The Blog

Doctor, Doctor, Please! Why Weight?

Doctors want you to update your will immediately then, according to the latest scientific study into lifestyle you are cutting years off your life just by being a certain 'size and dimension'.

Doctors want you to update your will immediately then, according to the latest scientific study into lifestyle you are cutting years off your life just by being a certain 'size and dimension'.

A study of the nation's health records has concluded the best way to ensure a long and healthy life is if your waist size in inches is less than half your height. I read this in a coffee shop while people around me eating croissants and cheesecakes went very quiet.

If it wasn't enough to put you off your food it did at least prompt many to give their swollen stomach a meaningful pat. A waist line of 38 inches will take some explaining to your Doctor (who himself often has a waist of over 40 inches!) so most people had a fudge brownie and turned to the financial pages instead.

Doctors who come up with this advice so rarely appear to be role models themselves in the physical area - my doctor looks like a ticking time bomb with jowly, high blood pressure looking red cheeks. In my socks I stand at 70-and-a-half inches (just over five feet eleven for all you devotees to Imperial measurement) and my waist size is 33 inches. On a good day. My bodyfat though is around 11% and my shoe size is 42 (8.5 UK) for what that might matter!!

So the average man would have to be able to comfortably fit into 36 inch pants, to conform to these new guidelines and presumably to be deemed to be acceptable persons to be accepted for entry into trendy nightclubs.

For most this kind of drastic weight isn't going to happen any time soon. But then I read the article again and realised it isn't anything we have not heard before. It is just a repackaging of the fact that being overweight isn't good for you. You and I know that, and they (Doctors) know that, and they know we know that! But the healthy living message is one which loses impact very quickly which is why it constantly needs to be reinforced. What are the real benefits of being in good shape rather than just to fit into what seems to be pretty random criteria. The health industry has bombarded the public with a barrage of unhealthy living scare stories. We all know too much booze is bad, or regular consumption of red meat is on a par with 20 cigarettes a day (Not true, all of the longest living people in the World eat red meat!) We know we should walk to the shops rather than jump in the Renault espace, we know all of these things but we need motivation to do them. This latest study just informs us that two thirds of us who break the waist/height rule are a disgrace but offers no real incentives to change. Clearly that's why the message is not being heard. So how do we change the pattern?

In order for your workout to be progressive and fun it needs to be challenging-like hitting targets at work-when they are in sight you work harder (run faster!) Don't let your workout turn into maintenance.

To get the most of your workouts, mix in strength-training exercises that target and overload specific muscles to the point of fatigue. That's how you'll get the results you want to achieve, light weights used until you're bored will do nothing-challenge yourself!

The best exercises like squats and dead lifts will work for everyone but use good form. Having good form will allow you to get deeper in the positions that stretch muscles through a full range of motion and help your body transform fast!

Don't waste time doing endless sit-ups and crunches-use compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups. Working like that will burn more calories and your waist will tighten and shrink anyway!

If you do your half hour on the treadmill watching T.V. or reading a magazine you're wasting your time. Your workout should be uncomfortable to have any effect and you need to concentrate in order to maintain that pace and energy.

To get in great shape learn to train effectively with the new book Whatever It Takes! Available here: