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When Measuring Wellness, Look Beyond The Scale

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Are you ready to start a new workout plan? Whatever your reason to get fit may be, it's no secret that gyms will be flooded with new members as many look to change our workout ways in 2015.

When it comes to making a change to your gym routine or even getting back to the gym period, that number on the scale always seems to serve as motivation. But is it really the most important figure?

Life Time Fitness personal trainer Joe Gonzalez said body mass index (BMI) can be deceiving. He pointed to pro football players as an example.

"If you take any NFL athlete, most of them would be considered obese considering their height-to-weight ratio," he said.

Gonzalez said if you're hoping to see the pounds come off, pay more attention to your body fat percentage. Just before the ball dropped, Gonzalez walked WCCO through three different levels of testing. The first test is the easiest method.

"Right now what we're doing is we are sending a current throughout the entire body, and the current will measure how much fat and water we have," Gonzalez said, describing how the scale measures more than just weight.

One triathlete who was put to the test, Joe Heinlein, said he uses this test to evaluate his fitness levels before races.

The test prints off a clear picture of where you can make simple improvements, even areas like hydration.

If you want to understand just how many calories you're burning in a given day, Gonzalez said take it to the next level -- get your heart rate up and do a breathing test by hooking on a mask while you work out.

"It's a great way to identify our resting and active metabolism, metabolism being the rate of our body burning fat," Gonzalez said, describing the second level.

Gonzalez told WCCO physical tests that make you feel the burn can also help identify just how quickly your body consumes those calories.

Finally, if you're feeling really ambitious, a drop of blood goes a long away. Gonzalez said it's the most conclusive level of fitness testing because it provides a great deal of information.

"The finger prick is six metrics. We focus on triglycerides, cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure, body fat and tobacco use," he said.

The blood tests help identify any high area of risk before you make a weight loss and fitness plan. Gonzalez recommends combining all three tests for best results.

Regardless of where you set the "bar" this workout season, Gonzalez said the best thing you can do is walk in the door regularly.


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