T Nation

Fat Free Mass Index Standards


#1

According to these ffmi formulas I am at my genetic limit for building muscle. I grew up on bro science, and am not very knowledgeable about the actual science. Can anyone educate me on whether or not these ffmi formulas are true or not?


#2

Height/weight/rough BF%/lift totals?

Also, the fat free mass index is junk. Pure junk. Seriously. It assumes EVERY non-steroid user has the exact same genetics… Completely ignore it. This forum is filled with people who are non-steroid users who the the FFMI considers steroid users.


#3

If your diet is perfect, your training is perfect, your rest is perfect, etc, and you haven’t gained any muscle in over a year, you’re likely at or near your limit.

This is a big claim to make. Can you provide us with some lifting stats, bodyweight, and number of years training?


#4

these types of calculators seem to really piss people off for some reason, but I’ve certainly never known of a natty lifter who’s surpassed that Casey Butt formula…


#5

[quote]cjsmp1029 wrote:
According to these ffmi formulas I am at my genetic limit for building muscle.[/quote]
Based on your profile and previous posts, it appears you’re 5’9" and about 212 pounds.

As of 2 months ago, you had: “Bench 225 5rm, Deadlift 315 5rm, Squat 275 5rm” (with 275 1x20 two weeks ago).

Unless you did all this with impressively-low bodyfat and are currently ripped, it’s safe to say you’re not at any kind of limit. Keep on truckin’.


#6

69inches, 209lbs, 20%bf. My big three lifts are 415 for deadlift, 335 for squat, and 275 for bench, all 5rm.
I thought these formulas were over hyped, I’d like to think I can make gains for years to come. Thanks for the input


#7

At 20% body fat you have a lot of room to keep working and bumping up those numbers.


#8

[quote]Yogi wrote:
these types of calculators seem to really piss people off for some reason, but I’ve certainly never known of a natty lifter who’s surpassed that Casey Butt formula…[/quote]

Is that not a skeletal structure formula? I am not versed with that to comment on it, but it is completely different from the FFMI. For example, the FFMI deems that a natural 6’ lifter cannot weigh above 203 pounds pounds without being above 9-10% bodyfat… That’s pretty much junk.


#9

[quote]cjsmp1029 wrote:
69inches, 209lbs, 20%bf. My big three lifts are 415 for deadlift, 335 for squat, and 275 for bench, all 5rm. [/quote]
Yeah, no, you’re definitely not at any kind of limit. You’re making steady and significant strength gains and, to be honest, you have plenty of fat to lose (if/when you ever decide to, your call) which will change things anyhow. Keep on truckin’, again.


#10

[quote]cjsmp1029 wrote:
69inches, 209lbs, 20%bf. My big three lifts are 415 for deadlift, 335 for squat, and 275 for bench, all 5rm.
I thought these formulas were over hyped, I’d like to think I can make gains for years to come. Thanks for the input[/quote]

Did you actually get your bodyfat measured, or is that an estimate?

At your exact height, I got an 8.4% bodyfat on a bodpod at 190lbs with a 650 deadlift, low-mid 5s on squat, and a 350 on bench (maxes are about a year old, I don’t max in my training). That gave me a FFMI of 25.9ish. I think you’ve got a ways to go in any capacity.


#11

FFMI wasn’t made to apply to high BF%'s (“high” meaning that if you aren’t in the single digits, then don’t even bother). It was calculated based on pre-steroid era bodybuilders in contest shape (which also necessitates the assumption that these men must represent the genetic elite).

There’s a few things about BF and FFMI: 1) all other things equal, a guy at 20% BF can potentially hold more lean mass than a guy at a dry 5%, and 2) most people don’t have an accurate BF% and tend to underestimate it.

FFMI also needs to be adjusted for height in order to be accurate.

Basically, IMO, it’s a decent standard, but one that is widely utilized incorrectly. Yeah, it relies on some assumptions that aren’t necessarily true. The main problem is that it’s trumpeted on lifting forums as the one true way to tell who’s natty, but it really can’t apply properly to almost all of the posters.


#12

Thanks for the input guys. The bf is an estimate based off my last known which was 24%, I’ve been losing fat slowly and still gaining strength. I hope to get to 10 or less one day, but I’m not in a rush.


#13

[quote]Apoklyps wrote:
FFMI wasn’t made to apply to high BF%'s (“high” meaning that if you aren’t in the single digits, then don’t even bother). It was calculated based on pre-steroid era bodybuilders in contest shape (which also necessitates the assumption that these men must represent the genetic elite).

There’s a few things about BF and FFMI: 1) all other things equal, a guy at 20% BF can potentially hold more lean mass than a guy at a dry 5%, and 2) most people don’t have an accurate BF% and tend to underestimate it.

FFMI also needs to be adjusted for height in order to be accurate.

Basically, IMO, it’s a decent standard, but one that is widely utilized incorrectly. Yeah, it relies on some assumptions that aren’t necessarily true. The main problem is that it’s trumpeted on lifting forums as the one true way to tell who’s natty, but it really can’t apply properly to almost all of the posters.[/quote]

Even using single digit BF it is a horrible calculation. Using the FFMI, a natural 6’ lifter at 8% or below BF can’t exceed 200 pounds. That’s rubbish.


