Comparing Lean Body Mass Weight to Others

So I’m 26 and I’ve been lifting consistently about 16 months or so. I’m 5’6"ish and weight like 230’s lbs @ 25% body fat (skin fold calipers). My lean body mass is around 175lbs.

My brother in law has been lifting consistently for like 5+ years. He’s 5’9-5’10" and around 170’s and looks shredded with respectable amount of muscle. He was going to do his first bodybuilding show a couple months ago but cancelled for emergency. He looks 7-10% bodyfat …

…which means his total body weight is around my lean body mass …

What does this mean for me?

If I lose a bunch of weight and got down to around 170’s of losing mostly fat would I look more muscular than him?

Because that seem hightly unlikely… we look to have around the same amount of muscle right now he might even have a tad more it’s hard to tell as I’m obviously a fatas*

Could bone structure(broad shoulders, etc) play a huge role in lean body mass weight being mistaken for muscle/water weight?

I’ve been thinking about this to and I think it comes down to a few things. Muscle development, not size. Where the muscle is, genetics, and over all body shape.

No. There really is no mistaking lean mass regardless of proportions/distribution.

No, because in the process you would also lose a bunch of water, which is contributing toward your lean body mass.

All lean body mass means is “mass that is not fat”. It does not mean “muscle mass”. With you carrying more fat, you’re carrying more adipose tissue, and you most likely also have fuller glycogen stores and more water in your body in general. In the process of losing the fat, you’d lose some lean body mass as well, even if you lost exactly 0 muscle (which would also be impossible).

I’m seeing a whole bunch of rounding and guesstimating there. Not really a good way to get an accurate picture of your condition.

If you get to the same bodyweight and same bodyfat level, you might look a bit “better” (subjective opinion) because you’re maybe-possibly a little bit shorter. It’s why taller bodybuilders are at a disadvantage in lighter weight classes. It’s not about bone structure. It’s about basic real estate, spreading X amount of muscle over Y amount of space.

The painfully reliable rule of thumb is that fat guys always overestimate how much muscle they’re insulating. Always. He definitely has more muscle than you now, but he’s also been working on it five times longer, so…?

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“The painfully reliable rule of thumb is that fat guys always overestimate how much muscle they’re insulating. Always.”

Lifting around mostly strength-focused males my entire life, I have NEVER seen a fat guy not grossly overestimate their muscle composition. Many of my friends have done DEXA, and each one was sorely disappointed with the results.

Big guys also seem to assume they will only lose fat during massive weight loss… again, something I’ve never seen done…ever! haha

If I had a nickel for every obese lifter who claims “I’m 20%”. It’s almost like the human body caps out at twenty… regardless of how big his boobs and love handles are.

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I can see obese guys overestimating muscle. What about those rare times a pro strong men has a massive weight loss and almost look as impressive as a competitive bodybuilder?

You mean like Terry Hollands?

Or Eddie Hall?


Seen standing next to an actual bodybuilder…

Or you could take Pro Strongman turned Pro Bodybuilder Jon Andersen



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I’m not Fat fat, I’m Water fat.


“Massive weight loss” being a key phrase there. I doubt guys at that level are walking around thinking they’re 40 pounds away from a 6-pack. Guys like Hall and Hollands needed to lose 110+ pounds, if my quick Google Fu is accurate, to look as lean as they do.

I think this rarely happens.

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While Terry and Eddie look much better… neither are even close to competitive BB status.

Terry recently posted a back pose…and for a guy who pulled 950+… doesn’t look like he’d do much more than mid-pack at a state level BB show. Really supports guys like Paul Carter who de-emphasizes deadlifting for building a muscular back.

Eddie just posted a video, and he calipered at around 20% weight 352ish. The guy testing him thought he’d be shredded, i.e. 4%, at around 265. 6’2" and 265 stage-ready, is still not elite BB standards. (and who knows if Eddie could even retain that kind of muscle… it’s just speculation. It’s one thing to speculate a guy who’s at 10% going to 4%… but 20% is just worlds apart)

I’m a huge fan of strength guys and don’t give a whit about BB really… but give credit where credit is due. The lean mass on top BB’s is just incredible, and being elite strong doesn’t mean elite muscle mass. It’s just different

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Agreed on Anderson, although I am willing to bet he uses synthol. The other two are not close to “almost as impressive”.

I don’t think Anderson was either when he was a low bodyfat strongman. That was actually my point, haha.

There are guys at 5’7" that weight 265 on stage. Eddy has a bunch of muscle, I don’t think he will ever be aesthetic like a BBer though.

Strength is cool too!

Guys Eddie’s height are 310+ on-stage (like Gunter, in the center) at the highest level.

Someone 50 pounds lighter at the same height would look embarrassing in comparison and would be the smallest-looking guy there. Goes back to what I originally said about shorter bodybuilders at a given weight/bodyfat looking better than taller guys with the same stats.

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