How Much Should I Weigh?
How much should I weigh and how much body fat should I have? These are valid questions for those of us who want to get fit and lean. There are, however, some limitations with common testing methods.
For example, an average 5 foot 10 inch Japanese man will almost certainly weigh less than a 5 foot 10 inch Polynesian man. The Japanese tend to be leaner, smaller boned and lightly muscled whereas people from the Island nations tend to be of stocky build and heavily muscled. The fact that the more muscular man weighs more does not mean he is out of shape.
It’s important to not concentrate too much on body mass (weight), as it does not take into account body fat or muscle mass. To get a clear picture of how healthy your weight is we can use a number of methods that measure more useful parameters.
Body Mass Index
One of the most widely used methods is BMI or Body Mass Index. The equation is simply:
So take your bodyweight in Kg and divide by your height in meters squared. For example my BMI calculation is:
BMI range table:
Although BMI is a widely used method, I feel that it’s not particularly accurate as many athletic clients are classed as overweight or obese due to their higher muscle mass whereas sedentary clients can be classed as normal range even though they carry much more body fat than my athletes.
A more useful method of determining if you are over or underweight is the waist to hip ratio.
Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR)
This is an easy to apply calculation that requires little equipment.
Measure either the circumference of the smallest part of your waist (lean person) or the circumference approximately one inch above the navel (overweight person). Also, measure the largest circumference of the hips (usually around the buttocks) and then divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement.
For example a waist measurement of 30 inches and a hip measurement of 38 inches gives:
Below is an overview of what your WHR means:
Please bear in mind that these risk profiles are based solely on the WHR and there are many other factors that can determine a person’s health risk.
Waist-to-hip ratio is a better tool than BMI, however, it still does not accurately measure body fat percentage.
Moving to more accurate measures to answer the question ‘how much should I weigh?’ means using more sophisticated equipment that your local personal trainer or doctor should have access to. Let’s take a look at how body fat percentage can be a super useful tool in determining if you are at your ideal weight.
Body Fat Percentage
How do you find out how much body fat or muscle mass you are carrying?
The method I prefer for simplicity, in the gym environment, is the Tanita range of electronic body composition monitors. I use the Tanita BC-554 body composition monitor and I find it provides a consistent and accurate measure of both body fat percentage and lean muscle mass.
The downside to these monitors is that they are affected by hydration levels but the BC-554 measures hydration as standard so, provided that a client’s hydration is consistent, I can confidently use the body fat and muscle mass results.
The other popular testing method is skin-fold analysis. Calipers are used by a health professional to measure the thickness of a pinch of skin that includes the underlying adipose fat but no muscle. There are standard sites around the body that are used and a combination of those sites are collated to give a final result.
Skin-fold testing is notoriously difficult to do accurately but health professionals who regularly perform the tests and who use quality calipers can provide useful measurements to their clients.
Although the result of the skin-fold test can be converted to a body fat percentage, it is more common to compare the final result in millimeters to future tests thereby identifying trends in body fat.
However you measure your body fat the table below allows you to see how you compare.
So, if you were wondering ‘how much should I weigh?’ you now have three simple methods for calculating how healthy your weight is right now and what sort of numbers you should be aiming for when it comes to BMI, WHR and body fat percentage.
Check out the other pages in my Quick Weight Loss Tips section for more useful information on getting the body you want.
Train hard, train smart and have fun.
Back to Home Page from How Much Should I Weigh?
Back to Quick Weight Loss Tips