A Conversation On Aesthetics and Fitness

In this article we’re going to do something a little bit different. The idea came from one of our members. He started off by saying something fairly controversial. Then, as other members prodded him, instead of backing away from it, he doubled down. And I think his arguments are pretty compelling.

First, let’s set the stage. In our articles about attractiveness, we make the argument that attractiveness is visible health. Being very attractive just takes that one step further. Instead of looking healthy, you’d have to look healthy in a way that truly stands out—you’d have to be conspicuously healthy.

For an overweight person, the best way to build a more attractive physique is to become visibly healthier by losing fat. For us skinny guys, the best way to become more attractive is usually to build muscle. There are lots of objective goals you could set: bringing your BMI to 23 with abs, becoming 50% heavier than your date/girlfriend/fiancée/wife, or building your biceps up to the size of your neck, to name a few.

At first, progress can be very quick. If you’ve read our newbie gains article, then you understand exactly how quick. The interesting thing is that the 80–20 principle applies here. What I mean is that with a small amount of time investment—just a couple months—a skinny guy can usually get to the point where he looks healthy and fit. He’ll look attractive.

Not alarmingly attractive, but attractive.

At that point, progress will slow, and it can take a lot more time and effort to get to that next, very attractive level. After all, looking healthy is one thing, but looking so healthy that people go, “Wow, that dude looks healthy!” is a whole other thing.

But physical attractiveness isn’t the only way you can boost your attractiveness. It’s not even the only physical way that you can boost your attractiveness.

That’s where Rick J comes in.

Rick J is a member in the Beastly community, and so far he’s gained 14 pounds. (8 before joining, 7 more after a few weeks with us.) I found his thoughts really fascinating, and he gave me permission to quote him in this blog post.

I was recently asking members about their experience with calisthenics. (Members can read the full thread here.) We have a little bit of calisthenics in the program: push-ups, chin-ups, planks, etc. Nothing crazy.

We take the best exercises for building muscle and combine them in the best way for building muscle. To do that, we try to follow the research as objectively as possible, and we wind up with a program that combines a few different approaches. Calisthenics brings chin-ups and push-ups, strongman training brings farmer carries, powerlifting brings deadlifts, bodybuilding brings curls. By taking the best from everything, we get this well-rounded fitness program that builds muscle faster than any other.

The b2B Program will help you with a variety of fitness and athletics goals, as a foundation of functional strength can be applied to everything, but it’s unapologetically a muscle-building program for skinny guys.

We’ve had a lot of members tell us after finishing the program, with their muscle-building goals accomplished, that they want to use their new muscle to learn some cool calisthenics/gymnastics tricks. So I was asking about whether we should delve into cool bodyweight stuff a little more.

That brought up something we hadn’t thought of.

Rick J: I suspect that social media and online dating is one factor in the goals of many guys, especially guys who are drawn to an aesthetics-focused program. One way to do aesthetics is to get as big as possible. Getting bigger is great to stand-out in relation to your past self, and to unfit guys. However, my understanding is that you have to get really big to stand-out relative to other fit guys.

Lots of guys can be say, 23-24 BMI with <15% body-fat and v-shape, which is the basics for looking good in clothes and where many guys will end b2B. For ectomorphs who aren’t there yet, hitting that goal will be a great aesthetics improvement: no longer will you be competing with programmers and graphic designers. Now you will be competing with masculine mesomorphs.

How does the ectomorph stand out after getting a decent BMI and v-shape? What’s next for aesthetics? You could put on 5 lbs (which is now harder), and lose 1-2% body-fat, which is a great accomplishment, but it’s not going to be super obvious in clothes. (Your girlfriend may notice, but your friends will not.)

So how does he make it obvious that he is training at a level that other guys are not? We all enjoy the effects that training has on our bodies, but if possible, we want to be able to “show” our progress and prove what we are doing.

There’s a lot of truth to that, and my mind was already catching fire.

At this point, another member pointed out that Rick’s perspective centres around competition with others and external validation, not competition with oneself and internal validation. Uh oh.

Time to double down.

Rick J: My view is that aesthetics is about impressing other people. Yes, we seek to impress ourselves also, because aesthetics is mostly universal. But dating and social status definitely have an element of competition.

