Men with different body shapes, levels of muscularity, and degrees of leanness. Illustrated by Shane Duquette.

How to Build an Attractive Physique

Most men want to have an attractive physique. Few know exactly what that means. When they guess the degree of muscularity women prefer, they’re off by thirty pounds (study). Many have a deeper misunderstanding, failing to connect their appearance to their fitness and strength. Some shun attractiveness, mistakenly thinking it’s superficial. Others are superficial on purpose, thinking it’s the best way to become attractive. That’s never as convincing as the real thing.

We’ll cover the attractiveness research. We’ve spoken to some of the study authors. We also went deeper, testing our hypotheses by conducting our own surveys. We collected thousands of responses for each: survey 1 and survey 2.

But be warned: this article is long. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, here’s a simple trick to improve your appearance: have a drink. It will boost your attractiveness (to yourself) by 50%. This is called “The Reverse Beer Goggles Effect,” also known as Beauty is in the Eye of the Beer Holder (study). It’s not a perfect solution, but it will save you twenty minutes of reading.

Illustration showing a bodybuilder flexing his arms.

Attractiveness Versus Aesthetics

The Most Attractive Male Body

Over the years, we’ve conducted a few attractiveness surveys. We surveyed men about women’s bodies and women about men’s bodies. In our first survey, we showed a thousand people various photo spreads, asking them to select the bodies they preferred. We asked the women if guys should exercise to improve their appearance. They said, “No.” They didn’t want to date a bodybuilder with a contrived physique. They found it more attractive when a guy was naturally fit and athletic.

Then we presented those same women with photos of bodies with their heads cropped off and asked them to pick the most attractive one. In the first photo array, they chose the body of the celebrity personal trainer Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser:

Which celebrity male physique is the most attractive to women? Bob Harper

They chose his body because they said he looked naturally fit. Of course, Harper isn’t naturally fit. He’s a professional personal trainer obsessed with exercise. He worked hard for that body. His physique is about as contrived as could be. Mind you, he isn’t overly muscle-bound. He looks more like a healthy everyday guy than a professional bodybuilder.

Next, we showed the women the bodies of various musicians. Again, we cropped the heads off. Most of the women didn’t recognize the bodies they were rating. Of all the musicians we showed them, they chose the body of Henry Rollins:

Which musician male physique is the most attractive to women?

Henry Rollins is a naturally skinny punk singer. He famously started lifting weights to bulk up. He worked hard to become strong and intentionally keeps himself in great shape. He’s known for saying, “Discipline is money in the bank. A real friend, true strength.” Again, women chose the body of someone who engages in deliberate, rigorous exercise.

We also showed them a photo array of actors with the heads cut off. Women chose the body of Brad Pitt in Fight Club:

Which actor male physique is the most attractive to women? Brad Pitt Fight Club Tyler Durden

Brad Pitt is a naturally thin guy. To bulk up for Fight Club, he started lifting weights. This is the physique that became legendary. This is the physique that women rated as the most attractive. It’s not the physique of someone “naturally” in good shape, but it’s not the physique of a diehard bodybuilder, either. This the body of someone with fairly average muscle-building genetics who spent a few months building muscle.

There’s a miscommunication here. Women say they prefer “naturally” fit guys, but in reality, they prefer guys who look like they lift weights. Remember, we showed women a wide range of physiques. Guys who were out of shape got 0–1% of the votes.

The Most Aesthetic Male Body

Women were honest when saying they didn’t find bodybuilders and fitness models attractive. If we look at the bodies women prefer, they aren’t incredibly musclebound or ridiculously lean. They look like fit, active guys who lift weights. Remember, Brad Pitt was a thin guy who only spent a few months building muscle for Fight Club. He wasn’t a dedicated bodybuilder.

Illustration showing the differences between a male body that's attractive to women versus a body that looks ideal to men.

We showed women various bodies, including those of famous fitness models, bodybuilders, and actors. Women disliked guys who looked like bodybuilders. Male aesthetics icons like Zyzz, Frank Zane, and even Ryan Reynolds were considered overly muscular and overly lean:

It's possible for your body to be too lean and too muscular to be considered attractive by women

I understand why Zyzz and Zane were rated as too muscular. They look like bodybuilders who abuse performance-enhancing drugs. It’s surprising to see Ryan Reynolds there, though. He’s the love interest in a lot of romantic comedies. He’s not significantly more muscular than the guys on the covers of modern romance novels:

The ideal male body as shown on romance novel covers.

That brings us to the next point. If you want to know what women are drawn to, look at what women are drawn to. Romance novel covers are a good example of that. We can also look at study comparing the bodies shown in men’s versus women’s magazines (study). Most women are attracted to physiques that are a little leaner and more muscular than average, like the guy you’d see on the cover of Cosmo. Most men consider that physique too small.

Men’s Health seems to be the best compromise. They showcase men who are strong enough to look cool to other men without being so musclebound that they repell women. Some researchers argue that these stronger physiques are what women gravitate towards in real life. After all, both guys look ripped with their shirts off, but the Men’s Health guy can fill out a shirt better than the Cosmo guy.

However, once you’ve got a “fit” physique, you’ll hit a point of diminishing returns. Gaining another twenty pounds of muscle won’t make you look significantly more attractive to women because it won’t make you look significantly healthier or more athletic. However, you’ll look better to yourself and other men.

The Ideal Male Body Weight (BMI)

Before we dive deep into an ocean of details, let’s start simple, with body weight. That way, you’ll know whether you need to gain or lose weight to achieve your goal.

One of the more important factors is simply being big and heavy enough. Crossley and colleagues found that women preferred men with a BMI of 24.5 (study). We can call this the most attractive body. Men thought guys looked best with a BMI of 25.9. We can call this the aesthetic physique.

Diagram showing the most attractive and aesthetic male body weights and BMIs.

If you want to know your own BMI, here’s a calculator:

BMI Aesthetics Calculator


Unit of measurement *


Thin. Consider bulking.
Fit, attractive, and healthy. Great job.
Strong and aesthetic. Awesome.
Overweight and bulky. Consider cutting.

For a man who’s 5’10, the ideal body weight works out to:

  • The most attractive weight: 171 pounds (BMI of 24.5)
  • The most aesthetic weight: 180 pounds (BMI of 25.9)

The catch is that you need to be lean and muscular at that weight, with a body-fat percentage of 9–18%. Not only does it look better, but maintaining a relatively lean body-fat percentage is incredibly for your health (study).

Also, remember that these are rough estimations. Someone with a thinner bone structure might look better at a slightly lower body weight, whereas someone with a naturally burlier build might look best at a higher weight. These aren’t hard rules. Use your own judgment.

Even though it’s far from perfect, this finding gives you a clear path to venture down. If your BMI is less than 23, you can start by bulking. If your BMI is over 27, perhaps better to start by cutting.

How Muscular Should You Get?

How Muscular Should A Man Be?

Our drive for muscularity is innate and cultural. It’s a chicken-and-egg scenario. We love to eat both chicken and eggs because we’re naturally drawn to muscle and because society rewards us for getting stronger.

Diagram showing male muscularity and how it affects our attractiveness and aesthetics.

Being muscular is universally attractive. The ideal amount of muscularity can vary depending on who you ask, but strength is never a weakness. We evolved in a primitive and violent world, at least by modern standards. Our muscles hint at our ability to dominate and protect others. That’s why our upper-body muscles are especially prized. They’re the muscles that swing clubs, hurl javelins, draw bow strings, and throw punches.

Consider how you think about the muscles in your shoulders, arms, and chest compared to how you think about the muscles in your legs. Most of us have a more visceral desire to bulk up our upper bodies than our lower bodies. When women see us, their eyes are drawn to similar places. Men with more muscular upper bodies are seen as being more formidable.

Even now, muscle speaks of a lifestyle of health and abundance. Getting in shape requires dedication, consistency, and self-control. Your physique hints at your ability to get what you want out of life. We want to go with people who are going places.

How Long Does it Take to Become Muscular?

The good news is you can start getting the benefits of being muscular quite quickly. Becoming a stage-ready bodybuilder is a long, arduous road. Getting into good shape is not. The first twenty pounds of muscle you gain will have the biggest impact on your appearance. And thanks to the phenomenon of “newbie gains,” those first twenty pounds aren’t too hard to come by. Most skinny guys can go from “thin” to “fit” within six months (source).

Before and after photo of a skinny guy bulking up and becoming muscular.
GK going from skinny to fit in 5 months.

As you gradually build muscle, you’ll inch closer to your genetic potential. You won’t just look like someone who exercises; you’ll look strong. This can take 2–3 years of hypertrophy training while eating a good bulking diet. And keep in mind that most people take breaks. If you only spend a third of each year bulking, it will take you three times as long.

Before and after photo of an intermediate guy building muscle
Johnny going from fit to strong in 5 months.

Once you’ve built a strong physique, the process slows again. But if you’ve already put in the work to get strong, you’re probably in the habit of lifting weights and exercising. It can be fun to keep improving, building a truly formidable physique.

Can Men Get Too Muscular?

As we evolved, women learned to favour stronger, more capable men. The most attractive guy was the one who looked like he could swing his club the hardest and hurl his javelin the furthest. These were guys with big shoulders, backs, arms, and chests.

But muscle isn’t free. There are tradeoffs. Beyond a certain point, additional muscularity starts to hurt more than it helps. Excessive testosterone makes us reckless and interferes with our heart health. Oversized muscles are less efficient. Our tendons and bones can only support so much mass. And so our bodies place strict limits on how muscular we can become.

Men with outlier genetics or who use performance-enhancing drugs can sometimes go beyond the “ideal” degree of muscularity. It stops looking attractive and starts looking strange. Whatever The Rock is doing, it isn’t normal. Men think it looks cool. He looks like a hero from a comic book. But it looks strange to most women. It isn’t what they dream of (study.

So, how muscular is too muscular? It’s hard to say for sure. Everyone is built differently. Our bones grow to different thicknesses, our frames span different breadths, and we all grow to different heights. Maybe you’re 5’6 and cap out at 170 pounds. Maybe you’re 6’2 and can bulk up to beefy 220. Either way, you’ll reach peak attractiveness before you get there. And as long as you stay natural, you won’t ever get to the point where you stop being attractive.

The Ideal Body-Fat Percentage

After muscularity, the most important factor is body fat (study). There have been periods in history when chubbier people were more attractive. It was a sign of affluence—of being able to afford an abundance of food. In modern times, most people in first-world countries struggle with overeating, not starvation. Now, we tend to consider leaner bodies more attractive, on average.

Illustration showing the ideal male body-fat percentage

The average person’s propensity to overeat is both genetic and environmental. Evolution didn’t prepare them for such an extreme abundance of junk food. Our situation is somewhat different. Most naturally thin guys have little trouble maintaining a healthy and attractive body-fat percentage. That’s even true of most skinny-fat guys once they learn how to get in shape.

Diagram showing the most attractive and aesthetic male body-fat percentages.

Anywhere in the 9–15% range seems ideal for attractiveness. If you’re more muscular, you may be able to handle even more heft, looking great at closer to 20% body fat. The trick is to look fit, athletic, or strong, not out of shape.

Before and after photo showing the results of a skinny guy bulking up with the Bony to Beastly Program as an older man.

How Body Fat & Muscle Affects Your Face

Getting into better shape can change the appearance of your face by a surprising amount. At high body-fat percentages, your jawline will grow rounder, your neck will smoothen out, and you’ll lose definition in your face. At the other extreme, your neck will shrink, your cheeks will hollow out, and your face will look gaunt. Bodybuilders call it the “death face.”

How Fat and Muscle Changes the Appearance of Your Face

If you eat a good diet that’s rich in protein, your body will hold onto more muscle, and so you may notice that your face becomes slightly more muscular. Some guys also clench their jaws when lifting weights, stimulating muscle growth. The best way to intentionally build bigger jaw muscles is probably with mastic gum.

There’s another interesting factor, too. Exercising and eating a good diet makes our skin appear more youthful. It also gives us higher levels of oxygenated blood, improving our skin tone and making our faces appear more attractive (study).

The best way to improve your facial appearance, then, is to:

  • Stay within a body-fat percentage range of roughly 9–20%. This varies from person to person, but your face will probably look its best somewhere within that range. Fortunately, this range also tends to be ideal for our general health.
  • Build a strong neck. The muscles in our necks are like the rest of our muscles. If you want to make them bigger, you must make them stronger. For more, we’ve got an article on neck training.
  • Engage in regular exercise, including both hypertrophy training and cardio.
  • Eat a balanced diet rich in protein, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and all the other good stuff.

Building A More Masculine Physique

More masculine men tend to be bigger, leaner, and more muscular, with broader shoulders and narrower hips. But women can also tell how masculine we are from our body language, stride, voice, and scent (study, study, study).

Illustration comparing masculine and feminine body shapes.

Testosterone affects our personalities, too, influencing our ambition, aggression, and confidence. And the variance in testosterone levels is huge. Some guys walk around with 4-5 times as much testosterone pumping through them as others.

You’ll notice that being masculine doesn’t make men want to cut their hair short, prefer blue to pink, or avoid high heels. In the 1920s, pink was the masculine colour. Back in medieval times, military men wore high heels. And in the Hyborian Age, the most masculine men had long, flowing locks of hair. These cultural norms shift with the times.

  • Younger women seem to prefer thinner, more androgynous, less threatening men. Think of Harry Styles and K-Pop stars. This will make it easier for you to intimidate your daughter’s boyfriend.
  • More feminine women are drawn to more masculine men. Conversely, more masculine women are often drawn to more feminine men.
  • Women who are more confident in their attractiveness prefer more masculine men.

