As a young man I was blessed with a high basal metabolic rate. Although I played sports and played in a marching band for a time I never needed to consider what I was eating, how much exercise was I getting, how much I weighed etc. For the first 20 years of my life physical fitness was never a thought in my mind; it was something I never considered a priority or really considered at all. Even into my 20s I didn't think much of my overall wellbeing; I picked up running to maintain what I had come to consider my twink-ish figure but never with any fitness goal in mind or any consideration of my physical capacity beyond endurance and whether or not I could see my Adonis belt.

2019 〜 2020 (23)

... and honestly for most people who are a healthy (1) weight for their (2) height then it does not matter what one's body composition is. The metric that considers those two factors is called the BMI (body-mass index). The BMI is a fine metric if one only wishes to gauge how un/healthy one is, as a sedentary individual, measured against a representative average of one's demographic or country. It is a convenient rule-of-thumb for many. Presently this how the CDC classifies Americans (me) based on BMI circa 2023:

BMI Classification
< 18.5 Underweight
18.5 〜 25 Normal weight
25 〜 30 Overweight
30 〜 35 Class 1 obesity
35 〜 40 Class 2 obesity
> 40 Class 3 obesity

Throughout my years in college I weighed within ~4% of 130lbs at almost all times. At 5'10 that clocked me in at a BMI of ~18.7. I didn't note my weight often (or even own a scale for that matter) but that's the range I'd see at the doctor's office and on incidental scales.

The BMI metric is naïve of everything but height + weight which makes it a very poor indicator of body composition. The BMI can be simple because it makes assumptions about body-fat percentages and muscle distributions that are good-enough approximations for many but are simply not accurate for athletes or non-sedentary individuals.

As I began to train and incorporate anabolic exercises in addition to the cardio routine I began during college I formed goals around my overall fitness and wellness. I ate more protein and carbohydrates to supplement my new caloric deficit, the result of more exercise, and to encourage faster muscle healing. Seemingly the work has paid off so far; and I can bench 1pl8 (135lb) where before I could barely bench half that amount. Considering that I achieved 1pl8 at 143lb that means I can almost bench my body weight (but not quite). If you're reading this I can probably already bench my body-weight and above!

2022 〜 2023 (26)

I began training in November 2022 but began a serious regiment in late January 2023. That involves going to a gym 3 times every week and targeting one of (1) arms + shoulders, (2) chest + back or (3) legs. Luckily there is a gym roughly 5 minutes from my home so this is not difficult to accomplish once I had set my mind on the task of training regularly.

The beginning of this training coincided with an increase of breadth in my life: I began to draw in my free-time here too. The idea was to fill my idle-time with things that are life-affirming and emotionally, physically stimulating. Drawing fills the former, emotional niche while anabolic exercise has filled the latter, physical niche.

Curiosity in my phyiscal progress has tempted me to seek out alternates to the BMI for measuring body health. As I am focused on increasing the amount of weight I can lift with each muscle group I find that my body-fat percentage is the most relevant thing to track. My total weight minus my body-fat should yield my lean body mass. I measure my waist + neck (+ height + weight) regularly and use the US Army's method for calculating this value. This gives me a better idea of my body-fat percentage but is still not super-extremely accurate. To be more accurate one would need an MRI and I do not care to drill down in that much detail at this point.

For example, here are my measurements for this calculation from late April, 2023:

Measurement Type Value
Age 26
Sex Yes
Weight 142.2
Height 5'11"
Neck circumference 13.5"
Waist circumference 30"

That yields an estimate for my body-fat percentage at 11.8%. You should try taking these measurements at home if you have not! It's good to know in general and especially if you want a benchmark against which you can measure progress.