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How to set a realistic target weight

Goal Weight vs Goal Body

How do you set YOUR goal weight? Is it based on what you used to weigh? Is it based on what you think you need to gain/lose to get the body you want?

From experience, most people are way off when they try to match up what they want to look like with their target weight!

Both men and women tend to overestimate what their goal weight should be to get the body they want. To generalise, women tend to set goal weight around 9-10 stone, but identify a goal body that, for their height would be around 7.5 to 8.5 stone. Similarly, men tend to select a goal body of around 12-13 stone, but often don’t want to drop below 14/15 stone.

Height & Weight

There is big relationship between height, weight and aesthetics. Two people of a similar musculature and body fat (i.e. both similar in how they look in swimwear) can differ in weight by 2-3 stones.

For example, athlete, Katarina Johnson-Thomson, is 6ft and weighs 10.7 stone. Compare this to Jessica Ennis-Hill who is 5ft 4″ and weighs 8.9.

Similar look, 2 stone difference!

Stumbling Blocks

Here’s where many people go wrong when calculating their goal weight.

  1. They identify a goal body of someone who’s being training for years and then base their goal weight on:
    • What they used to weigh when they were 18 or 25 or 32, or whatever.
    • What their friends weigh.

    In short, they might as well blindfold themselves and chuck a dart at a dartboard.

  2. They fail to take into account the allowances for height, and/or they don’t understand just how much height can affect how their goal weight and goal body should relate to each other. For example, a 5 foot female who has a body like Emily Skye (who is 5ft 7″ and 8 stone 7) is more likely than not to have a body weight with a seven at the start of it!

  3. This related to point 2, above. Let’s go back to the 5 foot female example. Let’s say she weighs 12 stone and wants to looks like Emily Skye. So she does all her research and works out that she’s looking at a body weight of around 7 stone 12.

    She makes a plan to lose the weight slowly over the next couple of years. She starts lifting weights, doing cardio and circuits and signs up to an online nutrition coaching programme to help her reach her goals.

    All is fine and Dandy…until she tells people that she has a goal to get to around 7 stone 12 – and everyone flips out!

    “Oh that’s way too low”, “That’s unhealthy”, “No one should weigh 7 stone”.

    Say all the overweight, unfit, well meaning, people who have no idea what they’re talking about!

    Unless you’re very headstrong, this can derail, demotivate and destroy your confidence, causing you to second-guess yourself and question what you’re doing. I’ve seen this kind of this cost people YEARS of progress by training in limbo, half following what they know is right and half being held back by the shackles of the uneducated opinions of others.

Still think I’m having a laugh by saying 7 stone 12? Check out the height / weight chart below, taken from the NHS website

It’s a perfectly healthy weight for someone who is 5 foot. The healthy weight range for someone who is 5 foot tall is around 6.13 to 8.11.

Some Examples

Here are some celebs (oh and me) with their weight and height. Remember that most of these have a decent amount of muscle so if you’re a beginner you might want to knock off 10% to account for their extra muscle!

Summary & Final Thoughts

We all know that weight isn’t everything – at the end of the day if we are aiming for a certain look then we’re not particularly bothered whether we weigh 10 stone or 7 stone, as long as well look how we want to look. But, there is a correlation between weight and aesthetics – put simply, you’re not going to look like Emily Skye if you’re 5 foot 2 and 11 stone. Ain’t gonna happen!

From experience I’d say that to achieve the look that many people show me that they want (I get them to choose a picture on the internet) men are looking at 70-85kg (depending on height) and women are looking at 50-60kg.

For example, I’m 6 foot 1 and about 12 stone 3.

But, remember, a 75kg man at 25% body fat is a completely different proposition to a 75kg man at 8% body fat. Weight loss won’t get you toned if you don’t have an effective training plan and nutrition programme.

Dan Sroda
Personal Trainer at Reach Personal Training
Dan Sroda is a Personal Trainer based in Birstall, serving Leeds and Bradford.

As the owner and lead trainer at Reach Personal Training, I am responsible for the philosophy of the business and overseeing client programmes.

My mission is for Reach Personal Training to be synonymous with a long-term, real-life approach to health and fitness. We help our clients to integrate health and fitness into their busy lives. We don't do fads. We don't do crash diets. We do "Fitness For Life".

I have a family. I’ve always worked (and not always in the fitness industry). I have housework and shopping to do. I have a REAL life. So I know what it takes to balance a real life with a sustainable approach to health and fitness.

If I can do it then anyone else can too. All you need is the desire to make eating healthily and keeping fit a priority in your life. An hour a day, thirty minutes a day, even fifteen minutes a day of exercise, supported with a healthy diet based on whole foods, is all it takes to make steady long-term progress towards looking and feeling fantastic.

I have a few simple values upon which I have built Reach Personal Training. Only personal trainers who share these values will be part of our team.

- Friendliness. Just be a genuinely nice person, it's dead simple and it's the best way to live. Smile as much as possible and try to see the best in every situation.

- No fads. No pseudoscience. My background in academia makes me question everything. There is so much nonsense in the fitness industry, mainly because some people are in it to make money so they'll believe anything and questioning it will mean they can't believe in the product. We are different. We do what works. We use science to create our programmes and we never put profit over effectiveness. You will NEVER find Herbalife or Forever Living in our studio!


The Reach Personal Training approach to health and fitness is no-nonsense but fun, friendly and motivating. We don’t do short-cuts or fad diets. Our FAT LOSS and BODY TONING training programmes are based on science and common-sense and they get long-lasting results.

If you hate the thought of drifting aimlessly from machine to machine around a commercial gym, with Jeremy Kyle on the TV, then get in touch today to enquire about our Private Personal Training & Group PT packages


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