Fitness Facts: Calculating BMI, RPI and BMR

Since this is the new year, a lot of (non-track) folks are trying to lose weight.

Yesterday’s article was on abdominal training for elite athletes, but the average layman can use the same workouts too.

Here are some handy formulas to keep in mind.

Calculating your Body Mass Index

To calculate your BMI, simply divide your body weight in kilograms with your height in meters squared

I feel the BMI needs to be adjusted for fit muscular people.

The ideal values are between 18.5 and 25.

At 1.80m tall and 80Kg, it barely squeals under 25, whether I am rock hard and lean or not.

Should your BMI fall higher than 25, your will fall into the category of “overweight”. If you have more than 30, you will be considered obese. If your Body Mass Index is more than 40, you fall into the extremely obese category, putting you at much higher health risks than most.

Calculating your Body Mass Index


Calculating your Reciprocal Ponderal Index

A better way to determine body types and possibly screen for sprinting success is the Reciprocal Ponderal Index.

It is simply the height divided by cubed root of weight.

Ponderal Index = Ht (m) / Cube Root of Wt (kg)

At 1.83m and 85kg, that’s 183 / 851/3 = 0.4162 (or 42 if you multiply by 100)

So is 41.62 good?

Not according to this upcoming research article.

They found athletes with a “leanness ratio”, or Reciprocal Ponderal Index, of greater than 44 seemed to be the most successful.  Of course they cited Usain Bolt, Christophe Lemaitre, Carl Lewis and Linford Christie. 

They didn’t quote Andre Cason (Andre still owes me an apology for sending me rude emails and phone calls for false accusations supposedly from my blog)

Calculating your Reciprocal Ponderal Index


Calculating your Basal Metabolic Rate

My BMR is one of the reasons why I can eat a Club Sandwich and not get fat.  I always pride myself in ordering a Club sandwich when travelling, usually at the hotel restaurants.  (Cheesecake Factory Grilled Shrimp and Bacon Club notwithstanding)  The other options were burgers, pizza or overcooked pasta.

As an athlete, I tried to stay healthy.  Even as a coach, I try to be role model in front of my hungry athletes.  I save the Pliny the Elder for after track meets.

NOTE: This Cheesecake Factory Grilled Shrimp and Bacon Club (pictured left) contains:

1,746 calories
28 g saturated fat
2,306 mg sodium


Taking a look at the formulas for men and women, and it’s clear how I can eat 1800 calories just living and breathing!  Add interval training, circuit training, sprinting, running, and the good ol’ EPOC (Exercise Post-Oxygen Consumption) and we’re looking at 2500 calories per day!


Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee