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Old 12-09-2012, 02:55 PM   #1311
Luke Seubert
Member Luke Seubert is offline
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Lusby  MD
Posts: 1,559
Re: PaleoZone vs Morbid Obesity: An Odyssey

Realistic Expectations For Muscle Mass Gains and Final Bodyweight?
Patrick Haskell commented recently in this Workout Log that once I am done losing the fat, that I can expect my final bodyweight numbers to be higher than what I have been projecting recently in my Sunday Weekly LBM Update posts. Patrick is right. This raises an interesting question - what are my realistic expectations for lean body mass increases and eventual bodyweight? Let's find out!

Me So Lazy - Let Lyle Do The Work!
The article linked below by Lyle McDonald is the single best resource I have ever read on this matter. Detailed, comprehensive, and scientifically sound - it provides hard evidence and valid methods for estimating natural maximum muscular potential. That is, what is the maximum Lean Body Mass one could expect to develop as a bodybuilder who does NOT use steroids and other illegal and/or dangerous drugs:Let Me Be Clear - I Am Not At ALL Interested In Bodybuilding - Neither Natural Nor Roided Up!
I know I am referring to a LOT of bodybuilding information and standards in this post. I am not doing this because I am interested in pursuing bodybuilding once I lose the fat. Quite the contrary. I despise bodybuilding culture and I consider bodybuilders to suffer from the male equivalent of anorexia - an obsession with a bizarrely exaggerated body image pursued to an extreme and to the gross detriment of one's health and even life. To me, male bodybuilders are even more sad and pathetic than all those idiot teenage girls who starve and puke themselves into skeletal stick insects.

All that said, bodybuilders know more about achieving maximum genetic potential muscle mass than anybody else, especially the natural bodybuilders who do not use steroids or other dangerous and/or illegal drugs. So, while I won't ever follow a bodybuilder diet and training regimen, I can use the information they have developed to figure out a realistic goal for myself in building up my Lean Body Mass.

Thus, my reasonable LBM goal should fall something well short of the best that natural bodybuilders can expect to achieve. In figuring out what my Max Potential LBM is and then subtracting some reasonable amount from it, I can set up a realistic and achievable though tough goal for myself, one in accord with my particular fitness and athletic ambitions.

Where Am I Now? Where Do I Project To Be?
Here are my numbers from today's Weekly LBM update, with an estimated BFC of 26.5%:
  • Bodyweight: 235 lbs
  • Lean Body Mass: 173 lbs
  • Fat Body Mass: 62 lbs
Bear in mind, that my BFC estimation methods are crude. I actually don't pay so much attention to the number itself, but rather to the changes in the number over time. While my BFC estimate might be off, the changes in BFC over time are likely pretty close to reality. For example, while I am not at all sure that my BFC is actually 26.5%, I am quite confident that I have lost something close to 2.7% off my BFC over the past nine weeks, whatever the actual BFC number might be.

Because my BFC estimate might be off, any future projections of my LBM based upon current BFC might well be off. So take the following numbers with the same sizable grain of salt that I do. (That said, these numbers wind up corresponding very closely to a reasonable final LBM number when correlated with the information and projections from the McDonald article linked above.)

Based upon an estimated 24.1% LBM-to-Bodyweight Loss Ratio (my almost two-year estimated average), here is how my Bodyweight, LBM, and FBM project out at 10% BFC:

10% BFC
  • Bodyweight: 176 lbs
  • Lean Body Mass: 159 lbs
  • Fat Body Mass: 18 lbs
By the way, if you took the time to carefully read that Lyle McDonald article linked above, you'll note that even at a light and wimpy 176 pounds of Bodyweight at 10% BFC, I project out to be a pretty big guy compared to most natural bodybuilders. McDonald points out that most of them compete at around 165 pounds of Bodyweight, with very, very few ever going over 200 pounds.

Given that I am quite a bit taller than most men though medium-framed; and will be carrying more body fat than any competitive bodybuilder; even with the less-than-max LBM gains of my strength training regimen - I will still wind up a very large dude, i.e. a fine rugby forward

What Is My Max Potential LBM?
The McDonald article provides four different mathematical models for projecting maximum natural potential Lean Body Mass - McDonald, Aragon, Butt, and Berkhan. I programmed all of these models into a spreadsheet using all my current metrics, as well as the 159 pound final LBM projection detailed above. (See the attached file for a copy of this spreadsheet.)

