How to Build The Most Attractive Male Physique

Ectomorph Aesthetics #2: How to Become More Attractive

Written by Shane Duquette on March 16, 2016

Four years ago we published an article called Ectomorph Aesthetics that covered everything you could possibly want to know about the most attractive male physique. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy for us naturally thin dudes to build up a perfectly attractive physique.

In that article we talked a lot about what was attractive, and not so much about how to become attractive. So in this short follow-up article we’re going to help you actually build up an optimally attractive physique.

Also, a few new really interesting bits of research have come out in the past few years. We’ll cover that too.


How to Build the Optimally Attractive Physique

Having a perfectly attractive physique isn’t as difficult as you might think. You see guys on the cover of fitness magazines and whatnot and yeah, in order to get their physiques you’d need exceptional genetics and the help of your neighbourhood drug dealer.

Unfortunately, as naturally skinny dudes we don’t have best muscle-building genetics. Also, most of us don’t want to break the law, spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, and suffer some unsightly side-effects in order to take steroids. I certainly don’t.

Does that mean we can’t have an optimally attractive physique? Hell no!

What women are drawn to is exceptional masculine health. Guys on steroids look very strong and very masculine, but they hardly look like pillars of health—at least not to women. It’s very impressive… but mostly just to other dudes.

In terms of attracting women, you could say  that sexy is a visual representation of remarkable health.

In order to look remarkably healthy you can’t have the average dude’s fairly healthy 20% body fat and look like you work a desk job. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you want to look exceptionally sexy you need to look exceptionally strong and healthy… not average. Surprisingly, that’s actually not that hard! That’s incredibly realistic for almost everyone. It’s certainly realistic for you.

That’s what made our first aesthetics article a little bit controversial. A lot of bros think that you need to be enormously muscular and totally chiselled in order to look “aesthetic.” This is not so! The research unanimously shows that guys with twenty fewer pounds of muscle and ten more pounds of fat look better.

You could think of that as being the difference between Brad Pitt and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Both action heroes, but just one is a famous sex icon—the smaller one. It’s primarily dudes who dig the bigger one.

So for us skinny guys, who generally tend to have a healthy body fat percentage already, it’s simply a matter of building up a bunch of muscle in a balanced way without getting fat, and then while doing that fixing up your desk-junkie posture and doing some fun accessory lifts to bring up lagging body parts.

Patrick's Bony to Beastly Ectomorph Transformation

That’s where this visual guide comes. It will show you how much weight you need to gain, what optimal posture looks like, how lean you should be, and some proportions to aim for.

Keep in mind that just moving closer to these ideals will make you far more attractive. If you get 80% of the way there that’ll probably be all you need. If you can get 100% of the way here, God help the women you don’t choose to spend the rest of your life with—they’ll never find another man as handsome as you.

Onwards to the guide! (We made it Pinterest Size.)

How to Build the Most Attractive Male Physique (Ectomorph Aesthetics)

The Full Guide to Optimizing Your Attractiveness (Members)

For members, we’ve got a full step-by-step guide in the community (which integrates with the workouts and nutrition plans).

Beastly Resources for Becoming More Attractive (Free)

We’ve got a ton of free articles right here on the blog that explain how to accomplish all of these things. I’ve sorted them and linked them here for your convenience.

#1: How to Gain Weight

#2: How to Fix Your Posture

#3: How to Lose Fat

#4: How to Fiddle with Your Proportions



So we’ve just outlined the four key steps to becoming more physically attractive. First start off by getting your BMI into the ideal 23–26.5 range. Then you’ll want to take care of that ecto-belly to get that actor-perfect posture. Next up you’ll likely want to burn a few pounds of fat while holding on tight to your muscle (lifting + plenty of protein is essential when cutting). And lastly, you’ll want to strategically muscle-up certain body parts to get the proportions of a Greek God.
If you’d like to learn how to:
  • Gain weight to increase your BMI
  • Correct your slumpy posture and “lazy stomach” so you don’t even need to think about it
  • Learn how to cut while maintaining (and sometimes even building) muscle
  • And how to properly emphasize different body parts to idealize your proportions
…then we’d really recommend joining the Bony to Beastly Program. It’s a complete muscle-building system that was designed with these principles in mind (and much more). It’s suitable for all experience types—whether you’re a total beginner with a BMI of 17 (that’s where I started) or you’ve been lifting for a few years and you just need to gain a few pounds and bring up some lagging body parts. You don’t even need to take our word for it, you can give the program a try for 60 days with a full money-back guarantee… but if you fail to see measurable results after even just a single week we’ll be right there to get you back on track 🙂
Josua's Bony to Beastly Ectomorph Transformation

The Muscle-building Program for Skinny Guys

Bony to Beastly Full Mass Gainer Ectomorph Program Download

Ready to gain 20 Pounds (9kg) in 3 months with our muscle-building system for skinny dudes?

