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How To Calculate Your Ideal Body Weight And Body Fat Percentage

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How To Calculate Your BMI And Lean Body Mass

On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m showing you how to calculate your ideal body weight and body fat percentage, as well as your BMI and lean body mass.

Before starting any fitness program, you should set a measurable goal on what you want to achieve during your journey.

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.

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

How Do You Figure Out Your Ideal Body Weight?

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

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

How to Lose Weight in 7 Days

Fortunately, there is a way to calculate your ideal weight and a healthy and obtainable weight loss goal.

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

To get started, let’s first discuss:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Body Fat Percentage calculations

How To Calculate Your Body Mass Index (BMI)

To calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI), you can use the following specific formula, that only takes into account your height and weight.

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

However, to be honest, I hate the BMI index.

Before sharing why I don’t like using the BMI index, let me first show you an example of how to calculate your BMI, using my height and weight.

  • My Height: 5 feet 11 inches tall (71 inches)
  • My Weight: 175 pounds

Based on my height and weight measurements, my BMI would be calculated as follows:

  • BMI = (175 pounds * 703) / (71 inches * 71 inches) = 24.4 BMI
Brad Gouthro body fat %

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

BMI Chart Levels For Men And Women

Body Mass Index BMI Chart Levels

However, if I added another 15 pounds of lean muscle, which isn’t out of the question, my BMI score would be calculated as:

  • BMI = (190 pounds * 703) / (71 inches * 71 inches) = 26.5 BMI

According to the BMI, I would be overweight if I added another 15 pounds of lean muscle.

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, calculating your body fat percentage is a better calculation for your ideal body weight.

How To Calculate Your Body Fat Percentage

How To Calculate Your Body Fat Percentage

There are several ways to measure your body fat percentage:

If you’d like to pick up any of these body fat measurement devices, I’ve included the Amazon affiliate links above.

The most cost effective body fat percentage measurement tool is measuring your skin folds using a set of skin fold calipers.

However, to ensure you are using skin fold calipers properly, you may need assistance from your physician or personal trainer.

What Is Your Body Fat Percentage?

Body fat percentage is calculated as follows:

Body Fat Percentage = Total Body Fat Weight / Total Body Weight

Your total fat calculation consists of your body’s essential fat, which includes the fat necessary to maintain life, and stored body fat.

My body fat percentage would be calculated as:

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

Body Fat Percentage Calculation Estimate Chart For Men And Women

If you don’t want to invest in these affordable body fat percentage measuring tools, you can also estimate your body fat percentage based on the chart below.

Note: When I say “estimate”, I mean these estimations are very rough.

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

Male Body Fat Percentage Estimate Chart

Body Fat Percentage Calculation Chart

Female Body Fat Percentage Estimate Chart


Once again, these body fat percentage estimate charts will provide you with a very rough estimate.

To get a better body fat percentage calculation, it’s best to use:

How To Calculate Your Lean Body Mass

Lean body mass is fat free mass comprised of muscle, bones, and bodily fluids.

My lean body mass would be calculated as:

  • Lean Body Mass = 175 pounds total body weight – 14 pounds of body fat = 161 pounds of lean body mass

This means 92% of my total body weight is made up of lean body mass (LBM).

  • 161 pounds of lean body mass / 175 pounds total body weight = 92% lean body mass

General Body Fat Percentage Chart Categories

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

Calculating Your Ideal Body Weight

Based on this body fat percentage chart classification table, you should now have a better idea of what body fat percentage you should strive for.

As a Live Leaner, I recommend you strive for at least the fitness classification body fat percentage.

According to the “fitness” body fat percentage category:

  • a healthy man’s body fat percentage should not be more than 17%.
  • a healthy women’s body fat percentage should not be more than 24%.

However, I would prefer you push for the athlete classification body fat percentage.

Who Burns Fat Easier: Men or Women?

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

How To Calculate Your Ideal Body Weight And Body Fat Percentage

To show you how to calculate your ideal body weight, I’ll share a real world example of John.

John currently has a decent amount of muscle since he plays recreational sports.

However, after years of bad food decisions, and the lack of a consistent workout routine, he has created a thick layer of body fat over his muscle.

Based on the body fat percentage chart above, John wants to be in the “Athletes” range with a body fat percentage goal of 10% body fat, within one year.

John calculated his current body fat percentage using the methods listed earlier in this post.

Based on this, he now knows how much of his body weight is comprised of lean body mass and body fat.

John’s current stats:

  • 5″11″
  • 230 pounds
  • 30% body fat percentage

Based on a current body fat percentage of 30%, John calculated his current body composition as follows.

Weight From Body Fat:

  • 230 pounds of total body weight x 30% body fat = 69 pounds of body fat

Weight From Lean Body Mass:

  • 230 pounds of total body weight – 69 pounds of body fat = 161 pounds of lean body mass

How Much Fat Will John Have To Lose To Hit His Ideal 10% Body Fat Percentage?

Let’s run through the ideal body weight calculations right now.

As calculated earlier:

  • Current Lean Body Mass: 161 pounds
  • Body Fat Percentage Goal: 10%

John’s Ideal Body Weight Calculation Goal:

  • 161 pounds of lean body mass x 1.10 = a goal weight of 177 pounds

Note: multiple your current lean body mass by your body fat percentage goal with a 1 and a decimal in front of it.

John’s Fat Loss Goal:

  • Current total body weight – his ideal body weight goal
  • 230 pounds – 177 pounds = 53 pounds of body fat to lose

To conclude, 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 how to calculate your ideal body weight and 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 weight training program and meal plan, for free.

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Question For You:

  • What is your ideal body weight?
  • What is your body fat percentage goal?

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

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40 responses to “How To Calculate Your Ideal Body Weight And Body Fat Percentage

  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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