Think of girls who say that they are dressing up and putting on makeup for themselves or to feel confident. But the way they dress for themselves just happens to be what is attractive to men. Internal approval and external approval are intertwined.

Sometimes, competing with others and trying to impress them can be unhealthy. So I definitely agree with you that we should be asking ourselves these kinds of questions to keep a healthy mindset. Everyone starts in a different place, and comparing yourself to others too much can be demotivating. This is why you will hear some people say “don’t care about what others think,” or “compete with yourself.”

The problem with competing with yourself is the only people who really notice are you and the people who know you. Competing with yourself is less helpful when meeting new people because they don’t understand your history and how far you have come. They only notice your current state, and they only appreciate it by comparing you to other people in the relevant population. You could tell them how far you’ve come, but you have to get to know them a bit first, so only your current state, not your history, helps when making a first impression. So competing with yourself only works (with new acquaintances) if it’s a successful motivational strategy to trick yourself into competing with others.

Here’s an example: let’s take a very unfit guy with a below-average physique, and train him until he has an average physique. He will notice a big improvement, and so will his friends and family. But if he goes on an online dating site, his results still won’t be all that great, because his visual first impression is still average. To succeed in that environment, he needs to be able to show something beyond the average guy.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the appropriate balance between “accepting myself,” “competing with myself,” and “competing with others,” given that we do live in a world that is competitive, and increasingly visual due to social media and online dating. I don’t want to psyche myself out and become insecure, but at the same time, I want to be honest with myself about what my goals are, and what it will take to achieve them.

I disagree with Rick ever so slightly here. If you can take a perceived weakness, such as being skinny, and turn it into a perfectly healthy level of fitness, that will do a lot for you. You have removed a con (not being visibly healthy) and added a pro (being visibly healthy). Since few people look visibly healthy, this will give you a real leg up.

But I do agree with his overall thoughts here. Looking fit won’t give you a leg up over other fit people.

As for how a skinny guy could get a further advantage after getting his newbie gains, Rick had some ideas. Here are 3 of them:

1. Bulk up even more to his genetic potential of muscle, while staying lean or getting leaner. This will probably be big enough to stand-out. But this is getting into serious bodybuilding, which is going to take time.

2. Take photos of himself lifting. The problem is that normies don’t fully appreciate what he is doing because they don’t understand how much certain things weigh (like plates). The cool thing about Shane being able to lift a person over his head is that we understand how much a person weighs. This is also a case where strongman style training has good visuals: lifting big stones and cars looks heavy. The average person can relate to lifting heavy things, but they can’t relate to lifting plates, unless there is a “lot” of them. But this gets into serious powerlifting, which takes time.

3. Take photos of himself doing acrobatic feats. Acrobatic bodyweight exercises definitely look cool (e.g. handstand variations, lever, planche, muscle-up, human flag). There is also stuff like actual gymnastics and tricking, such as flips (this is a bit different from what I’m talking about, but it would be another way to stand out). Static poses work in both photo and video, while movement (such as back-flips) only works well in video. These static bodyweight exercises hit the sweet spot of being very photogenic, while also building muscle.

Here’s the fundamental issue: the further you get into any approach (bodybuilding, strength-training, acrobatics, etc…), the harder it gets to show-off and put yourself clearly above the competition. During some phases of training, you are on the “edge” of getting into a new “bracket” in how you are perceived: for instance, the “fit” bracket, the “strong” bracket that the b2B blog uses. In other phases of training, you are moving around “within” a bracket, and your results don’t really change how you are perceived.

So there is a tradeoff: do you spend your next training period trying to eke out an additional advantage and get clear of the rest of the competition? Or do you throw in some other skill where you can quickly make gains?

Say you are at 12% body-fat and 23 BMI (e.g. 160 at 5’10”). Now say that you want to train for 4-5 months and take new photos. What will make the most impressive photo? +5 lbs bulk? Cut 2% body-fat? Some feat of strength? Or some feat of acrobatics, like a planche, or one-arm pullup?

So, the angle I’m coming from here is to start with questions like “what would make for an impressive photo or video?” or “what milestone could you subtly brag about to people who don’t practice the same sport / lifting style?” And then work backwards to what sort of training would be necessary to produce that result.

That’s a pretty interesting idea.

It might not apply to everyone, but for the skinny guys who are still single, I don’t see any reason to put a layer of political correctness over everything. Yes, it’s a competition, and yes, you need to win.

Another member, DavidG, chimed in with his experiences as a longtime husband and dad, pointing out that it won’t always be that way. That’s very true. My girlfriend had a lot of options when I met her. She could have chosen someone else. I’m so, so lucky that she chose me instead. Now that she’s chosen me, though, she isn’t comparing me to other guys. She just wants to help me be the best that I can be.

But like Rick J said, it’s a different situation for a guy who’s still trying to find that special gal. If he’s going after a great woman with a lot of options, he needs to make sure that he’s her very best option. And when you’re trying to do something as important as finding your partner in this life, I think it makes sense to do everything you can to make sure you win. The second-place prize in this competition, after all, is not her.

I’ve  spent so much of my life as an athletically inept computer nerd who hated sports that I can’t even believe I’m about to say this, but your body can do more for you than carry your head around. Learning how to use your body in different ways can even be fun.

Writing that last sentence feels weird. I dreaded gym class. I begged my parents not to sign me up for sports. But it’s true. Now that my body seems strong and capable, learning how to use it better is pretty enjoyable.

What I mean is that while there is a lot of great stuff in our heads, sometimes adding some physicality to the “package” we’re presenting can be incredibly valuable, both to ourselves and others.

Anyway, before my brain explodes from the cognitive dissonance, let’s get back to the topic at hand.

Let’s say you agree with Rick’s premise. What can you do?

He’s totally right that you could pursue bodybuilding and stand out in a visual way. He’s right that you could pursue strength or strongman training so that your strength stands out. But he’s also right that both of those approaches would take a fair bit of time and effort. You’d no longer be leveraging the 80–20 principle, you’d be trying to get to 100.

The best olympic weightlifters, powerlifters, bodybuilders and gymnasts train for several hours every day. Ido Portal, one of the most famous gymnastics/calisthenics guys, for example, spends upwards of 6 hours every single day doing acrobatics. But since gymnastics would be a new skill for you, you could start with far, far less, and it would offer you the chance to get a whole new type of newbie gains. You would again experience rapid progression and be able to quickly move into a new bracket of physical impressiveness.

The good news is that if a skinny guy goes through a program like Bony to Beastly, rapidly increasing his muscle size and strength, he might find that he can do a few cool calisthenics tricks almost instantly.

I know how to lift 175 pounds over my head, so I was able to lift a person overhead on my first try. I knew how to do a weighted chin-up and a weighted dip (with 100 pounds around my waist), so I was able to do a muscle-up on my first try. And Marco put so much damn shoulder, core and chest work into the b2B program that I was even able to do a (really awkward looking) 1-armed push-up on my first try.

If you get good enough at lifting free weights, you develop a well-rounded sort of strength, and you can learn a lot of cool stuff very quickly. You can also develop all of these skills at the same time. 

You can double your deadlift while getting perfect bodybuilding aesthetics, and the best gymnasts aren’t shy about using a dumbbell to strengthen their shoulders. And adding some gymnastics to your bodybuilding routine would just increase your training volume, making it easier to gain size. All of these things fit together perfectly.

That brings us back to the question I was initially asking in the community, and I’d love to hear what you guys think too.

Should we start teaching some calisthenics alongside our muscle-building stuff? For example, do you want us to teach you how to do a handstand?

Shane Duquette is the co-founder and creative lead of Outlift, Bony to Beastly, and Bony to Bombshell, and has a degree in design from York University in Toronto, Canada. He's personally gained sixty pounds at 11% body fat and has nine years of experience helping over ten thousand skinny people bulk up.

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  1. Bencsizy on January 16, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    If you guys have the time and knowledge to teach these things (like handstand or even handwalk), that would give us more mobility and stability i guess. It would be nice to use our new muscles in a functional way. I think it would be cool if you guys would teach us everyday things from a more scientific perspective (moving things in the house, or gymnastics, etc).