  • Build Muscle
  • Look & Feel Your Best
  • Master Your Appetite With Scientific Hacks
  • Improve Your Posture
  • Take Up More Space

So, what'd you think? 54 responses below.


I remember reading the first article. Back then it seemed complicated and unrealistic. I am glad I stayed with b2B 🙂 These days I see what a good choice that was. Thanks for the article. Good summary and those links are useful.

Shane Duquette

So glad you liked it, Daniel! Thanks for the kind words, and thank you even more for being such a great part of the community!


Hi Daniel! Inches here. You still doing the program? I haven’t seen anyone’s progress pics for a year now!

Shane Duquette

We’ve been missing you in the community, man! How’ve your gains been?! (Daniel just posted a +22 pound update!)


Hi Inches, long time no see. I was couple months away from b2B only to lose all my gains from 2014. As Shane said, I got back in shape and regained my 10 kg = 22 pounds back 🙂 Now is time for new gains 😉


Any advice about what to do if you are stuck at a certain weight and cant really move forward? Also I have trouble getting the shoulder width up to 50″ or maybe even more :/ cant really say what muscle group is holding me back or it just might be all of them xD

Shane Duquette

It’s common to stall out at a certain point. When you first build muscle you don’t need to be that strategic with nutrition or training and you’ll do okay, but at a certain point it becomes more difficult to keep moving forward. So if your weight is plateaued there are probably two things that should really help: 1) Begin a proper periodized program that has you lifting a good amount of volume, 2) Make sure you’re in a calorie surplus! If your weight gain has stalled, after all, then you are no longer eating enough calories to grow. I know that’s easier said than done, but this article may help.


I’ll read that again for sure 😀 But what do you think about the principle of being in a caloric deficit and just eating that much protein protein to stimulate muscle growth while still being able to burn fat at the same time. I know you’ve mentioned somewhere that that just means you’ll be spinning in circles not cutting and not really gaining lean muscle but Jeff Cavalier had some points about how this should actually work.

Shane Duquette

Hehe we get questions about him sometimes in the community too. Aghh. He’s got a very impressive physique and some of his advice is pretty neat but, oh man, I think his lean gains stuff is really doing a lot of people a disservice. But then how are you supposed to know which person to believe? It’s not like we have more credibility than him. So when he tells you one thing, we tell you another… how will you know who is being honest? (Or who has done their homework properly.)

The short answer is that trying to get lean gains / body recomposition is very ineffective, very slow, very difficult because the most effective way to lose fat is to go into a calorie deficit (because your body needs to burn body fat as energy), and the most effective way to build muscle is to go into a calorie surplus (because there are an abundance of nutrients and your hormones will be more anabolic). If you avoid deficits and surpluses, you’ve eliminated the most powerful tools at your disposal when trying to build muscle / lose fat.

Besides, there are only a few types of people who can do lose fat and build muscle simultaneously: the obese, the totally untrained, people who have never eaten a proper diet, and people just beginning to use performance enhancing drugs (steroids and whatnot). Even for them, it’s not as effective as either bulking or cutting. This is why even when we have skinny-fat guys join the program we tell them to cut then bulk, or bulk then cut. Yes, if they’re new to eating and training well they might build some muscle while they cut, but we do still have them decidedly cut. This allows them to get the fat loss and muscle gains they’re looking for in six months instead of sixteen years.

This is very well established in the scientific literature and not really something that’s even being debated. It can seem like it though, because a lot of mainstream stuff is targeted at people who are very overweight and/or new to training/eating properly. For most readers of this site, that advice is not helpful at all—just confusing.

You can watch a legitimate lecture on this from Dr. Israetel here. Admittedly he’s speaking more to professional athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness models, but all the science he’s explaining will be true for you as well 🙂

Shane Duquette

Also, I don’t want to knock Jeff Cavalier or anything. I think he’s just either speaking to a different audience or there’s some sort of nuance there that isn’t coming through. Maybe he’s speaking to guys with physiques like his, where they’re very near their genetic potential and would be totally thrilled again a pound of muscle and losing a pound of fat each year while diligently tracking their macros? Or maybe he’s speaking to a general population that hasn’t lifted or dieted properly before who just wants to lose five pounds of fat and gain five pounds of muscle this year?

We speak to guys who want to radically increase their lean muscle mass, whether they’re total beginners or more advanced. When you want to gain 20–60 pounds of muscle in a reasonable timeframe a different approach is way better. (This applies to guys who have some fat to lose as well.)

I enjoy watching his Athlean-X videos. I think he knows how to stimulate his muscles effectively and he does it well with a pretty simple setup. I really like that. (Our program doesn’t require fancy equipment either.) He also has a very impressive physique. Oh man, those biceps!


Yeah you never really know whit guys like that who give general advice that works (his tips for delts seem really good and have worked for me) but he did mention he was a hardgainer once and had similar problems that us ectomorphs face so that led me to believe he might be talking with us in mind as well. Thats the problem with most plans and advice out there they arent specific enough to hit every person just right so thats why i take a bit of information from you guys who are ectomorph experts and something from him and other sites. But its great that you offer such enlightening dialogue that clears up some questions when piecing together information that sometimes is contradictory.

Shane Duquette

Simply getting back to building muscle should get your back/chest/shoulders growing, and that will increase your shoulder circumference. Nothing wrong with adding in some extra lateral raises though!


Do you guys have protocols for those with limitations such as chronic wrist issues (like tendonitis)? It’s hard to pick exercises and nearly impossible to work out the bi’s, tri’s, etc. Also, do you have protocols for people with back issues involving discs, etc. such as slipped discs, ruptured discs, etc?

I’m asking as someone with pain issues in the feet, wrists, and an undiagnosed back issue that may just be basic out of alignment. Thanks.

Shane Duquette

Hey Ian, that’s a good question. Jared had tendonitis that progressed to severe tendinosis in his right arm. At a certain point he couldn’t use the computer anymore, so he learned how to use his left hand instead. Over time his left hand developed tendinitis, then tendinosis. At this point he turned to prescription medication that didn’t work very well. This is the Jared that I went to university with.

After university Jared and I started lifting, and Marco gave Jared some tools to deal with the tendinosis. Marco’s tools allowed Jared to lift properly, and lifting properly (and perhaps a better diet?) allowed Jared’s issues to improve a great deal. Nowadays he still uses an ergonomic mouse and keyboard and whatnot, but he’s doing way, way better 🙂

We also have guys in the program with back issues. Obviously with things like this you’ll need to get clearance from your doctor first, but provided that you have that, Marco is well trained to deal with issues like that as well.

My hope would be that the program would not just dodge your issues, but also help you solve them!

Jared Polowick

Hey Ian,

What Shane posted about me is all too true. There was a time when I was first starting to deadlift with incredibly light weights (pre-loaded bar somewhere around 40–50 pounds if my memory serves me well), and it was really working my forearms more than anything else. I started thinking I’d never be able to lift weights because of my tendinosis. Nowadays I can deadlift 3 plates without any straps (or belts) and it doesn’t affect my forearms at all.

I am not an expert on solving this issue, but I do have my own personal experience. I think a combination of several things helped me get it under control and feeling much, much better. Doing some tissue work, lifting with a solid program with compound movements, eating well, and fixing the ergonomics/positioning that created the issue in the first place has helped me move on. You may want to investigate graston if you can find a sports physiotherapist that offers it, as I felt it had helped me, but the research is still elusive on that one. Plus I had tried it at the same time as introducing lifting/eating well into my life for the first time, so it’s hard to say what actually was most helpful. Positioning is probably a big one too, which lifting has helped a lot with, and some small tweaks in the office (DXT mouse, Goldtouch Go!2, etc.).

With your back, wrists, and feet not feeling too great—it’d be best to see a professional in person first and discuss your goals with them, as Shane mentioned. I know it can be a frustration position to be in, I really hope you can continue to make some good choices to getting closer to solving them 🙂


That referenced article by Dan Ariely, where he found that men got a 3% increase in response rates for every seven pounds gained sounds really interesting.
Is there a weblink where I could read it?


Shane Duquette

Yeah! He did a bunch of studies looking into online dating mating preferences and at least a couple of them are fully available online for free 🙂

Check out this one. Here’s a quote: “Women, on the other hand, prefer men with a BMI of 20 or above to men with a lower BMI. The point estimates of women’s preferences peak for a BMI range of 24 to 26 (the marginal effect is 0.052), although the effect sizes are fairly similar over BMIs ranging from 20 to 30. In addition to these preferences concerning the level of a partner’s BMI, we also find that both men and women have preferences concerning the relative BMI of a potential mate. Men somewhat prefer women with a BMI that is lower than their own18 and dislike women with a larger BMI. Women, on the other hand, somewhat prefer men with a BMI that is larger than their own but dislike men with a lower BMI.”

There’s also this one.


Are the arm measurements based on a relaxed are or when you are flexing?

Shane Duquette

Flexed 🙂


Hello, I just read literally everything that caught my eye. These articles are amazing, but even after reading them. I don’t know what path i should take…. I’m skinny af, everyone kinda teases me and I hate it. I eat. A lot. I sleep. A lot. And I don’t work out much as no matter what I do nothing seems to be happening. Although one thing I noticed was that I can fairly easily do sit ups and planks and ab workouts…
So I’m looking for guidance. Please have a look at what I’m currently looking like and tell me what to do…. I’m really looking forward to your response as I’m living alone and have no access to much variety of foods.

I’m 5’10 and weigh a horrible 55 kg



Hi A!

I feel you man, I used to be in the exact same situation. I was at pretty much the same weight and height as you, and was always ridiculed as the skinny guy. I desperatly wanted to change, but I didn’t know where to start. I tried a few different things and got no results. I even saw a nutritionist/trainer, and actually lost weight after a few weeks. Then I came acrross the B2B articles, and found them really fascinating. I hesitantly bought the program, and spent a lot more time reading and processing all the info. When I finally started about two months ago, I’ve already gained 15 pounds!

I’m not trying to make a sales pitch, and I don’t make any money if you do decide to purchase it. You could simply go online and read articles for free, and you could make some great progress, but as you said, it’s hard to know exactly what path to take. The program is not a magic pill, you must be determined and do the work. What is great with B2B is that the path is all mapped out for you, and you benefit from an amazing community of people who have been there and help you along the way. For example, there are plenty of tips on how to make the eating aspect a lot easier.

You like quite fit and well defined, with a low body fat percentage, thus a perfect candidate to morphing into a beast! Like me, I think you’ll be happily surprised as to how ideal you’re body at making some lean gains.

The only thing I regret is not having started sooner, the day I bought the program!


Thank you for the reply. I forgot to add that in India one us dollar equals 66rs
So the program would cost me 13000 rupees which is my monthly wage where I work. Lol.
India sucks.
If I had money I’d have taken up the program blindfolded.

Can I still be helped?

Shane Duquette

Thank you so much for the kind words, Anthony! And so stoked with your progress, man 😀

Shane Duquette

Hey A, we’ve got a lot of guys living in India who are doing the program, and we definitely recognize that it’s a much bigger commitment due to the currency differences. We’ve actually been working to come up with a solution for that so that we can offer a program at a more affordable price for you guys while still making enough to live here in Canada. This would be something made specifically for guys in India too, since there’s the combination of lots of demand to join the program combined with the currency discrepancy. If you stay tuned to the newsletter we can let you know as soon as we know more!

Shane Duquette

Oh! As for your specific issue of not being able to gain weight despite eating everything in site, check this article out:

You’ll need to lift as well, but hopefully this helps you figure out the nutrition side of things a little bit more.


Are the measurement based on a flexed arm or relaxed arm?


I do think this is a great article. However, I do want to state out my opinion and personal experience with aesthetics. I do think in some cases the role of bodyfat percentage and other body proportions is understated. Suppose you have a 5’10” 130 lb male with 10% bodyfat vs a male at the same height and weight but with 16% bodyfat. I tend to think that the one with the lower bodyfat may be perceived by many as more attractive due to the higher amount of muscle, even though this person is still quite slim. I have a similar BMI to that example, but I have low bodyfat and my shoulder/waist ratio is actually close to the ideal ratio of 1.618. Despite the fact that I am downright skinny, I don’t think some girls consider me to be unattractive given that I have defined muscles and my low waist size (kind of) gives me the illusion of having broad shoulders.

