How Big Can You Get Naturally Without Steroids?

| by Truth Seeker |

One of the eternal bodybuilding questions is:

How big can you get naturally?

Pro bodybuilders and their pimps say that the sky is the limit if you have the right genetics and work like a mad monkey in the gym.

And since the professional constructors of muscle have impressive physiques inducing rapture, the gullible souls listen to the fairy tales infested with lies and deception.

This kind of behavior keeps you in the labyrinth carefully designed by the industry.

What determines muscle growth?

As I tell you in the new book Potential, muscle hypertrophy (increase in the volume of muscle tissues) is dependent on many growth factors.

The two major ones are your frame (bone thickness) and testosterone levels.

By default, people who have naturally high testosterone levels and thick frames are bigger and more muscular than emo boys with a girly bone structure.

On average, men produce between 30mg and 70mg of testosterone per week and have 20 times higher testosterone levels than females.

The muscular development and physical strength of men are highly superior because of that. We may live in the era of the sensitive brah wearing skinny jeans, and yet the average man is still significantly stronger than the average female.

A 165lbs/75kg bench press is considered an elite lift for a woman weighing 147lbs/67kg. A man of the same weight could bench that weight in less than a year and will be barely considered an intermediate.

Why? Testosterone and structure.

There isn’t an exercise program or a nutritional plan that could change this fact.

Even if a woman trains for 100 years without getting old in the process, she won’t be able to match the levels of strength and size presented by males who lift.

This also explains why female bodybuilders are bigger than many natural males. Women who bodybuild are often on gear (hormones) that helps them transform into a monstrosity.

The same principle holds true when comparing natural bodybuilders and male bodybuilders on steroids.

The roid users will always be more muscular thanks to their artificially boosted testosterone levels.

What are the rest of the growth factors?

The growth factors that determine how big you can get naturally are:

  1. Body chemistry
  2. Frame
  3. Muscle insertions
  4. Response to training
  5. Age
  6. Stress
  7. Muscle fiber distribution
  8. Training
  9. Nutrition
  10. Sleep
  11. Overall health

People always underestimate their body fat levels

Many natural lifters who are 25% body fat classify themselves as 17% or even 10% because they can see their first two abs under the moonlight.

After a cut, they are surprised that they have to lose three times more weight to see all their abs than originally planned.

This phenomenon is very common in the Internet realm where everyone is a superman.

Whenever a natural says ”I gained 20 pounds with very little fat.”, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to translate the claim to – ”I gained 20 pounds with more fat than I am willing to admit.”

Can you give me a table with weights?

In 2014, when came to life, I prepared the following table based on my observations in the gym as well as the teachings of popular muscle scholars.



6′ 2″ (188cm)

197lbs (89kg)

6′ 1″ (185cm)

190lbs (86kg)

6′ (183cm)

184lbs (83.5kg)

5′ 11″ (180cm)

177lbs (80kg)

5′ 10″ (178cm)

170lbs (77kg)

5′ 9″ (175cm)

163lbs (74kg)

5′ 8″ (173cm)

156lbs (71kg)

5′ 7″ (170cm)

149lbs (68kg)

5′ 6″ (168cm)

142lbs (65kg)

5′ 5″ (165cm)

135lbs (62kg)

Note: This chart is based on the following principle: you start at 5′ 5″ (165cm) and 135lbs (62kg) and for every inch (2.5cm) you either add or take away 7 lbs (3kg). Keep in mind that the numbers are just a guideline and are for people who are in contest shape and have favorable bodybuilding genetics.

Shortly after publishing the numbers, I started to receive angry messages from people who were allegedly born bigger than what the table suggests.

I knew this wasn’t the case due to a very simple fact – if you can truly match the numbers from above while being between 5 and 8% body fat, you wouldn’t care about natural limits, for you will look amazing.

The numbers seem shocking not because they are low. They are shocking for two reasons:

  1. People have been brainwashed by the mainstream muscle media (magazines, YouTube, books, movies…etc.) that anyone can be 200lbs shredded.
  2. Natural lifters and bodybuilders are fatter than they think.

The New Numbers

I no longer believe in the numbers presented above. I think they are too high for individuals who don’t have an ultra-big frame, high testosterone levels, long muscle bellies and an amazing response to training. For most lifters, the numbers will be 20 pounds less.

P.S. If you want to learn more about the human potential for growth, check out the book Potential: How Big Can You Get Naturally as well as the rest of the articles on the site.

No spam. Unsubscribe at any time.


  1. LeaguePlayer:D

    Eugene Sandow was 90 kilos for 1m75 . He died 92 years ago. He didn’t train chest.
    Peter Krylov was 88 kilos for 1m70. 72 cm waist. He was born in 1871.
    George Hackenschmidt was 99 kilos for 1m75, shredded. He was born in 1877.
    Hermann Görner was 120+ kilos for 1m85, shredded. April 13, 1891 – June 29, 1956.
    Arthur Saxon was 90 kilos for 1m78. 1878-1921.

    According to these guidelines all these guys are roided freaks 😀

    Come on people can get much better results that what’s mentionned here!

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      Those stats are fake. The “retro” lifters were much smaller and fatter than you think. They boosted their numbers just like Arnold said he had 22-inch arms, but later they were measured at a little over 19 inches. Moreover, those men obviously had decent genetics.

      Get to 200lbs/91 kg shredded to the bone at any height below 6’4″ naturally and call me.

      I will change the numbers right away.