    • Shane Duquette on January 16, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      Heya Bencsizy. It would probably be good to teach the mobility with dumbbells and warmup drills, then get to enjoy that mobility by doing cool things like overhead presses and handstands. You’re already a b2B member, so if you don’t have the shoulder mobility/stability already, you soon will (just from doing the basic program). But we can make extra sure because you’re interested in this stuff. Just mention it in the community and Marco can give you an evaluation with some action steps to improve 🙂

      Oh man, that idea for an article about how to do everyday things optimally is genius. We’ll do that for sure! 😀

  2. speed on January 17, 2017 at 10:59 am

    All of us came here ( the b2B site) for help w a specific area of our lives… to get fit. This is the niche that brought us together. It unifies a lot of different kinds of people.

    Everyone’s approach to “standing out” and attracting a “Significant Other” will be different. Artsy people will use artsy approaches, to attract those that resonate with said approach, funny guys will use humorous approaches, and it will attract those w whom it resonates with, rich guys will use their wealth, the list continues.

    The owners of b2B may not approach a potential “SO” the same way “you” naturally would, thus creating an internal conflict by trying to teach “you” how to utilize an approach that doesn’t work for “you” OR is focusing on attracting the kind of person that doesn’t resonate with your true strengths. You would end up paying for a program that teaches you an approach(es), that do not play to your specific character. And only work, to attract specific types of people. Which would frustrate the original intent.

    Not to discredit b2B, as they have demonstrated that they can branch out, w the success of BonyToBombShell. But it is still focused on the core niche. I feel that jumping into this area, with its scope being as extremely vast as it is, would take away form the progression of the original niche that brought us all together in the first place.

    Ultimately, it would work for some of us and that would be interesting to say the very least. But i doubt it would see the same amount of universal success, that the b2B programs have seen… and i personally, like the success rating b2B has.

    • Shane Duquette on January 17, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you for the comment, speed! You know the program well and you’re a longtime, loyal member. We weight your feedback heavily.

      We’re always all about helping skinny guys build muscle, and the core program will always be strictly focused on just that. (The Bony to Bombshell Program will as well.) And it’s good to be reminded that that’s the right choice 🙂

      I also totally agree with you that we’re a lot more than our bodies. We have our creativity, our style, our wit, our energy, our resources, more. I wasn’t trying to imply that the other sides of ourselves are worth less. They aren’t. These things are incredibly important, but like you say, we’re here to help guys improve their physical/physiological side. We do that mainly through building muscle, but along with that muscle comes fitness, health, athleticism, and mobility (and more energy and greater intelligence).

      That’s where calisthenics might come in. If someone has worked for a few months to develop rad shoulder size, mobility and strength with the main program, it’s not that difficult to learn a handstand. Might be fun. We won’t lose our way, though 🙂

  3. Simon A on January 18, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Sure, why not? I’m always up for learning new skills, especially when they help me be even more of a show off. There should be a section of the forum called Party Tricks for this purpose.

    Handstands are ok, but I’d really love to learn how to planche.

    P.s. I wonder if we should make a point of referring to “attracting women and/or other men” so as not to exclude our gay and bisexual beastly brothers. Assuming there are some.

    • Shane Duquette on January 18, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      Ahaha I love the idea of having a party tricks section. I can look into how to do a planche also 🙂

      I feel ya about our gay Beastly bros, but it’s not always as simple as just including an extra word. Sometimes the entire principle wouldn’t even apply, you know? Like with our article on aesthetics. You’d think you’d just be able to write that there’s an ideal male physique, but there isn’t. Men and women prefer different physiques. Men are cooler with bigger, more hyper-masculine physiques, whereas women prefer guys who are conspicuously healthy. A good example is how guys like Ryan Gosling are the kings of movies aimed at women, whereas guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger are the kings of movies aimed at men. We had to write 2 different sections in the article to describe those different preferences using entirely different research for each.

      With an article like this one, the truth is that I have no idea how different or similar this stuff is for people of other genders or sexual orientations.

  4. Danny on January 18, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    I certainly believe the old adage of KISS applies well here! You have something that works and works well, and you’re catering to a demographic of underweight, understrong males who need to add some size and strength to their lives.

