FFMI Calculator (Fat-Free Mass Index)
This FFMI calculator is dedicated to estimating fat-free mass index of your body. This method is more precise in comparison to the BMI (body mass index) and overcomes its shortcomings when dealing with people who are well-trained, as well as professional sportsmen. In the article below, you can find an explanation of what FFMI is, the comparison of BMI vs. FFMI, and the FFMI scale, which allows you to classify your results.
To perform a proper calculation, you need to know your body fat result in percent. If you don't know it, use the body fat calculator to get this parameter. Also, if you are interested in more body fat measurements, check out our alternative calculation methods in the US navy body fat calculator.
FFMI – fat-free mass index
FFMI is the abbreviation of fat-free mass index. It describes the amount of your muscle mass in relation to height and weight. FFMI is part of the family of body indexes, together with well-known and similar BMI. Although the FFMI is less used, it is more precise than BMI and provides information about somebody's condition and health.
The fat-free mass index uses three inputs to provide a score of muscle mass:
- Body height – measured in centimeters or feet and inches;
- Body weight – measured in kilograms or pounds; and
- Body fat – measured in percent units (use our body fat calculator to find your input value).
BMI vs. FFMI
Body mass index is a parameter calculated from your weight and height. The results are classified according to the defined norms, and thanks to that, you can say whether your weight is ideal or normal or if you are overweight or even obese (see ideal body weight calculator). However, this method has its limitations, the most significant being that it doesn't take into account the weight of your lean muscle mass and your amount of body fat.
Maybe, at first glance, it doesn't seem that big a problem, but the critics of BMI are justified. For example, people with different heights and weights can have the same BMI, even though they have different amounts of fat and muscle. Somebody with a lot of muscle mass can be classified negatively – as overweight or even obese.
As described in our BMI (body mass index) calculator, the BMI method is based only on weight, and therefore it doesn't take into account the difference in tissues and body type. From another point of view, an inactive person who does not exercise and is in an unhealthy state might get a perfect BMI result.
Why is FFMI better than BMI?
When somebody gains weight, caused by fat tissue increase, that means the person has become less healthy. On the other hand, it is a good thing when an athlete (or fitness enthusiast) puts on weight because of increased muscle mass. Both situations mean the same from BMI's viewpoint – weight increase results in a BMI index increase. That is where the fat-free mass index comes in with a solution.
FFMI is defined in a way that allows distinguishing between fat gain and muscle gain. If the mass of fat increases, the FFMI goes down, and if the mass of muscle increases, FFMI rises. This difference allows FFMI to estimate somebody's body and health condition correctly.
On the other hand, body mass index (BMI) is a general estimation of your health that works well for most of the population. Note that for somebody who exercises daily or trains professionally, BMI is mostly useless. For that kind of person with more muscle mass than ordinary people, the fat-free mass index is a much better, much more effective choice.
Fat-free mass index interpretation
The following table indicates the classification of FFMI indexes.
FFMI range for men
Suspicion of steroid use
more than 28
Steroid usage likely
Scores of FFMI for men between 26-27.9 may indicate usage of steroids, but still might be attainable naturally; and
Scores of FFMI for men between 28-30 are highly unlikely to be achieved naturally without steroid usage.
FFMI range for women
Suspicion of steroid use
more than 25
Steroid usage likely
- Scores of FFMI present approximate values for the general population - their application in real life may vary.
How to calculate FFMI?
The FFMI calculator uses currently approved mathematical formulas for computing the fat-free mass, FFMI as well as normalized FFMI. The latter is dedicated for taller athletes who are bigger overall.
Body fat calculation based on the simple equation:
body fat = weight [kg] × (body fat [%] / 100).
It is expressed in kilograms [kg].
Fat-free mass is estimated using the following method:
fat free mass = weight [kg] × (1 - (body fat [%]/ 100)).
Result is also expressed in kilograms [kg].
FFMI is calculated respectively:
FFMI = fat free mass [kg]/ (height [m])².
Expressed in kilograms per square meter [kg/m²].
For normalized FFMI use the equation:
normalized FFMI = FFMI [kg/m²] + 6.1 × (1.8 - height [m]).
The same unit as in FFMI [kg/m²].
The fat-free mass index calculator allows you to change the units which are displayed. You can switch between cm, m, kg, lb, etc., accordingly to your needs and preferences.
FFMI calculator – how to use it properly
Check out an example calculation to help you have a crystal clear understanding of how to use the FFMI calculator correctly. Let's assume that the estimation is made on Steve – a man who is 180 cm tall, weighs 75 kilograms, and has 22% of body fat. Following the steps it goes like this:
First, fill in all the input data:
- Enter his height:
- Enter his weight:
- Enter his body fat:
Then, check out the calculation outcome based on these input data:
The FFMI is
18.1 kg/m²– that number classifies our man to the average result – the message with the classification range is displayed automatically below the calculator.
Normalized FFMI is equal to
18.1 kg/m²– it is identical to the non-normalized value because the man is not taller than the mean value of the population.
Steve's fat-free mass equals:
His total body fat weighs:
How do I calculate FFMI?
To calculate the fat-free mass index, use the following equations:
Fat-free mass [kg] = Weight [kg] × (1 − (Body fat [%]/ 100))
FFMI [kg/m²] = Fat-free mass [kg]/ (Height [m])²
What is a healthy fat free mass index?
For a man, the average FFMI is 18-20, and for a woman, 14-17. However, the result may be higher (and still healthy!) in athletes or lower in skinnier people.
How to lower body fat without losing muscle mass?
There are a few rules to follow while trying to lose weight:
- Keep a healthy (but rational and balanced) diet.
- Do both cardio and weights. You need both to build your muscles and burn that fat.
- Take your time. Losing weight healthily, keeping your muscles, and staying healthy requires patience.
Which are examples of fat-free mass?
Fat-free mass is all our body parts that originally do not contain fat. These include:
- Inner organs;
- Ligaments and tendons;
- Connective tissue;
- Blood; and
However, in the course of some diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, or high triglycerides, even these organs and tissues may become fatty.