      1. I Art Laughing

        Have you ever actually looked at a photograph of Eugene Sandow?

        1. Truth Seeker Post author

          Photos from the 19 century do not count.

          1. I Art Laughing

            Yeah, because they clearly blow up your “Tren” arguments. Your level of shitposting is epic.

            So can you show me the computer they shopped Sandow’s “impossible” physique with or show me the 19th century steroid regime he was on?

            Either that or start dispensing tin foil because you are on a new level of conspiracy theorizing that I cannot attain to.

          2. none

            @Truth Seeker hey man… I’ve read your books, thought you made great points. But this right here does not make sense and possibly undermines the rest of your demonstration. How can you say “Photos from the 19 century do not count.”? What is the reasoning behind such dismissal? I hope you will adress this.

          3. Jai

            Dear buddy,
            Love your writings. Please look at vegan hustle.. Vegan and shredded . 6 feet one inch and 95 kgs

          4. Jai

            By the way,Tom venuto , a life time natural is 5 feet 8 inches and 205 pounds… Around 5-8% bf claimed by him.. Just need your thoughts on this

          5. dirty bryan

            What about Bruno Sammartino? Pro wrestler, one-time bench-press WR holder. HATED steroids, to the point that he derailed his own wrestling career rather than be associated with drug users.

            He’s listed at 5’10/265# (presumably at his prime). Obviously not “bodybuilder lean,” but still.
            _”Photos from the 19 century do not count.”_
            Gee, you’d think they’d count MORE, seeing as they aren’t photoshopped.

          6. Truth Seeker Post author

            If he has a mega thick frame and is fat (25%+), it’s possible.

          7. Eugene

            The average male’s testosterone level has dropped by at least 30% since then. Eugene Sandow wasn’t that big either.

          8. Truth Seeker Post author

            How do you know they have dropped when there was no way of measuring test levels at that time?

          9. August Christoffersson

            I am 16 and almost add up to your numbers and im shredded no roids, i do not ask you to trust me but consider that these number can be very different

          10. Gage

            No bull. I’m drug free and have been bodybuilding for about 8 years now. I’m sitting between 235-241 pounds at 6 foot. Body fat is probably 15-18 percent. That chart seems low. Even if I cut down to shredded I could still be around 200-210

        2. J

          Eugene Sandow is lick if he weighed 150lbs.

        3. Paul J.

          I Art Laughing: if you look at the video of Eugene Sandow that someone posted on this thread – – you can clearly see that he was far from being in shape. There is fat on his love handles; his upper body (back/torso) not only is not “v-shaped” as it should be but it actually widens in the mid-section part, making the shoulders look narrower than his waist (a ‘mortal sin’ for anyone who will consider himself in decent shape).

          IN CONCLUSION: clearly the guy had no access to steroids not only because they did not exist at the time but even more so because the 90 kilos of his short body had more fat than he – and his defenders on this thread – are willing to admit.

      2. Francois Morin

        First let me thank you for this great chart. But I believe you can add about 5 to 8 pounds of lean muscle mass for most gifted natural bodybuilders around 7% to 8% body fat. FOr example I was measured at 11.2% body fat back then at 178 pounds for almost 5’9” tall and it would have given me a weight of 170 pounds at 7% body fat. OK remove 3 pound of water weight and you get 167 pounds. But I did not achieve my peak in bodybuilding. I quite before after 5 years of training. Now take Steve Reeves, which I continue to say he was natural, he competed at 213 pounds for about a 8% body fat at 6’1” tall. Maybe he could have lost some water, making him about 209-210 pounds. But Reeves was really top genetics. Still your chart is very good for having an idea of the average individual, but I would add a 5 pounds error marge. The thing is that now bodybuilders compete so dry that they loose muscle mass without steroids. Going 4 to 6% body fat is simply destroying muscle mass without roids. That is why they are so light and in my opinion are not nice to look at on a stage. There is no more fullness at this % of body fat and they lose a good amount of lean muscle mass.

      3. Jai

        Dear truth seeker. I think I have your. Guy. 91 kg. 6 feet 1 inch and muscular..
        Name: vegan hustle

    2. Gaperda

      The author is spot on with these numbers. I checked the video multiple times and there is no way Sandow ways more than 75-78 kilograms at what seems to be 8-10% body fat. And since he was also considered one of the strongest men of his time, he had most probably elite genetics. Cruel, isn’t it? And to the ones rebuking the author’s claim, I suggest you read Sandow’s book. He presents some lifting numbers which are preposterous but it makes sense, since marketing goes further back than the early 20th century.

    3. Allergic To Bull

      I don’t know…. I think these numbers are a bit odd and the method you used to come up with them seems very unscientific. I would say rather that a BMI of 24-27 is achievable for people with descent genetics if every aspect of their method is executed perfectly.
      I’m currently 5’9 140lbs. (empty stomach/after a shit/dehydrated etc.) and I’ve only truly been working out hard for a year or too, admittedly inconsistenty, and haven’t taken nutrition too seriously. My bodyfat percentage is 12 percent at the very highets… no I’m no internet superman, I don’t have a 4 pack, you can literally see every striation on my body and if I don’t eat well for a week or two I start to have a visible 8 pack.
      For those thinking I have “gifted” genetics I assure you that I definitely don’t, I was 120 lbs. soaking wet initially with like a 100 lb bench press…. I didn’t grow any muscle until I started EATING TONS OF HEALTHY FOOD. I can tell you don’t understand the importance of this, because you ranked it so low among the the factors for muscle growth. I would actually say that after age and test level, it’s THE most important factor.. even more so than bone structure or training. Don’t believe me? September 27 2019 I’ll upload my transformation video from 140-160 lbs. The reality is that most people lack the understanding of nutrition and the willpower to eat the amount of food required to get big. I have a close friend who never juiced in his life, he was a shredded 150 at 5’10 in highschool as a wrestler. He worked out 3 days a week for 10 years, eating as much as humanly possible, until he was 250 lbs. with a 500 lb. bench press. I watched him take caliper measurements and his body fat wasn’t above 20% at the highest…
      20 percent of 250 is 50, so of lean mass. lets say hypothetically he did a cut down to 12 percent bf or lower, even if he lost 20 lbs. of muscle in the process he’d still be a shredded 180 lbs. at 5’10 which is a BMI of 25.8 EXACTLY as I said earlier, which is a full 10 lbs. of muscle more than your initial chart and 30 lbs. more than your revision. It should be noted that this guy had insane genetics (300 lb. bench max even at 150 lbs.) and you stated your chart is for people with favorable genetics. That being said, a BMI of 24 with sub 12% bf is achievable for those with decent genetics.
      The REAL genetics a person needs is the mental fortitude to force themselves to eat thousands of lean calories a day without relapsing or cheating, combined with proper understanding of strength and hypertrophy training, and training with intensity.
      Those people are much rarer than most think, most people have no idea how off at least one of those factors is for themselves and consequently can’t figure out why they won’t grow. The notion that a 5’9 natty male is “maxed out” at 143 lbs. is absolutely ridiculous… with sub-par genetics and less than perfect training and nutrition I’ve already achieved it.
      No offense but I think this chart is a reflection of yourself and the fact that one of the factors I just mentioned is off. Again, not saying that to offend, I’m saying it so that you’ll take your gains further by removing whatever mental block is currently holding you back.

    4. Rickley

      Let’s compare Eugen Sandow to Nate Robinson who is around of the same size height and body. He is listed at 82kg peak condition. Nate Robinson has better chest and basically almost the same with the rest of the body. I think Nate might have pinned one way or another but we could never know for sure. In the end saying Eugen Sandow was 90kg is kind of insane. There are data where I read he was around 165lbs which is I think closer to the 190lbs. Not to mention that men testosterone during those days were higher compared to today.

      In the end show us your stats man. Prove that you can break natty records on your own.

    5. Edo

      No way sandow weighted 90kg..Görner 120?? Are you kidding? As big as today’s pro bodybuilders?? Have you seen his photos? No way he was 120kg. Those stats are clearly exaggerated.

    6. Lee

      Dude I was 5’6.5″ and 167 pounds at my peak around 28 years old at about 10% body fat. On my best days I had some striations in my quads. I was caliper tested .. but hold on. I trained at GOLD’S gym in SD and current IFBB pros told me I was max 10% bodyfat. Hell I am 55 and full on plan on beating that slightly this next year or two starting from scratch again. I honestly don’t think I could get below 145 pounds if I tried.

  2. Dean

    I like how if anything doesn’t suit your perspective it’s automatically ‘fake’. I’m not even going to bother with reasoning with you, you’ll just think up another BS story to justify your beliefs.
    Your probably one of those guys that have spent years doing ‘bro splits’ with little to no results and have come to the conclusion that ‘if I can’t do it, it’s not possible’.

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      Still waiting for your pics? Oh, wait…

    2. Truth Seeker Post author

      In the video, I don’t see a man weighing 90kg/198lbs at 175cm/5’9”, which is massive.

      I have a hard time believing he is over 165lbs/75 kg in that video.

      Also, those arms in the video are definitely not anywhere near 18 inches – 15, 16 inches at best.

    3. Truth Seeker Post author

      Then, why are you still here? Oh, wait…

  3. Visto

    I don’t completely disagree with the article. but you greatly undermine naturals abilities. Sure those numbers are for freaks. But I think most people especially the 6’1 plus will reach 180lbs+ at 10%bf which is respectable by normal standards and its light years behind with what’s steroids users look like even at same weight. As for getting to 200lbs be happy to have it in your dreams unless you willing to be fat.

    1. Or

      You chart is wrong.
      I’m currently at 5’8
      Weighing 70 kg and my estimated bodyfat is between 9-10:( 8 clear abs or blurred 10 Pac in good lightnibg.
      Also Shoulder striations)
      So you are saying I am close to my limit, at 16?

  4. Robert Smith

    I’m 6ft 230lbs and natural. I carry some bodyfat, last measured at 25%. I train primarily for powerlifting and focus almost exclusively on the main compound movements and have been lifting for 9 years.
    I have seen lifters larger and stronger than I am who I believe to natural.

    The figures listed here seem to be what is achievable in a short space of time naturally, most should be able to exceed them given enough time and devotion.

    1. Visto

      there is nothing special about being 25% bf it’s counterproductive at best unless looking good naked is not your thing.

    2. Hancock

      Those stats in the table are for contest ready physiques if I understood correctly. So if you subtract 20% of your weight of fat, you get withing the limits of the table. So much so, that it’s almost like you reverse engineered those stats of yours 😀

      1. Robert Smith

        You make a good point Hanock, the table does’t really stipulate that you’d go down to 5%.

        As somebody more focused in the actual lifts it would be interesting to know what people think is possible naturally there.
        My best lifts to date are (kg): 280kg deadlift; 210kg squat (paused); 150kg bench press (paused); 97.5kg strict overhead.