This isn’t to discourage anyone who is trying to gain weight, but I just wanted to point out that in some situations it’s not always about BMI but about proportions and bodyfat. I also think that from your first aesthetics article, it may not be fair to group all skinny guys into the same label for these reasons.

Just my thoughts, but overall I like your analysis of the topic.

Shane Duquette

Hey Jason, that’s a really, really good point! Not only would they (you) have significantly more muscle, but they’d also look far more athletic without looking steroidy or obsessed, as the amount of muscle mass would be reasonable.

In the first aesthetics article we ranked the body types in terms of attractiveness, and you can see there that the thinner fit looking guys do quite well—better than enormous bodybuilders. They can do a little better by getting up to a higher BMI by adding some muscle—adding strengths/size to their list of attractive attributes—but so long as they look fit to begin with, they do fine either way 🙂


Hi Shane, great article i’ve always had aesthetics in mind.

Just a question out of curiosity. I am a classic ectomorph with small bone structure (tiny, tiny wrists). My chest is 40in, arm 13in. But people say it’s well defined, big etc. I know for a fact that 40in chest is nothing, even those who lift a teacup instead of dumbbells have 45in minimum. Same goes for my tiny arms as well. But it got me thinking…. is it possible that for us ectomorphs with tiny wrists and bone structure, even a small chest or arm will project the ILLUSION of big? I hope I am making sense here.

Since you’ve researched ecto body type so much, I thought you might have an insight into this. Thanks again, Shane.

Shane Duquette

Definitely! In some cases, due to the contrast, muscles can look bigger next to a small bone structure. Muscular forearms next to thin wrists, for example. But sometimes a big bone structure will make guys appear more muscular simply because it makes that area bigger overall. Thick upper arm bones boosting arm circumference by an inch, for example.

There’s something else to consider as well. We could potentially have, say, 20 more pounds of muscle than someone else who weighs the same simply because less of our weight is bone, more is muscle. Same goes when considering measurements! We might have substantially more muscle in our 13–15″ arms than someone with bigger upper arm bones even though we measure the same.

It could also be that you have a lower body fat percentage than average so your chest is well defined and thus appears bigger 🙂


Thanks so much for the reply, Shane. What u said about bone weight/muscle weight is very insightful. I should know, I have a 6inch wrist, lol. Very annoying, really, because while you can control muscle building to an extent by working out/eating big, small bones are not somehting under your control. u are stuck with it. Frustrating.

Shane Duquette

Your question was really interesting and I’m going to be posting a video about it in the next couple days on our YouTube channel (which we’ve just started). Done filming, just need to upload it 🙂


Looking forward to it.


Hi Shane, how come Doctor B has six pack in his after photo despite having a lot of fat on his stomach? It is very strange, I thought fat and six pack didnt go together.

Shane Duquette

It looks like he has rather large ab muscles, which is not surprising given how much muscle he built. His particular genetics probably helped also. Some guys would need to be leaner to get that kind of ab definition for sure.


Hey Shane, what would be the ideal chest size circumference based on the 50″ inch shoulder circumference?

Shane Duquette

Casey Butts’ research found that a chest about 1.4x as big as your waist was considered ideally attractive 🙂


If you dont mind my asking, Shane, what’s your chest size (and wrist size)? Does height matter for chest size, like a short guy has a better chance of building thicker chest?

Shane Duquette

Hey Al, my chest size is 43 inches and my wrist size is 6.5 inches at a height of 74 inches (6’2).

People often grow disproportionately, so it’s common for taller guys to have proportionally longer limbs and torsos. This means that shorter guys are more likely to be a little stockier, yes, and taller guys are more likely to be ectomorphs. As a result, the average height in our community is around 2 inches taller than average. However, this isn’t any kind of hard rule.


Thanks, Shane, out of curiosity, do u measure it just under armpit or just above nipples (for chest measurement)? Do u keep arms down to ur sides to measure (bcus when I wrap tape around chest my arms are up)?

Also I am only 5’10”, are ectomorphs normally this short, or am I an anomaly?

Shane Duquette

I measured at nipple height and with my arms in a relaxed position.

