Athletic Build BMI Calculator

I’ve always hated the traditional BMI calculators out there because they always tell me I’m ‘obese’. If you were to look at me you’d say, sure, I need to lose some weight, but I’m far from obese-looking. And I certainly don’t feel it. I was searching around online and found this Athletic Build BMI Calculator, which is much more inline with where I feel my body mass index actually is at and where I want it to be. Check it out here: Athletic BMI Calculator [I've also put the link on the left nav if you scroll down to the "Helpful Tools" links].

Having an athletic build at my height, this calculator says my ‘desirable’ range is actually 150 lbs to 190 lbs. Which is a BMI of 20 to 25. 20-22 being optimal, 23-25 being desirable. I know they say men should have a lower BMI than women, though. So that range can be tightened up to 170 lbs to 190 lbs for my height [5'7"]. On a regular BMI Calculator, my ideal weight range is said to be: 118 lbs to 159 lbs. That’s a pretty big difference… 

None of this makes that big a difference if I’m eating healthy and exercising for better health, and not so much for what the number on the scale says. But it’s nice to know that what my gut told me about where my ‘ideal weight’ should be isn’t considered to be ‘overweight’ if my frame isn’t petite and light on the muscle mass. Getting that validation makes me feel better about my goals. I could starve my way into what the regular BMI calculators call ‘desirable’ … but that doesn’t sound like fun. At least now I know that I’m not crazy for NOT wanting to weigh 120 lbs.  lol…  ;)

Image credit: Animal Scale by AngryStore

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39 thoughts on “Athletic Build BMI Calculator

  1. Yes! Thank you! I felt the same way, according to a regular BMI calculator I was obese, and I always didn’t feel like it.

    Especially since I can run a 7 min mile. Bench press 300.

    Yes, thank you! This now says that I’m at 25… which isn’t awesome, but still much much better then “Obese” Lol.

    Thanks for this!

      • thank you, I have been killing myself to try and get to what was recommneded only to find that 11st at 5’6″ is as it should be for me. At this weight I can wear a size 12/10 easily, but the bmi recommends 9st 7lbs, which I would have to stave myself to achieve

      • THANK YOU BIG TIME. I am a German big broad type, and AM 30 lbs too fat but NOT 50 pounnds.. I am 173 cm and weigh in at 190.

    • my husband is in the navy and he has a very large range inwhich he can be put into for weight. I could gain like 20 pounds and still be fine in the navy. I dont think that is a very good resource to follow when it comes to being “fit”

  2. Hey, found your site by accident doing a search on Ask but I will definitely be coming back. As for your post… I agree with a lot of what you’re saying here but wouldn’t it be just as easy to focus on the postive? I mean why mess with your quality of life if you don’t have to?

  3. Still a flawed tool as all BMIs are; i am an active, healthy 40 year old male that is 6ft tall and weighs 250 lbs. I am not fat, i have not been under 200 lbs since I was 14. I would have to amputate a leg to be in the ‘healthy’ range. I go to the gym 4 or 5 times a week and participate in other activities; at the gym I row 7.5 km in 30 minutes and then hit the treadmill, elliptical or bike. According to your BMI tool I am obese.

  4. It’s not my tool and I know it’s flawed. As long as you’re happy with how you feel, that’s what matters! I’m 5’7″ and at the moment I’m at 197lbs – and I’m a size 12. I’m a size 8 at 165lbs or so, so obviously some of us are more densely packed that others, which I don’t consider a bad thing. On the contrary – it means we have more lean muscle mass and more bone mass from being more active! =)

    At the time when I found that tool it seemed more reasonable than the regular BMI calculators out there and I was looking for another way to measure progress. I needed all the positive reinforcement I could get! Now my BMI is at 30, which is still considered ‘overweight/unhealthy’ but I know I’m in better shape than most of my friends who probably weigh 50lbs less or more, so I just take it with a grain of salt. ;)

  5. I have found since exercising and eating the right amount in the last few months and getting rid of extra fat, is that measuring your chest/bust, waist and hips (for females) is a great insight into being in proportion and healthy. I’m short and my normal BMI is 22/23, in the upper range for my height, Australian size 8. I am in proportion and have an athletic build, so the athletic BMI scale is much much better and I am in the desirable range. Weight is individual, we all have different proportions and builds so as long as you feel good you look good then you are happy! Also its a good idea to know your body percentage fat, that is the real truth about health! Skinny people can have a much higher body percentage fat than someone who actually eats and exercises :-)

