The numbers from these competitions aren’t perfect; for example, the IPF just started hosting a raw championship, 6 so there are only three years of comparable data. And in some years at Raw Unity, a weight class might only have two lifters (an athlete has to be very strong to qualify for the event). It’s also important to note that competitions use different weight-class systems. They’re close enough in the lighter classes, but the heavier guys are differentiated in such a way, for example, that an IPF lifter could be up to 23 pounds heavier than a Raw Unity competitor in an “equal” weight class. That’s huge, because more muscle gives these athletes more power to perform with.
He came up with it after years of studying steroid users in Boston-area gyms and comparing them not just to non-steroid users in the same gyms, but also to bodybuilders from different eras. For a 1995 study, Pope and his coauthors estimated the FFMIs of Mr. America winners from 1939 to 1959, before steroids were readily available. The group includes future B-movie star Steve Reeves, whose physique was so iconic that he was name-checked in The Rocky Horror Picture Show . The average FFMI was . (One of the highest was George Eiferman, Mr. America 1948, with a FFMI. His upper body was later the model for George of the Jungle, a 1960s cartoon character.) Even today, with all we’ve learned about training and nutrition, an FFMI in the mid 20s is still considered the ceiling for natural bodybuilders. Anything above 26 or 27 is suspect.
If we don't care about the short and long-term health consequences for our athletes - it is THEIR choice after all - then what about protecting the health of children who look at these athletes as role models? Teens aspiring to be professional athletes may as well start early on their steroid road; unfortunately the risks for them are even more dangerous. And what about sports like gymnastics, where many kids hit their prime prior to obtaining drivers licenses? Should those athletes not be afforded the luxury of these enhancements?