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What’s Your Ideal Body Weight? The Answer May Surprise You!

People often declare a desired body weight because it represents an emotional or historical value of reference – the weight they were in college, weight before having kids, or an arbitrary weight that sounds reasonable. Others reference the Hamwi ideal body weight (IBW) formula or the more recent body mass index (BMI) range.

Ideal body weight is relative to each individual.

For athletes, a desired body weight can be driven by:

· specific sport for better movement economy (e.g. cycling, swimming, running)

· weight class/category (e.g. horse racing, lightweight rowing, wrestling), or

desired physique (e.g. gymnastics, dance).

BMI is a modern tool that measures gender specific body fat based on height and weight and is used to identify risk for chronic health problems (see below), but it is does not accurately indicate fitness levels for active individuals and athletes, often overestimating body fat and chronic disease risk.

Heart Disease

Gallbladder Disease

High Blood Pressure



Sleep Apnea



Some Cancers

Joint Damage

Reduced Quality of Life

Reduced Life-expectancy

Centering focus on body composition to determine ideal body weight is a more appropriate goal independently reflecting fat mass (FM) and fat-free mass (FFM) or lean body mass (LBM). FFM includes “everything else” – muscle, organs, connective tissue, bone tissue, and water.

FFM is the metabolically active tissue in the body and the primary determinant of total energy expenditure.

Fat mass is divided into two compartments: essential and storage. Essential fat is necessary for normal physiological function.

Following a balanced eating pattern throughout the day including high quality carbohydrate and protein at each meal and snack improves blood sugar control and body composition supporting lean body mass and reduced body fat.

Integrating a personalized meal plan with training periodization is the optimal strategy for athletes and active individuals who want to achieve an individualized ideal body weight or composition.

Jena Brown, RD, CSSD, LD at Victorem Performance Nutrition can help you in person or virtually through a nutrition consultation session to help you determine appropriate body composition goals and implement nutrition strategies with a custom meal plan.

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