T Nation

Estimating Maximum Genetic Potential?

This is my first post here so please don’t crucify me if I sin on this entry.
I’m 27 and have been actively lifting/bodybuilding for about 12 years. I currently weigh 235 and am 5’9 with 12-14% bodyfat. I Deadlift 500, squat 400 and bench 300… respectable but not worthy of bragging (its okay, i just want to look good nekkid), and I’ve been considering competing in the not too distant future.
Backstory (not super important)
As with most people’s early years of lifting, I messed up a lot early on and was clueless about most general knowledge topics… of course, I didn’t know of T-Nation at the time either :smirk:. Fast forward a few years and I weighed 230lbs and it was mostly fat until I enlisted. By the time I was done in Parris Island, I weighed 165lbs and was actually skinny (with a little muscle). From this point forward I will say I straigtened out my training and nutrition (mostly) and maintained anywhere from 8-12% bodyfat whilst improving my strength and getting more muscle-y. This ultimately plateau’d at me weighing 190lbs with about 8% bodyfat (not measured, but i had a well defined 6-pack). This was while I was enlisted and required to stay within a certain height/weight spectrum - i was a few pounds over but they tend to look the other way when you have a 6-pack.

I left the service in late 2018 at about 195lbs and really started making some significant progress in gaining muscle from here. I started messing with some SARMs (Rad140 and later YK11) for a little while and got myself up to about 220lbs and 10-12% BF by March, 2020.
sidebar: I STRONGLY recommend Rad140
The California gyms closed down and gym equipment was so damned expensive i’d need to sell blood and semen to pay for a couple of rusty 45s and a clapped-out barbell. Needless to say, I was benched for about 6 weeks until I found some hole-in-the-wall gym that was open. I had lost about 10 lbs during that time but regained it quickly; harnessing all the stress The Rona and government had provided for me - I quickly found myself up at 230lbs without any supplements but pre-workout and hatred.
Current (more important)
I currently weigh about 235 at about 12-14% body fat (I would give a more accurate % but BF calipers are really subjective) and I’m considering my path forward after nearly a decade of serious lifting. I’m going to make an excuse here so bare with me: I don’t have the time to dedicate myself to competing just yet… I work full-time with an hour drive to work, lift 5-6 days a week (about 1.5 hours per day), and I attend college full time while managing a wife and 5 year-old daughter/boss. I expect to finish school in about 18 months, and I think that relieves me of enough engagements to reasonably dedicate myself to competition prep.
Before you start, I KNOW ya’ll are going to tell me I need to lean out, I’m sorry - I just can’t shake the urge to pile nacho chips with cheese during late nights (joking, kind of).
Ultimately my question here is this: is there any reliable method to estimate one’s maximum genetic potential before they reach it?
Obviously for a gym newbie this would be impractical to attempt calculating, but for experienced lifters who are potentially close to their genetic max already?

Anyone know a way to reasonably estimate one’s maximum genetic potential?

So i went to take a shirtless selfie (the first in years) and realized a few things…

  1. im fatter than i remember myself being :sweat_smile:
  2. I need to follow the advice of the mirror, as in actually looking at myself in it
  3. I need to lean out and reassess my position on development

I am probably around 18-20% bodyfat at 228 (i re-weighed myself) and need to get down to about 210 or so before I can accurately gauge my figure and development. Thank you guys for immediately hurting my feelings (not really) after I opened myself up on the internet; I will be starting to log my macros, weight, and certain measurements - I may even do this via a new forum thread.

Will probably post pictures when I feel like I no longer look like shit in them :joy:
Again, thanks to all for helping me see myself more accurately!

These are my long standing favorites!

No clue on genetic potential. Sorry.

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John Meadows’ Youtube channel had a video that provided 3 formulas for estimation a while back, but I believe that was without enhancement.

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How big are the Pythons?

I don’t believe this without a picture (that is yolked AF). I am 5’10" 210, with a squat at 440, bench at 385, and deadlift at 600 and I am about 15% right now. I would assume that you are probably 10% higher (22-24% BF) based on your stats. Maybe you have absolutely trash genetics for strength? I kinda doubt it though.


Would the FFMI (or what ever it is?) be useful-ish here?


At 14% it is an FFMI of 30. I don’t think OP is even close, I have been proved wrong a time or two, but a 30 FFMI with just SARMs is crazy. It is crazy for someone blasting their face off.

The guys in the 50s who were winning BBing shows were all under 30 FFMI.

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:fried_egg: or :egg:?


Agreed. Either dudes a solid candidate to go far in the IFBB or slightly off on body fat%

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If he is correct, he should try for a pro card. I think slightly off is pretty generous, it might be double what he thinks.

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Pictures speak a thousand words!

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Not for me. I’m often amazed at how utterly ordinary some great BBers look to me in pre-training photos. Dorian Yates comes to mind–if he had posted a pic and inquired as to his potential, I would have said ‘Sorry kid, I don’t think so.’

Of course, I also predicted in 1979 that home computers were a passing fad, so you can see I have a track record for judging potential.

Edit: Take the guy on the left below. If he had inquired about his genetic potential, I would have told him he would top out at city- or state-level shows–would have above-average wheels, but with his narrow shoulders and high lats…


Yeah I meant more in terms of understanding the current physique. Op could be a lean tank at those stats or be underestimating his fat levels.

We have encountered this particular either/or many, many times on this website. Perhaps this will be the one time it turns out to be the either, not the or.

These weights are pretty pedestrian for someone your weight
To be considered pretty strong you should be able to:
Bench press 1.5 times your bodyweight 5 reps (that is about 350lbs for 5 reps)
Squat and deadlift 2 times your bodyweight (that is 470lbs for 5 reps)

Get to 10 reps on these weights and that would be generally accepted as fairly strong.


They were. Everybody uses their phones now! :rofl:

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I cant make promises as to the bodyfat % because again, calipers are subjective as fuck for measurements. Admittedly, I am probably slightly off, but I’ll wager less than 5%.

I did my best at estimating this in combination of BF calipers and visual references - which are also different at literally every website you look at (14% at one can be labelled 20% on another). Apologies for not wanting to shell out a few hundred to get displacement tested :grimacing:

I mean I literally said they’re not worthy of bragging but thanks for the feedback…? Also, I lift all of these weights for 3 reps (1 rep could be a fluke) - still though, the numbers are pretty middle of the road.

its all in the legs bro :joy: i got gams for days but my arms are meh by comparisson. I’ll try to post a pic later.

P.S. Strength and size are not synonomous, I train to look good - not lift heavy shit.

They are too an extent. The real big guys are almost always strong. Maybe they don’t go pound for pound with a strength athlete, but they are strong. My favorite bodybuilders all had insane strength.

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