Calculating Your Ideal Body Weight


How do I calculate my ideal body weight?

On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m sharing why calculating your ideal body weight is important, as well as, showing you how simple it is to do.

Before starting any fitness program you should set a measurable goal of what you want to achieve.

This is important because setting goals and targets can help you measure how you are progressing, and if you are actually progressing in the right direction.

How To Set Goals And Achieve Them Faster

Setting goals by first calculating your ideal body weight is an excellent place to start.

What is a realistic weight loss goal?

But the problem is, in many cases, you may not have any idea what a realistic and healthy weight loss goal is.

Fortunately setting your weight loss goals no longer has to be a random game.

How To Lose Weight In 7 Days

There is a way to calculate your ideal weight and a healthy and obtainable weight loss goal.

How do you figure out your ideal body weight?

There are a few ways to do this, but some are more effective than others.

So to get started, let’s first discuss the Body Mass Index (BMI) and Body Fat % calculations.

How to calculate your body mass index:

Body Mass Index (BMI) uses the following specific formula, that only takes into account your height and weight.

  • BMI = (your weight in lbs * 703) / (height in inches * height in inches)

But to be honest, I hate the BMI index.

Before sharing why, let me first show you how to calculate your BMI.

  • I am 5 feet 11 inches tall (71 inches) and 175 lbs.

Based on these measurements, my BMI would be calculated as follows:

  • BMI = (175 lbs * 703) / (71 inches * 71 inches) = 24.4 BMI

According to this BMI calculation, and the BMI classification levels listed below, I would be considered just inside the high end of an ideal body weight.

Here are the different BMI levels:

Calculating Your Ideal Body Weight

However, if I added another 15 lbs of lean muscle, which isn’t out of the question, my BMI score would be 26.5.

According to the BMI, this would mean I would be overweight.

This is the main problem with the BMI calculation

Most athletes would be considered overweight since BMI does not decipher between lean body mass and stored body fat.

If you have a lean and muscular build like I do, BMI calculations are not the best indicator of your ideal body weight.

In my opinion body fat % is a better calculation for your ideal body weight.

Body Fat %

How to calculate your body fat %:

Body fat % is calculated as follows:

Body Fat % = Total body fat weight / divided by total body weight

Your total fat calculation consists of your body’s essential fat (the fat necessary to maintain life) and stored body fat.

My body fat % would be calculated as follows:

  • Body Fat % = 14 lbs of body fat / 175 lbs total body weight = 8% body fat

This means 92% of my total body weight is made up of lean body mass (LBM), i.e. fat free mass comprised of muscle, bones, etc.

How to calculation your lean body mass

  • Lean Body Mass = 175 lbs total body weight – 14 lbs of body fat = 161 lbs of LBM

According to the American Council on Exercise, here are the classifications for body fat %.

General Body Fat % Categories

Calculating Your Ideal Body Weight

Based on the above body fat % table:

  • a healthy man’s body fat % (fitness) should not be more than 17%.
  • a healthy women’s body fat % (fitness) should not be more than 24%.
Who Burns Fat Easier: Men or Women?

The acceptable body fat % for women is higher than men because of childbearing and other hormonal functions.

Methods to measure body fat %

There are several ways to measure your body fat %, however the most cost effective measurement is with a body fat analyzer (seen above) or measuring skin folds with a set of skin fold calipers.

Brad Gouthro body fat %

Your physician or personal trainer can provide you with this service if you don’t want to invest in those affordable body fat % measuring tools.

You can also estimate (very rough) your body fat % based on the chart below.

Estimate your body fat %

To estimate your body fat %, find the number that intersects at your height and weight, on either the male or female chart below.

Once again this is a very rough estimate – best to use skin fold calipers or a body fat analyzer.

Calculate male body fat %

Calculating Your Ideal Body Weight

Calculate female body fat %


How to calculate your ideal body weight

Based on the body fat % classification table above, you should now have a better idea of what body fat % you should strive for.

As a Live Leaner, I recommend you strive for at least the “Fitness” classification body fat %, but would prefer you push for the “Athlete” classification.

Example of calculating your ideal body weight

Here’s a real world example of how “John” can calculate his ideal bodyweight.

  • CURRENT STATS: 5″11″, 230 pounds, 30% body fat %

John currently has a decent amount of muscle since he plays recreational sports, but years of bad food decisions and a lack of a consistent workout routine has created a thick layer of body fat over his muscle.

Based on a current body fat of 30%, John calculated his current body composition as 69 pounds of fat (230×0.30) and 161 pounds of lean body mass (230-69).

  • John’s Body Fat % Goal: John’s goal is to be 10% body fat within one year.

How much fat will John have to lose to hit his ideal body fat %?:

  • Current lean body mass: 161 pounds
  • Body fat % goal: 10%
  • Weight goal: 177 pounds (161 x 1.10)
  • Fat loss goal: 230 – 177 = 53 pounds of fat to lose

Conclusion: For John to hit his 10% body fat goal, he will have to lose approximately 53 pounds of body fat in 52 weeks.

This is an example of calculating your ideal body weight and how to create a measurable weight loss goal.

Once you calculate your ideal body weight and weight loss goal, let us help you with a done for you step-by-step 7 day training program and meal plan for FREE!

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Question For You:

  • What is your ideal body weight?

Be sure to share your answers in the comment section below.

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39 responses to “Calculating Your Ideal Body Weight

  1. To stem off this topic, how do we know if our total amount of lean mass is too low/high?I ask because yes lowering body fat would be fantastic but muscle gain will also decrease the body fat %. How do I know if my ultimate goal shouldn’t be gain XX lbs of muscle and lose XX lbs of body fat? Any guidance???? My current composition, bad I know, is about 90 lbs of lean mass and 60 lbs of fat. I have been tweaking things slowly, like intermittent fasting and less processed foods, but I would like to know if I should also be focusing on a little lean gain too.

  2. I know you said the body fat % in the chart were averages, but how did you come up with these? I am 5’5″ and weigh 123 and my body fat percentage is 19.5%. According to this chart, for my height, if I weighed 3 pounds less—120—my estimated body fat would be 26%, which is quite high.

    I know I am lean and have muscle but I am still curious as to how you came up with these estimates.

  3. Both the BMI and the body fat tables both say I’m *almost* overweight, yet I eat clean and exercise 5+ hours/week. I tend to ignore the scales etc and just keep doing what I’m doing because I’m sure there are many non-measureable benefits that I’m getting out of my activity etc.

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