Here are the average Max Potential LBM results for each model using my metrics and criteria:
  • McDonald - 201 lbs
  • Aragon - 204 lbs
  • Butt - 198 lbs
  • Berkhan - 195 lbs
When I averaged them all together, my projected Max LBM came out to 199.57 pounds. Guess what? I think 200 pounds is not only a very simple and well-rounded number, but also a very reasonable number for my Max Potential LBM.

What Will Inhibit and What Will Promote My LBM Gains?
Let's take a look at the factors working against and in favor of my ability to build LBM once I am done losing the fat.

Factors Working Against Significant LBM Gains
  • Age - At 47 years of age, my ability to gain a lot of muscle is significantly less than that of a younger man.
  • Medium Frame Size - While I am fairly tall at 6' 2 3/4", I have a medium frame not a large frame, which limits the amount of muscle I can gain.
  • Refusal To Engage in Bodybuilding - By NOT following a bodybuilding regimen, I will not be able to gain as much muscle. Resistance training focused on strength and power produces less LBM gain than resistance training specifically targeted at adding muscle mass.
  • Conditioning Exercise - In pursuing well-balanced fitness, I will be doing a lot of aerobic conditioning, MetCon work, finishers, and HIIT. This sort of exercise can inhibit sizable muscle mass gains.
Factors Working In Favor of Significant LBM Gains
  • Endomorphic Body Type - Big buys, endomorphs like me, tend to be easy gainers when it comes to building muscle mass.
  • Willpower, Consistency & Confidence - In losing 193 pounds to date in pursuit of excellent physical fitness, I have developed a lot of willpower, consistency, and confidence. These qualities will carry over and serve me very well in training to gain a reasonable amount of muscle mass.
  • Superior Nutritional Discipline - Superior nutrition is the foundation upon which superior physical fitness is built. I am very good at nutritional discipline and correct knowledge.
  • Rest, Recovery & Stress Reduction - Along with nutrition, these factors are critical to effective strength training, and I have them well in hand. Most importantly, I know the signs and perils of over-exercise, and the importance of rest and recovery.
  • Smart Exercise Program Design - Having done a lot of research into the most effective strength training protocols, I will be able to put together a smart training regimen. Thank you Rippetoe, Enamait, et al!
  • Scientifically Proven, Safe & Legal Supplementation - In support of a smart, consistent and tough exercise program, I have researched and developed a sensible supplementation regimen which includes high quality fish oil, vitamins and minerals, joint health supplements, and muscle building supplements such as BCAA, creatine, HMB, and beta-alanine. This, coupled with modest and sensible pre- and post- workout meals should prove an effective aid to all the other work and good nutrition.
A Realistic Long-Term LBM Goal
So, 200 pounds is the maximum potential LBM I could ever hope to achieve. Since I'll never get into bodybuilding, I'll never achieve 200 pounds of Lean Body Mass. I will start somewhere roughly around about 159 LBM as projected earlier, and wind up at something significantly less than 200 pounds of LBM. But where?

Taking into account the factors I listed above, as well as the information found in the McDonald article which details reasonable muscle mass gain rates; I believe that a challenging and tough yet achievable goal for me is around 75% of my Max Potential LBM gain.

With a Max Potential LBM of 200 pounds, and a possible beginning LBM of 159 pounds, the most I could hope to gain is 41 pounds of LBM. 75% of 41 pounds is 30.75 pounds, which I round down to 30 pounds. When added to that guesstimated beginning LBM of 159, I get an LBM of 189 pounds.

As for the time factor, the McDonald and Aragon models yield 30 pound minimum gains in LBM with two years of training. Because I have a number of factors working against me with respect to muscle mass gains, I think it makes sense to kick that up to three years.

So, when the time comes, after all the fat loss is done and over with, my motto will be: Thirty In Three Or Bust!

Well, that or something in the high 180's, whichever is closest. I'll decide the final number once I get a high quality BFC measurement just before beginning.

Projected Bodyweight Range At 189 Pounds of LBM
As the table below reveals, I will be quite the big boy at 189 pounds of LBM, ranging from 210 to 235 pounds of bodyweight. So Patrick was indeed quite correct when he stated that my eventual bodyweight should be considerably higher than my current projections show.
  • Bodyweight at 10% BFC: 210 lbs
  • Bodyweight at 12.5% BFC: 228 lbs
  • Bodyweight at 15% BFC: 235 lbs
Attached Files
File Type: email Reasonable_LBM_Gain_Projections.xls (11.0 KB, 123 views)
Grinding off the fat one day at a time, one pound at a time - PaleoZone vs Morbid Obesity: An Odyssey (WFS)
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