Body Image and Reality: What IS Fit?
With most of us being exposed on a regular basis to photos of professional sports athletes, it’s probably not surprising that we have a different, and somewhat misleading, perception on what is a healthy weight range. How can we not, when we see NFL players like Reggie Bush who is 6′ tall at 205 lbs, or even the former MMA fighter, Matt Hughes at 5’9 but weighing 170 lbs. They serve as role models for people trying to get in shape, so most people think that they’re at the target weight that they need to aim for. But what most people don’t realize is that these athletes are not only in top shape muscle-wise, but have a body-fat ratio that is largely unrealistic for the average mortal (those who have regular job that is unrelated to fitness).
Despite my 5 years of coaching within the Team Beachbody community, it still surprises me that most overweight guys that I speak, have the same mentality about their target weight. For example, a 200 lbs guy at my height of 5’9 thinks he should weigh 180 because he doesnt want to look skinny. It seems that not only do some women have body image issues based on the models they see in magazines, but that it’s becoming a problem for men as well.
So what is the best target weight for you? I believe that the easiest way to determine your healthy target weight is by using the Body Mass Index. Check out the Online BMI Calculator here.
As long as your bodyweight is within the normal range, which means below 25 points, then you’re good. But at the same time, it is still a good idea to keep track of your bodyfat percentage as well. The table below shows what % you should be trying to achieve. (Of course, I’m pretty sure that if you’re reading this post, you care enough about your health that you’re going to be aiming for the “Fitness” range)
It’s interesting to note that just last week, new research came out that contradicted the idea that it’s possible to be “fat but fit.”. The research showed that someone who has a high BMI, despite being active, still has a higher than average high chance getting weight-related disease, like heart problem, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. Read more here:
Can you still be over your BMI normal range and be OK? Of course! As pointed out earlier, most of professional athletes have high BMI that putting them in the overweight category, BUT they do have low bf%. Personally, Im at 5’9 at 173 lbs which put me slightly in the overweight category; however my bf% is at 6%. Based on the bf% chart, I believe that you can go slightly over the normal BMI, as long as your bf% are in the athlete range, which means that you should be <12%.
So based on all of this, what should be your goal? Go for the basics: aim for your optimal healthy weight, and not do anything half-way. For guys out there who are worried about losing too much weight and looking “too skinny”, just know that if you approach your weight loss right, you will only look fit and ripped, not skinny. After all, shouldn’t you focus on being the best shape of your life so that you can be healthy and live longer?