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What is a Healthy Weight for a Post-Sport Athlete?

The weight maintained when you were a competing athlete is most likely different than a healthy weight for a non-competing you. This realization, I think, is one of the hardest to mentally wrap our heads around. Just remember that when you were competing, a huge part of your life was dedicated to working out for your sport. Now, we have jobs, families, possibly children—other priorities. Although health should still be one of your top priorities, that doesn’t mean you have to work out three hours per day to try and maintain the weight you had back then.

Unfortunately ideal weight is not a black and white formula, as there are many factors, including general health, height, muscle-fat-ratio, bone density, body type, gender, and age. Keep in mind that these are reasonable target weights to use as a guide, and you should talk to your doctor to most accurately determine how much you should weigh. You can use this worksheet to track where you are in each of these methods to help you gain a better idea of where you are.

Healthy Weight Worksheet

Weight-Height Charts

One way you can find a rage is by weight-height charts. For a healthy weight range, find your height, subtract 5-10 pounds in each direction. Keep in mind that this doesn’t take into account your age or your muscle mass – this is very generalized.

Height 4’10” 4’11” 5′ 5’1” 5’2” 5’3” 5’4” 5’5” 5’6” 5’7” 5’8” 5’9” 5’10” 5’11’ 6′ 6’1” 6’2” 6’3” 6’4” 6’5” 6’6” 6’7” 6’8”
Women 105 110 115 120 125 130 135 140 145 150 155 160 165 170 175 180 185 190 195 200 205 210 215
Men 130 135 140 145 150 155 160 165 170 175 180 185 190 195 200 210 215 220 225 230 235 240 245

The National Institutes of Health provides a more detailed chart below, including a Body Mass Index range. This chart doesn’t take into account gender or muscle mass.

Height Weight
Normal Overweight Obese
4′ 10″ 91 to 115 lbs. 119 to 138 lbs. 143 to 186 lbs.
4′ 11″ 94 to 119 lbs. 124 to 143 lbs. 148 to 193 lbs.
5′ 97 to 123 lbs. 128 to 148 lbs. 153 to 199 lbs.
5′ 1″ 100 to 127 lbs. 132 to 153 lbs. 158 to 206 lbs.
5′ 2″ 104 to 131 lbs. 136 to 158 lbs. 164 to 213 lbs.
5′ 3″ 107 to 135 lbs. 141 to 163 lbs. 169 to 220 lbs.
5′ 4″ 110 to 140 lbs. 145 to 169 lbs. 174 to 227 lbs.
5′ 5″ 114 to 144 lbs. 150 to 174 lbs. 180 to 234 lbs.
5′ 6″ 118 to 148 lbs. 155 to 179 lbs. 186 to 241 lbs.
5′ 7″ 121 to 153 lbs. 159 to 185 lbs. 191 to 249 lbs.
5′ 8″ 125 to 158 lbs. 164 to 190 lbs. 197 to 256 lbs.
5′ 9″ 128 to 162 lbs. 169 to 196 lbs. 203 to 263 lbs.
5′ 10″ 132 to 167 lbs. 174 to 202 lbs. 209 to 271 lbs.
5′ 11″ 136 to 172 lbs. 179 to 208 lbs. 215 to 279 lbs.
6′ 140 to 177 lbs. 184 to 213 lbs. 221 to 287 lbs.
6′ 1″ 144 to 182 lbs. 189 to 219 lbs. 227 to 295 lbs.
6′ 2″ 148 to 186 lbs. 194 to 225 lbs. 233 to 303 lbs.
6′ 3″ 152 to 192 lbs. 200 to 232 lbs. 240 to 311 lbs.
6′ 4″ 156 to 197 lbs. 205 to 238 lbs. 246 to 320 lbs.
BMI 19 to 24 25 to 29 30 to 39

Body Mass Index (BMI)

The Body Mass Index system is a measure of body fat based off height and weight. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers. However, the BMI system does have limitations. It doesn’t take into account the person’s waist, chest or hip measurements, and therefore may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build, and also underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle. Experts say that BMI underestimates the amount of body fat in overweight/obese people and overestimates it in lean or muscular people.

BMI is calculated using your weight (kilograms) divided by the square of your height (meters) or your weight (pounds) times 703, divided by the square of your height in inches. You can use this website to calculate your BMI for you.

Basic BMI Categories:
Underweight = <18.5 (in some countries, health authorities say anything below 20 is underweight)
Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

