Friday, May 31, 2013

Are you fit for duty?

Virtually every manospher writer agrees on one thing: if you are a man, an important part of your action plan should be improving your fitness. Being fat is not acceptable.

How far should you go? How fit is "fit enough?"

One organization that has very definite standards for fitness is the United States Marine Corps. If you are fit enough for duty in the USMC, then you are fit enough.

Today we're going to look at one aspect of fitness: body fat. A later post will look at the other part of the Marines' fitness test, which involves performance.

Are you too fat to be a Marine? To find out, you are going to need a few data points. The first test, which most American men will fail, only requires knowing your height and weight. Look at this table, find your height in the left column. Is your weight in between the numbers in the middle and right columns?

Height Maximum Weight Minimum Weight
58 132 91
59 136 94
60 141 97
61 146 100
62 150 104
63 155 107
64 160 110
65 165 114
66 170 117
67 176 121
68 181 125
69 186 128
70 192 132
71 197 136
72 203 140
73 208 144
74 214 148
75 220 152
76 226 156
77 232 160
78 238 164
79 244 168
80 250 173


If you weigh less than the smaller number, you're too skinny and need to bulk up. If, as is more likely, you weigh more than the higher number, you might need to lose some weight. Or you might just be very muscular. To find out, you need a more sophisticated measurement.

For this next step, you need some additional information. You need to measure the circumference of your waist, measured at your belly button with the tape measure level and flat against your skin. And you need to measure the circumference of your neck.

Once you have those measurements, go plug them in to this calculator:
Body Fat Calculator

This will give you an estimate of your body fat percentage. While it's only an estimate, it's better than most other methods of estimating your body fat, it's a lot cheaper than a DexaScan, and it's the method the Marines use.

How fat is too fat? That depends on your age. According to the Marine Corps, you are fit for duty if your body fat is below the listed number for your age range (these are all for men, women are allowed a higher number):
Age 17-26: 18%
Age 27-39: 19%
Age 40-45: 20%
Age 46+: 21%

If you are a member of the USMC and you are above those numbers, you will be placed into a program designed to reduce your body fat. If you don't meet the standards within six months, you'll be discharged. If you aren't a Marine, you might be able to get away with being a bit fatter. But if you reach this goal, you will probably live longer. And you'll be more attractive to women.

I'll fess up here: I need to lose about three inches off my waist to meet the body fat standard for my age. I'm working on it.

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