In the comments of the post Muscular Potential and Reality, Skyler Tanner mentioned that the Casey Butt book had a second formula for calculating muscular potential for ectomorphs and hardgainers. Stephan at BioHacks went to work and created a second online calculator to support that formula.
Here is an updated table using my numbers for both formulas.
|Lean Muscle Potential (original formula)||190 lbs|
|Lean Muscle Potential (hardgainer / ectomorph formula)||178.5 lbs|
In the previous post I said this before explaining the work of Ellington Darden.
Today I weight 206. If my bodyfat percentage is 16%, then my lean mass is 173. Subtract that from 190 and according to the calculator I still have the potential to gain 17 more pounds of muscle. I’m highly skeptical. Not because I am a beast. I’m clearly not. I’m skeptical because the formula doesn’t capture enough data points.
Using the ectomorph / hardgainer formula from Casey Butt, I am only shy of my muscular potential by 5.5 pounds. This seems closer to reality to me than 17 pounds. The reason I say that is because whenever I’ve pushed the mass as a primary goal, I tend to get fatter. This has held true ever since I captured the early gains from following the Pavel training protocol around 2003.
Photo from Good Health (1906)
Setting Realistic Goals
Using this formula, I think an ectomorph can set better goals. We can define both a muscular potential and a lean potential. For me I think my ideal body fat is probably 10%. My face takes on a meth addict look when I drop into single digit bodyfat percentages.
- Muscle Potential Unrealized: 178.5 – 173 = 5.5#
- Lean Potential Unrealized: 206 * (16% – 10%) = 12.36#
In my case, I should pursue fat loss as my primary goal as I can capture twice the body composition gains there.