Interestingly, men in long-term relationships have slightly lower testosterone levels. It’s unclear whether settling down causes our testosterone to drop or if lower testosterone makes us want to settle down (study). And with all of these studies, it pays to have a certain amount of skepticism, at least until they’ve been reproduced a number of times. Many studies show that being reasonably strong and healthfully lean improves our appearance. This masculinity stuff is more speculative.

  • Lift weights, exercise, eat a good diet, and get enough sleep.
  • Be the sort of man you think you should be.

How Posture Affects Your Appearance

Some research shows that having a more dominant, open, and “expansive” posture can make men appear more attractive (study). Guys who stand confidently are rated more attractive than guys who slouch with their shoulders caving forward. That finding is fairly intuitive, but it’s more about body language. There’s barely any research on whether improving your natural posture can make you more attractive.

Furthermore, it’s debatable how much our posture affects health and performance, especially if you’re able to move well and aren’t in pain. For instance, many deskworkers develop forward-tilted hips (anterior pelvic tilt). That’s often considered bad posture. However, many Olympic sprinters develop that same hip tilt. On them, it’s considered athletic.

Ideal Male Posture for Aesthetics

Mind you, most people want to stand tall, with wide shoulders and flat stomachs. Weak muscles have trouble holding our bodies in that position. The good news is that getting stronger and fitter seems to improve posture quite dramatically.

To strengthen your posture, do exercises like goblet squats, front squats, push-ups, deadlifts, overhead presses, and loaded carries. These exercises strengthen your hips, abs, obliques, spinal erectors, upper backs, and the dozens of other postural muscles that hold you upright.

It may be that being active can improve your posture as well. For example, if you go on long walks, your body will learn to move more efficiently, holding itself upright.

The Ideal Male Proportions

Now we’re moving into the finer details. If you’re strong overall, it doesn’t matter if you have the ideal shoulder breadth or biceps girth. Similarly, if you’re lean overall, it doesn’t matter how big your waist is. So before you worry too much about the proportions of your muscles, it’s usually wiser to focus on getting stronger and/or leaner. That’s what matters the most.

The Ideal Shoulder-to-Waist Ratio

You may have heard that the ideal male shoulder-to-waist ratio is 1.618-to-1. This ratio frequently occurs in nature and is often called the Golden Ratio or the Adonis Index. But women don’t actually care about it, and focusing on it too directly can interfere with your progress.

Diagram showing how to measure the ideal shoulder-to-waist ratio for men.

Women tend to prefer men with broader shoulders (study, study, study). Broad shoulders look good because they hint at upper-body strength. Strong men have more muscle packed around their shoulder girdles: big deltoids, chests, upper backs, and necks. So the best way to improve your appearance is to build more muscle—especially in your upper body (study, study).

Survey image comparing men with broader shoulders to men with more muscular chests to see which body women preferred.

To test this idea, I drew two men, one with bigger shoulders and the other with a larger chest. When I surveyed 400 women, twice as many preferred the guy with the larger chest, even though his shoulders weren’t as broad. Quite a few studies have looked at chest-to-waist ratio instead of shoulder-to-waist ratio (study). Their findings line up with mine.

There’s nothing wrong with building broader shoulders. Just don’t do it at the expense of your other muscles. The coveted V-taper physique has broad shoulders tapering into a strong chest and upper back, which then tapers down into a small waist. If you focus on just your shoulders, you’ll develop a T-taper.

Bony to Beastly Ectomorph Hardgainer Transformation—How to build broad shoulders

Build a physique that’s muscular overall. Focus on getting stronger at the big compound lifts. Lifts like the front squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, chin-up, and barbell row. Add some biceps curls, triceps extensions, and lateral raises to bulk up your arms. Your muscles will grow bigger and your shoulders will grow broader.

The caveat here is that some guys have naturally broader shoulders. This makes it easier for them to appear strong, masculine, and lean. But we have no control over how long our collarbones are. All we can control is how lean and muscular we are.

Ideal Body-Part Measurements

Going further down the list of priorities, we can look at the ideal proportions for each muscle group. As mentioned above, these ratios are best to worry about later (if ever). This isn’t me being dismissive. Obviously, I care deeply about building muscle. I want to help you build the body you want. I’m just trying to be clear about what actually matters.

According to Dr. Casey Butts’ research, the first step is to measure (or estimate) the size of your waist. Ideally, you’d take your waist measurements at a body-fat percentage of roughly 9–15%. Using that waist measurement, you can then calculate the rest of your ideal proportions:

  • Ideal waist circumference: you at 8–15% body fat. Measured at the narrowest point.
  • Ideal hip circumference: waist circumference × 1.25. Measured at the largest point.
  • Ideal thigh circumference: waist circumference × 0.75. Measured at the midway point between your knee and hip socket.
  • Ideal shoulder circumference: waist circumference × 1.618. Measured with your muscles relaxed at the largest point.
  • Ideal bicep circumference: waist circumference × 0.5. Measured with your arms flexed at a 90-degree angle at the largest point.
  • Ideal neck circumference: same as biceps. Measured at the narrowest point.
  • Ideal forearm circumference: biceps circumference × 0.8. Measured with your fist clenched, arm held out straight, at the thickest point.

For example, here are the ideal proportions for a man who has a 30-inch waist at 12% body fat:

  • Waist: 30 inches
  • Hips: 37.5 inches
  • Thighs: 22.5 inches
  • Shoulders: 48.5 inches
  • Biceps: 15 inches.

These proportions loosely align with statues of Ancient Greek warriors and modern romance novel cover models. The good news is that naturally skinny guys are often able to achieve these proportions, and often within a couple of years.


Research shows that, on average, women are most attracted to men who look fit, athletic, lean, and strong. Where men go wrong is assuming women prefer guys who look like bodybuilders. That’s not the case.

Diagram showing the differences between the most attractive and the most aesthetic male bodies.

Most women prefer men who look “naturally” lean and strong. Think of a guy with a healthy body weight (BMI of 23–26) who lifts weights and has a flat stomach with some furtive upper abs (9–18% body fat). That’s realistic for us. That degree of muscularity is well within our genetic potential. That degree of leanness is healthy and sustainable. For many of us, an attractive physique is something we can build within a few months and happily maintain into our sixties.

Ideal Male Body—Thanos' Bony to Beastly Ectomorph Transformation

Alright, that’s it for now. If you want more, we have a free muscle-building newsletter. If you want a full bulking program, including a 5-month workout routine, diet guide, recipe book, and online coaching, check out our Bony to Beastly Bulking Program. Or, if you want an intermediate bulking routine, check out our Outlift Intermediate Bulking Program.

Shane Duquette is the founder of Outlift, Bony to Beastly, and Bony to Bombshell, each with millions of readers. He's a Certified Conditioning Coach (CCC), has gained seventy pounds, and has over a decade of experience helping more than ten thousand naturally thin people build muscle. He also has a degree in fine arts, but those are inversely correlated with muscle growth.

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  1. Joram Oudenaarde on November 8, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Great article! Some of these things are unconsiously obvious, but laying them out like that really makes it clear what parts we need to focus on… both in workout and in personality, since building a good physique will result in a change in personality as well I think.

    What I found most interesting is that while building a better physique and feeling better about yourself as a result, women tend to fall for that increase in confidence almost more than the increased muscle tone that we’ve been working so hard for. I actually have a collegue who never worked out a day in his life (and it shows), but his confidence levels are through the roof by default. The guy has women literally calling him on a weekly basis (even when he’s at work).

    Aside from the female attention, I think in the end a proper workout/physique makes a huge difference for self confidence and mental health 🙂

    Anyway, “bookmarked”! 🙂

    • Shane Duquette on November 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it man.

      I have a friend like that too. Great guy with an irresistible personality. Recently he’s become really active, and his confidence and energy levels seem to have just gone through the roof. I find it cool how these things all build on one another.

      I think you hit the nail on the head. Personality matters a whole hell of a lot … and a strong healthy lifestyle is a great way to develop and showcase it.

      • ggjournal on March 13, 2015 at 3:45 am

        With all due respect, I think you guys missed the point of this great article. They’re not saying that confidence or a “great personality” will impress women; they’re saying that fitness/handsome features will. Please re-read the first part, which very specifically says that women are hardwired to react positively to these things — it’s in their DNA. The problem with believing that an attractive “personality” will get you attention is that it convinces guys (my old self included) that women have some kind of noble desire for a guy’s great personality. Trust me (and the writer), they do NOT. They’re just like you — looking for the hottest guy they can find, either fit or handsome or both. Period. If you start believing their nonsense about confidence and a sense of humor and “a good heart” being on top of their Desire List, you’re deluding yourself. The answer is simple: 1) Be handsome, 2) be fit, or 3) be rich. And if you’re really awesome, be all three! But being homely and having a great personality will get you absolutely nowhere. I know; I’m fit now, and everything has changed. I’m as shy and un-confident as I was before — I just let my body do the talking, and high-value girls respond immediately. Stop giving them so much credit!

        • critic on February 13, 2016 at 11:15 pm

          It’s funny how you claim “I’m as shy and un-confident as I was before” right after claiming “But being homely and having a great personality will get you absolutely nowhere”.

        • Shane Duquette on February 16, 2016 at 4:11 pm

          Ahaha gg, I am the author of this article. I assure you that I haven’t misread it. Research, especially new research, is finding that people are attracted to people with traits that they value—oftentimes traits that they themselves possess. Women who are fit and into fitness will go weak at the knees over guys who are very fit. So if you consider a “high value” woman to be one that is very fit and beautiful, then yes, it will help tremendously to be very fit and physically attractive.

          To attract the best woman overall though, I would recommend being the best that you can be overall. If you want a woman who is beautiful, fit, smart, kind, successful, etc… then you will do best if you are also handsome, strong, smart, kind, successful, etc.

          Yes, you can find the odd example of an unsuccessful, beautiful woman who isn’t the brightest winding up with a smart, successful man who isn’t the handsomest… but this is very rare! More often than not you get the Angelina Jolie’s marrying the Brad Pitts, i.e., the beautiful and successful woman who is into acting marrying the handsome and successful man who is into acting. Or you would get the unremarkable but super smart and successful Mark Zuckerberg marrying Priscilla Chan, who is unremarkable looking but very smart and successful—also both Harvard grads. Jay Cutler, who won the Mr. Olympia title many times, is married to a professional female bodybuilder. This is the new way that attraction tends to work nowadays.

          So being fit, strong and healthy is important if you want to attract a fit, strong and healthy woman. Optimizing your aesthetics is important if you want to attract an extremely beautiful woman. But no, this is not everything. Far from it.

    • AW on July 27, 2015 at 6:14 pm

      Very informative and a great article overall — I just wish you had one for the ladies!

    • Knuckles on April 25, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      Is that really hard to do, have multiple women calling you? Question is : Are these quality women?

    • on June 12, 2020 at 1:51 pm

      Hey Shane thanks for getting back with me on my question that was really helpful. But I need to clarify something. Lane Goodwin never even stated his weight in his article. I was only basing 200lb lean on the fact in his definition of muscular which he defines as jacked in his article would be about 200lb on what you define as jacked. But I would agree with you Shane he doesn’t look jacked in his picture he looks more like strong athletic as you said. Another thing is the picture of Brad Pitt in fight club is a little misleading he was much more built then that when he took his shirt of in the movie close up. But this is what people are overlooking I think is the visablity factor. In one of Lane articles titled benefits of strength training part 1. He asked the question do huge muscles turn women off, or do they repel women. He then states no ,that the bigger your muscles become the more women you will attract. He later talks about how Bodybuilding attracts women and their success attracting women. He also list a story of a jacked guy about 220lbs titled anonymous Bosch about his successful attraction with women. And then clams that his experiences confirm what anonymous bosch wrote. So why then do so many jacked guys attract women as the get bigger?. Visablity ,because their muscles are more visible to women in public and more noticeable to women, more women will see them so more women will draw near to them. Think of it this way. The very strong woman in your bombshell article has bigger glutes, bigger legs and a bigger chest. She not as attrative as the strong girl, but because more men can see her figure. She is more visible to the public, and more men notice her and finely more men will draw near to her. But in a. photo line up where visablity is not a factor the strong girl wins every time. The same thing I believe it is with jacked guys. But it doesn’t make any sense. Quota stated in a uncla study that the toned guy was picked as the most attractive even over the built, guy and jacked guy. Interesting through also stated that solids amount of muscle having the 1.62 ratio shoulder to waist was the idea portions to have. They also did several other studies and conducted similar results. This also conflicted the evolutionary psychology studies. The one that where women picked the men that looks the strongest. So who do you believe one guy says jacked, another built, another toned. I am just going to comment finely on what you said in the bony to beastly article . Been handsome is all about having the right muscle portions and symmetry in your body. If their is a more powerful weapon of attraction for women, It is the man’s face. Mens heath stated in one of their articles in which women choose the, eyes, the smile, and face as the most attractive features of a men. This accounted for about 73% of the votes. So the face even surpasses the attraction of muscles, so all we have to do is get the right proportions, and look and get strong as you pointed out in your article. It’s a no brainer I think. The best thing I guess I can do is put as much muscle on as possible naturally, and reach my genetic potential then maintain it. You can find Lane article under the category section. Tell me what you think Shane.

      • Shane Duquette on June 18, 2020 at 9:24 am

        Hm. The visibility thing is interesting. But wouldn’t that apply equally well to overweight people? I’m not sure that holds.

        I think it’s more likely that the man who looks the strongest in a group of guys will tend to look the most formidable, and there’s a strong link between formidability and attractiveness. It’s not that he’s more visible, it’s just that he’s the strongest. That’s my guess, anyhow.