Most of our members are from North America, India and Europe, and the average height varies quite a bit between those areas. For example, the average height in India is around 5’7, whereas the average height in the Dinaric Alps (Northern Europe) is 6’1. The standard deviation for men’s height is around 3 inches, so guys within 3 inches of that average are of “normal” height.

Here in Canada the national average is 5’10, so most guys are between 5’7 and 6’1. I would guess that most ectomorphs around here are around two inches taller, so between 5’9 and 6’3. Marco is 6’4 though, so he’s exceptionally tall even for an ectomorph. We have lots of shorter guys as well.

So unless you’re from one of those super tall Northern European countries, I think you’re a pretty normal height for an ectomorph 🙂


Hi Shane, what do u think of Oskar Faarkrog? He did only three bodyweight exercises – chins, pushups, and bodyweight sqauts, but is built like a mountain. It cant be good genetics, bcuz the man was skinnyfat his whole life.

So is it possible that only a few compound exercises are necessary for muscle growth?

Shane Duquette

I think what Oskar Faarkrog did was awesome! He had decent muscularity even before he began exercising, so I would say he started off chubby, not skinny-fat. Even then, I’m impressed that he was able to build even more muscle with a routine that isn’t very good for building muscle.

Bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight chin-ups, push-ups and squats are good exercises to have in a muscle-building routine, but only when you’re very weak. When you get strong enough to do more than 20 reps before hitting total muscular failure, you need to start adding weight in order to keep growing. This is backed up by every muscle growth study ever, it’s what athletes do, it’s what bodybuilders do and it’s what actors do when they need to bulk up in a hurry. There are a few examples of people building muscle in other ways, but these are outliers. Moreover, they these outliers probably would have had better results had they followed a better routine.

I began with bodyweight push-ups, chin-ups and squats, but now I’m doing push-ups with 90 pounds on my back, chin-ups with 80 pounds around my waist and squats with a 275 pound barbell. Forcing my muscles to adapt by growing stronger is why I’ve been able to gain over 50 pounds of muscle.

Keep in mind that a skinny guy is light, so bodyweight exercises are often quite easy. Oskar Faarkrog was carrying maybe 20 extra pounds of muscle, maybe 30 extra pounds of fat. That makes his push-ups, chin-ups and squats equivalent to a skinny guy doing them with an extra 50 pounds.

Compound exercises. Can you build muscle with just a few compound exercises? Absolutely! Is it optimal? Not even close.


Hi Shane, thanks for the detailed explanation. Can u pls explain the past part, though? Many ppl say compound will target smaller muscles also (like arms), so why do isolation? They say curling 30 pounds is no match for lifting entire bodyweight during a chin (which is place more stress on arms than curls)?

R they totally mistaken?

Shane Duquette

That’s a very good question and there’s been quite a lot of research done into it, so I can answer with some certainty.

But yes, they are mistaken! If you do chin-ups you’ll get some bicep growth, certainly. If you do curls you’ll get bicep growth also, and you’re right, perhaps a little less, because the load will be lighter. But if you do chin-ups and curls you’ll get the benefits of both. These things can be additive.

I’m going to write up a full post on that. It’s a question we get a lot and it’s difficult to answer in just a few sentences.


Hi Shane, I forgot to ask a very important question reg. aesthetics. Many ppl say that pullups give you v taper, it tests your relative strength, etc. etc. In short, they say pullups is better than dumbell rows. What is ur view on that? Is it true that lifting your whole bodyweight (as in pulups) is better for an aesthetic build than db rows which involves lifting an external weight only? Or is it just that pullups has good publicity, lol, and therefore overrated?

Shane Duquette

It’s hard to say whether one exercise is better than a totally different one. Rows and pull-ups both work your back, but one is a horizontal pull and the other is a vertical pull. That’s sort of like comparing the bench press to the overhead press. Very different.

I would say that the chin-up is a better lift than the pull-up, as it lets the biceps assist on the lift, allowing you to lift more weight with all of the muscle groups involved. More of a compound lift that way. But again, it comes down to what your goals are.

A really interesting question would be whether chin-ups are better than rows. The king of vertical pulls vs the king of horizontal pulls. I would go for the chin-up, as it has greater range of motion, you tend to lift heavier weights, and it involves your biceps as well as your back… but I think the real answer is to do both 🙂


What do you guys think about David Laid? Could he be natty? He is the same weight and height as Shane, but he had a radically different look. How is it possible?

