What Is My Ideal Weight?
As a Personal Trainer this is a question I am asked to answer all the time by my clients. The general answer is that a person shouldn’t use weighing scales to work out if they are healthy or not. It is also worth pointing out that BMI (Body Mass Index) is also woefully inept for those with a high muscle low fat body mass. So what are the best indicators? There are several in my opinion that are reliable, safe and will keep you guided in the right direction.
1. Waist measurement
This is a great starting point and the easiest one. Recent reports from Safe Food Ireland suggest that waist measurements greater than 32 inches for women and 37 inches for men indicate that individuals are at risk of health issues such as diabetes, coronary artery disease and hypertension best selling waist trainer.
2. Waist to Hip ratio (WHR)
This is a comparison of the circumference of one’s hips and waist. Where body weight and fat in particular is distributed in the body is a key indicator in health. People carrying more weight around the waist are at greater risk of hypertension (high blood pressure), hyper-lipidaemia, diabetes (type 2) and coronary artery disease than people who have their weight distributed more evenly.
How to test.
1. Measure your waist. This is taken 1 inch (2.43cm) above the naval.
2. Measure your hips. Largest circumference around the buttocks.
3. Divide waist measurement by hip measurement. Measurements may be taken in inches or cm.
There is a very high health risk for young men when the WHR is more than 0.95 and for young women with WHR greater than 0.86.
3. Body Fat % (% BF)
As clients progress with improving their body composition (muscle to fat ratio) they may require a more accurate means of assessment that the WHR above. In this case I would recommend body fat % testing. This can be done in several ways.
1. Skin Fold Calipers
This method is very unreliable for individuals with higher % BF (above 30%) but having said that I would not use it on such individuals as it is de-motivating for a client to have a trainer pulling at their body fat if they are conscious of it. It is really only reliable if the same individual does the testing and re-testing and is experienced with the procedure. It is susceptible to human error also. It is a prediction of body fat and not an absolute measurement and this is important to remember.
2. Bio-electrical Impedance
This is less invasive and easier to carry out than skin fold testing. It is based on the theory that the amount of fat free tissue will be proportional to the electrical conductivity of the body. Muscle as it is over 90% water and electrolytes will conduct electricity better than fat (14-22% water). Clients must abstain from activity for 12 hours and eating or drinking 4 hours before this test for accuracy.
Finally I have included an Ideal Body Weight Calculation formula. This formula works out a person’s ideal body weight at a particular % BF. So for example you are now 15% body fat and you wish to know how many Kgs of fat you need to lose to be 10% then this is a useful formula for you.
Ideal Body weight (IBW) = LBM (Lean Body Mass)