        I really think it’s possible to get well into the 300’s naturally on deadlift but it would require years of dedication and great genetics.

        1. joe santus

          The stats in the table are for total
          bodyweight , for a PED-free genetic elite guy at the 5% to 6% bodyfat (BF) standard today in contests.

          For example, a 5′ 10″ lifelong-drug-free guy with above-average genetics who’s 170 lbs at 6% BF would carry about 160 lbs lean. body mass (LBM).

          Again, those represent what’s possible for the genetic elite. Most of us don’t have top-shelf genetics for building muscle mass, though, so those stats aren’t a pursuable goal for the majority of us average- and below-average-gened guys. But they do reveal that the maximums attainable naturally even by the most-gifted human males are far below what’s attainable with drugs.

      2. Engineer guy

        I agree… at 200 pounds I was 18% body fat using the navy method… so 0.5% per pound so theoretically I should have been 7.5% at 175 pounds… in reality I was 9.5%… 9.5% looks awesome by the way!! But still the math is not that easy

    3. Wade

      Robert, You would only be at 187.5 if you were at 10% body fat, and that would be if you lost zero muscle while dropping 34.5 pounds of fat, which isn’t going to happen. Shed that fat and you probably be around 160 at 10%.

  5. cliff

    Having high testosterone levels comes with health risks. Statistics show mwn with high levels of this hormone are at increased risk of developing enlarged prostrates. Big muscles and big prostrates I guess

  6. natty

    This isn’t bad. Maybe it’s just because I never planned on becoming huge, but I found these guidelines encouraging. I started at 5’9 and skinny 140 lbs. After six months of calisthenics, I am around 155 lbs and lean. This has made a big difference in my appearance, even though it is spread over my whole body. Much of my old clothing doesn’t fit any more. I am getting favourable comments both from people who know me and those who didn’t know me before. I feel better, have more confidence, sleep like a baby, and have more success with women.

    Natural exercise has a lot going for it, even if you don’t become “big” like a bodybuilder.

    I chose calisthenics because I am lazy and don’t want to go to the gym. I also travel a lot and can’t count on having a particular set of equipment. As for nutrition, I am a vegetarian, so I take one scoop (30g) of whey protein concentrate per day to supplement my protein intake, which might not be necessary.

    I am hoping that I can reach 160 lbs, 20 lbs over my natural skinny weight. What I like about my calisthenics routine is that I can continue doing this forever, anywhere, and be fitter than the vast majority of men. I understand that in old age, my testosterone will decline and I will get a bit smaller, but I see guys in their 60s and 70s exercising in the park and still looking great.

    So I don’t think your numbers, or your message, need to cause despair. The only problem is unreasonable expectations, which I believe you are doing good work in tackling. Thanks!

  7. Stan Rogers

    Alright, I’ve only been lifting for like 2.5 years. I’m 5’8″, 185 lbs, 18% body fat. 185/1.18*1.05 is 164.6 lbs if I had 5%, which exceeds your chart by 5.6 lbs. I’ve never used anything stronger than creatine.

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      “If” doesn’t work. Get lean and tell me how it goes for you. Also, I bet that 18% is more like 24%. Also, those formulas NEVER work in practice, especially if you are natural. You will always lose more weight. You have no idea what a real 5-8% actually is.

    2. Jimmy Pach

      Dude, you can’t apply a cross multiplication to that, as you get below 14% BF, you’ll start to lose mass of both muscle and fat. Is not as simple as you’re portraying it.

    3. Jeffrey Gordon

      Your math is wrong. If you are 185 lbs, 18% body fat, that means you have 185 * . 82 = 151.7 pounds of lean body weight. This would be 95% of your body weight at 5% body fat, so at 5% body fat, your total body weight would be 151.7 / .95 = 159.7 lbs, which is darn close to the 156 lbs given in the chart. At 3% body fat, you’d weight 151.7 / .97 = 156.4 lbs. Given that the chart is for contest ready physiques (i.e. 3 to 5% body fat), I’d say it’s right on target.

      1. Wade

        Jeffrey, while your math is right, it’s wrong too, because if he gets down to 5% body fat, he isn’t going to any longer have 151.7 pounds of lean weight. I’m cutting from almost 30% fat content right now, and I started with about 185 pounds of muscle, it’s dropping along with my fat.

        Anyone here is welcome to prove me wrong, but you people are fatter than you think you are, because once you get lean, you are going to drop more muscle than you will care too admit.

        It’s a proven fact that the fatter you are, the more muscle you can also carry. So the trick is to actually carry enough muscle while being lean to be impressive, and by lean I mean at 12% and under.

        Also, most people that are not just outright telling lies to begin with, severely under estimate how fat they actually are.

    4. Justin

      The body doesn’t work that way. Its not linear gain or loss. You will lose fat & muscle along with fluids that are retained in them. Its inevitable. You will likely be ten lbs under. Try it.

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      I can’t open the link on PC.

      1. JustaName

        Highlight the link without the .maybe and you’ll see it.

  8. Troy

    NattyorNot pic

    Hello Truth Seeker, you may remember me regarding your post on Symbolism in the IFBB. I bought your books and I am really enjoying The Haters Synthesis at the moment. You have helped spur on something within me to spread the facts and truth regarding the fitness and health industry and all other bull crap exploitation industries. Thank you for that.

