Although only nature knows the best weight for your body, the following guidelines offer a very general method to estimate a healthy weight range. Add or subtract 10 percent, according to your body frame and musculature. Note: These guidelines do not work for very muscular athletes. If you are muscular, the better guideline is to have your body fat measured, given excess fat-weight is the concern, as opposed to performance-enhancing muscle-weight.
Women: 100 pounds for the first 5 feet of height; five pounds per inch thereafter (plus or minus 10%).
Example: A woman who is 5-foot-6 could appropriately weigh 130 pounds, or 117 pounds at the lower end if she is petite or 143 lbs if she is muscular.
(In metric: 1.7 m height; 59 kg weight, weight range 53-65 kg)
Men: 106 pounds for the first 5 feet of height; six pounds per inch thereafter (plus or minus 10%).
Example: A man who is 5-10 could appropriately weigh 166 pounds, or 150 pounds at the lower end if he is petite or 182 pounds if he is muscular.
(In metric: 1.8 m height; 75.5 kg weight, weight range 68-83 kg)
If you are striving to weigh significantly less than the weight estimated by these general guidelines, think again. Remember: in addition to skill, most sports require strength, endurance and power. Athletes who strive to be too thin at any cost can sacrifice all of that and limit their ability to perform optimally.
If your weight is much higher than this, you want to figure out if the weight is excess flab or desirable muscle. Again, this formula is most appropriate for the “average (sedentary) person” and many athletes are far from “average”; they have more muscles.
The best weight goal is the weight that you can easily maintain and at which you feel strong and powerful. It is the weight that fits your genetic blue print. That’s the “body beautiful,” and the body for performance and health!
If you struggle to figure out the best weight for your body, please meet with a registered sports dietitian (RD CSSD) who can assess your body fat, your weight history, and help you find peace with the scale. To find a local RD CSSD (certified specialist in sports dietetics), use the referral network at www.FindAnRD.eatright.org. My Sports Nutrition Guidebook also has strong chapters on weight management.