  6. I just kinda feel if you’re working out so that you fit some sort of approximated critera, you’re missing the point. Using a tool with lower criteria doesn’t make you any more or less healthy and fit than you originally were. In fact looking over the comments it seems like most people in here are happy to use the lowered criteria as an excuse to accept their current state of being, whether or not they are actually content with it. I play league basketball. I work out to increase my performance and numbers. Other people here are working out to improve their appearence, while others are working out for health, and even others here seem to just enjoy the challenge of pusing one’s limits. My point is work out for yourself, not some number generated off very loose approximations. If you wanna look better keep working out till you get to the image you’re looking for. If you wanna get healthy keep going till you achieve the health and well-being you’re looking for. Than maintain your goals. But if you’re cutting back because you found a device that comforts you and tells you you don’t need to reach your goals, because your already good enough; than you’re simply making excuses and giving up on your goals. No one achieves anything by judgeing themselves based on meaningless systems of numbers and approximations. We achieve or goals, and meet our own challenges by judgeing ourselves against what we personally are capable of, and refusing to settle for anyhting less. Having said that, the tool put me at a nice 21, which is fairly acurate since I would say I’m in great shape. I just guess I feel like BMI is more for those people who just need some approximated number to wake them up to the fact that they are harming their body due to their diet and lack of activity. If your a athlete, or someone whose relativly fit, your workouts shouldn’t be about hitting meaningless aproximated numbers. They should be about acomplishing your individual workout goals. If you’re not an athlete than you shouldn’t be using this tool, because you’re just deciving yourself into thinking this tool applies to your body type, and using the lower numbers to avoid that “wake up” call. So its accurate, but mixed feelings on what an athlete’s BMI index tool’s purpose should really be. I’m just afraid it will do more harm than good as very few athletes should factor BMI into their workout goals, and it’s tempting for slightly overweight people to use this tool to develop an inaccurate sense of comfort at their current wieght level. I’ve already seen several commentors here proving that fear.

    Just some stuff to think about.
    -Daniel

  7. Get reality check and be honest wit yourself.

    Just FAT, not athletic, or other “feel-good” nonsense.

    With low body fat, to exceed healthy standard BMI range you usually need years of lifting weights.

    I should know, because I did it myself.

  8. I’ve had several very sweet doctors pat me on the hand while saying, “you have big bones.” Both sides of my family are lean & big boned. My bones show through my clothing, my legs are on the skinny side, but I have no waist. My lowest ribs nearly rest on my hip bones while standing & overlap when I sit. I’m 5’2″, 53 yrs old, & weigh just under 120 lbs. Because people can see my bones, in the summer my lean arms & legs show too, I’m often called skinny. It’s odd because I can easily obscure my petite, small boned, long waisted, perfectly curved friends who think they’re fat. I show them the difference in our frames, & how much I weigh. Most of these beauties are 1-3 inches taller & many are younger than me, but even when they weigh less it doesn’t seem to make any difference. I’d love to have their wastes & curves, they want my visible bones, how silly we are.
    My doctors always look at my build when determining my overall health, & don’t talk about BMI.– The other thing that runs in my family is high blood pressure. Most of us try to stay healthy. (Fear of heart attack & worse, stroke, is terrific motivation.)
    Build matters to every doctor I’ve had. I want to stay healthy, but I dwell on wanting a long waist & female hips, no curves give an illusion of slim hips, but I’m wide, tape measures & jeans don’t lie.
    Sorry, I don’t have a real point, maybe a little perspective since I’ve lived longer than some of you, or that you should compliment your friends who are shaped the way you’d like to be shaped. It will make their day.

  9. Another good indicator of healthy weight is your waist to hip ratio. For women, it should be less than 0.8 and for men less than 0.9. The most unhealthy part of extra weight is carrying it in your midsection. This is when it starts to effect your heart and your overall health the most.

  10. The BMI is flawed, BUT for many people it is a rough guide to whether you are obese or not because folks using the bmi are often folks say in their 30s, or 40s, or so who are just starting to excercise, obviously variations exist besides muscle,
    obviously the tool should not be relied upon alone but for the bmi is often used to calculate a targeted population.

  11. Great points all. Just throwing it out there, but I have found the best way to test my fitness level is with either a body composition scan on a DXA machine or at a minimum to use a bioimpedence device that has eight points of contact to test for lean and fatty tissue volumes. It can even differentiate between intracellular and extracellular water levels. From this you can gauge your Basal Metabolic Rate and really dial in a caloric intake to match your activity level. If nothing else it’s good to baseline and know your makeup. The BMI tool as way of quantifying fitness is a place to start, like having an orthopedic surgeon look at your blown out knee from the outside and them saying, “Yeah, it looks bad and I can try a couple things to see if I can fix it.” I would rather he took a look with the latest technology and then went in and made things right the first time. Why dont we all start comparing our lean tissue mass and percent of body fat numbers. Muscle burns calories more efficiently, right? Just sayin’.

    • yup, it’s the body fat composition that is the key. There is an athletic BMI because presumably athletes have more muscle on their bodies compared to normal people and this extra muscle leads to the heavier weight. However if we look at body fat composition instead, it doesn’t matter what height you are or if you are an athlete or not. there’s less room for misinterpretation.

      • I agree – body comp is the most accurate way to know if you’re at the right weight or not [if how you look and feel isn't confirmation enough].

    • According to this bmi scale so many teens would be underweight. I am 5’7 and it says my ideal weight should be 160 when i weigh 140. Im a freshman and play all kinds of sports and i am heavier then most kids my height. If i gained 20 pounds at my current height i think it would be hard to be conditioned enough to play my main sport basketball. Even most of the NBA basketball players and pro athletes would not make it at the ideal weight.