    IF you wanted to branch off and do something like this, I think it would be wise to start a totally different program and package for it. However, given your (/our) respective and similar backgrounds, I think being really good at getting weak ectomorphs stronger and bigger because you understand what it’s taken to do so is a very specific and very good niche you’ve carved out for yourself. Stick to what you know and become an expert at it!

    • Shane Duquette on January 19, 2017 at 11:06 am

      Thank you, Danny!

      I think you’re right. The core b2B program is and always will be focused on helping skinny guys build muscle. That’s our mission, and we’re extremely focused on it. This calisthenics stuff would be a separate add-on or bonus, not a reshaping of the program.

  5. Jude on January 23, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    To answer the main questions: I’m always open to learning new things, which includes new calisthenics. But I do like what B2B offers in terms of variety, the mixture of different lifts and techniques. I wouldn’t want to just do calisthenics.

    Now for my personal thoughts. So, from what I gather about all this, it seems there are two main types of mind sets for people wanting to do B2B (or people wanting to gain weight in general): the “I want to be noticed” mind set and the “I want to feel better about myself” mind set. Now, you could argue that this is ripe for a Venn diagram and there’s plenty of overlap. But one is always going to far outweigh the other. Speaking from my own personal experience, the first time I ever tried to put on weight, I was of the first type of mind set, “I want to be noticed”. It didn’t work out too well, because I was constantly comparing myself to everyone else. I wasn’t paying attention to any type of gain because it was never good enough. With that frame of mind, I was having a hard time finding the motivation to continue.
    The second mind set is not the same as “accepting myself”. If you are on B2B, you already realize you’ve got much more potential and you are not going to accept your skinny self as the status quo. This is where my mind was when I started B2B. To me, these two mindsets can be simplified further: “external” or “internal”. Now, external not meaning your actually physical gains. I’m talking about the source of those gains, your motivation. For me, the internal motivation is always going to be a much stronger source than the external ones (i.e., wanting girls to notice you); everything else kind of falls in line on its own afterwards.
    Has anyone seen the movie “The Big Country,” staring Gregory Peck? It’s an older movie, my parents really like it, but I’ve grown to appreciate the main character. There’s a point where he has the opportunity to show off in front of his fiancé, but he doesn’t. Instead, he chooses to do this personal feat in private. Anyway, she ends up leaving him because he won’t prove himself in front of her. They have a conversation that goes like this:
    James McKay: There’s some things a man has to prove to himself alone… not to anyone else
    Patricia Terrill: Not even to the woman he loves?
    James McKay: Least of all her… if she loves him.

    I’ve kind of lived by that rule. I’m still single, and personally, I would want to be with someone who loves me for me, not because of how I look or what I can do with my body. But, that’s just me. It’s all in your frame of mind.

    • Shane Duquette on January 31, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      Great comment, Jude!

      I think your Venn diagram of motivations is totally right.

      I think it’s interesting to see how one mindset might be the father of the other, though. If, even as a skinny guy, you were the biggest and strongest of all your friends, would your internal motivation of not being satisfied with yourself have been the same as it was? After all, everyone would be referring to you as the strong, muscular one, and you would also be considered highly attractive because of it. Now imagine you have a strong guy, but he’s the weakest and thinnest person he knows. He’s strong objectively, but relative to his friends, he’s not. He’s teased because of how weak he is, and his attractiveness suffers as a result. Maybe the girl he liked started dating his friend instead of him. Would his internal motivation be changed by that? Even if these guys decide to change, is their internal mindset shaped by the external feedback they’re getting?

      What I mean is, is internal motivation often rooted in the external anyway?

      Hmm. That example from The Big Country (which I haven’t seen) is a super interesting interesting one. I totally agree with how badass and noble it sounds. And maybe as a single guy with no specific woman in mind, it makes sense. Your character > a stranger’s. I think it’s incredibly important to do the right thing no matter who knows. But if I knew that I would lose my girlfriend because I did something secretly instead of in front of her, I gotta say, I’d bite the bullet and do what it took to keep her. How badass I am in my own mind is nothing compared to how much I love her. But Patricia isn’t Mckay’s soulmate. He’s not willing to belittle himself in his own mind for someone with values he doesn’t respect anyway. But when the drama does concern his soulmate, Julie, his approach is the exact opposite… sort of. Saving the murderous rapist and then letting him regain control over the situation seems like a really bad idea. His trying to be merciful could easily have gotten Julie raped and killed by Buck had his dad not stepped in, no? For all he knew, Buck could have shot his dad, not the other way around. He got lucky.

      Isn’t there value in making your fiancée feel safe? In showing her that you’d do anything to save her, and that you’re capable of doing so? That you value her wellbeing even more than your own? It might be hard, or even ignoble, in the moment, but your sacrifice is giving her a lifetime of knowing that you will be there for her no matter what.

      Your comment is a really cool one. Lots of stuff to think about.

  6. Krsiak Daniel on January 23, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    “Athleticaly inept computer nerd.” … I need that as t-shirt 😀

    It would be awesome to see this as mini program like 3 months = 90 days with few specific goals in mind. I think it is short enough yet long enough time to learn someething new 😉

    • Shane Duquette on January 31, 2017 at 2:22 pm

      That format could work 🙂

  7. Dave Francis on January 28, 2017 at 8:51 am

    There’s so many ways this discussion could go. One thing that stands out to me, having been involved in online dating quite a bit over the previous couple of years, is to make sure the clothes you wear flatter your new physique. As a Brit living in the US it amazes me the fascination with over-sized clothing (this may not be everywhere, but certainly where I am based). Wearing well fitting clothes will allow your healthy looking physique to stand out in online profiles, whether something as basic as a t-shirt or a tailored shirt. I believe that wearing clothes that fit well give our skiny brethren a real advantage in displaying the benefits of our physical gains over meso or endomorphs.

    • Shane Duquette on January 31, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      That’s a really great point.

      The American cities I’ve been to (New York City, Austin and San Fran) seem to be full of people who dress pretty well, but speaking as a Canadian, we always refer to the Brits when we’re talking about people who know how to dress well / tailor their clothes. You guys are famous for that.

  8. Henry on February 9, 2017 at 6:32 am

    Like the articles. Found out there are some people have the similar mindset about the life or even ways to attract the opposite sex. No one is right or wrong, but if there is solution helping you to achieve your goal, why not? We need the lifestyle change in order to achieve the things we want, here is a platform for us to start some where excluding those b.s.

    It is nice if there is article about calisthenic movement, more variations of article will be great for us to gain extra knowledge too.

  9. Luis on February 11, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Hm… While I totally understand why the discussions here are somewhat narrowly focused on the physical aspects of things I would say that when it comes to picking up and keeping women, your mind and behaviour plays a much larger role than what you look like. Sure, looks might get you noticed but your lack of confidence and belief in your self will get you fired fast. How much you bench press or what tricks you can do matters diddly squat to a woman and if you can’t handle yourself in general around women, that’s where your real problem is. It’s fully possible to pick up girls being skinny or fat. Not saying you shouldn’t workout and try to look the best you can but if what your care about is women, you’ll get much further understanding and applying psycology and social behaviour than posting cool gymnastic videos on youtube. Just my two cents.

    • Shane Duquette on February 12, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      I totally agree, Luis. I don’t think that downplays the role of what we’re talking about in this article, but it’s important to remember that this article only speaks about one small thing.

  10. AP on February 17, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Would be interesting if you could write an article about MovNat in this context. As I understand, MovNat would increase functional, real-world strength, which is also what’s most attractive/useful.

    • Shane Duquette on February 17, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      Hey AP,

      That’s an interesting question, and it’s a perfect opportunity to further the discussion above. So maybe the best thing to do is talk a little more about that here, in this post.

      MovNat is a particular company. Let’s just generalize all movement training for the purpose of this discussion, as there are lots of different companies who are involved with that, and lots of different approaches to it. There are companies who focus on this new type of movement, and then gymnastics guys will have a different way, as will yoga guys, as will CrossFit guys. On the CrossFit note, you could probably include all the other contenders in the general physical preparedness (GPP) category here too, including big names like P90X. (For those interested, we find the Postural Restoration Institute to be the most evidence-based approach to improving movement, and work their principles into our training as needed.)