    It’s kinda weird I know, but I am sending pictures of myself to your address as an example hopefully to others of the potential, at least with my situation/genetics that is.

    I was going to post them here but I don’t know how so I’ll leave it to you if you decide.

    I realize that I cannot prove, nor will everyone believe, that I am a natural and not a drug-induced idiot. I am doing this only to give someone a perspective. The pictures were taken from my wife and believe it or not I am not the type of person that likes to take pictures let alone the bodybuilding type.

    My stats at the time of the pics are as follows:
    Well over 40 years old. But have done some sort of strength training since I was 15 years old.
    Height – 5’9.5″
    Weight – 184 lbs
    Tanita body fat scale % – 10.2 %
    Note: scale was set to “Athlete” mode. Not sure how accurate that really is but I am nowhere near 5 to 8%. I’m probably at 12% or more.
    Chest – 45 1/5″ around and 47+” when flexed.
    Waist – about 34 1/2″ – 35″ maybe even a little bigger.
    Arms – between 15 1/2″ – 15 3/4″ inches flexed while cold. But about 16 1/4″ flexed while pumped.

    A few KEY notes to explain what’s in the pics.
    1. I had Dieted down slowly over the course of a couple months (basically watching my total caloric intake) trying to remain in a slight deficit over the course of time) from over 200 pounds. I was thick at that weight of 200 lbs. but my waist measurements proved I was just a fat boy. I have done this type of cutting and bulking experiment many times over the last 25+ years and generally speaking the outcome is always the same.
    2. Very important – Those pictures and measurements are not what I look like cold. I did sets of push-ups, curls, overhead presses and other “fluff” type movements to get pumped. I also drank a glass of wine in the thought that I would look more vascular.
    3. My abs are not as prominent as they could be because quite frankly (who is frank anyway?) I am not at a low enough body fat percentage for them to be noticeable.
    4. At a higher body weight I most likely had more muscle mass but a key note is that as I lost overall body fat I did lose fat free mass this is honestly inevitable. A person just can’t keep the same amount of muscle mass on their body as they cut a lot of fat weight, period. I Unless of course a person is on some kind of growth drug, which I was not, am not, and will not partake of. I have tried and tried over and over again throughout the years and I ALWAYS lose some muscle mass during the slimming down process.
    5. Whenever I try to slim down the first thing that goes as far as size is my shoulders, arms, calves and neck measurements. This happens when I am focusing on achieving a smaller waistline. I simply can only hold so much muscle mass on my body at a lean weight, and at the same time, I can only add so much muscle mass while trying to bulk up without becoming a dough boy. There comes a point of diminishing returns. For me it’s at about the 185 pound mark. Above that weight I look bigger in clothes but my belly is fat with no visible abs, and I feel like crap, not as athletic, etc. When I am close to the 175 pound mark I am really defined with visible abs but do not look as big in my clothes. My wife likes me a little bulkier so I stay 185+ pounds most of the time. I got to keep her happy right? Haha.

    Anyway, I posted this because it seems most guys give all this information about themselves but don’t prove it through pics. Obviously the pics and measurements are a bit tainted because of the fluff exercises I did but vanity took over and I wanted to look bigger.

    I am drug-free and will remain so for the rest of my life because I want to be a walking, talking, person of real integrity and character and DO NOT want to put that into my system just to be bigger and more shredded. Also, I want to remain a positive influence to my two sons and their friends as best as I can. I don’t want to be the type of dad that says, “do as I say, not as I do.”
    Ya know what I mean?

  9. Dmitry

    Only naive and gullible teens think they can get big and ripped without substances.
    I’m 188cm, 98.2kg (shit, i’m not sure, some day i’m 97, some day 98.8), probably 17-21% fat

  10. Big Papa Pump

    I agree with a few people who say that you should have specified that those stats are at competition level.

    As to the body fat measurements, it’s really difficult, even when using the bodybuilding calipers to get a correct number.

    I am trying to get ready for a competition and i am starting to realize that even 10% is hell to achieve.

    I guess that the ultimate achievable naturally would be someone like Steve Reeves?

    So if your numbers are for 6-8% of body fat, I guess that very few people would get to that number, regardless of weight. And the other way round too, if you are skinny within that body fat range, you’ll never get up to that weight lifting weights.

    So on those facts, yes I believe your article.

  11. Shanghai_Bobby

    Heya Seeker,

    What % body fat is your natural physique scale considering? The reason I ask is because I’m 5’9 and I weighed in today at 80kgs. Based on my most recent photo, I believe I’m like 12 – 13% bf (hope I’m not underestimating) – can see all 6 abs under reasonable lighting, and look quite ripped under good lighting.


  12. Bob

    1m79, 76kg. Been training for a year, hopefully I can loose a couple % of body fat while retaining that weight. My guess is I’m at around 15-16% body fat.

  13. TommyLeeJonesMIB_Big

    Brah, that new book is like the ULTIMATE GUIDE for newbies. I give it 4/5. I would have loved a few more pictures and graphics to be honest. Maybe you can make a second edition and put them in. Anyway I consider it money well spent.

    I share your views on many topics, albeit we have some differences. Thanks, brah. I hope you come up with more material soon. Been following you since iron gangsta by the way.

  14. Anonymouslifter1234

    People grossly overestimate how much pure lean muscle mass they can put on naturally.