        But, yeah, I think building muscle naturally is a no-brainer way to improve our appearance 🙂

        • on June 20, 2020 at 1:39 pm

          Thanks for your last comment. That was interesting and informative. I have been getting a lot out of your free bulking course. It’s very interesting and informative thanks! I have recently switched from split workout routines to a full-body workout routine. It’s so much better. I feel so much better and healthier! I don’t have the pain and soreness. People in the gym think beating the crap out of your muscles is the best way to build size including personal trainers, and they love the pump, that’s why I think they’re not popular with guys. But as you pointed out Shane, full-body routines are much better for building size and for aesthetic goals. But I do have some questions.

          What is the best rep tempo, speed for building size? Is it about 2 to 3 sec per rep?

          What are the best exercises for building muscle size?

          Last, what would you recommend guys and women do for cardio fitness health that will not interfere with their muscles building goals? And how many minutes a week should we do?

          • Shane Duquette on June 22, 2020 at 9:55 am

            My pleasure, man! If you’re only training 3 days per week, yeah, full-body routines tend to work best. Splits can work well, too, though if you’re training 4–6 days per week. There are a few different approaches that can be effective 🙂

            For tempo, as a general rule of thumb, try to accelerate the weight through the range of motion when lifting it. That way you’re engaging your muscles fully throughout. Then lower it down under control, resisting the weight instead of dropping it. How long will that take per rep? It depends on how heavy the weight is. When a weight is heavy for us, we aren’t able to move it as quickly, and it will be harder to control as we lower it. But most of the time, it might take a second to lift the weight, 1–2 seconds to lower it.

            Here are the best compound lifts for building muscle size:

            You can click through the to articles on each lift to see the assistance and accessory lifts that go well with them.

            And here’s how to combine cardio with hypertrophy training:

  2. jaytee on November 8, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Really well done. A very concise and direct packaging of pertinent info about my primary motivation for strength training. It certainly makes me wish I had known these fundamental things about weight-lifting all those years ago when I began hitting the gym. The split routine I’d been doing for the past 5-6ish years has molded my body into that imbalanced “mirror” physique. The disappointment about all that lost time gives rise to a little concern – neurotic, maybe – that I’ve irreparably damaged my capabilities of building a well-rounded physique because I’ve spent my most prime years (19-24) doing the wrong routine. I have absolutely no educated basis for this concern, and so I figure I’d throw it out there for Shane and anyone else in the know. In all your research, have you come across anything that might shed light on this concern, e.g. the effects of extended training with a certain routine, and/or prime age to build a physique? I’m still so ignorant about the science behind weight-training…

    • Shane Duquette on November 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm

      Haha I probably would have wound up in the same situation, except I never succeeded at building muscle in my early days of training 😉

      I think your previous training will be an asset, if anything. You’ve already built up great habits (hitting the gym consistently) and even if your training wasn’t ideal, I’m sure it still had a very positive affect on your health and appearance.

      Besides, having beastly mirror muscles is by no means the end of the world! It means you don’t need to worry about your arms—just work at maintaining them while building up muscle elsewhere.

      I’m at that point with my chest, where I’m working now to build up my squat and deadlift while just maintaining my chest strength as I go. When I hit my goal of benching 1.5x my bodyweight I celebrated! I think that’s the same attitude you should have with the muscle groups you’ve already done a good job of building up. Now you can sink your teeth into your squat and deadlift, building up a sweet posterior chain and functional strength as you go.

      I’ll do more research into how activities/training during a prime age can affect muscle-building, but I haven’t come across anything to that effect yet. Sounds like an interesting topic though, so I’ll do some digging.

  3. Jared on November 9, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Awesome article Shane, lots of wicked studies and insights in here. I learned a ton.

    This is great news for all the skinny, lanky guys out there – you’re really not that far off from having the body that’ll get you a wife 😉

    Seriously great resource, I know I’ll still be referring back to this one a year or two from now.

    • Shane Duquette on November 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      Haha thanks for indulging all of my “Man!—you’ll never believe what I just read about the relationship between testosterone and _____” moments on the way to the gym.

  4. Daniel on November 14, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Another great in depth write up Shane I enjoyed that, i took a module at uni that covered some of the issues with male and female body perception in the media; you nailed it. It’s funny though when talking about the big bodybuilder type of guys, I’ve got friends who insist they’re tiny 230lbs plus; and they’re seen as ‘less’ attractive to women. That’s crazy! I personally think that’s too far, I’d be happy with a physique like yours, each to their own though I guess.

    • Shane Duquette on November 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      Thanks Daniel—glad you liked it.

      Definitely crazy. I suppose it all has to do with your goals, your social circle and what media you’re exposed to, right? A millionaire might feel poor if all his friends are billionaires, just like a 230 pounder might feel small if he’s used to looking at 330 pounders in muscle mags. Little does he know that all the 120 pound girls think he’s gone too far.

      I bet he still does just fine though. There are probably more girls out there with a peculiar preference for extremely muscular guys than there are extremely muscular guys. Demand may still exceed supply!

      I was pretty pleased with the results though. Looks like for the most part a physique that embodies health comes out on top. Here, at least, mainstream media seems to be encouraging people to live better.

  5. Mike2k9 on November 28, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Awesome article fella’s (Mike2k9 here from the forums) I haven’t been around on the forums at all, that’s because I pretty much nailed everything down that works for me.

    I’m not posting any progress pics ‘cus I really wanna be able to show off the big difference next year before around the summer season ( the gains are there for sure 😉 ).

    But enough about that, back on topic.

    Excellent read, I really enjoyed reading it and it’s pieces like this that make me wanna come back to B2B if only for the ‘brotherly’ touch that’s embedded in almost every article.
    We are all doing this for ourselves, true, but it’s always great to know that many of us are in this together.

    I’m past the point where I need motivational speeches to get me out and excersising, it’s part of my life already and I’m enjoying it a ton, especially since the gains are becomming very noticable.

    All the info wrapped up in this article is just another great tool to put in the toolbelt, and I salute your efforts and willingness to share all that information with us. I’ve been working out for almost a year now, and although I found my own routine and know what works best for me, different angles and observations from others always remind me that I’m not done learning when it comes to ways to improve my health.

    Shane, Jared and Marco, keep up the good work guys.


    • Shane Duquette on November 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm

      Ah that’s awesome man! Glad to hear about the success you’re having. And thank you for the kind words.

      Definitely show us those progress shots when you take them!

      P.s. Stay tuned for some sweet updates and new content coming in the new year for our members. We’ve been working hard behind the scenes. I’ll email it to ya when it’s ready 🙂

  6. SSHomme on November 30, 2012 at 12:05 am

    Just thought I’d share this with you guys also


  7. SSHomme on November 30, 2012 at 12:10 am

    I dont entirely agree with the article itself but I like how it proposes that slim men with healthy face better in the eyes of women. As well as the antibody correlation too 🙂

    The Bony to Beastly will give us the best of both worlds! Macho feature and a healthier face and antibodies because of the good nutrition and exercises 😀

    • Shane Duquette on December 1, 2012 at 7:34 pm

      Ah really fascinating article! Thanks for sharing this—I love this stuff.

      It seems to agree with most of the points we made, where the healthier you appear the hotter you are … but it also points out that there’s little correlation between masculinity and attractiveness?

      Not only does that last part contradict a lot of studies I came across, but their own photo seems to prove the opposite. The rad-health composite image I would describe as being quite masculine, as he appears both lean and muscular. Very chiselled face.

      I think the disagreement is mainly semantics, i.e., we’re using different words to describe the same ideal body.

      Muahaha Bony to Beastly-style living for the win!

    • Shane Duquette on December 1, 2012 at 7:34 pm

      Also holy crap do those composites ever result in weird looking hairdos! (And that’s coming from me!)

  8. Jesse on December 4, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    I hope you meant cold measurements unflexed and relaxed for the biceps and the thighs because I’ve reached those measurements flexed in a little under 3 years. If you didn’t mean it cold, do you know what cold measurements you meant? It’s a big letdown to know I can only workout to maintain for the rest of my life if I want to have the most desirable physique to women, though

    • Shane Duquette on December 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm

      I would imagine it would be the size that you would see, i.e., if you only have those measurements after pumping up then you would only have the absolutely ideal size right after pumping up.

      It’s really really common for people to hit their ideal size and then want to keep going. By the time I hit three years of consistent training I may be struggling with the same issue … I do quite enjoy constantly striving to improve. I definitely get where you’re coming from.

      I quite enjoy training for relative strength though, so at that time I’ll probably have an even better time working towards deadlifting 2.5 times my weight at 190 or so pounds.

      Perhaps, with aesthetics mastered, you work at training towards a different goal?

    • Shane Duquette on December 4, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      Oh and congrats on achieving the ideal physique in just 3 years! That’s really damn awesome! You’ve done what most men only dream of 🙂

  9. Jesse on December 4, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    I see. I meant with a bicep flex, kind of like flexing for the ladies when they want to feel that bicep haha. I didn’t mean swollen after finishing a workout, that would just be too hard to track. Legs are also tricky because depending on where you measure and how you flex, you can make the measurement 1-2 inches bigger than relaxed. If you meant with a flex, looks like I have just under 2 years to reach the physique at a height of 5’10 and 15% bf. Not many people know that building broad shoulders is pretty hard and pretty impressive also because that guy is BIG, not cartoonish, but pretty damn huge next to even seasoned lifters. If you meant completely relaxed, like measured while your arms at your sides, not even a bicep pose without flexing(hence the name cold), then I now have 2 inches to grow, which will take probably 4 years to reach. Also, do you think I would have the same most desirable physique if I had these measurements at 5’10? Or since I’m 2″ shorter than 6′, I should probably err on 51″ if the limit is 51″ for shoulders? Btw thank you, it must be amazing to know you have the most desirable physique now, and all you train in the gym for is to get strong, not just in the gym but be able to carry more than the average man and overall perform better than anyone else in any given sport or task.

    • Shane Duquette on December 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm

      Haha I mean in a natural state—cold.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about exact measurements unless you’re into fitness modelling or bodybuilding. Women seem to generally just look for cues that tell them that you’re a strong and healthy guy.

      The proportion and height thing is a really good question, and the answer is pretty interesting. Our next article has to do with bone structure, body type and proportions, and I think you’ll really like it!

      One cool theory is that people don’t scale proportionally. Generally tall people are taller because they have longer limbs … so a 5’6 guy and a 6’2 guy may have the same size head, same size wrists, and same size rib cage, just very different limb lengths. I’m in the midst of all this so I’m still looking into it.

      For your shoulders though it’s simple. Cut down to a body fat percentage that you love and are happy maintaining (presumably indefinitely) and then build your shoulders up to 1.618 the size of your waist in that lean state. Your waist may grow a bit, which is fine, but it won’t grow at nearly the pace that your shoulders will.

      I’m not trying to get you all obsessed with aesthetics though. If you want to train for strength and performance starting now then go for it.

  10. Jesse on December 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Geez. That means I have a lot of work to do. Can’t wait for the next article then. Aesthetics is all I’m obsessed with haha. But past reaching that physique, I also see it’s very important to have ability behind that physique.

  11. Brheanna on December 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    I actually find heavily muscled men to be repulsive. Strange as it may seem, I prefer the moderate or even skinny guy.

    I do love looking at muscled men, though. But don’t get me wrong. I’m an artist, and I love muscled men. On paper. They’re fun to draw, but other than that…

    • Shane Duquette on December 11, 2012 at 12:03 pm

      I know what you mean about them being the most fun to draw. I used to be a tiny 130 pound short haired dude, but would draw up these muscular tattooed long haired guys. Fast forward a couple years and …

      Thanks for the comment Brheanna 🙂

      • Brheanna on December 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm

        They’re fun to draw. But again, I don’t find them attractive. Even to the point your website promotes I don’t find even that attractive. The reason why it’s fun to draw is because there’s line shapes. That’s really the only reason why. But the same could be said about women. The reason why they’re fun to draw is because of the many shapes.

        I think the whole muscled power dream for guys is rather ridiculous. But I also realize that I am probably a minority who thinks this as it seems every time I turn around the ideal that most women go after is something that I would rather avoid. Or that I think the ideals of the majority are silly. In the end, I’m just an odd person who doesn’t take first sight into account and generally avoid eye contact. First conversations maybe. There’s really no value to me if a potential mate is muscled when I differentiate what looks appealing and what is practically appealing. Of course, changing your appearance to be healthy is good, but I am highly against saying that a certain body shape is standard in order to be at your best.

  12. Breonna on December 11, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I think looking athletic & toned is extremely different from looking like a gym-rat and having excessive muscles. The whole “massive” look is quickly dying in our society. Girl’s don’t want their man, or man-to-be, to give off the vibe that he eats, breathes, and lives GYM (or steroids). The fitness industry is still slowly struggling to catch on to this change BUT at the same time, men who are MASSIVELY BULKY know women don’t find it attractive and would still rather satisfy their craving to live that type of lifestyle.

    I could be saying this about women as well. It goes both ways. It’s a lifestyle choice and personal preference…and by saying you like skinny or huge guys, that’s just your taste and that’s fine too (I’m not knocking you!) but I think it’s fair to say that if you’re an athletic women who takes care of her body, eats well, and exercises regularly, you’re naturally attractive to men who do the same. If you look at Hollywood’s sex symbols (like Brad Pitt, Ryan Gossling, Eva Longoria, etc) they aren’t these giant hulk-like men and women. They are fit and have athletic bodies but when you see them, you don’t automatically think “gym-rat” or “bodybuilder”, you think “damn, nice body”…and that’s ideal.

