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Know your body: What your fitness metrics mean.

Do you want some insider knowledge on your personal fitness? Maybe you want to smash some lifestyle goals, or you simply wanting to learn more about the inner workings of your body. We've spoken before about great fitness apps that boost your workout, but calculating your own fitness metrics are a fascinating way to find out just how healthy you really are, and to understand how your body compares to the average person in your age range.

Calculations and mathematics about your body might not seem rewarding or fun, but they can be in reality. Working towards a body-fat goal, or simply trying to shrink your waistline, can seem so much more achievable when you have solid figures with which to compete.

DIY fitness metrics – Maximum heart-rate


Your heart-rate is the best way to know just how hard your body is working during exercise. For a quality, aerobic workout, at least 20-30 minutes should be spent within a 55-85% range of your maximum heart-rate. How do you know what our maximum heart rate is, you may ask?

It's a simple calculation: 220 - your age!

For example: If I am 23, my maximum heart-rate should be around 197 (220 - 23). Therefore, during an aerobic workout, my heart-rate should be between 109 and 167 beats per minute (197*0.55 and 197 * 0.85).

If your heart-rate is too high when exercising, it could be an indicator that your workout is currently too tough for you, especially if you're on the heavier side. Once you have determined what your exercising heart-rate should be, you can ensure that every workout is hitting the mark with a heart-rate monitor!

DIY Fitness metrics – Body mass index (BMI)


Your BMI is a fairly reliable indicator of body-fat in the average adult (that is, how much of your weight is fat). However, be aware that the standard BMI metric is far less accurate for athletes and children. If your child would like to know their BMI because they've seen you figuring out yours, there are many online calculators, which utilise more complicated equations and produce more accurate results for children.

If you have too great a percentage of body-fat, and therefore sit in a higher BMI range, you are at greater risk of health complications throughout your lifetime. The BMI tool can be helpful to determine whether you need to make lifestyle changes to improve your wellbeing, or whether you’re on the right track to a long and healthy life.

To calculate your BMI, all you have to do is:

  1. Record your weight,

  2. Record your height,

  3. Perform the following calculation: Weight [kg] / (height [m]) * height [m])

Once you have this figure, you can see which BMI range you fall into. The generally accepted ranges, with their classifications, are:

  • 18.5 – underweight,

  • 18.5-25 – normal weight,

  • 25-30 – overweight,

  • 30+ – obese.

For example: If I am 1.7 m tall, and I weight 60 kg, my BMI will be 20.8 (60 / [1.7 * 1.7]). This puts me within the 'normal weight' range.

DIY fitness metrics – Waist circumference


Waist size is an important indicator of a number of serious health concerns, such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. If you’re feeling a little more ‘jolly’ around the middle, it might be worth a quick measure up. Here’re a couple of tips to ensure an accurate result:

  1. Start the tape measure at your hip bone, before wrapping it around your waist. It should be around the same level as your belly button, and perfectly horizontal.

  2. Ensure you’re breathing normally, and that your stomach is relaxed (no sucking in!).

For men, a healthy waist sits below the 101 centimetre mark, while for the ladies, 89 centimetres is the healthy maximum.

Remember: If you’re concerned with any of your fitness calculation results, we suggest visiting a doctor or health professional to discuss it.


Have you been calculating your own fitness metrics? What did you learn about your body?
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