How big can you get naturally?

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about how big someone can get naturally: that is, without taking steroids or performance enhancing drugs. So we at EHF thought that we might as well go ahead and answer this question for you.

Fat Free Mass Index

First thing’s first, we need to let you know about the Fat Free Mass Index, or FFMI for short. This is the maximum amount of muscle that youhave on your body. It ignores any fat that might be on your body, which is one of the reasons it makes for a much more accurate “measurement” than other muscular calculators. This calculation is almost entirely down to genetics, and is something that you can’t change, even if you want to. What you also have to bear in mind, is that very few people actually ever achieve their genetic, muscular potential.

Calculate it here:

So what’s the average?

So if you’ve just calculated your FFMI and you’ve got a score of around 19, then don’t worry: that’s the average for a male. From studying the upper limit of [FFMI for] Mr America winners from before the steroid era, it was found that the maximum attainable score is 25. There were one or two exceptions, but the chance of you being one of them isn’t much lower than the chance of you winning the lottery tomorrow, sorry.

There has also been some evidence that the fat free mass index does decrease after a male has hit his mid twenties. But luckily for you females out there, it doesn’t really decrease too much so that’s an advantage you’ve got over the guys.

Today’s bodybuilders aren’t role models

Lots of you will be looking up to top bodybuilders of today and idolising them. Maybe you’re one of the 99% of men that looked up the great Arnie when you were younger and decided that you wanted to look just like him. Well sadly, what he had you can’t attain naturally. Now this doesn’t mean that you should start injecting some toxic compounds into your body, it just means that you should start being more realistic with your goals and bring yourself back to reality. Just to help you out, we’re going to show you a couple of pre-steroid bodybuilders who we think still looked pretty damn aesthetic!

Eugen Sandow


Steve Reeves (Mr America 1947)

07 Steve Reeves steve_reeves_04-737975

Bert Goodrich  (Mr America 1938)



First off, these physiques were attainted without all of the science that now surrounds the fitness industry, but that they also resemble nothing of todays current generation of bodybuilders. They are pumped full of steroid and we hate seeing clear steroid abusers claiming that they are natural. We believe it’s bad for you guys to be misled, and leads to people feeling insecure about their size. So if you think someone is natural, just input their stats into the FFMI calculator and see where they come. If they’re above 25, they’re probably not natural: they can’t lie with the numbers.

Remember to follow our blog and if you’re interested in how out of hand todays bodybuilders are, check this article out! And let us know what your FFMI score is in the comments below: the author of this article is currently 22.6.


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