    As an athletic woman, I find myself most attracted to men who look healthy. When we first meet someone (or stare at someone creepily from across the room), our first impression is purely physical, from clothes to body type. Trust me boys, we can tell what’s under those clothes.

    I feel like I just went on a little tangent…point is, the ideal babeshow body type is athletic, not bulky or overly skinny. It’s also not natural for people to be consuming so many artificial enhancers. On either end of the spectrum, health issues have proven to be more prevalent than someone that’s more balanced (I called it: damn right sexy).

    Don’t confuse muscle and athleticism with JUICEHEADS & HULKS! 🙂 Huge difference (literally) 😉

    • Shane Duquette on December 11, 2012 at 11:54 am

      “men who are MASSIVELY BULKY know women don’t find it attractive and would still rather satisfy their craving to live that type of lifestyle.”

      That’s a really cool point. I remember hearing an interview with Mr. world’s biggest biceps and he was saying that guys would push girls out of the way to approach him at bars and ask him how he got them … meanwhile girls weren’t attracted to it at all. Even knowing that, he still wanted to have the biggest biceps in the world. Not like your goals need to be centered around women.

      With that said, who doesn’t want the “ideal babeshow body” haha.

    • Andre on December 29, 2012 at 6:31 pm

      Breonna that’s a good perspective about physical attractiveness for men. A lot of guys fail to realize that the utility of man comes not just from power, but also skills. Think about the gait of a naturally dominant, proportionate, athletic male. The confidence in the step sends different signals than that of a bodybuilder with lat syndrome.

      With regard to general athleticism here’s my standards:

      1. 15+ full ROM pull ups
      2. Squat 1.5x bodyweight
      3. Deadlift 2x bodyweight
      4. 20+ bodyweight dips full ROM (preferably on rings or suspended)
      5. Uphill sprinting ability
      6. Loaded carries for distance
      7. Sled pushing / pulling
      8. High jumps / 1 leg jumps
      9. Turkish Get Up 100lbs+ up and down
      10. Various locomotion, soft tissue quality, mobility/flexibility and skeletal alignment, safe movement patterns.

      Of course most women I meet don’t ask me about these things… mostly I just receive a ton of compliments about my legs and bum.

      • Shane Duquette on December 29, 2012 at 8:08 pm

        Hehe I thought “nice bum” was the short way of saying all that – at least that’s what I’ve been interpreting it as 😉

  13. Alvin on December 27, 2012 at 8:14 am

    wow this is a fantastic article. Really long! But I found myself reading through every single word of it.

    I already know about the part regarding how muscular girls actually want guys to be, but it’s Interesting to know about the biceps thing and guys.

    No wonder I notice guys talking about biceps and looking at other guy’s arms much more than girls, who care more about shoulders relatively.

  14. Daniel on January 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    What an excellent post man, here you have a new fan from Costa Rica, keep lifting bro!

    • Shane Duquette on January 15, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      Right back at ya Costa Rican brother! Hope it helps.

  15. Danny on January 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Great article! I love every piece of it. Three years ago, I was around 140lbs (5’11) and decided that I needed to change and bulk up.

    I bought Whey protein, mass gainers, and other supplements to try and aid me to my goal of 175lbs. as I hit the gym.

    I was able to get up to 160lbs and looked a whole lot better. I couldn’t seem to gain any more weight after this point but I’m happier now than I was before.

    Everyone around you starts noticing that you are gaining weight/muscle and compliments you which also in turn gives you tons of confidence.

    It’s terrible when we (ectomorphs) are sick as we tend to drop a significant amount of weight if we stay ill for a while.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to say that was a very well-written article.

    • Shane Duquette on January 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm

      Thanks Danny, glad you liked it! Congrats on gaining 20 pounds! It’s common to hit a plateau there, as that’s about where the “newbie gains” cut out and it often takes a more diligent and intelligent approach. After that it’s not harder, necessarily, just not as simple.

      It’s too bad that building confidence so often needs to start with other people (external validation), but hey getting compliments rocks, and I’m glad you’ve managed to use them to build up your self esteem – that’s rad 🙂

      Keep up the good work man! And if you ever want to push through that plateau it’s definitely possible – my before and afters are all from after I gained my first 20. It’s definitely doable – you aren’t up against any sort of genetic limitation or anything!

  16. rob on March 7, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Absolutely excellent article. 11/10!

  17. Nick on March 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Really good read I’m about to poke around this site more, so I’m the tall thin guy with bad posture including my hunching over and forward rolled shoulders that give me a bad back from time to time… Also canadian
    So what type of goals should I set for somone who is 6foot 6?

    • Shane Duquette on March 26, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      We’ve got a few really really tall guys. I think gaining 20 pounds of (fairly) lean mass is a good goal for anyone to start with … although at a slim 6’6 you may be looking to crush that goal twice over. The first 20 should come pretty easily, and then the fun begins!

      It’s amazing seeing a big tall beastly guy standing next to people (which often happens in day-to-day life, but rarely in before and after shots). That’s when their size really becomes impressive.

      Did I understand your question correctly?

  18. N on March 31, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    I feel like this is just another article written to fill guys’ heads with nonsense about what women “really” like, building off the myth that women are like rubik’s cubes and that a man can only be attractive with a dominant image and personality.

    Guys- you come in many beautiful shapes and sizes.

    • Shane Duquette on April 5, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      Guys (and girls) do come in many great shapes and sizes. I couldn’t agree with you more, and I think that’s a really important thing to say and emphasize. Confidence and happiness should be completely independent of appearance.

      I spent a long time coming to terms with the fact that my body was not one that I wanted. It was awkward, clumsy, unathletic, pretty bad at everyday things (like moving furniture), I was reliant on energy drinks to boost my energy levels … and the guy I saw in the mirror isn’t the guy I wished I was. I wanted to look in the mirror and see accomplishment, not two more things on the to-do list (eating well and exercising). Plus I didn’t even know if my genetics would ALLOW for me to become strong and athletic – I’d been gangly and awkward for as long as I could remember.

      During that time I was dating. It’s not like it made it impossible to date. Nowadays though I can say I enjoy it a lot more. I’m more in tune with my body, more energetic, more relaxed and more confident. Whether or not women like me more almost doesn’t matter. Dating and relationships are much better now even if their preferences had nothing to do with anything.

      That doesn’t mean that women aren’t drawn to guys who are healthy and strong (and look healthy and strong) though, and it doesn’t mean that becoming healthier and stronger won’t change your confidence or success with women. It’s not the be all and end all, but definitely a factor. Even just from a hormonal standpoint, improving your health will generally result in feeling better and more confident. Is a happier, prouder and more confident guy more attractive? Usually. Can you be that way without being strong and healthy? Yep. It’s just a bit harder. Plus, I wouldn’t say being active and eating well is anything insidious or worth avoiding … so why not? 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your comment N – I do think it’s always good for all of us, especially us skinny weightlifters, to remember not to let our self esteem get negatively caught up in this stuff.

  19. Drew on May 20, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Hello, thin person here. i found your website a week ago, and I’m very impressed with everything you have on here. I’m going to be buying your program this week, but I first have to ask you; are the muscle building recipes included in your program a vital part of the equation?

    I ask because my current living situation involves me living on a campus where the only food is in the cafeteria, and is pretty nasty tasting stuff.

    Will I still get the same results as you guys as long as I’m still getting the carbs, fats, and proteins?

    It’s okay if I’ll rake slightly longer to get results, I just want to find out beforehand.

    • Shane Duquette on May 21, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      Hey Drew, that will depend on the quality of the food you’re eating! I would imagine you would do just fine though, as if you have access relatively nutritious food that contains more or less the right macronutrients that’s all you need!

      The fact that it’s pre-prepared and accessible should, if anything, give you an advantage!

      Glad you’ve decided to join us man! Pumped to see what you can do with the program 🙂

      See you on the other side,

  20. dubv on May 22, 2013 at 2:12 am

    The second person narrative style is totally off putting, for reasons that should be obvious.

    • Shane Duquette on May 24, 2013 at 1:43 pm

      Hey Dubv, thanks for the feedback.

      We’re a self-help site, so speaking directly to our readers and what they can do for themselves has always made sense to me.

      First person seems a little egotistical (people aren’t here to read about me) and third person seems a little disconnected (they aren’t here to read about people in general, either).

      What would you have preferred?


  21. Vivek on May 28, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Great article Shane, for someone like me who is on the obese side of the weighing scale, this an eye opener. You bring to light may things that stay unspoken. Guess i know what i should do to improve my life. Regards from India.

    • Shane Duquette on June 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      Hey Vivek, your fitness is just one component of your life, of course, so don’t let it weigh you down (bad pun?). The health/mood/hormonal downsides of being obese are real though, so if you can take charge of it there really is an opportunity to life a larger life 🙂

      As ectomorphs we often think the naturally chubby (endomorph) guys have it easy. Eating less can seem so easy to someone who does it naturally, whereas eating a whole lot can seem like the most insurmountable obstacle out there. It’s funny how different people can see these things so differently.

      Good luck man, I hope you keep following our blog! We’ll be posting plenty, and not just things tailored absolutely specifically to ectomorphs.

  22. Jean-Francois on June 9, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Great article Shane!

    I stumbled into Bony to beasty while searching on how an ectomorph targeting to build a lean and muscular body should approach training and nutrition. Most of the thing I read so far was just not making sense to me. How on Earth could I possibly eat so much meat? My stomach would never be able to do it! I read most of the blog posts so far and I dig all the information I found there. I’m going to put aside some money so I can become a member. I have one question though. What kind of equipment is needed for following the training program? I’m wondering if I can manage to buy the equipment and do the training at home instead of hitting the gym. I’m 33 with 3 kids and it’s kind of challenging to fit the local gym opening hours with my family life schedule.

    • Shane Duquette on June 13, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      Hey Jean-Francois, not only do you not need to eat massive amounts of meat … you don’t need to eat meat AT ALL. We’ve got lots of vegetarian ectomorphs who do a great job of building muscle, and even a couple vegan ectomorphs who do a great job. Meat is completely optional when it comes to building muscle. It is a great source of protein though, and eating an omnivorous diet certainly makes things simpler!

      Yeah, you can definitely do it at home. We’ve got a fairly good split of members. Some prefer the gym, some prefer to build a home gym. You WOULD need equipment though. A bench, some adjustable dumbbells and a barbell is a good place to start. Later on you may want to get a chin-up bar and/or even a squat rack (and they often have chin up bars built in). With a bench, a rack (aka power cage, squat rage, power rack, etc), a barbell and some weight plates you can become an absolute beast of a dude in your basement/garage. And, like I said, you don’t need to get it all that once, you can work up to it. (That way it’s more similar to paying a monthly fee at a gym, and not a huge lump of money all at once.)

      Does that help?

      We’d love to have you man, so I hope you decide to join us! We can help you work out the ins and outs of a nutrition plan that works for you / pick out some equipment too, when the time comes 🙂

      • Jean-Francois on July 6, 2013 at 9:19 am

        Thanks for the info Shane! I am preparing a community event that will happen in two months. Once I’m done with it, I will figure out if I go for the home gym or subscription. I should join your program around September.

        Have a nice day!

        • Shane Duquette on July 9, 2013 at 8:21 pm

          That’s awesome man, we’ll see you on the other side! 🙂

  23. Jay on June 18, 2013 at 3:28 am

    All women are different…… My girlfriend likes that I have narrow shoulders. Also, I hope your not trying to say that women think physique and masculinity is more important than morals, personality, and intelligence?

    • Shane Duquette on June 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      Quite the opposite! I’m sorry if I implied that somewhere—we’re all very concerned with being good people and trying to inspire others to be the best they can be as well. Being fit and healthy doesn’t in any way mean that you shouldn’t have good morals, a great personal and be as intelligent and educated as you can be. (I’m hesitant to put intelligence there, as IQ is fairly genetic and therefore hardly something to judge someone on. Interestingly, exercising and eating well is one promising way to increase your intelligence. Jared’s in the midst of writing an article on how all this stuff affects our brains—more on that soon.)

      Luckily becoming healthy and strong offers a great opportunity to become MORE moral, intelligent and vibrant. They’re all positively correlated.

      If those three things are what you value most then it sounds like your girlfriend is a lucky gal 🙂

    • Shane Duquette on June 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      And yeah absolutely, all these studies are dealing with trends and tendencies. There are obviously exceptions to all of them—these are just what the studies found to be the most common.

      As a guy with rather long hair this is good news, as studies also show that most women prefer men with much shorter hair. Were it not for exceptions to the rule I may have found myself in need of a haircut! 😉

  24. Joshua on June 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    I am doing a lot of “effective” training in the gym, Now my posture has gone bad because I (without checking for the consequences) trained my chest insanely for the summer. now my shoulders are too much to the front and not in one line with my back.
    I’ve trained my shoulders and back now for 2 months with almost no result in getting it fixed!

    I am interested in the posture building! you guys “sell” a piece of the program? I hope you do because I won’t buy the whole thing!

    • Shane Duquette on July 3, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      Hey Joshua, first of all props on building up a fearsome chest! It’s unbalanced … but at least you’ve shown yourself that you’re able to successfully build muscle mass. That’s definitely worthy of a solid congratulations 🙂

      Your problem is a really really common one. Even guys who don’t hit the gym often wind up with it, since desk work involves spending so much time with your shoulders rounded inwards and internally rotated. Add to that that when you DO hit the gym it’s your chest muscles that we’re often the most pumped to build (we can see our pecs after all + the bench press is a devilishly fun lift) … and most guys wind up with your exact problem.