    I’m 6’3″ and I’ve been weight training for a number of years. During gaining phases, I get up to a body weight of about 200-210, decidedly NOT lean. Then when I cut down to a body weight of 180 lbs, I still can’t even see my abs! If I actually wanted to be in condition for a contest, I would look absolutely emaciated.

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      This is the case for many naturals. But on the Internet everyone is 5’8″ and 200lbs with abs “almost showing”.

  15. Jon

    In my experience I believe the authors table is probably correct for the majority of people. There is always gonna be one or two outliers.

  16. Max

    The above numbers in the chart are they at 5% body fat? I’m 6’2″ is that saying i can expect to peak out at 197 lbs at 5% body fat?

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      In theory, someone with insane genetics could reach it. Is this you? I honestly don’t know.

  17. Rpd

    Dear Truth Seeker, the vast majority of comments in all your posts reveal that stopping to believe the lies whe tell ourselves is the greatest utopia out there.

    Regarding the 5% table, the most important aspect that no-one mentions is:
    Who the hell wants to be at 5% anyways? Does it look nice? Functional? Healthy? Worth?

    An 10% BF imho is PERFECT aesthetics for anyone out there, is easier to achieve (still needs tons of dedication), easier to sustain, healthier and more robust.
    But then again…Illusions. People want 5% BF while lifting more than Eddie Hall, without taking roids, while still shagging a different girl every other day and so on.
    I must be inclined to say that you are a huge inspiration for me and know that you are not the only one out there. It is just that brahs make more noise.

    1. Wade

      Rpd, Nobody actually should want to be below 12% body fat, because strength and health suffers after that. Now I’m not talking about dieting for a contest, I’m talking about going under 12% year round.

      What’s wrong with 12%, absolutely nothing. Everyone just wants to brag how they are ripped at 10 percent body fat and have 220 pounds of muscle, whether it’s true or not.

      I personally see no reason do drop below 12%. I can pull as much split tail at 12% than I can lower, and in fact probably more.

  18. Jake

    I’m 26 years old, started training almost exactly 8 months ago, and had no prior training experience. I recently got my body fat % measured and I’m sitting at 21% (much higher than I thought since I can see a pretty defined 4 pack in almost any lighting) and I’m 6’1” and 241lbs. If I were at 6% body fat (pretty low) I’d be about 204lbs. The closest thing I’ve taken to a steroid is Creatine. I’m not a genetic freak.

      1. Jake

        Sorry for the delay. I didn’t get an email notifying me of your response. I took a recent picture, today, and I currently weigh 255. I have a lot more body fat right now than I did at 241 (when I was measured at 21%) so I’m probably carrying an additional 14lbs of body fat. Seems to collect on my lower abdomin and chest. Here’s the link

        1. Truth Seeker Post author

          You weigh that much because of your bone structure and body fat. Your knees look thicker than some ectos’ legs.

          Also, you never really know how much you will weigh at any body fat until you get there.

          I doubt you will be over 180-190lbs in a mega lean condition.

          Are you natural? You could be. But you could also be a shadow pinner.

          For example, even Jason Blaha is on TRT. Yet he could pass for a natural on any day. You look better than him.

          After all, your FFMI is like 25.70 with 8 months of training if all you say is true.

          You have more muscle than some natties that have been lifting for 20 years.

          Ultimately, most naturals will NOT look like you at 6′ @255.

          I am 6’1″ myself and an ecto. I was already fat as hell at 198lbs. At 255lbs I will be a ball of lard. My bone structure is really light.

          By the way, this is covered in the book Potential. People with thicker bone structures have significantly heavier bodyweight naturally.

          Good luck.

          Thank you for stopping by.

          1. Jake

            This is true. My bones are very thick. My wrists are much thicker than most, along with my ankles. I’m not sure what a shadow pinner is, I’m not sure what TRT is, and I’m only a little familiar with Jason Blaha. Although I can tell you I haven’t taken any illegal, banned, or anabolic substances. I’ve considered it once I stop progressing naturally. I’m also only about 8 months into training. I’m hoping I’m not at my genetic potential. I’m sure after several more years of training I’ll exceed these standards. I also have a workout buddy that I grew up with that’s built similar to me. Similar muscle mass and body weight who will also exceed these standards. Perhaps I’ll revisit and post some updates, along with him if you like, if I ever do a major cut and get down into the 8-12% range.

        2. justin

          I would very much be interested to see your progress if you ever get to 12%. proving you dont need to get decrepit to look beastly.

        3. jason

          im not an expert but what ive noticed is some people tend to carry more fat under their muscles than over like me, I can get down to 160 lbs and still see no abs I have done it, or I can be 200 lbs and see partial abs when working out a ton, ive seen some dudes with potbellies and a 6 pack, how else can you explain that?

        4. J

          Who do you believe you are fooling? You look like shit. You have no visible abs muscles in the picture you posted. You have tiny arms and man boobs.

    1. Internet Gurus are liars

      Why the fuck you lyin, why you always lyin omg stop fucking lyin.

  19. notrollingforealsies

    I’ll just address the comments of ’19th century pics can’t be photoshopped’

    I really don’t know what reality these people are living in nor do I really care. Just check the Wikipedia article of photo manipulation ffs

    Snippet: Photo manipulation dates back to some of the earliest photographs captured on glass and tin plates during the 19th century.

  20. Tulu

    I think these numbers are about spot-on for average lifters as most of these peg you at a lean ffmi of 22-23, which is about as far as most naturals can go.

    Shaving ~20lbs off each figure caps most natties at a ffmi of about 20, which is barely above the average of 19. Surely you don’t believe the average natty only has the potential to move up 1 ffmi point. That’s pessimistic, even for you.

