Tuesday, January 8, 2019

18 years plus 10 percent

How much should a middle-aged man weigh?

Good question and there’s no shortage of experts and published expert opinions to quickly answer the question.  Problem is, nobody asked Pierini Fitness, the self-appointed ambassador of all middle-aged man around the world.

I’ve had my thoughts about this for a long time.  I’ve shared them vocally with various middle-aged men but have never shared them here at Pierini Fitness until today.

I recently shared my thoughts at the MyFitnessPal Community, a large discussion forum community of people generally having a common goal of losing weight.  I’ve joined this community and use the MyFitnessPal app which I think is outstanding.  More about this, perhaps, on a different day.

Anyway, this was a discussion topic post I made there verbatim:
"I haven’t spent much time here but hope to, starting in late February when I’m projected to be at my ideal weight range which I’ll call 177-182 lbs. my single point target weight is 177 lbs. I’m 5’11” in the height department.
It’s based on my belief that, as a middle-aged man (soon to be age 64), my ideal weight is no more than 10 percent higher than what I weighed at age 18. I propose this is a benchmark for all middle-aged men.
Hear me out before you sic the attack dogs on me.
This proposition assumes you were pretty much done growing at age 18 and were neither super skinny, fat or heavily-muscled due to competitive sports. Essentially, you were an active late-stage teenager and entry-level young man. That was me and I weighed 161 lbs. for my Army physical, circa 1972.
Three years later, I weighed 169 lbs. for my Army exit physical.
So, using my 10 percent plus proposition, this pegs my ideal weight at 177 lbs. and that’s my target ideal weight expected to be achieved on or around my 64th birthday.
Now, I would modify this higher if I was chasing a more heavily-muscled outcome but that isn’t a goal at this point in my life. My benchmarks are, as Jeff Cavaliere of ATHLEAN-X website describes, light, lean and strong. I do want to be above average in the cardiovascular department.
Release the attack dogs!"
Over a dozen people added to the discussion.  Some agreed but more took exception to my proposition.  Honestly, I believe some of these naysayers took my comments too personally.  Rather than get in a back-and-forth debate with them, I chose not to but did add the following clarifying comment:
"If you read my initial post, my assumptions were that this mythical 18-year old was done growing, not skinny or fat or heavily-muscled. Basically, normal or average.
The 10 percent allows for an American reality that most of us are less active than we were in high school. Realize my frame of reference is my generation when we walked to school, played outdoors and had PE class every day in high school. There were no video games or computers or smartphones.
Not asking anyone to accept my proposition. My guess is that those who won’t are those who would also reject the BMI benchmarks."
There was one comment that I thought added the greatest perspective to this discussion:
"I propose that all middle-aged men should be more flexible with their goal weight.
You have never been this age before and when you get to goal you may realize that what you thought was ideal actually isn't.
Which was my experience based on my simple initial goal of my favorite adult weight. I found it was too high when I got there so I adjusted in a series of steps until I found my ideal weight for now rather than 30 to 40 years ago. And after maintaining a while and adding some muscle I adjusted back up again. Especially for someone training your ideal weight isn't set in stone forever.
My 18 YO weight would be too low for me now, my weight when at my muscular peak in my late 20's would be too high. Both weights are irrelevant to me now, I don't have the same goals or capabilities I had then.
For comparison my current best weight is 168 lbs at 5'9 for my current fitness goals."
Another benchmark that I’m sure you’re aware of is the Body Mass Index, or BMI.

(BMI) is a measurement of a person’s weight with respect to his or her height. It is more of an indicator than a direct measurement of a person’s total body fat.

BMI might correlate with total body fat, meaning that as the BMI score increases, so does a person’s total body fat. This isn’t always the case for athletes or other heavily-muscled people.

The World Health Organization, which I take everything they publish with a grain of salt, defines an adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 as overweight - an adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese - a BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight, and between 18.5 to 24.9 a healthy weight.

So, with a current bodyweight in the 185-lb. range, according to WHO, I’m overweight with a calculated BMI of 25.8.  At my targeted weight of 177.0 lbs., my BMI would be 24.7 and WHO would classify me as being at a healthy weight.

Let me dial my life clock back to a picture of what I weighed when close to the 161 lbs I weighted for my Army physical exam, circa 1972.  Probably the best photo I have is one taken about two years later while stationed in the Republic of South Korea.  I had a 10-speed bicycle that I used for my primary transportation and like a lot of young soldiers, I walked a lot.

My best guess is that I weighed around 165 lbs. in this photo, close to the 161-lb. starting weight I mentioned earlier when I said: “My ideal weight is no more than 10 percent higher than what I weighed at age 18.”  

So, taking this 161-lb. starting weight and adding 10 percent to it, the Pierini Fitness middle-aged man bodyweight benchmark calculates to a bodyweight of 177-lbs. and that’s what I’m currently training to weigh by my 64th birthday coming up in less than six weeks. At this bodyweight, my BMI would be 24.7 and I would no longer be considered “overweight.”

By way of comparison, here’s a current photo taken a little over one week ago:

My bodyweight this day was 186.2 lbs. which calculates to a BMI of 26.0.  According to the WHO, this makes me overweight.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below about my Pierini Fitness middle-aged man ideal bodyweight benchmark of 18 years plus 10 percent

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum


michael said...

Your 10% formula is perfect for me, I actually agree with it. I'm the same height as you, When I was 18 years old I was 150 lbs. Yeah, I was very skinny. I prefer to be below 170lbs. With Your formula, 165 lbs should be my weight right now. I did get to this weight in the summer. Matter of fact I went down to 160lbs.

The only problem I had was I worked with a professional but the diet was impractical for me.

Pierini Fitness said...

That's an accomplishment in my opinion and some credit must go to the rigors of your profession. Middle-aged goofus men like me who sit on our behinds for a living have to work harder at it. Keep up the good work and thanks for visiting Pierini Fitness.