      We don’t sell our program in pieces currently, although perhaps down the line we can make a little specialized posture program. That’s actually a pretty cool idea.

      Let’s see what we can do for you now though. What lifts are you doing to correct the problem? Are you still managing to get the scale consistently moving up?

  25. cas on July 2, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I work out but couldn’t care less about micromanaging my physique down to some golden ratios, being in certain weight range and how women will perceive it as there are more important things in your life to think about. You only need ONE woman in your life to feel happy and as long as you take care of yourself, you will find your better half. If your goal is to attract as many women as possible, then having a stereotypical cosmo guys physique might matter provided that your character is up to standard too but striving for perfect ratios, body fat percentages just to get women doesn’t feel right and manly at all. Work out and get stronger for yourself because it is fun and keeps you healthy. You will good, never mind perfect aesthetics, doesn’t matter for women – they are not perfect either.

    • Shane Duquette on July 3, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      I agree! Plus, women prefer men who enjoy being strong and fit too, not the ones who are doing it so that they look pretty. That’s one reason I think strength / athletics training causes guys to look better in women’s eyes than less functional / aesthetics oriented training – it just subconsciously LOOKS natural, athletic and healthy, not overly contrived. Kind of ironic that it’s often the guys who care about aesthetics less that wind up looking better.

      Your approach sounds like a good one 🙂

      Perhaps I’m a bit naive or disconnected for other guys, but I think most guys are looking for one AMAZING woman. I know that’s the case with Jared (who’s married), Marco and I, anyway. Being the absolute best you can be on all fronts I’d say is the best way to get/keep an amazing woman and then live the best life you can with her (and then any children that may or may not follow along). You’re right — being the best you can be applies to fitness, sure, but also every other aspect of your life, from ambition to smarts to integrity, honesty, liveliness, etc. I think being strong, fit, confident and healthy is a great tool to accomplish all of that, but you’re completely right — if that’s ALL you’ve got going for you you’re missing the point of it all!

      Thanks for the comment man. Good luck finding your better half 🙂

  26. yogami on July 9, 2013 at 5:23 am

    Hey man,
    There are very few resources on the web that actually details so much about male aesthetics and I think yours is probably the best so far I have ever read and you are spot on! I am a natural ectomorph myself everywhere except my belly. I have the dreadful east indian genetics predisposing my midsection to hold most of the fat. Here is my dilemma right now. My arms are just a little bit over 15 inches, my calves are 13 inches, forearms 12 inches, shoulders 48 inches, chest 42 inches and thighs 22 inches. Within the next year I should be able to attain perfect proportions everywhere EXCEPT my belly. MY midsection is 34 inches measured in the morning time and it expands by an inch through the course of the day. My dilemma is that if I cut I would lose some of the gains I made elsewhere. If I keep doing what I am doing (eating clean) I will just keep adding more to my belly (undesirable) in addition to overall musculature. I seem to have no choice other than getting a liposuction to balance my proportions as I have got everything in order except my belly. What would you do if you were me?

    • Shane Duquette on July 9, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      Hey Yogami thanks for the kind words!

      The whole idea of this article is that it seems that health and strength are attractive. This is good news, as health and strength are pretty wholesome things to pursue.

      You’d be missing out on that by resorting to liposuction because you’d just be disguising a symptom, not treating the underlying issue.

      There’s no reason to think that by cutting you’d lose your gains. Most guys are able to burn fat without losing much muscle at all! Many guys are even able to build small amounts of muscle and strength at the same time.

      If you continue to eat well and train smart there’s no reason that you need to be getting chubbier, either. Most guys are able to build muscle (especially if they do it slowly and steadily) while staying lean. Some are even able to lose fat while doing it!

      Genetics certainly play a role, but hormones are also largely impacted by your diet and exercise. Perhaps there’s room for improvement as far as your nutrition plan / exercise plan goes!

      For a lot of guys who store fat easily more exercise is the way to go. They respond better to plans with more of it, whether that’s HIIT on rest days or adding in sports, etc.

      If you REALLY have a hard time with all of this and despite doing everything right you seem to be gaining weight you may want to ask your doc. You may be insulin resistant or some such. Not the end of the world, and it can be managed, but it’s best to know and follow the advice of your doctor in that case (as well as exercising like a beast, of course).

      Does that make sense / help?

      Don’t be discouraged man. It’s very very rare that a guy DOESN’T run into issues like this. In most cases the solution is elusive … but simpler than you think 🙂

      My best,

  27. Robert on July 11, 2013 at 8:09 pm


    Absolutely brilliant article, I spent about 40 minutes reading it and was worth every minute.

    I’m now 22 and have been training for 3 years, and my main motivations came from having an extremely skinny frame, a lack of confidence and a lack of interest in the female department!

    I have been able to put on a significant amount of muscle mass while my fast metabolism has given me a very cut, aesthetic look which I will continue to work on for years to come, as lifting weights has become such a passion.

    My only problem though is that I fear I will eventually reach a point where I plateau endlessly, as with my metabolism I find it hard to put on weight (which in turn I intend to turn into additional muscle mass).

    Needless to say I will keep at it and your article, to my pleasure, reaffirmed my assumptions about what bodybuilding can do for a man, so Thank you.


    • Shane Duquette on July 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      Our fast metabolisms and our perma-cut-ness is pretty sweet indeed! And you raise a really interesting question.

      Everyone, ectomorph or not, will reach a point where they plateau endlessly. Even pro-bodybuilders with exceptions genetics and a boatload of pharmaceuticals reach a point where they can no longer grow. That’s why you don’t see 500 pound dudes at 5% body fat … ever.

      The good news is that your potential is probably far greater than you think! There are a lot of debates out there about exactly how lean and muscular you can get before hitting your genetic threshold … and it’s actually quite large, even for us.

      You’ll probably be able to bulk to upwards of 200 pounds at a very low body fat percentage. I know Marco lives at 210 or so and always has fearsomely impressive abs.

      The difficult part for us is the amount of food that building muscle requires us to eat. At 200 pounds you may realize you want to ease back on the calories and relax into maintenance.

      As for your strength, there’s a lot of progress that can be made RELATIVE to your weight, so if weightlifting is your passion there are always tons of goals left to pursue even when you hit your goal weight! You may decide to go after, say, a 2 or 3x bodyweight deadlift.

      Congrats on your progress and happy lifting!

      p.s. Never doubt your potential or you’ll never reach it!

  28. Robert on July 11, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Sorry that should have read
    ‘a lack of interest FROM the female department’ !! Not that I have anything against those who ‘bat for the other side’


    • Shane Duquette on July 26, 2013 at 5:54 pm


  29. Manfred on July 16, 2013 at 10:06 am

    This article is the most valuable information I have had in my hands in a long time. I have already used this info to my advantage, making a huge difference on me. Actually I will just buy your program as a way to say thank you for having the brains and wit to search all this out and putting it in an objective manner.

    • Shane Duquette on July 26, 2013 at 6:03 pm


      Glad we can help man, and hope to speak with you on the other side! Pumped to see what you can do 🙂

  30. fizay on July 30, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    I’m also very impressed at the rounded balance of your writing here and in general, Shane.

    I’m a new B2B member myself, and am in my first week of training. This time last week I stumbled across your blog after Googling “weightlifting for ectomorphs”, and after 20 minutes on your website, my body said, “Yup, this is what we need and this is what we want.”

    The depth of your generalist approach speaks directly to my body beyond mere ego image.

    For me, it less to do with how i look to others. It’s more about reaching my body’s latent potential for wholeness and balance through physical strength and health. At the same time, self-image is real too — and I dig how you naturally weave all the facets of experience together in your ongoing treatment of this subject.

    Behind those shaggy lock and the 6 string, I detect a bit of the scholar as well.


    • Shane Duquette on August 1, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      Hey Fizay, glad to see you posting here too!

      Never hurts to get a little public cred 😉
      Thank you.

      I read an interesting study the other day while doing more research on aesthetics (this time for women).

      The quote said that men are actually incredibly good at spotting healthy women. We’ve evolved to become absolute masters at spotting all the signs that a women is in peak physical condition: posture, weight, hormonal balance, etc—right down to skin tone.

      In that sense … figuring out how to look good for men (naturally—obviously I’m not talking about make-up or surgery or anything) is actually an extremely effective way of becoming incredible healthy.

      Of course there are problems there, especially since a lot of mainstream female literature displays women marketed at women (very very thin, frail), not women marketed at men (average weight, very fit) … not to mention that it can lead to being overly concerned with appearances.

      I say this because it sounds like you’ve found the absolute ideal. You aren’t overly concerned with your image … but you’re striving to look wickedly healthy too. Done with a mature and healthy attitude that can be a great tool.

      Can’t wait to see what you can do with the program man!


      p.s. get your before photos up!!

      • fizay on August 2, 2013 at 5:09 pm

        Man, I just have to say how blown out of the water I am by what you guys are doing here. After rounding out my first week, I feel incredible. I literally have more energy than I know what to do with — but not in a bad way…in a really, really good way, like solid reserves of energy waiting to be unleashed. In one damn week my body is saying, “Yeeeahhh, now we’re talking! This is how I was made to feel brah, thanks for figuring it out!”

        Hats off to you guys, seriously. Oh — and my bad: looks like you’re wielding a bass of an axe, not a 6-string.

        (My before photos are waiting and ready…but after observing my skinny-fat factor in all its glory, I gotta wait till I get my first gains up. I may not be concerned with my image, but I’ve got my dignity! Lol…)


        • Shane Duquette on August 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm

          Ah that’s awesome man! Keep it up!
          That’s exactly how you should feel when training, so make sure to hold onto that feeling and stay in that sweet spot 😀

          (Haha I’m a better – albeit still shoddy –guitar player than a bass player … but I just think that bass looks and feels so good! It’s big heavy and solid. Feels substantial.)

  31. Carl on August 2, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Interesting article, I enjoyed reading your analysis on all of the proportions and measurements. I’ve never been a big fan of waist circumference measurements when it comes to bodybuilding and proportions however. If you have very long and full muscle bellies in your lats (like me) you’ll notice your waist circumference increases over time even without gaining any fat or abdominal hypertrophy. As the biggest muscles on the upper body, and a wide array of high leverage heavy exercises they’re very easy to hypertrophy.

    Anyway, I definitely agree with your assertions about structural integrity and balanced musculature. A couple of years ago before I was training with the same volume that I am now, I used to blow off things like rear delt isolation. But luckily I’ve managed to fix all of the problems with my routine and now I’m looking and feeling bigger and better than ever. Ironically switching to a more bodybuilding type of routine with more emphasis on volume, individual muscle emphasis, form and “mind-muscle connection” was the best thing for me,

    • Shane Duquette on August 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      Ah that’s awesome! That long-latted look is badass. Big lats are usually heavier up top anyway, so the bigger and longer the bellies the more of a V you tend to wind up having even if they widen your waist at the same time.

      Plus that’s not really anything to worry about anyway. Being strong and healthy will take care of all that stuff naturally.

      That’s awesome man, really glad to hear your training is going well! Sounds like you’ve got a solid handle on it and you’re doing great 🙂

  32. Mark on August 4, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Hey I want to jump on this, but is there a payment plan I could do?

    • Shane Duquette on August 4, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      We can probably set something up! Let me shoot you an email.

  33. mittmitt on August 5, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    An excellent list of how health, working out and mating all come together. My boyfriend I have been together for 2 years or so. He is a skinny boy, it used to not bother me because he treats me well and has a compatible personality. I just can’t help though in my decreased attraction in him. We are still young but he already has signs of health problems like back pain, vulnerable joints. As a woman, I find it natural to want a physically reliable man. He let himself go even more lately. I tend to correct his terrible posture and motivated him to go to gym together. Still results are slow, I feel I’m controlling him by reminding him what is healthy and what is not. He is losing me, honestly because I feel like I should not be the one telling him these basic things. It creates imbalance and I hate that. I have an urge to send him this link but I assume it will make things worse. It is not just about looks, it is being healthy and confident. Which woman would not desire that in a mate? I do not want a body builder all I seek is someone reliable and despite what others tell me it is not superficial to look for that in a mate. Thank you for the article!!

    • Shane Duquette on August 6, 2013 at 10:10 pm

      It’s very hard to be enthusiastic about overcoming shortcomings because, well, that involves spending a lot of time dwelling on those shortcomings.

      That isn’t fun at all. Especially if you’ve failed at overcoming them in the past.

      I’ve been the guy in the relationship where my athletic girlfriend, with the best of intentions, encouraged me to improve my health. All it did was remind me that I was too skinny. It made me want to avoid thinking about my too-skinny body even more.

      Then I started dating this tiny intellectual girl from Guatemala. I was still super skinny … but she somehow thought I was big and strong anyway. (Or perhaps did a very good job of pretending.) She was 5′ tall, so maybe my height alone made me seem rather large.

      That’s when I felt most motivated to change. As soon as my identity started to be one of the guy that COULD be strong, and who was ALREADY receiving praise for it … well eating better and lifting weights became a blast. It wasn’t a shortcoming anymore, so it wasn’t so painful to think about.

      Ironically, she soon started telling me that I was getting TOO strong and that I should stop before I got too big … and I somehow found that motivating as well. :S

      There are lots of different theories about the best way to encourage someone to change. I think you’re probably right—sending him this link might not be the best thing right now.

      Maybe wait for him to express some interest in gaining weight, and then recommend ways to tackle it?

      Don’t give up on him! I know what it’s like to be the guy who just isn’t ready quite yet. And then one day I was.

      Be patient and positive 🙂

      (And cook him very very large meals whenever you can!)