  21. Rafael

    You’re so right, most of my life on gym I was never able to put more muscle mass weight without getting fatter no matter what, like without getting a fucking lard belly at +80kg, now I’m at 73-74kg ectomorph at 1.76cm height, I’m probably around 13% body fat right now and if I intend to cut to get to 8% I would definitely be weightening miserables 65-67kg by the end of it just like your new table suggests, last time I did a cut the only things remaining were my head, nose and ears, never do that shit again, well at least I can try to get stronger while at the same weight I guess.

  22. Tca

    You are so blind and wrong it isn’t even worth discussing…

  23. Justin

    Hey I bought your book, I agree with you mostly regarding your calculations however here and in your book you say e.g. ‘Weight’: “Height 5′ 10″ (178cm) Weight 170lbs (77kg)” is that lean mass, 5%, 10%, 15% bf? 77kg don’t really mean anything until you apply the bodyfat and lean mass? It can make a world of difference whether that’s lean or at 10%.

  24. dean J

    Ive trained for 25 years, always natural. 4-6 days a week and damn hard, Different routines, different sets, different rest periods (generally very low amount). Ive done my research, ate very healthily, recovered from numerous gym injuries etc etc. I am now in what I consider very good shape.

    I’m 5’11 and range from 79-90kg. At 8% fat I am very sure I’d be pretty much spot on with the table, 80kg, possibly push 81kg. Thats after 25 years of training and diet watching, macros etc

    Ive been in hundreds of gyms all over the world. The only guys (natural) ive seen in better shape were more cut than I was. The article stacks up for me and is pretty much what ive discovered. Of course you have a natural limit, otherwise everyone could just grow and grow.

    Ive also closely watched ‘non naturals’, some of whom I knew well, many of them over many years. 25 yrs experience tells me its insanity. If you think there’s no trade off you are very mistaken. It take its toll. Put someone on roids (and I do mean any) and watch them age very, very quickly. Perversely they believe they are getting younger somehow, ive heard all the lines ‘gh is the fountain of life’ , its an utterly bizarre statement. ( i studied medicine and also the endocrine system). A trainer at my local gym told me of a ‘new’ ‘medicine’ that made you grow very, very quickly with great strength gains, he had everyone on it. I read medical journals. Had the same effect on the kidneys as 3 courses of roids. Yeah….sounds great.

    Just sharing my findings. I aree with the article. Gym is great, but of course you have a natural limit. Short cuts cost in the medium to long term. There’s no real suprises, its all common sense, as with everything in life

  25. Alexander

    Cmon guys just put a needle in ur arse and you can destroy these numbers.

  26. Shane P. Schambach

    Truth Seeker,

    Your articles are very enlightening and give me hope I reassuring myself that I am doing the most that is within my control to optimize my muscle gains.

    Now, the question I have for you is, are your assertions and facts exposed in your articles based on your own individual experience in your lifting journey, or on the experiences of other naturals that, just like you, are confronted with the same challenges and drawbacks that you are (were), in terms of weight gaining? In other words, is it hard for most hardgainrs/ectomorphs to gain significant amount of muscle mass beyond their untrained state? Or is there something that we are all missing in the equation, that is NOT drugs, obviously?

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      Both. I derive conclusions from my own experience and what I see in the gym.

  27. Joey the Hustler

    I was just about to buy your book but after reading this post, I’ll pass.

    Not really sure how you can make blanket statements. Sure, maybe it covers the majority of the bell curve but buddy, I’m 6’3″, 255. At 10%, (dexascanned), I weight 225lbs. I have 18.5 inch arms, I will be 40 years old this year and I have NEVER done juice. I boxed for years then started lifting heavy, including spending an inordinate amount of time deadlifting heavy and I blew up. I can’t be small to save my life. But you’re hilarious to think that men can’t be large and ripped.

    1. Nojuicers

      Wow, you’re bigger than Arnold at his heaviest competition weight with arms only 0.5″ smaller than his and you even attempt to claim natty? LMAO

      Fuck off juice boy.

    2. Joey the a**hole

      Show some pics. It would be great if you paired your pic with an Arnold pic when he was a world champion at 6’2″ and 255lbs

  28. Antonio

    I’m 33 yo I’ve lifted since high school. I admit not completely consistent. But did Brazilian jui jujitsu here and there and lifted at least half the time. But have a squat rack and bench the last 3 years at home. .i’m a bricklayer last 6 years so I work a few weeks out of state then come home afew weeks and lift. Last year I got to fat from beer and hard to eat good on the road. I’ve had abs afew times in my life so from November 2018 til Feb 2019 I didn’t work I stayed home and I went hard core diet and lifting everyday went from 240 to 211 and I’m 5ft 8 inch I feel great but realize how much more I gotta cut to have abs. My legs and arms are fairly lean All my fat is in my belly. Arms are a little over 18 not pumped. I thought I’d be shredded by now lol. Got a blurry …. very blurry 4 pack in the right light. By my b day in may I want to be close to ten percent bf. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost another 20 to 30 pounds easy. But im happy with what I’ve done. I’ve been stronger and bigger before. But I feel I train smarter at 33. Things start to hurt as u age. I’m going back to work in afew weeks. There’s a gym in that town and I’m going to keep my pump and eat alot of good food . Working 12 hr a day for a couple weeks as an industrial bricklayer I can lose alot of fat and muscle real quick . But .i’m not giving up my gains this time. But this article chart isn’t to far off for most people.

