Arrow icon

What is your ideal body weight?

August 20, 2022


What is the ideal weight? How much should a human being weigh to feel good, to be healthy and to live long? The answer to this question is not simple because it depends on your frame, your body fat percentage, your age and many other things.


In this article we are going to see how to determine what your ideal weight should be. However, it is important to clarify that the ideal body weight for longevity is very different from the ideal body weight for aesthetics.


Body Mass Index (BMI)


There is a universal mechanism to determine if someone's weight is healthy, it is called body mass index. The body mass index is basically calculated by dividing your weight by your height squared and determines with a number the relationship between weight and height of your body. We consider a normal body mass index when it is greater than 18.5 and less than 25.

However, this index was created to study an entire population, not to look at the weight of a single person and tell them if they are at the correct weight or not. For example, if you are 6 feet tall, the body mass index states that you can weigh between 138 and 186 pounds and be at a healthy weight. As you can see, the supposed healthy weight range is huge since there is almost 50 pounds of difference and this does not take into account the body fat percentage, the level of physical activity or the body type, and assumes that someone of greater size and build needs the same weight as someone ectomorph and small bone structure.


What body fat percentage do we need to have to be healthy?


Forget aesthetics, think about this from a health point of view. If you are overweight because you have excess body fat in the body, you have a higher cardiovascular risk, a higher risk of metabolic diseases such as diabetes or insulin resistance, a higher level of inflammation in the body, a greater amount of visceral fat that is associated with a higher risk of many diseases and more transformation of testosterone into estrogens and many other disadvantages.


In terms of health, we need a percentage of body fat to maintain a balance with our hormones, since many of the hormones that we produce in our body are produced from fat. With this in mind, body fat percentages vary in men and women. In men the percentage of ideal body fat ranges from 10 to 14 percent and in women it ranges from 15 to 20 percent.


If you have a higher percentage of body fat than recommended, use tools that help you reduce that percentage of body fat, such as intermittent fasting, and if your percentage is lower than ideal, I recommend that you do your best to increase it or at least eat a diet rich in healthy fats so as not to alter the hormonal balance that your body needs.


What about muscle mass and body weight?


Most people live a sedentary lifestyle where they use little of their muscles and have little physical activity. This leads people to have a low percentage of lean mass and a higher percentage of fat. This is important because you may not be overweight as measured by your body mass index but have a high percentage of body fat and a low percentage of muscle mass.


Maintaining an ideal weight range with a good percentage of body fat requires physical training, you are going to have to do some type of muscle mass training to maintain a healthy weight with good percentages of body fat and lean mass. This is even more important if you are already in the second half of your life and want to maintain muscle mass as you age, since it is an essential element for a good quality of life.


On the other hand, although they are a minority, people with too much muscle and too much anabolism are going to shorten their life expectancy because they don't allow their body to destroy older cells and destroy proteins that are no longer functional. As with most things in life and health, we need balance and this also applies to muscles. 


Therefore what you want on a muscular level is not more mass, but increased strength and increased flexibility. Both qualities are related to increased life expectancy, while maintaining a weight within the ideal range.


Body weight charts


In the ideal weight charts that you can find on the internet, we are going to see that any chart with common sense is adjusted to our frame size, and poses as the ideal weight the one that is associated with fewer health problems and a longer life expectancy.


If you do not know how to determine your physical structure, which is essential to determine your ideal weight, you can do so by measuring your wrist. The smaller your wrist is proportional to your height, the smaller your physical build.


An important detail we can notice from any ideal weight chart is that the recommended weight is less than what we socially consider ideal for men and is greater than what we socially consider ideal for women. This is key, since the ideal weight in terms of health differs from the ideal weight in aesthetic terms.


What should be the ideal weight in terms of longevity and long-term health?


If you are female you should aim for a BMI of 20-23, but with a body fat percentage of 15-20 percent. And if you're a man, you should aim for a BMI of 21.5 to 24.5, with a body fat percentage of 10 to 14 percent. The larger your physique, the closer to the top of the BMI range you should be, and the smaller your physique, the closer to the bottom of the BMI range you should be.


Remember that these numbers make sense for longevity and not for aesthetics and that the body mass index does not adjust for muscle or fat. For this reason, one of the best metrics that you can use to determine if you are overweight or not, is the abdominal perimeter.


This is a good measurement because it is easy to measure and because there is little muscle in the area so it is easy to adjust. If this parameter is increased, it is fat or abdominal distension and it tells us that we have to lose weight or at least lower the percentage of body fat or resolve our abdominal distension because they are all bad for our long-term health.


Nutrition Mavyn Experts will be available in the near future to help you with any nutritional questions you may have. For the moment, check out our 9 available expert areas and solve your questions by submitting a request through our Mavyn website or Mavyn App.