMI was first created in the 19th century by a Belgian sociologist and mathematician Adolphe Quetelet as a means to measure populations with a predominantly sedentary lifestyle.

Today, BMI is used by doctors and other healthcare professionals as a means to objectively discuss weight problems instead of using terms such as “overweight”, “obese”, or “underweight”. However, more and more physicians and other healthcare professionals forget the intended purpose of BMI as a generic way of classifying a population and instead use it as means for diagnosis.

Misusing BMI:

Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? And yet it is increasingly true. About a year ago I went to visit one of a few dozen physicians from the “old country” that operate in my area. I thought that since this particular doctor had experience dealing with people from my region I could save some time on filling in the gaps about some of the common ailments and just get to being treated for the problem that was bothering me. What I didn’t expect is to come into the office get weighed in and to be told that I am overweight and need to lose a lot of weight.

bmi-chartAt this point, allow me to give you some back story. I am a runner with a love of bodybuilding. I am fit, I eat right, I have a fairly low body fat percentage, and high muscle mass. So, when the doctor whom I never met before, looked at me (I was wearing a hoody and loose pants) and told me that I really needed to start watching my weight and change my diet, I couldn’t help but laugh.

He, of course, asked me why I was laughing. I asked him why he thought I had a bad diet and was overweight. In turn, he turned my attention to the BMI chart and said that based on my height and weight, I was clearly overweight and that could be due to the fact that I am not eating right and not exercising regularly. Honestly, at that point all I wanted to do is get up, take my hoody off, flex my “guns” and walk out, but I refrained.

I nicely told him the following:

On a case to case bases, BMI alone is not a good indicator or predictor of health or body composition. For example, a man who is 6’ 3” with a weight of 210 pounds is considered overweight according to the BMI chart. However, the chart does not specify if the body fat percentage (BF) of the man in question. Sure, if the man has a BF of 30% or more he is overweight. However if you look at a man who weighs in at 210 and stands at 6’ 3” with a BF of 15%, I guarantee you, you wouldn’t be calling him even remotely overweight.

What is the Lesson to be Learned Here?

1970767_10152283371584394_2044580024_nBMI is a good way to analyze large samples of predominantly sedentary, average population, not as a way to discuss weight issues on an individual case by case bases.

You will hear fitness professionals tell their clients to stop concentrating on “the number on the scale”. This is partially the reason why. That number means absolutely nothing unless you pair it with measurements, accurate BF% measurements, and, of course, whether or not the client is trading their “fat pants” for the “skinny jeans”.

So, if anyone tells you that you are overweight / obese and you respectfully disagree, ask them why they think that. If the answer is that the BMI chart told them so, tell them to read this article and walk away. You should expose yourself to such willful ignorance and negativity.

Fierce Workout: Well Armed

Regardless of who you are and what you do you probably spend a lot of time picking things up and putting them back down. Whether you are carrying your children and groceries, working in your garden or lifting a 32 oz. mug of beer to your mouth, your arms are probably involved in the process.

This weeks workout is all about building strong, shapely arms to make whatever it is you do look a little sexier.

The How To:

Tension (resistance) Band Curls:

Stand on the tension band with your legs apart until you feel appropriate (challenging) tension with your arms straight down. Holding the tension band handles, palms out, curl up as you would with a dumbbell curl.

Tension (resistance) Band Triceps Extensions:

Wrap the tension band around a post, tree, bedpost, or anything else that is sturdy and will hold tension well at about your ankle level. With the tension band behind you. With your hands behind your head grab the handle, palms face each other, elbows bent at 90 degrees. Keep your upper arm pressed tightly against your body with the elbow bent at a 90 degree angle. Pull the handles up and slowly return it back to the starting position. Make sure that you are using appropriate tension for this exercise.

Tension (resistance) Band Preacher Curls:

Wrap the tension band around a sturdy surface at about your waist level. Hold the band with your arms extended, palms up. Pull the handles towards your shoulders and slowly return back to starting position. Make sure that you are using appropriate tension for this exercise.

Tension (resistance) Band Triceps Push-down:

Wrap the band around something sturdy high above your head. Hold the handles with your palms facing each other, elbows bent at 90 degree angles close to your body. Pull the handles down while keeping them close to your body, bending only at the elbows. Return to the starting position. Make sure that you are using appropriate tension for this exercise.

Tension (resistance) Band Wrist Curls:

Secure the tension band underneath one of your feet. Hold the tension band handle with the opposite hand, elbow resting on top of your quad, hand  above your knee, palm facing up. Pull the handle up by curling your wrist up. Return to the starting position. Take care to utilize proper and challenging tension on the band at all times.

Tension (resistance) Band Wrist Extensions:

Secure the tension band underneath one of your feet. Hold the tension band handle with the same hand, elbow resting on top of your quad, hand  above your knee, palm facing down. Pull the handle up by utilizing only your wrist and allow it to return to the starting position. Your forearm should remain stationary throughout this exercise.


