The other day, during one of my researches on the Internet, I asked myself the following question: Do you only see anabolic steroids monsters on Youtube?? This led me to the following point: How much muscle building is possible in a natural way??
I admit, this is a provocative thesis. But I once saw for myself in a gym that for many fitness freaks the hurdle to taking anabolic steroids or other banned substances is frighteningly low. Of course, young people in particular run to the studio with the requirement of wanting to look like Chris Hemsworth as Thor or Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. Only results that can be seen are important. Together with the wonderful feeling of invulnerability that you still have at a young age, some then just think to themselves: Nothing will happen. So why work for years when I can achieve the same result in a few months?
Reach your goal faster with shortcuts
A study by the German Federal Ministry of Health has even backed up these assumptions with figures: for example, it is mainly young men and women (19-29 years old) who regularly go to the gym who are increasingly turning to prescription drugs to boost their performance (cf. KOLIBRI study).
In addition to movie stars, a not insignificant part of the increased desire for lots of muscle is certainly contributed by today’s YouTube stars and gangster rappers who glorify weight training and the mountains of muscle it creates. So when the role models of the youthful fitness enthusiasts flaunt their mountains of muscle, the fans are naturally only too happy to emulate them. And a few like to take the dangerous shortcut with anabolic steroids and co. This is certainly intensified when there is something more ambitious in the sporting environment, or there is even money to be made from it.
Social media as a fire accelerator
Through today’s media age, and such innovative channels like Youtube, Facebook and Instagram, it is finally made easy for a lot of people to market themselves and their bodies. It’s teeming with self-proclaimed muscle building experts and fitness professionals who still look like Ken at the same time. All natural! After all, you have to be authentic. Did all those YouTube stars really achieve their muscles through complete dedication and a disciplined lifestyle? It could be that the situation here is similar to that of professional bodybuilders and that one or the other has helped a bit..
This article is not meant to expose the dark machinations of bodybuilding, nor do I want to lump all participants of this aesthetic sport together. There are certainly them, the honest and natural strength athletes!
A negative test proves innocence?
"But at least in competitions there are tests!"Some of you may say. Yes! But even if most professional bodybuilders have been tested negative even several times, this unfortunately says nothing about whether they have not taken such preparations in the distant past. Because those who once helped to build muscle for a certain period of time may continue to benefit from it for a few years longer. Besides: Lance Armstrong was not tested positive once during his career, if I remember correctly..
So this probably makes it attractive for many hobby pumpers to "just add a little bit in the mass phase". After that, drop the stuff and move into the so-called definition phase. But some unfortunately remain longer on it!
Too bad! Well, as already mentioned, this is not meant to be an article about doping. I would rather like to clarify what natural limits you have as a fitness athlete. So to where does mother nature let you hypertrophy with real nutrition and honest training? What is your genetic potential?
How much muscle mass can I build?
There are several studies and theories. Among the authors are former bodybuilders, sports physicians or strength and conditioning trainers. All of them have one thing in common in their thoughts: there is a natural limit! But this varies from person to person. So if I want to determine this limit, I can resort to different models or formulas. Of course, it should be mentioned at this point that we can not give any guarantee for the validity of these models. They are based on experience and observation and do not claim to become one of the holy 10 commandments.
The Alan Aragon Model
Alan Aragon is a US-American trainer, author and lecturer for the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the National Strength & Sports Institute Conditioning Association. According to his theory, a beginner can build up 1% – 1.5% of his body weight in additional muscle mass per month. For a 100 kg man, this would be 12-18 kg in the first year. In the second year of training (he is now an advanced beginner) another 6-12 kg would be possible. During the third year of training, the rate then decreases sharply. Here are only 3-6 kg muscle mass possible. The bottom line is that our original 100 kg man would weigh between 121 kg and 136 kg after three years of continuous training. A not very accurate statement. The table shown here once again illustrates the rate of muscle growth:
Training degreeRate of muscle gains/month
|Beginner||1-1,5% of the body weight|
|Advanced beginner||0,5-1% of the body weight|
|Advanced||0,25-0,5% of the body weight|
Casey Butt’s Frame Size Model
Natural bodybuilder Casey Butt conducted a study with numerous colleagues and made the claim that genetic potential and stature are closely correlated. To do this, he examined the circumference of the ankles and ankles, the height and the current body fat percentage (KFA) in %. Out came the formula:
Size^1.5 x [(√Wrist)/22.6670 + (√jump joint)/17.0104] x [(KFA%/224) + 1] *
This calculation has a small disadvantage: you have to know your current body fat percentage. This can be determined in advance using the Calipper method (measurement of skin fold thickness) or a valid body fat scale. However, if you now want to know how much muscle mass would be possible for a given desirable KFA in the coming training year, the following simplified derivation is suitable:
0.3 × wrist^2 × 0.5^(training years – 1) *
The result is the possible additional muscle mass at ca. 8 – 10 % KFA.
As you can see, it is also based on the training grade. Here also the muscle growth with advancing training experience decreases. Personally I could, since I already train for some time relatively continuously, according to this formula thus this year still 1.57 kg on it pack. Believe me, I’m working on it
The Fat Free Mass Index
This is a value that is supposed to give information about the general body composition and be more informative than the old known BMI (Body Mass Index). Finally, a very trained man can have a BMI value which, according to the scale, indicates obesity. Unfortunately, this value only takes into account height and weight and should therefore not be taken into account.
The following formula was developed to calculate the Fat Free Mass Index:
FFMI = fat free mass / (height x size) + 6,3 x (1,8 – size) ∆
Fat-free mass is calculated as follows:
FFM = body weight x (100 – body fat percentage in %) / 100
*: Wrist and ankle in inches, the result is in amerik. Pounds
∆: fat-free mass in kg, height in centimeters
Now what makes this formula so interesting to our topic in the first place is this: A team of researchers from McLean Hospital in Massachusetts conducted a study among professional bodybuilders. Here you came to the conclusion that the athletes, who did not take anabolic steroids, had an index of maximum 25. Steroid users could far exceed this value. This suggests that with a FFMI of
25 a natural barrier exists. Or in other words: Up to a value of 25 the body can regulate its build-up processes hormonally and energetically by itself. With sufficient supply of natural nutrients and the right training stimuli of course. After that artificial steroids have to help.
The aerobis Fat Free Mass Index Calculator
Here we have the ultimate aerobis Fat Free Mass Index Calculator tinkered. Just enter your values and calculate your fat-free mass and your fat-free mass index.
|Weight / Weight in KG:|
|Bodyfat / Body fat in %|
|Height / Size in CM|
If you now want to know how much muscle you can theoretically build up, you simply have to increase the value for body weight a little, or reduce the value for body fat percentage, until the FFMI is at the same value
25 leveled off. Keep in mind, however, that a KFA below 6% is unhealthy and can only be achieved by professional bodybuilders for a few days (competition peak). Desirable for men is a value of 10-12%. For me, for example, the result is that I could gain a maximum of 18kg muscle mass.
The bottom line is: theories and models are many. Some are even relatively significant and one has even been proven by a study. However, one should not pay too much attention to these values, because they describe the genetic potential to build muscle mass under optimal conditions and continuous training. As far as I know, this is only true for professional bodybuilders, who dedicate a lot of time and money to their work because of advertising contracts or other business models. To reach one’s natural limit, I think complete dedication is necessary. This is then no longer a hobby but a lifestyle! Not skipping a workout, perfect nutrition, sufficient regeneration and sleep, pushing the body to its limits again and again – not everyone can and wants to do that.
Now you would have to look at the lifestyle of the so-called Youtube stars. Find in your life these perfect conditions? Or can they create these conditions? Especially professionally I imagine this relatively difficult. However, I may be wrong, because with a little skill and commitment, you can earn money relatively quickly with this medium. And then you have time to pump all day and film yourself doing it
Are all those muscles you see on Youtube, Facebook or Instagram really real?? Or are they blanks?