Reach your goal faster with a little shortcut?
A study of the German Department of Health has supported these claims with numbers: especially men and women in younger ages (19-29 years) that regularly visit a gym tend to use prescription drugs and substances to increase their performance (cf. KOLIBRI survey (German source)).
Next to movie stars, the countless Youtube celebrities and Gangster Rappers celebrating bodybuilding certainly play a big part in the heightened desire for muscles in young athletes. So when these role models flaunt their muscles, their fans try to match them – whatever it takes. A few then take the seemingly easy shortcut by using anabolic steroids. It all intensifies even more when there are more ambitions and there is money to be earned.
Social Media as fire accelerant
In our modern times with various forms of media all over such innovative channels as Youtube, TikTok or Instagram, it has become increasingly easy for everyone to turn their body into a brand. There are countless self-proclaimed muscle growth experts and fitness professionals. And all natural, of course! Gotta keep it authentic. Have all these Youtube celebrities achieved their perfect bodies with total devotion and a disciplined lifestlye
Does one negative test prove innocence?
‘But there are tests during competitions!’ is what yous might say. That’s certainly true! But even if and when most professional bodybuilders have had several negative tests throughout their career it doesn’t really prove total steroid abstinence, especially when it comes to juicing in the past. If you have used steroids regularly for a longer period you might profit from it even years after stopping. Just consider that Lance Armstrong never tested positive in his career…
How much muscle growth can I achieve?
There are several different studies and theories. The authors of these theories are former bodybuilders, sports medicine specialists, or strength and conditioning coaches. All have one thing in common: there is a natural limit! But this limit is different for everybody. There are several methods and models to determine where your individual limit lies. At this point we have to state that we certainly don’t claim to have the one and only solution for this elemental question or that we know which model is the best. All of these models are build upon experiences and studies and none of them claim to be as holy as one of the ten commandments.
The Alan Aragon Model
Alan Aragon is an American coach, author, and speaker for the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the National Strength & Conditioning Association, among others. According to his theory, a beginner can grow 1% – 1.5% of their bodyweight as new muscle mass per month. So a man of 100 kg can gain 12 – 18 kg of new muscle in the first year. In the second year (you are now an intermediate), 6 – 12 kg are possible. During the third year the rate slows down considerably. Then, only 3 – 6 kg of muscle mass are possible. So after three years of continuous training, a man who weighed 100 kg at the beginning could weigh 121 – 136 kg at the end of the third year.
Casey Butt’s Frame Size Model
The natural bodybuilder Casey Butt has done a study with several colleagues and made the claim that genetic potential and physique correlate closely. He examined the girth of ankle and wrist, body height, and the current bodyfat percentage (BFP).
The Fat-free Mass Index
The Fat-free Mass Index denotes a value that is supposed to give insights to the general body composition and is more meaningful than the well-known BMI (Body Mass Index). The BMI is misleading because a well-trained man can easily have a BMI value that points towards overweight. Since this value only incorporates height and weight it shouldn’t be considered at all because it can’t differentiate between ‘good’ overweight (muscle mass) and ‘bad’ overweight (fat).
What makes this formula so interesting is this: a team of scientists at the McLean Hospital in Massachusetts conducted a study of professional bodybuilders. They concluded that athletes that don’t take anabolic steroids have an Index of around 25 at max. Steroid users could surpass that value, often by much. This leads to the conjecture that the FFMI of around 25 is a natural limit. Or to put it differently: up to a value of 25 the body can regulate its building processes hormonally and energetically by itself. Provided the diet is right and the training impulses are optimal. Beyond that point, steroids have to come in.
The aerobis Fat-free Mass Index calculator
We have programmed you the ultimate aerobis Fat-free Mass Index calculator. Simply put in your values and find out your Fat-free Mass and your Fat-free Mass Index.
If you want to find out how much muscle mass you can build up theoretically, just increase the bodyweight value or reduce the bodyfat value until the FFMI settles around 25. Please consider that a bodyfat percentage of 6 % and below is unhealthy and can only be reached by professional bodybuilders for a few days (during competitions). Desirable would be a value of 10 – 12 % for men.
At the end of the day, there are many theories and models. Some are actually relatively useful and one has even been backed by a study. But you shouldn’t get hung up on these values because they describe the genetic potential of building muscle mass under optimal conditions and continuous training.