      • mittmitt on August 6, 2013 at 10:24 pm

        Thanks Shane, it’s interesting to hear from the other side of it. We like cooking together so I will amp up the portions even more!

  34. Maria on August 21, 2013 at 4:49 am

    The problem with a true ectomorph is proportion. Men who have good proportions looks great when they are fit (in the body fat sense), regardless of weight. The beauty is in the structure. not in the muscle, Most “ectomorphs” are not really ectomorphs, they have great proportions, they just don’t have the muscle. They can look great if they start working with weights. A true ectomorph on the other hand, will never look great, because one cannot change length of bones.

    Your ideal numbers are about 5kg off if we take into account the female-adored hollywood type, and I’m not even discussing ectomorphs. They are impossible for them. Even someone like Hugh Jackman is thin by your numbers, although most female will say he is very built. The numbers are quite precise if attractiveness to gay males is the objective. They like more muscle. But again, they are impossible for true ectomorphs.

    • Shane Duquette on August 23, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      Hey Maria,

      Hugh Jackman is apparently 6’2-6’3 or so and his normal weight is supposedly around 190-195. That puts him in the most attractive “strong” category, which looks about right, too. More impressively, he’s got a 400 pound deadlift (twice bodyweight) at the same weight and height as me, which is prrrretty badass. I’m just a couple pounds away from that myself (3×375). He’s got me beat!

      I’d say most guys would say he’s pretty built too! (Unless perhaps you ask a bodybuilder.)

      As for true ectomorphs never looking good, I can’t disagree with you more wholeheartedly! You are right – you can’t change bone structure, and some once-thin guys, like Brad Pitt, are actually pretty broadly built when it comes to bone structure. Even though he’s naturally thin he was always pretty wide across.

      So let’s look at two female-adored Hollywood types with very very narrow shoulders and bone structures – true ectomorphs: Christian Bale and Ryan Gosling.

      If you take a look at those guys you’ll see they’ve got small wrists, long limbs, and very narrow shoulders.

      Both bulked up and looked totally rad though – think Batman and Crazy, Stupid Love.

      (I never looked into what gay men find attractive, so I can’t comment there.)

      My best,

      • Orkle on December 13, 2014 at 9:55 am

        Great website Shane; you are an excellent writer with a clear and concise writing style.

        I just wanted to say I googled Jackman and I reckon if he is 6’3″ he is easily 210lbs.

        I am 6’3″ 183lbs myself and still very scrawny. I would easily need to gain 25lbs to look like Jackman at his most jacked.

        Of course, two people can have the same height weight and body fat and look very different, but still…

        Nice deadlift stats – we are pretty similar, though I’ve only been lifting 4 months.

        • Shane Duquette on December 17, 2014 at 6:35 pm

          Thanks for the kind words, Orkle 🙂

          Hugh Jackman? If he’s 6’3 my guess would be a lot lighter than that. He looks more like 185 or so to me, given how lean he is (at least when filming Wolverine and whatnot). He isn’t so much huge as he is super duper lean, and I think that’s likely part of why his physique is so popular… except among bodybuilders, who find him little.

          Congrats on having done in a couple months what took me a couple of years! That’s awesome, dude 😀

          Keep up the great work!

    • Shane Duquette on August 23, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      (Yes, some people are naturally proportioned better than others – no argument there – but hey, what can you do! And lots of adored Hollywood types have become sex icons despite not being gifted with totally rad bone structures.)

  35. Rahul on August 29, 2013 at 5:02 am

    Loved it, man! Great work. and I am not even an ectomorph, more of a meso/endo but regardless, this is a really good post- bookmarked it 🙂

    • Shane Duquette on September 23, 2013 at 4:48 pm

      Really glad you liked it man, thank you for the kind words! 🙂

  36. Jeff on September 23, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Very good article, I read it with great interest. There are things I disagree with. But overall great work.
    BTW Steve Reeves NEVER took steroids. We can assume all we want in order to dismiss his success and make us feel better but from his own mouth he has said many times he never did. As a matter of fact steroids are the reason he distanced himself from BBing.
    BUT this is a great page and I would suggest anyone interested in proper proportion read it.

    • Shane Duquette on September 23, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      You’re right. Whether he used steroids or not is speculation. That was the norm back then among bodybuilders (as was saying you didn’t take them) so I’m not sure we can say for sure either way! He claims he didn’t, some of his colleagues went on the record saying he did. Who really knows!

      I fixed that part – thank you for pointing that out! 🙂

  37. Mr. J on September 24, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Spectacular article. Stellar website. The program look just as amazing, I just can’t justify the $200 right now.
    I know bulking would solving a lot of my problems with anxiety and confidence, but my wife has different goals from me as she wants to lose where I want to gain. I was wondering what kind of help you could possibly give so we may coordinate our efforts and accomplish this life changing goals together.
    I have devoured so many posts and I will continue to devour the rest gratefully. All of this information is awesome.

    Mr. J

    • Shane Duquette on September 25, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      Hey J, no worries – we’re going to continue putting out cool free content. Glad you’re enjoying it 🙂

      Be sure to sign up to our newsletter!

      As for balancing goals with your wife, that’s actually a pretty common thing in our community! (Not to mention Jared’s wife, Michelle, trains with us.) We’ve also had a lot of women asking us to make a muscle-building program for them … so we are:

      It’s very new and still in testing, but there’ll be tons more information up there soon.

      It’s very much a muscle-building program – weight GAIN focused … but a lot of our coolest transformations so far are from women who lost weight while building up muscle and strength. They come out fit, strong, slender and packing a booty rather then simply skinnier.

      Obviously your efforts would be different in the kitchen. You’d be eating a lot more food than her and only a small part of your diet would be protein (about 20%, which would be around 1g protein / pound bodyweight / day). She’d be eating much less food and a very large part of it would be protein (around 33-50%, which would be around 1g protein / pound bodyweight). You’d often be full. She’d often be hungry.

      Your training would be similar but not identical. Women can handle a little more volume, they respond better to training their glutes (butts) way way more often, and their hips are often far more mobile. Your back would be longer, stronger and wider and you’d be able to load your upper body more. Then there’s the whole fact that she probably wants to be slender in places that you want to be jacked and vis versa. So, while there’d be some real differences, you’d still be able to train together and everything.

      Does that help at all?

      I wish Bony to Bombshell was further along and there were some articles I could point you towards. All this cool stuff for women that we’ve been working on is still behind the scenes.

  38. Paul on October 30, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Great article, I always wondered why my chest never got bigger, I was neglecting my leg exercises (as a sprinter I’m sad to say). And also just noticed my disproportionate shoulders (I favor my right). But i was wondering, how does a body built by Crossfit exercises correlate? Is it more of a strong or fit body type?

    • Shane Duquette on October 30, 2013 at 10:15 pm

      Thanks man, glad you liked it 🙂

      A body built by Crossfit could be anything. If you look at the Crossfit Games competitors they’re mostly pretty damn strong looking dudes in a fairly proportionate, fit, functional and sturdy way.

      That’s obviously not a fair representation of MOST people who train using Crossfit, but rather the successful outliers. I suspect you see all sorts of body types and results in a Crossfit box.

      I suspect the majority of fitness programs for men are designed to produce strong and lean looking dudes.

      I think which ones work best at accomplishing that depends on a lot of factors. What works for a naturally chubby guy is very different from what works for a naturally skinny dude.

      Crossfit isn’t something that’s designed for thin guys. I suspect it’s something designed for extremely athletic, adventurous, experienced and sturdy dudes who have a high risk tolerance.

      I know a few really cool guys who do (or have tried) Crossfit and that tends to describe them pretty well.

      (The nutrition side of it, Paleo, isn’t really designed for thin dudes either, but more so for overweight and/or naturally muscular guys who don’t have a particularly high tolerance or desire for carbs.)

      If you’re going into as an ectomorph my guess is that you’d come out of it thinner, fatigued and perhaps with a sore back.

      … but that’s just me guessing. Everyone responds to it differently.

  39. isaac on October 31, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    I was wondering if you have a payment plan.

    • Shane Duquette on November 1, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Yeah man – I’ll shoot you an email 🙂

  40. ergun on November 3, 2013 at 8:26 pm


    First of all, I love the way you do your design works!

    I am following you and your blogs since you started your works, I really thank you for convincing us, you made a great work for all of us.

    I thought to buy your -pdf- several times but the fact that it is so expensive (with all my respect to you and your works).

    I am pretty sure that you deserve more with your works but There are too many people in my region who can live with 400$ for a month.

    Do you have payment plan for this stuff? Can you send me information about that please?

    Thanks again for all the things you do.

    • Shane Duquette on November 5, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Ergun!

      For sure – I’ll shoot you an email with payment plan details 🙂

  41. Tim on November 5, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Hi Shane.

    I really love reading this article. I just want to ask, whats the best way to build a aesthetic muscular jawline. I’m a rocker with long hair like yours who plays guitar and I have thin jaw. Any tips? Thanks!

    • Shane Duquette on November 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      That’s a really cool question.

      Luckily, the best answer is also the simplest one: build muscle everywhere and you probably won’t need to worry about it.

      We see guys gain a lot of weight in our program all the time … and their jawline usual changes fairly reliably along with their bodies.

      Mine got a lot nicer, Jared’s got WAY nicer. I often find myself saying “dude check out how your face changed!” on the forums. (If you prowl around this blog you’ll see lots of examples of that.)

      There are probably a few reasons for the that:

      => Eating at a calorie surplus will build muscle everywhere. Most of it will be in the areas you stimulate, but you’ll likely see gains everywhere.

      => Eating a diet high enough in protein to synthesize decent muscle growth will build muscle everywhere, especially when combined with the hearty amount of calories required to build hearty amounts of muscle.

      => Healthier hormone production may cause muscle to be built everywhere. If you can increase your testosterone production (exercise, eat well, eat big, lift heavy, fix deficiencies, etc.) you’ll likely build a little bit more muscle everywhere, including the areas you don’t train.

      Can you train your jaw? Probably. I can’t really think of a reason why that wouldn’t work. I really doubt that’s necessary though.

      Hope that helps!

      • Tim on November 6, 2013 at 5:01 am

        Yeah, thanks. I will follow that advice. I notice you and your friends face on pics here have became a bit meaty based on the before and after.I really want to gain a nice jawline, meaty face and a thick neck, my neck is also thin. That’s why I grew my hair a bit long to cover the thin neck. My friends say I look like a dehydrated Justin Bieber . haha.

        I read about testosterone, like what you said you need to eat big, train hard. I saw someone selling a testosterone injectable, do you think it’s safe?

        • Shane Duquette on November 6, 2013 at 11:02 am

          Bieber’s a pretty good looking dude, I presume – he’s Canadian after all!

          I would ask your doctor about artificially increasing your testosterone. He’d be in a better position to advise you there. It’s not something we’ve ever tried or that we’d ever recommend.

          It’s also definitely not necessary when it comes to beefing up your physique and your face!

  42. Tim on November 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    I think I’ll just stick with the natural, I looked at Wiki and It says artificial T can cause your testicles to shrink and other side effects. It’s not worth it.

    Anyway, I just want to commend you for this awesome site. Based upon reading the comments here and on other articles and I conclude your an expert in bodybuilding especially in bulking the ectomorph. Very intelligent and sensible. Ectomorph Aesthetics article is very good I read it 3 times to absorb all the information.

    I realized being in ectomorph is a blessing because we have the potential aesthetics for improvement. It really inspired me try to do my best to achieve all that was written above.

    Again, thanks and more power, Keep up the good work. I’m so glad I’ve stumbled upon this site the other day. You Guys rock! \m/

  43. Neil on November 21, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Hi Shane,
    I’m 17, around 5’11 and swim twice a week for 40 min sessions as well as cycle and run. I’m starting to notice a few results in the upper back area but the chest is still quite difficult to build and the mid back isn’t really responding to anything. I’m 145lbs, are there any exercises with dumbbells that would help these areas? I try to use them but am generally a bit clueless around weights. Great Article btw man, I love your site.

    • Shane Duquette on November 21, 2013 at 10:35 pm

      Thanks Neil 🙂

      It’s tough to build muscle by doing more endurance oriented things, especially as a skinny guy / ectomorph … but it’s not like the goal of swimming or cycling is muscle or aesthetics anyway, so that’s certainly not to knock ’em!

      You’ve got the right idea. When it comes to building muscle, weightlifting is definitely the most effective and efficient way to do it. It’s often the ONLY way for us ectomorphs to do it, since we don’t naturally have much muscle mass.

      Check this article out. I think it’d teach you what you need to know about using dumbbells to bulk up a bit:

      If that leads to more questions … just pop ’em in the comments there 😉

    • Shane Duquette on November 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      (I’m a huge fan of swimming too. With my big hands, long lanky arms, long narrow body, and small waist I wound up being built really well for it!)

    • Gregory on May 19, 2020 at 5:14 pm

      Great article on the science of attraction. I have studied this topic for a long time and you provided excellent research on how to get there. But one thing I just can’t get my finger wrapped around is this. Lane Goodwin in his article titled which is more attractive athletic or muscular physique stated that when he had an athletic physique he was almost invisible to women unless he took his shirt off. But when he went from athletic physique to muscular large muscles his attention from women skyrocketed. He stated that the bigger his muscles got the more women he attracted. He also stated that others who in the past who had athletic physiques and went to muscular physiques had similar experiences that the bigger they got the more women they attracted. Lane got too about 200lbs, lean weight, what you define in your article as jacked.