Merry Christmas from Everyone at Fierce Miles

                                                                                                                  Buff Santa II

I recently realized that the post that I scheduled for last Monday did not post (I will be reposting it next week). So, I wanted to take this opportunity to let everyone know that we are going to take a short Christmas break and will be back to our regular posting schedule on December 26th. We hope that you have a wonderful time with you family and loved once in the next few days. Have a safe and Merry Christmas!

Fierce Workout: Sweating Bullets

This another Holiday travel friendly workout of the week. This week we will be using tension bands. You should be able to complete this workout in 30 minutes.

The How To:

Tension Band Squats:

Stand on the tension band with your hands by your shoulders in the squat position. Pretend that you are holding a barbell on your shoulders and you are about to do barbell squats. Your tension band should be appropriately tense. Now, stand up with your hands by your shoulders as you would while performing a barbell squat.

Tension Band Curls:

Stand on the tension band with your legs apart until you feel appropriate (challenging) tension with your arms straight down. Holding the tension band handles, palms out, curl up as you would with a dumbbell curl.

Tension Band Sit-ups:

Wrap the tension band around a post, tree, bedpost, or anything else that is sturdy and will hold tension well. Position yourself on the floor / ground facing away from the post. Holding your hands by your head with an appropriate (challenging) amount of tension on the band, perform sit-ups.


Try to rest only after you have completed a circuit. Push hard, dig deep, and remember it is a short workout designed to burn a lot of calories. After you finish, make sure that you stretch, use a roller if one is available, and drink lots of water. Have fun and let me know what you think!

Cabbage Salad

I am a big fan of cabbage which is why I am constantly looking for new, easy, runner diet friendly ways to make my favorite dishes. Blow is my take on a coleslaw salad. For this recipe you can use any cabbage you like. My preference is savoy or white, but red cabbage works well too and adds a nice touch of color.  This salad is a perfect side dish for a nice, juicy turkey burger or veggie burger.


4 cups Shredded Cabbage Slaw
1 cup Sliced Cucumber
1 Cup Sliced Radish

2 tbsp Fresh Dill (optional)
2 tbsp Light Mayo
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt


Combine cabbage, cucumbers, and radishes in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine mayo, buttermilk, black pepper, salt, and chopped dill. Mix well and pour over the veggie mixture. Give it a good  toss and enjoy!

Fierce Workout: Fit in 400

Chances are you are going to be away from your gym / workout equipment this Holiday season due to travel and family obligations. Does your workout have to suffer because that? No! This week, I have devised a fun, fast paced way for you to burn off the Holiday treats at the track.


Fierce Workout: The Sky Is The Limit

Since the Holiday season is almost here, I figured I’d start posting some travel friendly workouts. This week we will explorer an AMRAP workout. AMRAP stands for As Many Reps As Possible in a given amount of time. For this workout, you’ll need to complete as many reps as possible for 20 minutes of the exercises listed on the workout graphic. You may stop as needed, but remember, you only have 20 minutes to complete this. The shorter the breaks the more reps you’ll be able to squeeze in.


Surviving the Holidays: Staying Fit While Traveling

holiday-fitnessHoliday season is right around the corner and with it comes a heavy travel schedule, stress, joy, pies, cookies, candy, guilt, and mounds of delicious, fattening food. So, how do you maintain all the progress you have made in the last few weeks and still enjoy your time with your family and friends?

First of all, I encourage everyone to take a look at the calendar. How many days are there between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year? 26! Even if you ate until you feel like popping on Thanksgiving and Christmas day, there are still 26 other days to stay on plan! Make it a point to stick to your diet and workout schedule during those 26 days. You will feel significantly better about yourself if are actually following through with a program that you have set for yourself. You might even feel more empowered by the progress that you are making despite the odds.


Some of us can’t have consistent access to the gym during the holidays due to travel and family obligations. Not to worry, you can still get a great workout that will burn calories even if you didn’t splurge on a fancy hotel that has a private gym.  Here’s how:


TRX is a suspension system that will change your life. It is compact, fits in most carryon, and can be fastened to a door, a pull-up bar or any number of other surfaces. TRX allows you to perform a variety of moves that encompass practically every part of your body with just your body weight and angle variation.

 Take it outside

Even if you don’t have time for a full run, grab a few of your relatives and get outside. Be a kid again and play some football, tag, or even hide and seek. Think about it this way: your kids will be happy and worn out before the day ends and you’ll feel better because you had some cardio!

Go for a hike, or grab all the pets that need walking and go for a long walk. The pets will thank you and you will thank you! Seriously, no need to sit inside and be tempted by all the food. Go get some air, do something fun, be a kid again!

 Tension Bands

Much like the TRX, Tension Bands are a space saving travel must have! Tension bands can replace dumbbells for most exercises and are fun and easy to use. I find that they are best used together with a TRX.

 High Rep, High Intensity Exercises

Forgot to pack your TRX and your Tension Bands? No problem, a high rep, high intensity routine will get your heart rate high and your muscles working. Try exercises such as air squats, squat jumps, high knees, butt kicks, push-ups (of all varieties), crunches, triceps dips, and box jumps (you can use a park bench for these). There are endless possibilities and the amount of calories that you can burn is insane!