      Okay, first, various types of training, when done well enough, will have carryover benefits. You don’t need to train for general physical preparedness to get generalized benefits. For example, just gradually learning how to lift free weights through a full range of motion got rid of my chronic pain issues, and made me more-than-able to do all the things I needed to do in my daily life. That wasn’t my goal—I was just trying to get bigger and stronger—but by the time I got bigger, I sure appreciated all the side bonuses.

      Second, different types of training will be better at accomplishing specific goals. The emphasis of a movement program is on movement, so if they do a good job of it, then I suspect people would make better movement progress by following their system than ours. However, those kinds of programs aren’t usually very good for improving muscle size/strength. The same is true with our goal: helping skinny guys build a ton of attractive, functional muscle. If someone is being limited by their muscle size, muscle strength, or attractiveness, then an approach likes ours would be a better way to accomplish those goals. The same can be said for a strongman program. If you want to lift a stone like Atlas, a strongman program would be by far the best way to get there, even though it’s not ideal for movement or muscle size.

      Which approach would be the best for improving attractiveness/usefulness? It depends on what you find useful, or what your circumstances and limiting factors are. If you’re going to grab a beer with a girl you met on Tinder or OkCupid, movement is not going to help you as much as a muscle-building program. However, if you’re trying to meet a girl on a mountain hiking expedition, then muscle mass is not going to help you as much as movement training. Then there’s the limiting factors part. If you’re a skinny guy, muscle size is probably your limiting factor, and a muscle-building approach would open up more opportunity for functional strength, movement and attractiveness than movement-oriented training would, just like if you’re already a well-muscled dude, movement training would probably give you greater attractiveness results than building more muscle—the topic of discussion in the article above.


  11. Jonathan F.V. on February 11, 2019 at 11:43 pm

    One thing that I’ll say about this whole thing in general is… Skill is attractive. If you have a high amount of skill that you can demonstrate, it makes you more interesting, for sure. I think there are a few different valid approaches.

    -You could learn the basics at many different things so that you’re decent at most of everything. Be known as the guy who’s never bad at anything. It’s a good thing to be known for.

    -Really master something impressive, to the point where you’re nearly unrivalled. Depending the discipline, most people might have a hard time distinguishing between a master and an advanced practitioner. But you’ll definitively kick the ass of guys who only graze the topic.

    -An other good approach, the one I choose, is to be one of the best, but not the best, at two or three disciplines, and combine them together to bring in your own unique flavour and persona to the table. Incidentally, try to be decent at most things and apply yourself to do well at whatever you do. Seriously, apply yourself. It’s the key to not suck at most things. As per becoming one of the best at a few things… Yeah, it takes times. It’s probably overkill. But man, having drive and living by the strength of your conviction is attractive, too. It’s badass. And girls will be proud to tell people they know a badass dude who gives everything to improve his craft, looks good and has a solid head on his shoulders. The hard part then is simply gaining exposure. Because in order to attract girls, they need to be able to see what you have to offer.

    And also… Live an interesting life. Don’t hold back, and do what you feel like doing no matter what. It’s going to give you a solid life story, and it’s really useful to have a wealth of stories to tell to people. Also, surround yourself with interesting characters, because that, too, will give you a share wealth of good stories to tell people. If you live an interesting life, you’ll be interesting.

    As for the acrobatics skills added to a good physique… It does work well. I’m a circus performer and coach, and most of the times when I had gigs involving close proximity to the public, women would grope me. That’s not what I use my skill for (I use it to earn my living), but a lot of girls really like guys with good bodies and skills. Like that they’re not “just” jacked guys. They’re jacked guys who know how to use their body. My girlfriend absolutely loves it when she sees a guy who can move well.

    • Shane Duquette on February 18, 2019 at 6:15 pm

      I think you’re really onto something here. Being muscular not only shows health, it also shows that you’re good at doing things—that you’re persistent, consistent, ambitious, etc. Same thing with being skilled at a sport, or at chess, or at anything else. And that’s an interesting point about it also being true if you’re notably above average at a wide variety of different things. I dig it.

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