BMI 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35
Height
(inches)
Body Weight (pounds)
58 91 96 100 105 110 115 119 124 129 134 138 143 148 153 158 162 167
59 94 99 104 109 114 119 124 128 133 138 143 148 153 158 163 168 173
60 97 102 107 112 118 123 128 133 138 143 148 153 158 163 168 174 179
61 100 106 111 116 122 127 132 137 143 148 153 158 164 169 174 180 185
62 104 109 115 120 126 131 136 142 147 153 158 164 169 175 180 186 191
63 107 113 118 124 130 135 141 146 152 158 163 169 175 180 186 191 197
64 110 116 122 128 134 140 145 151 157 163 169 174 180 186 192 197 204
65 114 120 126 132 138 144 150 156 162 168 174 180 186 192 198 204 210
66 118 124 130 136 142 148 155 161 167 173 179 186 192 198 204 210 216
67 121 127 134 140 146 153 159 166 172 178 185 191 198 204 211 217 223
68 125 131 138 144 151 158 164 171 177 184 190 197 203 210 216 223 230
69 128 135 142 149 155 162 169 176 182 189 196 203 209 216 223 230 236
70 132 139 146 153 160 167 174 181 188 195 202 209 216 222 229 236 243
71 136 143 150 157 165 172 179 186 193 200 208 215 222 229 236 243 250
72 140 147 154 162 169 177 184 191 199 206 213 221 228 235 242 250 258
73 144 151 159 166 174 182 189 197 204 212 219 227 235 242 250 257 265
74 148 155 163 171 179 186 194 202 210 218 225 233 241 249 256 264 272
75 152 160 168 176 184 192 200 208 216 224 232 240 248 256 264 272 279
76 156 164 172 180 189 197 205 213 221 230 238 246 254 263 271 279 287

Some health professionals suggest that calculating your BMI is the best way to decide whether you are at a healthy body weight. Others say that BMI is faulty because it does not account for muscle mass, and that waist-hip ratio is better.

Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR)

A waist-hip measurement is the ratio of the circumference of your waist to that of your hips. To measure your ratio, use a measuring tape to measure the circumference of your hips at the widest part of your buttocks. Then measure your waist at the smaller circumference of your natural waist, usually just above the belly button. You can then enter that information into a website calculator.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, if most of your fat is around your waist rather than at your hips, you’re at a higher risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This risk goes up with a waist size that is greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men.

WHR does not accurately measure a person’s total body fat percentage, or their muscle-to-fat ratio. However, many experts believe it is a better predictor of ideal weight and health risks than BMI.

Basic WHR Measurements

Male
Less than 0.9 – low risk of cardiovascular health problems
0.9 to 0.99 – moderate risk of cardiovascular health problems
1 or over – high risk of cardiovascular problems

Female
Less than 0.8 – low risk of cardiovascular health problems
0.8 to 0.89 – moderate risk of cardiovascular health problems
0.9 or over – high risk of cardiovascular problems

Weight to Height Ratio (WHtR)

Dr. Margaret Ashwell, former science director of the British Nutrition Foundation, found after analyzing several studies involving approximately 300,000 people that waist-to-height ratio may also be better at predicting future heart disease and diabetes risk than BMI. She believes that keeping your waist circumference to less than half your height can help increase life expectancy.

For example:

  • A man 6′ (72 inches, 183 cm) tall, should keep his waist measurement below 36 inches (91 cm).
  • A woman 5’4”, i.e. 64 inches (163 cm) tall, should keep her waist measurement below 32 inches (81 cm).

Body Fat Percentage

Body fat percentage is the weight of your fat divided by your total weight. The result indicates your essential fat as well as storage fat. Calculating body fat percentage is the best way to gauge fitness level because it is the only measurement that includes the body’s true composition.

There are various ways of calculating a body fat percentage. None can give a 100% accurate figure, but the estimates are accepted as fairly close. Your gym and doctor most likely have devices that can tell you what your body fat percentage is. We do body fat percentage readings at Wimberly Training using skinfold calipers.

Essential Fat: fat we need to survive. Women require a higher percentage than men.

Storage Fat: consists of fat accumulation in adipose tissue, some of which protects our internal organs in the chest and abdomen.

Total Body Fat Percentage: essential fat plus storage fat.

The American Council on Exercise recommends the following percentages:

Essential Fat:
Women 10-12%
Men 2-4%

Total Fat:

Athletes
Women 14-20%
Men 6-13%

Non-athletes, but fit
Women 21-24%
Men 14-17%

Acceptable
Women 25-31%
Men 18-25%

Overweight
Women 32-41%
Men 26-37%

Obese
Women 42% +
Men 38% +

The most accurate reading you can get is by finding out your body fat percentage. If you are not happy with the reading, talk to your doctor, nutritionist, personal trainer or health coach (cough cough – shoot me a note, as I do coaching over the phone if you are outside the Olympia/Tumwater area) about changes you can make depending on your body and health status.

Embed from Getty Images

References:

How Much Should I Weight for my Weight and Height? Medical News Today. 2014. Retrieved Dec. 2, 2014 from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/obesity/how-much-should-i-weigh.php.

Calculate Your Body Mass Index. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 2014. Retrieved Dec. 2, 2014 from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm.

Learn More About Healthy Weight. Jillian Michaels Weight Loss Program. 2014. Retrieved Dec. 2, 2014 from http://www.jillianmichaels.com/members/mytools/profile/healthyweightcalculator.aspx.

Nordqvist, Christian. BMI: is the mass body index formula flawed? (Jan. 31, 2013.) MediLexicon International. Retrieved Dec. 2, 2014 from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/255712.php.

What is a Healthy Weight? Rush University Medical Center. Retrieved Dec. 2, 2014 from http://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/quick-guides/what-healthy-weight.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: 2015 New Year’s Resolutions Challenge! | The Athlete Afterword

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