What Weight Should I Be? The Ideal Weight For Men & Women

What’s the ideal weight for my height? What’s the best weight for men or for women? Let’s take a look inside at some studies and the BMI chart.

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One client told me that he wanted to “gain a respectable amount of weight.”

I know exactly what he means.

You and I are able to spot a person with a healthy, muscular build when out about in real life. 

Not too light, not too big. Not too skinny, not too fat. Someone built solidly while still being lean. 

A “respectable” weight.

But what does a respectable weight look like in terms of real numbers? With a concrete number, we could have a goal that we could fight towards.

In a 2012 study, researchers took 40 men and 40 women and had them choose their ideal weight and shape of both men and women.

Ideal Weight For A Woman

  • Chosen by women: 18.9 BMI
  • Chosen by men: 18.8 BMI

Ideal Weight For A Man

  • Chosen by women: 24.5 BMI
  • Chosen by men: 25.9 BMI

Let’s take a look at an example. The average female height is 5’4. The ideal weight would be around 110–115 pounds (163cm and 51kg).

For the average male height of 5’9 (175cm), the ideal weight would be around 168 pounds (76kg), according to women. Or 180 pounds (82kg), according to guys.

BMI Chart To Find Your ideal Weight

Here’s the BMI chart so you can look for your own height.


For women, it’s a challenging scenario. A BMI of just 19 is at the junction of “underweight” and “normal” body weight, according to the World Health Organization. 98% of the women doing the judging in the studies were *heavier* than the ideal BMI (which was picked by both women and men.)

For men, it seems a little easier to reach the ideal BMI as half the guys doing the judging were too light, and half of them were too heavy. Some guys needed to muscle up, and some guys needed to trim down. (However, that BMI must be hit by muscle, not fat.)

Now, what I find kind of funny, is that these numbers are echoed in other places.

Steve Reeves & The Ideal Weight For Men

Steve Reeves is widely claimed to be the most attractive bodybuilder of all time. He was completely natural as he was doing competitions in the 1940s.

Steve Reeves

He built his muscle with real food like meat, eggs, honey, fruit, potatoes, veggies, etc. and lifting weights.

A few years before he died, he called on Arnold Schwarzenegger to help rescue the sport of bodybuilding. Reeves saw that the process of building muscle had traditionally improved someone’s life by developing strength, health, fitness, and confidence. 

But somewhere along the way, it had warped towards unattainable ideals, “freakish size,” and the need for poisonous and health-destroying drugs to even get there.

He proposed a list of optimal weights for height. For 5’9 guys, they should be 180 pounds. That’s the exact same weight/BMI as what was found in the studies for men. Here is his full list for men:

  • 5’5: 160 pounds
  • 5’6: 165 pounds
  • 5’7: 170 pounds
  • 5’8: 175 pounds
  • 5’9: 180 pounds
  • 5’10: 185 pounds
  • 5’11: 190 pounds
  • 6’0: 200 pounds
  • 6’1: 210 pounds
  • 6’2: 220 pounds
  • 6’3: 230 pounds
  • 6’4: 240 pounds
  • 6’5: 250 pounds

“The above figures are calculated with a medium boned person in mind. If you have heavy bones, you can add 10 pounds to the height/pounds calculations chart and if you have light bones, you can subtract 10 pounds.”
–Steve Reeves

So perhaps a BMI of around 24.5 for men is respectable. And a BMI of 26 is remarkable. (I’ve already gained over 37 pounds and 6.25″ on my shoulders, and still, for my height at 6’0 foot, I ought to be closer to 200 pounds—looks like a bulk is in order…)

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