For more “no gym required” workouts, visit our workout page or our Facebook page!


Eating While Traveling

Keeping a good diet is always difficult when you are traveling. Even if you usually pack your own food, traveling with it might present an issue. Believe it or not, if you are taking a road trip this holiday season, you’ll have an easier time staying on plan than those with long layovers. Most airports won’t let you go through security with a drink larger than three ounces and you can forget about bringing food! So what is one to do when stuck on a long flight or have a long layover? Here are some tips:

 Be Smart

Airports will usually have a number of restaurants that offer lighter dishes. If you are eating at the restaurant, go for a salad with a grilled protein, get your dressing on the side, and make sure to steer clear of anything that is candied, breaded, or contains large quantities of fat.

Not ready for a meal but would like a snack? Airport newsstands and coffee shops frequently carry nuts and occasionally some fresh fruit. If you can find some skim milk and a banana, you are basically set for a nice snack.

Some Starbucks locations still offer protein powder as an addition to their drinks. If you go for a nonfat, sugar free, nothing bad protein latter, you just might make it to your destination without deviating from your diet.

However, if you slip up, panic and make the wrong choice, don’t beat yourself up. One bad meal isn’t going to make you fat, a few bad meals might.

If you are traveling by car and wondering how to stay on plan, you are in for a treat! I LOVE road trips and at this point I am somewhat of a pro at making them nice, relaxing, and fun. Even before I began my fitness journey I would pack food for long trips. I found that it saved me money and helped me get to where I was going faster. What can I say, I hate stopping and LOVE driving! Here’s what I pack:

Get a large cooler and a bunch of ice or ice packs, fill it with the following:

 Short Trips (3-4 hr):

Protein Powder / Protein Drinks
Fruit or veggies (green apples, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cut and cleaned green peppers, radishes, celery sticks, grapes, pears)

Long Trips (5+ hr):

Meal Replacement Shakes
Protein Drinks / Protein Powder
Salad (lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers) precut in a large Tupperware container
Lean protein (precut grilled chicken or individual packets of tuna)
Fruit and Veggies
Almond Butter


I also find it useful to have a cooler with me at the hotel room. That way I can stop by the local grocery store and get everything I need for a healthy snack or mid-day meal. What can I say, the small fridges just don’t cut it for me anymore!

If you have any questions about keeping your progress through the Holidays, visit our Facebook page, send me an email, or comment below. I’m sure you can come up with a plan for you!

Beet Root Salad

Beets may not be your first choice when it comes to getting the most vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but they might just be what you need to ward off that evil flu.  Some studies show that consuming raw or lightly cooked beet root may increase your immunity, decrease muscular inflammation, promote digestive tract detox, as well as significantly decrease risk of certain cancers.  But even after all of that, most people would never choose to eat a beet willingly. Well, below is a new take on an old Russian recipe that is guaranteed to change your mind about beet root.

There are a few additions, substitutions, as well as modifications that you can do to this beet root salad to meet your nutrient needs. For example, you may want to substitute a green onion, or a Texas onion for a red onion. You can also substitute Edamame instead of peas and toss in some herbs like parsley or basil to brighten up the flavor and take you into a whole new direction.


3 cups of lightly cooked beets
1 cup Red Onion
2 cups Sauerkraut
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Agave Syrup
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 cup Peas (fresh or canned)
2 medium Pickles



Cut the green and the root of off your raw beets, wash and peel the outer skin. In a medium size pot bring the beets to a boil. The water should cover the beets by about ½ an inch. Cook the beets until they are tender but not mushy. You want the beets to have a little bit of crunch. About 15-20 minutes.

While your beets are cooking dice the onion and combine it with sauerkraut, olive oil, agave syrup, and lemon juice. Mix well and set aside. Let the flavors combine while you finish cooking your beets and dicing them.

Wash, clean, and steam your peas (if you are using fresh peas) or drain a can of your favorite pea variety, dice two medium sized pickles and set them aside.

When the beets have finished cooking, dice them into bite sized pieces and combine them with the rest of the ingredients. Toss, salt to taste and serve.

Makes about 7 cups.

Nutrition:  Serving Size: 1 cup, Cal. 128.9 Fat 4.2g Carb. 12.7g Protein 4.2g


Fierce Workout: The Countdown

Here’s  a fun and challenging way to brighten up your workout routine. I introduce to you, The Countdown! Pick a number you are comfortable with (for the sake of this example I chose 10) and do each exercise 10 times, then 9 times, and so on until you get to 1. No rest between sets until you get to the end of the circuit, rest 60 seconds.


This is a physical endurance exercise as well as a mental one. Regardless of your desire to give up, you must keep going. If you chose your starting number correctly, this is the kind of workout that will leave you exhausted and sore. Remember to hydrate properly before and after, eat right, and, as usual, talk to your doctor before attempting anything that is outside of your comfort zone.