  12. HEY THERE
    I WAS ALWAYS WONDERING WHY I AM CONSIDERED OBESE WITH A HEIGHT OF 173 cms 5.7 IN AND A WEIGHT OF 190 pounds 88 KGS. I AM EXERCISING ALL MY LIFE. I HAVE DONE RUNNING, SWIMMING, WEIGHT LIFTING, KARATE AND STILL ACTIVE AT 53. MY FAVORITE IS PUTTING MY DAUHTER 80 POUNDS ON MY SHOULDERS RUN FOR 3 MILES WORK OUT FOR 1 HOUR AND LIFT AS MUCH AS I CAN FOR 1 HOUR. NOBODY BELIVES MY AGE AND MY WEIGHT. ACTUALLY I WON SOME BETS WITH PEOPLE BELEIVING I AM NO MORE THAT 160 POUNDS.

  13. This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I’ve shared
    your website in my social networks!

  14. Hi there! I know this is somewhat off topic
    but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site?
    I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and
    I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

    • HI Gregory – I’m on wordpress as well. I haven’t had any problems and haven’t really looked into other platforms… sorry I’m not much help!

  15. You’re so awesome! I do not suppose I have read through a single thing like that before. So wonderful to discover another person with some unique thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is something that’s needed on the internet,
    someone with a little originality!

  16. My range at 5’10″ is about 120-170 which is a big drop from the 260 I started at. I’m 227 now and I look like I’m not obese at all but I’m still not classified as normal or overweight. My belly is almost completely flat yet I’m still atleast 60 lbs overweight by a normal BMI standards. My goal is to completely flatten the belly, which I hope is between 180-200lbs at which point I want to gain 20lbs of muscle and start boxing competively either as a cruiserweight or heavyweight. 120-150lbs is for skin and bone runners and cyclists. I don’t want to lose that much muscle.

  17. Haaha ya same with me im 15 5’5 170 lbs and im a girl. But i have big bones and strong shoulders, and i have a nice amount of muscle. If you see me don’t look my weight, i look 130 or 140. I play basketball at my high school and play soccer, i also go to the gym sometimes. I prob workout 3-5 times a week. And during basketball season its like 5-6 days a week cuz we have basketball practice every day then. I like food of course but i dont over eat and i don’t eat junk food all the time or anything. 2000 cal a day basically. Haha I’ve always been like 10 lbs overweight so im use to it but with the athletic bmi calculator it says im desirable so im not gonna really worry about the reg bmi like at the doctors office. They should get scales that measure how much muscle you have and fat u have and then see how healthy ur weight is when they put in all those factors. Of course i would like to be a lil smaller but not like 120 wher they say is healthy i want to b like 155. That’s prob the most my body could lose. Then i would look like beyonce, i have the typical black girl body like most of my family so im curvy and have an hour glass figure so most of my weight comes from my legs, but that’s where most of muscle is. Haha thx for the info on the calculator. Helped a lot :D

    • Dont worry im not insecure i love my body and i don’t really listen to the doctors about weight and bmi and stuff i just dont agree with it. If i feel im healthy than im healthy thats all that matters. :D

      • You sound like you’re in a good place. I wish I knew I was ‘healthy’ when I was younger. I assumed because my weight was higher than most of my friends that I was ‘fat’ and would starve myself trying to get the number on the scale to be more like everyone else, even though looking back I was perfectly lean and fit. Go figure… ;)

  18. Lol thank you, For years my pediatrician (who is seriously a hippie) was telling me I needed to lose weight and that I was obese/over weight (I was at the time 16-18 Male 5’10 180lb) But my real doctor was telling me I was fine and if anything I should be in 190-210. Naturally I went with the I need to lose weight plus the normal BMI chart was telling me I needed to be 160-166lb. Now 24 I am 5’11 and 200-205lb which of course means I am 34-40lb over weight. However my coaches keep telling me I am at the perfect weight and even the Athletic BMI says Desirable. Load off of my mind, now to improve my self-conscience and fix my low self-esteem :D. Thanks btw I play Ice Hockey.

  19. Woah! 19?? No way. I’m 15 lbs heavier than I was last year. I’ve been wondering how much is muscle and how much is fat. The regular calculator says 23, so I guess I’m somewhere in between those. But the regular one is telling me “Consider adding an “active” activity to your week.”, which makes me think I’m closer to the “athletic” calculation, because my commute is 5-7 miles total on foot up and down hills every day and my work is mostly mild physical labor, so I think I’m fairly active, but I don’t think of myself as any kind of athlete. Guess I’ll stop beating myself up about the fact that I can’t see my abs.

  20. I’ve lost nearly 75 pounds. At 5’7 that puts me at 174. I’ve worked so hard and looks better at 45 then I did 25. But the traditional bmi chart still says over weight. I like ur scale a billion times more! Thank u!!

  21. this scale is awesome. I am basically 5’8 and 170 pounds which perceived to many is overweight/obese. However, I am an extremely active person capable of running a 7 min. mile, appearing healthy, and I also lift all the time. Sick of all the traditional BMI scales that make me feel horrible…thanks for finally displaying something realistic to achieve and that doesn’t promote all the pressure to be perfect.

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