When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Some aspire to model the models. Others, place more weight in bulking up. But when it comes to being fit, what you see in the mirror, on the scale, and on the charts may not be the whole story.
"It's more about breaking a sweat, coming in here on a normal basis," said Joe McCaffrey, from Slingerlands.
He's been working out at Gold's Gym for about 20 years. Over time, his goals have changed.
"Just to maintain, stay in shape and push myself to do cardio as much as a I can," he said.
Different methods, but similar goals drive Stephanie Gates of Guilderland.
"my goals are to keep fit, feel good, I feel I'm more energized when I work out," she said.
When it comes to fitness, some people focus on cardio, others lift weights to build muscles, and some work to eat better. But experts say it's really balancing all three that leads to an overall healthy lifestyle.
"Health is not a number. Health is more than the absence of disease. Health is really what people can optimally achieve in their life," said Dr. Mark Nelson, a health coach with Take Shape For Life.
Body mass index, or BMI, is a measurement of your height to weight ratio. And one way of classifying whether or not you're obese. But Dr. Nelson said that it is a crude measurement, and new research shows that the numbers can lie.
It's called normal weight obesity, seen in people with normal BMI's who still have health risks.
"An increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. The reason-they have excess fat and reduced muscle mass," said Dr. Nelson.
On the other hand, take someone with increased muscle mass. Once again, the BMI may lie.
"I'm 6 foot 1, 220 lbs. Even though I'm 7% body fat, if I were to go on the BMI chart it would say I was obese because the chart says should be 180 lbs," said Doug Alvey, fitness director at Gold's Gym in Guilderland.
But experts said that it doesn't have to be one or the other.
"O've trained men who are 260 lbs, maybe they are 20% body fat, but maybe they can go on a treadmill and run 17 miles in 2 hours. They have a great heart, their cholesterol is low, heart rate is low, and blood pressure is perfect," he said.
Both men agree, and said that your best bet is to take control of your body, focus on healthy choices, and the weight will come off.
"They can understand how their bodies work, what healthy nutrition is, the importance of adequate sleep, of regular exercise, of breakfast, of not eating fast food," said Dr. Nelson.
Then, make a commitment to living a balanced life 365 days a year.
"I don't worry about the numbers, I actually don't even get on the scale so I couldn't tell you how much I weighed but I think it's about knowing how you feel and where your body's perfect spot is supposed to be," said Gates.
"I look forward to this time because it's time to think about the things you have to do. It's good for your mind," said McCaffrey.