Shane Duquette

Steroid use is pretty common, and he definitely looks like he could be on them. But you never know, right? I mean, you see a guy like Ronnie Coleman and you have a pretty good idea… but there are also some pretty gnarly genetic mutations out there.

For example, google “whippet.” They’re a skinny greyhound sort of dog. A very ectomorphic breed of dog, you could say. Then google “bully whippet.” It’s a regular whippet but with a genetic mutation that wrecks the animal’s ability to regulate muscle growth—an inhibited myostatin gene. No steroids or anything, just a genetic mutation.

There are a couple kids right now who have that same genetic mutation. By the time they’re adults, they might be monsters.

So we see a guy who appears a little too muscular and we often assume steroids. That’s usually true, so it’s not a bad assumption… but you never know. Could also be very, very rare genetics.

Shane Duquette

Hah, he does have a similar frame to me. That’s crazy.

Ahaha he looks so different because he’s way bigger and way leaner.

Sort of like comparing Daniel Craig and Mike Mentzer, or Brad Pitt and Arnold Schwarzenegger.


He might be bigger and leaner a bit, but he does have almost the same height and weight. His muscles are way fuller and bigger. Also, he has a 15 inch biceps, the same as you, but look at his arms and yours, his looks superior to yours somehow. That’s the reason why i would say he takes something.

Shane Duquette

Lots of things could factor in there. Height and weight aren’t everything. If David Laid’s bone structure was 20 pounds lighter, he might have an additional 20 pounds of muscle while weighing the same as me. He’s also very lean. So subtract 10 pounds of fat, add 10 pounds of muscle. That’s another very large difference.

Laid might also do simple things, like pumping up before a photo shoot, making sure that all his muscles are swollen full of blood. That could make 15-inch biceps look like incredibly vascular 16-inch biceps right there. His biceps are also much longer than mine. I can fit 3.5 fingers between my biceps belly and my forearm. It looks like he could barely squeeze one in there. That can make a muscle look a lot fuller as well.

Looks like he also started at 14, I started at 22. He’s also a bodybuilder, so presumably he’s still trying to get bigger and leaner. Once I got to 180 with 11% body fat over the course of a couple years, I haven’t tried to get bigger or leaner since.

I wouldn’t be so quick to assume he’s on something. World class genetics, hard work, and many years of bodybuilding can go a long way. Not saying he’s not using steroids—most bodybuilders and fitness models do—but you never know!


Well that might be true, just look at his first photos, how skinny he was. He didnt look like a full muscle belly guy, as he was so skinny.
And do you have any advice on getting as lean as him without losing muscle?

Shane Duquette

In his starting photos he’s 14 haha. That’s before puberty. Before puberty our bodies are virtually identical to a 14-year-old woman’s body. I wouldn’t make too many inferences about his genetics. Now that he’s 18 and just beginning puberty, now would be a better chance to see what his genetics are looking like.

Very thin, yes, but muscle belly / tendon lengths don’t change when you build muscle. He always had good muscle-building genetics there.

The reason you see his waist staying narrow while his shoulders got so much broader is partly because of how much muscle he built, but also because of how his bone structure changed when he hit puberty.

To get leaner without losing muscle you’d want to follow a good muscle-building lifting program, eat in a calorie deficit of about 500 calories per day (about a pound lost per week), and keeping your protein intake high—at least 1 gram per pound bodyweight.

Once you get under 10–12% body fat, depending on your genetics, you’ll probably want to start tracking your macros (within a few grams) using something like My Fitness Pal. You’d get a food scale and weigh everything before eating it.

Also keep in mind that unless you take steroids or have truly world class genetics, when you get that lean you’re risking feeling really awful. No sex drive, grumpy, weird cravings, depression, etc. Not everyone will feel that way, but it’s rare. You’re also quite a bit leaner than what most women would consider ideally attractive.

The contest prep part of bodybuilding is very impressive, and I have tonnes of respect for the guys who do it, but it carries with it a lot of downsides that you need to beware of.

For the record, this is more of a site for naturally thin guys who are trying to get bigger, more muscular, more attractive, healthier, stronger, and more athletic. We don’t deal much with pro bodybuilding stuff, which is sort of an extreme sport all of its own.

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