  29. Ben

    @Truth Seeker

    Is there a possibility to send you pics and you suggest if natty or not? I’d like to hear your opinion about some ppl 😉

  30. jack

    1 big flaw to this FFMI thing, your potential FFMI as a natrual is different at 5%BF than it is at 10%, this is true since while cutting fat(especially when under 8%) also causes muscle loss, especially if you are natrual and at your peak genetic potential. like a bodybuilder has more muscle mass at the peak of offseason than when on stage

  31. Lamarck Leland

    So the rule seems to be the height in cm (-100), i.e. 175 cm = 75 kg at 8~10% bf (with good genetics).
    Of course these are guidelines, not rules set in stone because humans are not machines.

    Now, Casey Butt’s formula is flawed because it was based on lifters who were not natural but it is true that the natural muscular potential is dependent on joint size and this rule (from NattyorNot) based on height alone does not consider joint size or hormonal profile which varies independent from height.

    I saw on youtube, on a video about how good is your BONE STRUCTURE, a guy who is 4 inches taller than me yet the size of his joints are way smaller than mine, meaning that in theory I should have more potential than him despite the difference in height. Fortunately, now I know that I’ll never look like a “natural youtube bodybuilder”.

    What I found on the Internet was a Grecian Ideal Calculator. Supposedly it is based on measurements taken from Greek statues (I don’t believe it) but you enter your wrist size and it outputs your ideal measurements in order to look like a Greek statue. And it coincides surprisingly well with the NattyOrNot table above!

    So that is a good thing to aim for: first reach your limits, then worry about surpassing them.

  32. Larry Lifter

    In college, I was around 140lbs at 5’9, dexa-scanned at 12% body fat, with ripped abs. All the time, I see people who claim 12% body fat (or thereabouts), but who are much fatter than I was/am when I’m at that level. They’re lying to themselves.

    After bodybuilding-style training for a few years, I was around 150lbs with the same body fat and amazing abs. I looked like a skinny nerd with my clothes on (because I was), but if I wore a sleeveless shirt people freaked.

    Later, I did 5×5 training for a while, and bulked up to 165. I was a lot stronger, but when I cut down to 150 I was actually weaker than when I was doing the bodybuilding isolation stuff. I’m certain that it’s out of the realm of possibility for me to cut to single-digit bodyfat and actually retain any decent muscle.

    The numbers in this article are completely believable to me.

  33. Alfie

    Wow someone’s been giving me roids I am 15-18 bodyfat 10% on your gym scan 5”8 191 pounds first things in the morning would post pictures if I could I have friend who have never trained in their only played football/ soccer and are bigger than that much bigger there are lots of 5”10 200 10-12% running around out there

  34. Isaiah

    Man, so I guess everyone that lifts is on steroids, boy, at 5.11 and 160 pretty damn cut, there must be some gear in my protein, I mean I just started almost a year ago too, I guess I must be too tier eh

  35. James Y.

    Height: Just a hair under 6 foot
    Weight:189 pounds
    Bodyfat: 8%
    I live a very active lifestyle aside from lifting and do alot of running,wrestling, hiking and rock climbing and have a strict diet to sustain my physique and not lose muscle. I take creatine, protein and nothing else. I’ve been bodybuilding for 7 years now. Do you find these numbers to be impossible naturally?

  36. Edo

    Jesus what is wrong with lifters? Brainwashed idiots. I’m 178cm, if I weighted 77 kg shredded I would be simply stunning, amazing, better than 98% of people you met in the gym. Those stats are high, many will never reach them, not ever. But a minority, 1-2% of lifters can get bigger than that. But we are talking about the other side of the genetic bell curve, genetical superiority. Anyway 98% of people would never surpass those numbers.

    1. Edo

      *will never surpass those numbers.

  37. Jacob

    You can most certainly get quite big as a natural, but not if you insist on staying under 10-12% bf. The only reason any guy thinks they’d look better with half that amount of fat, at 5-6% bf, is programming — similarly to how women think they’d look better with fake lip injections… If you repeatedly bulk (+ 100-400cal/d) and cut (- 250-1000cal/d), oscillating between 15% and 10 % bf, with perfect programming (eventually requiring attention to stimulus/fatigue ratios), you can add at least 20 lb and up to 30 lb of muscle in your lifetime (and really within 8 years) over and above the amount you’d have if you didn’t train, all while staying at 10-15% bf. It’s just that after about 15 lb of muscle added, if takes a TON of careful planning, and frankly intelligence and luck (includes being lucky to have researched effectively). 6 sets of 10-20 reps with 1-3 reps in reserve, per muscle, twice a week, with… (here’s the key) high stimulus to fatigue ratio exercises… WILL be absolutely required to get the last 5-10 lb of that 30, and for many guys it’ll be required to even get the last 15 lb of that 30. Unless you’re a novice, don’t waste your time on 5 rep sets — just do 10 rep sets (some up to 20) with 1-3RIR, and for the strength maximization (required for size maximization btw), simply do singles at >90%1rm — you only about 6 total singles a week to maximize strength… and if you’re doing speed sets too, you only need 2 (yes TWO) singles a week (ramp to 1 top single for a bench variant, and 1 for a squat or DL variant, once a week, as part of “conjugate ME/DE” upper/lower 4-day/week — one of the few programs that will actually enable you to reach your true natural genetic limit).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *