Saturday, June 4, 2011

I Was a Teenage Bodybuilder

Your body is the baggage you must carry through life. The more excess the baggage, the shorter the trip.
Arnold H. Glasow

It's simple, if it jiggles, it's fat.
Arnold Schwarzenegger

My son came home with a cool device a few weeks ago, a “Body Composition Monitor”, which means a scale with a bunch of bells and whistles. But what fun the bells and whistles are! I got on the thing for the first time today and learned what I am composed of.

The Body Composition Monitor (BCM) tells me such useful information as the percentage of water that is inside me, how much my muscles weigh and what my metabolic age is (apparently it should be lower than my real age; this should be an easy one for me since the scale only goes to 50).

The charts and tables in the BCM User Manual tell me that all my numbers are inside the acceptable range. I’m not sure what the BCM does if they aren’t; perhaps flash an LCD readout that says “Clean Up Your Act!”, beep three times and print an audition application for The Biggest Loser?

I am apparently 57.3% water. This explains the sloshing feeling I have occasionally, and why I have to pee so often.

As an athlete I am used to being aware of calories; for me calories are the fuel I require to burn in exercise rather than the Blue Meanies they represent to dieters. If I am reading the BCM number correctly, I need 1733 calories per day in order to survive. Although the readout does not specifically indicate this, I believe that a large number of these calories are allowed to come from ice cream. At any rate, whether or not they are allowed to, in my case they do. However, I interpret my relatively low body fat percentage number as positive reinforcement for my dietary choices.

The good news is that my muscles, fat and bone seem to add up to roughly my total weight, meaning that I am composed of not much more than these components (which of these three categories is the brain in, and how much does mine weigh? The BCM does not tell me this). I wonder what would happen if politician got on a BCM; they are often full of other substances.

And what are goosebumps made of? The BCM manual says you are not to wear anything while weighing yourself and it was chilly in the bathroom.

The most surprising readout was what the BCM calls my metabolic age, which came out as 14. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I suppose it is good to have body of a teenager rather than of someone four or five decades older, but I’m not sure I want to go back to teenhood, physically or otherwise. It took me a lot of work, suffering and angst to get to where I am today and the thought of metabolically starting all over again makes me want to start scarfing down the cookie dough and at least get myself up to voting age.

At any rate, what I am to do with all this information remains to be seen. When one has the body of a 14-year-old, where else is there to go? If I continue to get fitter will I also continue to regress and end up like Benjamin Button?

At my time of life I suppose the best thing to hope for is that my metabolic information (or the rest of me for that matter) doesn’t slide too much in the coming years. And now I have the Body Composition Monitor to help me with that; or at least to track the inexorable decline as I sink inexorably into my declining years.