06-07-2011, 08:10 AM
Bearded Beast of Duloc
Join Date: Jul 2009
Training Exp: 20+ years
Training Type: Powerbuilding
Fav Exercise: Deadlift
Fav Supp: Butter
A quote from Lyle McDonald on muscular potential:
A Final Reality Check
As I noted in the introduction, a lot of lifters get fairly angry or upset over the above types of estimations, assuming that they don’t take into account individual differences in motivation, work ethic, etc. To that I say nonsense.
Both Casey and Martin’s equations are based on top level natural bodybuilders, the group that you’d expect to surpass such limits if they existed (and who’s dedication and work ethic is pretty hard to question). Mine and Alan’s are based on years of experience in the field. If a massive number of exceptions to the above existed, someone would have seen them by now.
"If a massive number of exceptions to the above existed, someone would have seen them by now."
Now I think part of this has to do with exceedingly skewed ideas about what’s achievable, a problem driven by pro-bodybuilding. After seeing a pro-bodybuilder stepping on stage at 260 pounds or more and shredded, the idea that a natural may top out at 180-190 pounds of lean body mass (if that) can be disheartening.
Of course, to the general public, an individual at a lean 180-190 pounds is still pretty enormous. It’s just that compared to the absurd size of a pro bodybuilder, it seems absolutely tiny. But it is reality.
People forget that Arnold Schwarzenegger competed at perhaps 230 pounds (assuming 5% body fat, that’s only 220 pounds of lean body mass) and that was with (admittedly low doses) of anabolic steroids in the mixture.
And while many will argue that improvements in training methods and nutrition should change the above values, that simply doesn’t seem to be the case. Human genetics have not changed and you still don’t see natural bodybuilders or other athletes coming in with more lean body mass than would be predicted by the above models. They might get there a bit faster but the overall size of natural bodybuilders doesn’t seem to have changed much, if at all, in decades.
To quote from Casey’s site:
"Over the years I’ve also received many emails full of unsubstantiated claims, hostile remarks and even personal attacks because of the information presented here. But in that time, though many have told me they’re easily going to surpass these predictions, I haven ‘t received any legitimate, verifiable statistics that significantly exceed the results of the equations presented above …including correspondence with some of today’s top-ranked drug-free bodybuilders upon which the equations were partially based."
I anticipate a similar response in the comments section of this article and I’d just refer you to what Casey wrote above.
I’d finish by only saying that I’m not writing this in an attempt to be negative in any way shape or form, as I noted in the introduction, I would rather see people put their energy into their training and nutrition than worrying ahead of time about what they might or might not accomplish. And while I certainly wish that everyone reading this is the lone exception to the values calculated above, well…that’s not what an exception is.
At the same time, a failure to recognize that there are genetic limitations can lead people to do some very silly things in terms of their training or diet. Folks nearing their genetic limits, in an attempt to gain muscle at a rate that simply not achievable will put on enormous amounts of fat in hopes that it will net them a ton of muscle gain. And that just doesn’t ever end up being the case.
I’d only note in closing that the above calculations also has some real-world implications in terms of diet (e.g. what kind of weekly or daily surplus should be attempted to maximize muscle gain without excessive fat gains) but that will have to wait for a future article.
Destroy That Which Destroys You
"Let bravery be thy choice, but not bravado."