by GameChanger Strength & Nutrition Coach Rob Riccobono
Is there an ideal body weight for you? Is there a specific number you should aim for based on your height and age, or is it completely different from individual to individual?
Let’s examine some key factors.
What Are Your Goals?
Your ideal body weight is dependent upon your physical aspirations. For example, someone who wants to be as strong as possible should weigh more than someone who wants to look as lean as possible.
To make this question applicable to everyone, let’s try to find the ideal body weight for a person who’s main aspiration is good health. If you are reading this post, chances are you care about your health and fitness, so the information to come next is a great starting point for determining how much you should weigh.
Body Mass Index
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a commonly used measurement by government and medical organizations to asses a person’s health. It’s a measure of your total mass, based upon the relation of your height and weight. You can calculate your BMI here. Specifically, BMI is used to estimate a person’s risk for health consequences like:
- High blood pressure
- High LDL Cholesterol
- Coronary Heart Disease
- Some Cancers
- Body Pain
- Early death
The CDC provides this table to interpret you BMI score for adults age 20 and older.
|18.5 – 24.9||Normal or Healthy Weight|
|25.0 – 29.9||Overweight|
|30.0 and Above||Obese|
According to this interpretation, here are healthy weight ranges for some common heights:
|Height||Healthy Body Weight Range|
|5 Feet Tall||95 – 125lbs|
|5 Feet, 5 Inches||115 – 145lbs|
|5 Feet, 9 Inches||130 – 165lbs|
|6 Feet Tall||140 – 180lbs|
Is BMI Relevant For Everyone?
The BMI scales measures your total body mass, but does not distinguish between muscle mass and fat mass. Does this make your BMI number useless if you exercise? Not exactly.
If you regularly strength and therefore have put on significant muscle mass over your lifetime, the BMI scale is still relevant to you, but with some adjustments. Your increase in body mass due to muscle mass means you can probably increase the recommended healthy body weight range by 10-20 lbs.
This means according to the BMI chart, if you regularly lift weights you can creep into the overweight category (BMI of over 25) and have fewer health risks than someone with that number who does not strength train.
But even if extra mass on your frame is from muscle instead of fat, your heart must still work hard to support it. Strength Coach Alex Viada puts it well:
“BMI is still a valid predictor when it comes to risk of CVD and overall health indicators, almost regardless of bodyfat. In fact, I’d argue there is a small sweet spot where you can be “overweight” on the BMI scale and still “healthy”, but once you push past that, you’re at higher risk regardless. Your heart does not care if it’s working overly hard to perfuse muscle tissue or fat tissue, many of the risk factors are still at play if you’re a larger but leaner individual.”
It’s also worth noting that if you neither use performance enhancing drugs nor are a genetically gifted athlete, it is almost impossible to add enough muscle mass to give you an obese BMI (30 or higher) without having significant body fat.
No System is Perfect
The BMI system is not perfect for every individual and does not account for certain factors, but no system is flawless. This simply provides a good starting point to find a range that will work for MOST individuals.