#14

[quote]daltron wrote:

[quote]Apoklyps wrote:
FFMI wasn’t made to apply to high BF%'s (“high” meaning that if you aren’t in the single digits, then don’t even bother). It was calculated based on pre-steroid era bodybuilders in contest shape (which also necessitates the assumption that these men must represent the genetic elite).

There’s a few things about BF and FFMI: 1) all other things equal, a guy at 20% BF can potentially hold more lean mass than a guy at a dry 5%, and 2) most people don’t have an accurate BF% and tend to underestimate it.

FFMI also needs to be adjusted for height in order to be accurate.

Basically, IMO, it’s a decent standard, but one that is widely utilized incorrectly. Yeah, it relies on some assumptions that aren’t necessarily true. The main problem is that it’s trumpeted on lifting forums as the one true way to tell who’s natty, but it really can’t apply properly to almost all of the posters.[/quote]

Even using single digit BF it is a horrible calculation. Using the FFMI, a natural 6’ lifter at 8% or below BF can’t exceed 200 pounds. That’s rubbish.
[/quote]

What would be a more realistic max weight?


#15

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]daltron wrote:

[quote]Apoklyps wrote:
FFMI wasn’t made to apply to high BF%'s (“high” meaning that if you aren’t in the single digits, then don’t even bother). It was calculated based on pre-steroid era bodybuilders in contest shape (which also necessitates the assumption that these men must represent the genetic elite).

There’s a few things about BF and FFMI: 1) all other things equal, a guy at 20% BF can potentially hold more lean mass than a guy at a dry 5%, and 2) most people don’t have an accurate BF% and tend to underestimate it.

FFMI also needs to be adjusted for height in order to be accurate.

Basically, IMO, it’s a decent standard, but one that is widely utilized incorrectly. Yeah, it relies on some assumptions that aren’t necessarily true. The main problem is that it’s trumpeted on lifting forums as the one true way to tell who’s natty, but it really can’t apply properly to almost all of the posters.[/quote]

Even using single digit BF it is a horrible calculation. Using the FFMI, a natural 6’ lifter at 8% or below BF can’t exceed 200 pounds. That’s rubbish.
[/quote]

What would be a more realistic max weight?
[/quote]

In all honesty, I am not sure. However, looking at your example as well as using a “previous” version of myself, we both would be considered “steroid users”. I could be mistaken, and this is not a slight at you at all, but I thought you said previously on this forum you were natural so right off the bat we have at least two examples in this very thread that don’t fit the calculation. I have nothing against steroid users and I wouldn’t mind doing a cycle one day when I feel like I have hit my genetic potential, but that calculator doesn’t seem to serve a purpose to me if its intent is to tell people conservatively ‘OK, you can’t build more muscle naturally’.


#16

[quote]daltron wrote:
In all honesty, I am not sure. However, looking at your example as well as using a “previous” version of myself, we both would be considered “steroid users”. I could be mistaken, and this is not a slight at you at all, but I thought you said previously on this forum you were natural so right off the bat we have at least two examples in this very thread that don’t fit the calculation. I have nothing against steroid users and I wouldn’t mind doing a cycle one day when I feel like I have hit my genetic potential, but that calculator doesn’t seem to serve a purpose to me if its intent is to tell people conservatively ‘OK, you can’t build more muscle naturally’.[/quote]

You recall correctly that I am a natural, but my number doesn’t fall outside of the range of a natural lifter according the FFMI. It’s toward the top, yes, but there were examples in the data collected that went as high as the 27s.

We may be talking about different metrics in all honesty.

I don’t see it as a scale that says “this is the absolute max” but more simply “Observing top levels of natural lifters, this is where the max tends to fall”.

EDIT: I’ll also say that I don’t find it’s conclusion about me wrong. I’m 30, been lifting since I was 14, and don’t imagine I have a whole lot more muscle to put on at this rate. Probably eek out a few more pounds here and there, but definitely not going to be hitting a ripped 220 naturally.


#17

According to the BMI, I am borderline obese…

According to the FFMI, I am almost to my genetic max…

According to my care-O-meter, I don’t really give a hoot.


#18

[quote]daltron wrote:
Even using single digit BF it is a horrible calculation. Using the FFMI, a natural 6’ lifter at 8% or below BF can’t exceed 200 pounds. That’s rubbish.
[/quote]

Mmmmm I’m not sure about that, to be honest. Jeff Seid is one of the top physique guys, absolutely NOT natural and he’s 6ft about 185lbs I think.

I’m not convinced there’s natty lifters of average height over 200lbs at sub 8%…


#19

Another example - that Sadik dude who won the Olympia physique class this year. 5’ 11", 194lbs, sub 8%, not natural.

EDIT: sorry, he didn’t win the Olympia, but the point still remains


#20

This ffmi thing is a pretty often recurring thread topic. In the last one although I lot of people had a lot to say about it being wrong, no one natural actually exceeded the estimates for what is possible, at least not anyone lean.

OP because I have no life I worked your ffmi out at around 24.75 (corrected up to 25 for your height)…which is not at the 26ish limit proposed by the authors. Also as Apoklyps noted, a higher body fat means the ability to hold more lean mass, so combined with your own estimating of body fat % I really wouldn’t concern yourself.

As other have said, does it really matter anyway? The general conclusions to thread like these, and those that ask how strong someone can get naturally is; ‘why does it matter what other people say/think is possible, everyone is different so just keep at it and see how strong/big you personally can get’.