      He also did not believe that the athletic and toned Brad Pitt fight club physique was the most attractive. That women were just choosing it because it’s socially acceptable not because it’s more attractive and his life experience shows that been jacked gave him far more success with women. The important thing Shane is we men want to look our best in our clothes. Because we spend almost all our lives in them. It does us no good to have muscles if no-one can see them with our clothes on. We want to look strong with our clothes on.

      I’m 5 foot 9 about 160 pounds and very lean and I have an ecomorph body type. To look my most attractive do I need to be 185lb of muscle or about 200lb or somewhere in between? I look forward to your reply on this topic. You can find Lane Goodwin post on the internet just Google which is more attractive athletic or muscular and his website should come up. If you already read his article then tell me what you think and I’m sure other guys would like to hear your thoughts on this. What physique is the most attractive with our t-shirts, polos, and dress shirts on: strong, jacked or somewhere in between

      • Shane Duquette on May 19, 2020 at 8:22 pm

        Hey Gregory, I hear ya. One of the reasons that this article is marked as under construction is because of new research showing that within natural limits, building more muscle tends to be more attractive. However, most of us will come out looking strong/athletic by the time we reach our genetic potential, not jacked. More like Brad Pitt in Troy (strong/athletic), less like Arnold Schwarzenegger (jacked).

        What’s interesting, though, is his use of examples. It makes me think our disagreement might just be semantics. When he talks about Magic Mike, I’d call Channing Tatum’s physique “fit.” He doesn’t look overly muscular. Maybe 13–14″ arms, maybe 170 pounds. Definitely in great shape, but not “strong,” and certainly not “jacked.” That example lines up with the (somewhat outdated) stance of this article, that lean guys with good proportions and a fit physique are considered the most attractive.

        The other weird thing is that you’re saying that Lane Goodwin bulked up to 200 pounds. And in that article you’re talking about, he talks about how he bulked up by gaining twelve pounds. So he went from 188 up to 200 pounds? Did that really shift him from one body type to another? I don’t know. That’s a sweet amount of muscle to gain, but 188 and 200 are both heavy and muscular. Maybe he went from being “fit/athletic” to “strong/athletic.”

        To put that into perspective, I started at 130 pounds, and I think my physique was looking fairly fit by the time I reached around 160 pounds. So thirty pounds gained. And then to look stronger and more athletic, I gained another thirty pounds. And even now, at 190 pounds, I would by no means consider myself jacked. Arnold Schwarzenegger was 230 pounds at the same body-fat percentage and height as me. That’s another forty pounds!

        At 5’9, yeah, I think gaining another 20–25 pounds would probably move you up to that next level. A lean 185 would probably look “strong,” it would probably be near your genetic muscular limit, and it would probably look fairly ideal in terms of attractiveness, both with and without a t-shirt on. But any gains in muscle mass will help. As Lane Goodwin noted, even gaining twelve pounds of muscle resulted in a huge improvement in his appearance.

        So this is all to say that our articles aren’t really that different, just a bit of semantics. Magic Mike is probably on the smaller side of attractive. He looks about the same size as Brad Pitt in Fight Club. Same category of physique, anyway. And that’s great. That’s very attractive. Most people would likely benefit from getting even bigger and stronger than that, though, it seems.

        If you go to our homepage, check out the “after” illustration. I suspect that’s fairly close to what’s optimally attractive/aesthetic. It’s my best guess at this point, anyhow.

      • Shane Duquette on May 21, 2020 at 8:39 am

        Also, just to add to his anecdote of how gaining twelve pounds of muscle having a massive impact on how attractive he was, I can say that going from 130 pounds up to 160 was the biggest change I’ve ever experienced. It’s not that moving up to 190 didn’t also help, but going from skinny to looking healthy and fit had a massively profound impact on how people looked at me. Instead of looking like something was wrong, it looked like something was right.

        I think for people who look out of shape, the biggest impact will be finding a way to look like they’re in good shape. A negative becomes positive. A turn-off becomes a turn-on. And then from there, moving into the very best bracket—looking fit and strong—will get them slightly greater benefits. A turn-on becomes more of a turn-on.

  44. Neil on November 22, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Thanks, I’ve already got a pretty questionable bench and some weights, guess I’ll get started! I will probably join the program pretty soon, just don’t have enough cash atm.

    • Shane Duquette on November 23, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      Ah that’s awesome Neil! Definitely get started in the meantime. No sense waiting around until circumstances are perfect before even getting started.

      I hope you do decide to join and that we see ya on the other side soon 🙂

  45. Mark Bennett on November 24, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Great info. Looks like there will now be more hot dudes for the ladies to choose from thanks to you. Women should thank you.

    Question though–about which magazines have guys that women seem to go for. On one hand you say “women prefer a man who’s significantly leaner and more muscular than average, you know, like a man found in Cosmo. They found these physiques more attractive than the more muscular ones in magazines targeted at health conscious men, like Men’s Health…” Then later you say, “surprisingly, the physiques in Men’s Health line up pretty well with the physiques that women actually gravitate towards”. So which is it, Cosmo guys or Men’s Health guys?

    • Shane Duquette on November 26, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      Ahaha thanks 🙂

      Both! When presented with photos women choose men about the size of a man found in Cosmo.

      When looking at who women are attracted to in real life and who they end up with, it seems to line up more with the slightly stronger and more muscular men, like the ones found in Men’s Health.

      Both are pretty universally deemed very attractive though, and depending on which study you’re looking at it can be hard to figure out exactly what size the guys are.

  46. David E on November 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    I loved this article. But I must ask a question. What do you do if your short. Im 37 yo, 5’2, 135 lbs , about 18% body fat. Im the body type in the middle. I think its the mesomorph, I was told by a personal trainer. I ve always wondered if the attractive effect that all this information has ( such as working out and a good diet) becomes nulled and voided by the fact that Im so short. Is putting all this effort into my fitness for attractiveness sake just a waste of time for someone my height, or can it make an actual difference in my sex appeal even at this height?

    • Manfred on November 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      David E, I think that even if your are not tall you should work out to your fullest potential. What’s more, you should be training to your fullest potential because you are not tall. There is nothing wrong about being short, but if you perceive it as a drawback then by all means try to perfect other áreas that you can. Don’t make an excuse out of your height. I used this article’s info to modify my training a while back, and it made a BIG difference on my life as a whole for many reasons. Try it and live your own adventure. @ManfredCaraba

      • Shane Duquette on November 30, 2013 at 6:31 pm

        Glad we could help Manfred!
        Thank you for the kind words 🙂

    • Shane Duquette on November 30, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      Hey David, I didn’t really dig too deep into height in my research because it’s something that we can’t really change, so I figured there wasn’t much point giving it that much thought.

      I’m with Manfred – height is just one factor among many, and certainly wouldn’t let it hold you back from maximizing on all the other aesthetic factors … and reaping all the health, strength and fitness rewards that come along with them.

      If you can’t grow tall, perhaps it’s time to grow wide!
      (Through the shoulders not the waist.)

  47. Ann on December 25, 2013 at 5:45 am

    I’m all the way with Breanna. I detest muscled up guys, PREFER the ectormorph type, like skinny men. I also like them with naturally (and bony) broad shoulders and narrow waists. The less overt muscle the better. In all of your samples the guys AFTER training up were less attractive than before. Often MUCH less attractive!

    This, this and this is attractive:

    • Shane Duquette on December 26, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      As a rock ‘n roller I have to say I heartily approve of your choices.

      I was raised on the Rolling Stones and Zeppelin, so looking like the thin/fit musicians I was listening to was my goal when I first started into this stuff. (All those guys were a couple dozen pounds more muscular than I was and a little leaner, but it seemed like an achievable goal.)

      Also glad to hear you’re down with us naturally thin ectomorphs 🙂

  48. […] This was written for overly skinny guys trying to get attractive, but it applies to overly fat guys as well, as the end points are the same. Bony to Beastly ? Ectomorph Aesthetics (Long Article) […]

  49. Dart hopes on December 31, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Where was the data gathered from for the survey? And what age group were these girls/women from? Finally, how big was the sample size?

    • Shane Duquette on January 2, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      Hey Dart, this data wasn’t coming from a single survey or study. There are a bunch of studies referenced here (many of them much better than surveys), and you can see them linked to add the end of the various paragraphs / topics. If you give ’em a read you can see the sample size, age group, methods used, conclusions that the researchers drew, etc.

      Does that help?

  50. D. on January 20, 2014 at 2:37 am

    I like how you emphasize posterior chain development, definitely something that is overlooked by many but can give you the best results, more deadlifts, chinups, rack pulls, and squats it is 😀

  51. Valerie on March 1, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Great article. I stumbled on it by accident but I really agree with a lot of your points. Yes, females tend to be attracted more to the strong/fit types than over muscled or skinny guys. I think the bodybuilding industry has realized this too and that is why divisions like men’s physique and women’s bikini are so popular– because they offer people a way to compete by sculpting their body to the aesthetic appeal of most people.

    I would like to see a similar article for females. Seems most women don’t have a clue how to. Workout and end up with a flat butt and doughy composition from too much cardio.

    Anyway, thanks for the great info and interesting read.

    • Shane Duquette on March 4, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Valerie 🙂

      It’s already written! All the illustrations are done, too. It’s fully ready to roll. We’re just waiting to finish up a couple things for our women’s muscle-building / weight gain program … but look out for the women’s version of this article at in the next couple weeks (and maybe sooner!).

    • Shane Duquette on April 24, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      Valerie, we’ve got the women’s article up! I’d love to hear what you think, and I hope you like it 😀

  52. Eli on May 26, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    what’s up Shane,

    I noticed that even in your pictures from day zero of training, your chest was pretty well defined–it was still skinny, but I could clearly see the line between your two pecs. I’m having trouble with my chest right now. on the outside it looks normal and well-defined for the lifting I’ve been doing,but it gradually sloes inward to form a valley shape, so they dont really look full or defined on the inside. Do you have any tips for a lagging chest? I am trying to fix my form on bench so I can get a full range of motion, and with bench press I’m throwing in some dumbbell flys. I remember seeing Jared post a comment somewhere about how he used to have a lagging chest, but conquered that eventually. any help would be greatly appreciated. thank you!

    • Shane Duquette on May 28, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      Hey Eli, you’re talking about after I’d gained my first 20 pounds, right? The second photo here? I mean, my chest is super duper tiny, but you’re right, it’s not totally absolutely absent.

      I had been doing martial arts and home workouts for years (on and off) at that point. Bajillions of push-ups. I’m also a guy who naturally presses with his chest, so if I do push-ups or bench presses my pecs – and only my pecs – grows. As a result I managed to get a 225 pound bench press with 11 inch arms 😉

      My pecs are also the only muscles on my body with full muscle bellies. In my biceps, for example, the muscle bellies are very small and the tendons are very long. This makes it harder to get big biceps, since genetically they have little potential for growth. If you look at someone like Tom Venuto he has the same issue in his pecs. No matter how large he grows them they will never meet in the middle. If you look at someone like Steve Reeves, who has great pec genetics (and great genetics everywhere), you’ll see that the two pectoral muscles meet right at the base.

      All of this lends credence to the fact that muscle-building anecdotes don’t mean much. If you did what I did you may wind up growing your anterior deltoids (fronts of your shoulders) much bigger because they’re more dominant muscles when pressing. Even if you DO hit your chest, it may come out a very different shape. This is why you’ve got to use research instead.

      There are some things you can do. Oftentimes a dumbbell bench press works better than a barbell bench press for guys with lagging chests. Experiment with different degrees of elbow flare, too. Don’t go all the way to 90 degrees, as that will crank your shoulders, but maybe play around with some light weights and find an angle that hits your chest well. You’re also right that, like Jared, you’d want to add in assistance chest exercises to catch them up to your dominant muscle groups (just like I needed to add in curls and extensions to finally grow my arms). Flys are good for this. Use a variety of presses as well though – weighted push-ups, decline bench presses, incline bench presses, landmine presses, etc. You can experiment with higher rep ranges (10-18) and work to build up a mind-muscle connection too. Like a bodybuilder, work to “feel the burn” in your pecs as they say. Lots of tips and tricks and strategies, and certainly some trial and error and adjustments.

      I hope that helps!

      (Also I’d say gain 10-20 pounds or so to make sure you’re adding tons of muscle mass to your body.)

      • Eli on May 28, 2014 at 9:40 pm

        That, helps thanks!

        I think I just need to build more muscle overall for my inner pecs to fill in, since you can’t target the inner pecs really.

        Would you recommend doing dips, flys, weighted pushups etc. on the same day as bench pressing so they act as an accessory lift, like what you said you did for your arms? Also would it be wise to mix these exercises up or stick with one and bench press? I’ll do some experimenting.

        Your articles rock, just saying that ectomorphs who haven’t necessarily bought your program are still being helped a ton. You guys are awesome.

        • Shane Duquette on June 3, 2014 at 6:35 pm

          That depends on how you’re programming your workouts! Some people do splits, where they like to blast a particular muscle group with several exercises in a row and then give it longer to recover. We like to use a couple lifts every workout, so we’d program more along the lines of doing a couple heavier sets of dumbbell bench presses and then some lighter flys or landmine presses or something.

          Really glad we can help 🙂

  53. Dave on May 29, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    hey Shane,

    I’ve always been a true ectomorph, just like the other members of the B2B team before you guys got really muscular. I do have a question about nutrition– how can I maximize muscle gains while keeping fat gains as low as possible? I’m eating a 250 calorie surplus on training days, and I have seen some muscle gain…but also fat gain. I know that gaining some fat is inevitable, and I’m totally ok with that. However, the fat gain/muscle gain ratio seems larger than what would be normal.

