T Nation

What is Lean Body Mass?


Just in an attempt to clarify commonly used medical terminology and laymen terminology as far as what actually composes total body mass.

In the past, there have been posts by some eluding to what exactly is gained over years of training.

There is the argument that only "dry mass" should be counted...when the truth is, this can only be determined after death during autopsy.....because no human body is ever going to be dry enough to ONLY have dry muscle left without dying first.

Just for discussion:

This study brings into question using past bodybuilders in the 50's and 60's as standards when most were only Caucasian observed at all.

How can we use that as a standard with this in mind?

Gee, my guess is this changes commonly known lean body mass amounts greatly all in itself......


Please may the good Lord help us all.


Bro science dictates that you use charts based on populations of specific small populations of people and apply it to everyone else on the planet.

Bro science states that since Caucasians in the 60's who could afford to bodybuild were observed that this is how we should judge how much lean body mass a lifter has gained.

The truth is, you simply measure the body fat mass and subtract the rest as lean body mass in a living human being. The human body is too fluctuant and variable on even a daily basis to use any one specific body fat amount as determinant of "lean body mass".

It is a variable state to start with, not a constant.



This really makes me wonder when allegedly trained professionals on this board claim they can fit all people to one standard by looking at them.

I do wonder if I could get the expertise of Brickhead on this topic...seeing as he professes to be an expert....


It would seem some past commonly held ideas need to be re-examined.


I guess what is the point of this?

Ultimately, all physiques are judged by the eye rather than supposid guidelines. Until people are judged in contests by an autopsy, no one will really know how much of their body is muscle, fat, water, organs, etc, etc.

Arguing this is the equivalent of a dick measuring contest.


Actually, the point is when posters state they can tell how much "dry muscle mass" someone has gained by looking at them down to the pound.

This is never argued here...as if it is even possible for someone to do that.

I am attempting to discuss how this is incorrect....which is what most of us should want.


I know what the point of this thread is but the point of contention with water weight is legit.

When trying to calculate LBM (when you really mean MUSCLE) you need to attempt to eliminate water weight because it can VASTLY skew the numbers.

In my avatar I weigh 212 pounds. I could go and chug a gallon of water and I would weigh 220 pounds with that additional 8 pounds of water weight technically counting as "LBM." I gained 8 pounds of LBM but didn't gain any muscle.

Anyway, we all know the point of this thread and I can't say that I wasn't expecting this lol.



No, gregron. Don't do it. Don't get sucked in.


For instance...this was written by Brichhead in a previous thread in relation to how much muscle was gained.

This was all the conclusion of how much muscle someone built over a life time of lifting. These numbers are incorrect and based on faulty science....which seems to truly affect the perspective.

If these numbers are incorrect, it calls into question all standards held by that perspective when it comes to telling others exactly what they can do or have done.


And here.we.go.


The reality is, you can NOT eliminate water weight. It is impossible. It doesn't matter if someone is 7% body fat, their body water is fluctuant and changes. In vivo, attempting to "eliminate" body water (especially in theory like you seem top be doing) is impossible.


Not this thread again...


The disciples of bro science may get upset if any truth is injected.


Don't worry SS, I'm not getting sucked in lol

I just had to matter of factly state why LBM vs "dry" muscle mass is a legitimate point of contention and leave it at that. I already know where this thread is going (natty gains limits: 19.0) and frankly I'm looking forward to the lulz.

Page after page after page of arguing for more muscle gained than any top natural pro ever, claiming an autopsy is the only way to truely know, saying you could gain more muscle overall of you never set yourself back by dieting down and claims crazy BF% test numbers done by a friend at the gym to be the proof of it all.

It feels like deja vu? lol


I know. That's why I said "attempt to eliminate water weight."

"ATTEMPTING" to eliminate (aka reducing it based on what countless bodybuilders have done over the decades) IS possible.

Just to clarify.


It really is amazing how many experts in the professional side of the field/sport, with advanced degrees, making a living studying this subject and interacting on other sites all over the internet are all apparently wrong. If only they knew to come over to this particular forum, and listen to this one particular poster to understand how they've all been following faulty science for years.