T Nation

The Limit to Steroid-Free Bodybuilding?

I found a book the other day called ‘The Adonis Complex’ which is basically about male body obsession, similar to what many women go through with anorexia where women feel they are always too fat, except its about men who always feel they are puny, even guys who are hyooge bodybuilders.

But what i wanted to talk about was that the authors feel they can tell a steroid user from a ‘natural’ bodybuilder because they are certain there is an max amount of muscle on can gain naturally.

They created a ‘Fat free mass index’ (FFMI) that they say pinpoints the limit without steroids. I’d personally like to know how many of your T-Men out there (sorry t-vixens, but this works for men only)have been able to surpass the mark.

follow the formula below and post your FFMI and I’ll post later with the figure they beleive cannot be acheived without steroids.

The formula is:

LBM/H(squared)+ 6.1 x (1.8-H)

You need:
1)Lean BOdy Mass (LBM)
100-bf% x weight in Kg (which is lbs x 2.2)

2)Your height(H) in Meters (inchesx.0254)

You should get a final # between 18-30.

ex. a man 5’10, 173lbs and 20%bf would have a FFMI of 20.0

Actually, your weight in kg will be your weight in lbs DIVIDED by 2.2.

Depending on bf%, my FFMI would be between 48.4 and 51.4.

I got 20.342, but I haven’t really done a mass cycle in awhile. One of those damn kids, constantly cutting.


Jared NFS - check your math. Arnold in his prime would be fortunate to get to 34.


I put little stock in these formulas and equations though…they all lack one variable: desire.


Sorry, Brider, my bad. Of course it would be lbs/2.2.

One interesting thing about this is that is doesn’t matter if your on a bulking cycle or a cutting cycle or whatever, it really only takes into account the muscle you have.

I’ll throw my FFMI in: it’s 21

I’ll amend my last post and say it doesn’t matter a whole lot whether bulking or cutting, because there could be some muscle loss during cutting. Nut for the most part it should be the same.
For instance, a sumo wrestler has huge amounts of fat, but also a ton of muscle. A lean, competition form bodybuilder could have 5%bf but they have the same FFMI.

23.7315922692, but we’ll round that off to 23.73.

and mayfield, out with the supposed number already man!


S-Lifter: My math is fine. I just made up my own formula. Oops.

Now, here we go. Somewhere between 25.26 and 26.87.

27.44 (190lbs, 10%bf, 5’7)

Is there going to be a point to this?

Alright I keep getting a negative number? The (1.8-H) is a negative number? I am 6 foot 220@16percent. Fat free mass is 184.8. Someone wanna help?


There’s a more detailed javascript calculator for maximum drug-free potential size at http://www.weightrainer.com/excerpts/potential.html except that the site is gone. For now you can view the page in Google’s cache. Save the page while you can.

The calculator (that was) at weightrainer.com adds in wrist and ankle size as a factor. This was done to allow for differences in bone structure.

24.85 Haven’t even done mag-10 (yet.)