    I can’t say my diet contains very processed, fatty, or sugary foods. I don’t drink soda or eat cakes, pies, the like. If I do, I feel unhealthy and it just does not feel good. The only food I’d consider “fatty” that I eat right now is nuts– cashews and almonds mostly. Is my problem the diet? I’m conscious of what I eat and I wouldn’t call it unhealthy at all.

    I can’t call myself fat either– I may just be thinking it’s worse than it actually is. I still can see my abs in a mirror, so I’m still relatively lean (6’1″ at 145 lbs) but there is more fat on the sides of my midsection.

    Do you have any experience with this? It’s pretty confusing for me, so I was hoping you guys could help. Thanks!

    • Shane Duquette on June 3, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      Hey Dave,

      I wouldn’t say fat gain is inevitable. Oftentimes it comes along when you’re trying to build muscle as rapidly as possible, and that’s okay – it’s pretty easy to get rid of – but you don’t really NEED to gain fat. Your approach is a pretty good one. Sounds like you’ve got a modest calorie surplus and you’re going for lean and steady gains. You can probably get them fairly lean, especially if you aren’t super duper muscular yet 🙂

      It’s a bit of a myth that processed, fatty and sugary foods lead to fat gain. In some cases this can be true – there are generally more bioavailable calories in processed food for one – and with a diet overly abundant in them you risk not getting in all the fibre, vitamins and minerals you need … but you can build muscle quite leanly with or without junk food.

      There are many ways to get your body partitioning surplus nutrients a little more favourably – more towards muscle and less towards fat. First is to make sure that you’re training optimally for muscle growth. A great training program will get your body very eagerly trying to build muscle as quickly as possible, and this will mean that more of your surplus will be invested in building muscle. Check this article out.

      With nutrition you want to work backwards through the fundamentals, going from most important to least important. So first you’d optimize calories, then protein, then the other macros (carbs/fat), then assure you’re getting enough whole foods / fibre / etc. That’s a bit beyond the scope of what I can answer here, especially since it can vary depending on your circumstances, but it’s fully covered in our program and we’ll be writing about that more in the future on the blog!

      I hope that helps!

  54. Boon on June 1, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Hi Shane,

    A question on the one of the pictures here. In the very first picture where the most attractive proportions were shown, the measurements of biceps – do you mean when they are flexed or just in a relaxed state?



    • Shane Duquette on June 3, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Flexed, as that’s how most people measure their arm girth.
      We’ll get ya there 🙂

  55. Good Looking Loser on June 2, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Nice post, well done, it was mentioned on our forum a couple of times.

    Oftentimes, and you may know as well as I do, these nerdy “lets discuss aesthetics and body image” posts offer little value because it’s just a debate between a bunch of intellectuals that complain about their genetics.

    I thought this was really really well done and the best I’ve ever seen on this subject.

    Chris (GLL)

    • Shane Duquette on June 3, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      Thanks Chris, really glad you liked it and that it could help!

      We’re all about self-improvement around here, and this isn’t the type of blog where genetics are any kind of excuse (as I’m sure is true with yours as well!).

  56. Salazar on June 15, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Hey Shane,

    Do you have any tips on progressing on the overhead shoulder press? I find it very hard to actually put heavier weight on the bar… maybe I’m lifting too heavy–what do you recommend rep-range wise?

    • Shane Duquette on June 15, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      Oo that’s a good question. That lift is unbelievably notorious for causing lower back injuries. As ectomorphs we often have long slender torsos and bone structures, and most of us, perhaps given our longer limbs and spines and such, also rock pretty shoddy posture. This can set us up for pretty brutal difficulties with the overhead press, and progressed over time that can eventually lead to herniated discs and all kinds of unpleasant things.

      We don’t use an overhead barbell press anywhere in our program. It’s easy to sub into our program for the guys who can do it well and want to be able to compete in the classic lifts, but by default we work on a variety of regressions to build up the core strength/stability, posture, shoulder strength/mobility and lifting technique that will allow us to overhead press in the future.

      What you’ll want to watch out for is rounding in your lower back / flaring in your ribs. If you can’t do the lift while maintaining a neutral spine then you probably aren’t ready for it. A good test is to stand up against a wall, lock your core down (ribs not flaring at all) and try to lift your arms overhead, touching your thumbs to the wall behind you, without flaring your ribs or losing your neutral spine. With your arms overhead like that there shouldn’t be a big gap between your lower back and the wall. Perhaps a little bit of space will be there, but not enough to fit your hand.

      At this point it’s probably obvious that if you suspect you’re lifting too heavy my suggestion would be to ease back on the weight (or stop doing the lift entirely!).

      I prefer landmine presses. Even dumbbell overhead presses are a little safer (especially when seated or kneeling), and they also offer the benefit of being a better lift for building muscle mass in your shoulders! The barbell variation is the dangerous competition/strongman lift that carries a lot of the risks … along with fewer muscle-building rewards.

      Does that help at all?

  57. Abu on June 24, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Great article! After recovering from a nasty sickness that took me from 150 to 130 I’ve been on the road to recovering my physique. I decided not to return to the gym and instead started to focus on gymnastics bodyweight training (rings specifically). Was wondering if there’s anyone else traveling the same road as me?

    So far it’s been pretty good. It’s been a little over a month and I’ve reclaimed 10lbs so far. Can’t wait to do iron crosses and stuff.

    • Shane Duquette on June 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      10 pounds in just a month?! That’s awesome man, congrats 🙂

  58. Miles on July 3, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    This all sounds pretty silly to me. Perhaps you’re coming from the straight male perspective and that’s all you know, but as a guy who’s attracted to guys this article just hits me in an odd way.

    There’s nothing about women being women that makes a more powerful muscular man more attractive. Guys who are looking for guys seem to have the exact same kinds of preferences in general. And there’s nothing about levels of femininity that determine how attracted to muscles a person is. Go to any gay area and you’ll see equally masculine men and couples all over each other.

    I want to beef up and get bigger but I have no desire to “pick women up over my head and throw them onto furniture” like 75% of your articles seem to mention. I have to just let out a sigh and translate that to “pick up other men”.

    I suppose what I’m trying to say is that you’re writing only to straight guys assuming they are your only readers, as well as saying things about women specifically that are just as equally the same for guys who are attracted to guys.

    • Shane Duquette on July 4, 2014 at 12:45 pm

      Hey Miles, that’s a really good point!

      You’re exactly right about the reason behind it. Being a straight guy is all I’ve ever known first hand. We do intentionally try to write strictly to skinny males, since that’s our specialty, however writing from a strictly straight perspective is totally accidental. I’m sorry about that. It’s something I’ll try to be more mindful of in the future.

      I also think you’re right that most men, straight or gay, want to be muscular and strong. In all the research I was reading while writing this they made either no distinction or they pointed out that there was little difference. Most men, regardless of sexual orientation, want to be lean and muscular. (study, study, study)

      I did a little more digging now, and a couple studies seem to show that gay men may care even more about being muscular. (study, study)

      I haven’t found anything to suggest that gay men and women are necessarily attracted to the same degree of muscularity though. As with all of this stuff I’m sure there’s lots of room for different sizes, shapes and degrees of muscularity while still being considered optimally attractive, so I suspect there’s a ton of overlap, but it seems that men want to be more muscular than women want them to be. Muscle is masculine and men like having it in excess. That excess muscularity guys like in themselves seems to be what gay guys find most attractive in other men. (study)

      Women, on the other hand, seem to prefer guys who are strong and muscular but not that muscular. (study, study)

      So I think the first section of the article best describes what women find optimally attractive. The second section (The Bodies Men Respect and Idolize) would probably be more in line with what men, both gay and straight, find optimally attractive?

      What do you think?

      • Miles on July 4, 2014 at 4:57 pm

        Hi Shane,

        I appreciate the response. Your apology is accepted and I think you’re a really cool guy to respond in the way you did. Like you said, the desire to be attractive and muscle up /is/ shared amongst many guys, regardless of preference. (One might argue that it’s even more competitive in the guy-for-guy space.)

        Writing with all of us guys in mind will likely make a large portion of your potential customers feel more included ( or not excluded ), which I hope can increase your sales too.

        You seem to have read through quite a bit of research so I’ll let your conclusions stand where they are. I hope I wasn’t too harsh. I just felt the need to point something out.

        All good?

        • Shane Duquette on July 4, 2014 at 6:16 pm

          I think you’re right – that if anything it’d be more competitive there. At least your own goal is consistent with what’s optimally attractive to the people you’re trying to attract though, so, while certainly more difficult, at least the path is clear! 😉

          I didn’t find you too harsh at all, and I actually really appreciate your pointing it out. I likely never would have realized otherwise.

          And I see you signed up! Really glad to have you Miles, and stoked to see what you can do! 🙂

          • CBK on August 17, 2014 at 4:05 pm

            I find a deficit of sufficiently nuanced analytical paradigm in your blanket generalizations that look only at averages (in studies of mostly poor sample size) and not at the distinct and recognized clusters of exception to the average, which exceptions form a fundamental part of our social and psychological experience…even among those whose tastes and self-concept fit the average.

            Example: while I fit the stereotype for the average gay male, straight male or heterosexual female’s taste in musculature and bodily proportion, there are distinct and sociologically necessary groups of men, both straight, gay, bi and other who do not apply such [Tom Cruise in Top Gun but a bit taller] standards of taste to themselves or other men. Take for instance, the stereotype of “twinks” or “femmes” in “developed world” urban homosexual subcultures, in contrast to the “butch” or “jock” or “bear” trope. The common pairing of oppositional types in relational and sexual bonds – the muscular jock or butch type with the slender, young man/late teen look – comprises a likely minority of pairings, but is notwithstanding a significant enough minority to have a collective cultural impact among the subculture and be a recognized trope and common inter-personal desire arrangement. Many examples exist of this in other sexual demographics. For instance, the “nerd” or the “skinny artsy” type holds great currency among a recognizable minority of industrialized, petit-bourgeois, professional class women. This prevalence of this trope – though not as common as the typical ones discussed in your article – is common enough to play a symbolic role in the semantic schema that individuals within the sexual community at hand develop about interpersonal sexual bonds.

            Sometimes, shooting for a niche in which one can excel is better than trying to conform to the largest market already dominated by megafauna. Case in point: a straight man may have better luck meeting a securely beddable straight woman at a gay club because he will suddenly be a big fish in a small pond of applicants, regardless of the prototype status or idiosyncrasy of his body taxon.

            Another instance: one will commonly find the following logic expressed among young urban homosexual men (probably a minority of them, but a recognizable and functionally integral minority): I have to play up my cuteness and youth, remaining skinny, soft skinned and perhaps more effete than ‘beefed up,’ in order to attract the “doms” (or more rarely “daddies”)…at least until I’m 25…then, once I start showing signs of initial hair thinning or age, I’ll have to transition to a gym-cooked butch guy, so as to maintain respectable market appeal as a “Mr. Clean”/ “Capt. America” (as opposed to “Justin Bieber”).

            This ethnographic lens – even an informal, ad hoc one like the one I illustrated – could be helpful in painting a less hokey and pantomime picture of the sexual dynamics within communities as pertains to body image and the desire of the significant subgroups for a particular musculature or proportionality.

            Any familiarity with structural sociology (of any variety) might also be useful in understanding the essential role of non-majorities in shaping the shared symbolic paradigms within which our individual sexual perceptions, expectations and goals are defined and expressed.

  59. Eli on July 8, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Hey Shane,

    Hey Shane

    I really started to get serious about working out this summer and have seen great improvements. I think the weakest-looking part of my body (to me at least) is my chest. Do you guys incorporate any upper chest exercises into your workouts? For me that seems to be the part that’s lagging behind. The outside of my pecs look nice, but they kind of slope like a valley into my sternum and there’s virtually no muscle on my inner chest (especially the upper part), and that bugs me a lot.


    • Shane Duquette on July 10, 2014 at 10:55 am

      Of course! The upper chest and lower chest are made up of different muscle fibres, so it’s relatively easy to grow them at their own paces. The inner and outer parts of your pecs are made up of the same muscle fibres, so it would be more of a struggle there. Some new research shows that it might be possible to affect muscle shape to that degree … but the effects would be smaller (if it’s possible at all).

      So yeah, I’d definitely put in some upper chest lifts 🙂

  60. Jason on July 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    For a male who is between 5’7″ and 5’9″, what weight would you consider to be skinny (as defined by the first degree of muscularity in the third section of this article)? Anything under 145-150? And the fit category would be like 150-165?

    • Shane Duquette on July 24, 2014 at 12:51 am

      I think your guess as far as weight goes is probably pretty spot on.

      It’s possible that a certain degree of attractiveness / dominance comes from mass, and not just proportions. As someone who’s 5’8 it may help to be a little more proportionally muscular than someone who’s 6′. That’s just conjecture though.

      • Jason on August 7, 2014 at 9:01 pm

        Makes sense. As I’ve given this more thought, I think relatively small changes in body fat percentage (8% vs 13% for instance) can become more significant in appearance. I saw a picture of an ectomorph guy who is almost ripped at 5’7″ 150 lbs, but I think that’s more so because his body fat is likely single digits. Whereas, someone else that same size at 13% body fat is still going to look fairly muscular, but not quite as ripped due to the extra 6-8 pounds of fat.
        Although I like the idea behind the program you guys have created, I can understand why some people think the extent to which you are promoting muscle development may be just a bit much. The lower the body fat (I think even from 12% to 8%), the less muscle it takes to look very impressive. I think this effect is pronounced even more for us ectomorphs who have smaller bones (and hence less weight from bones).

        • Shane Duquette on August 7, 2014 at 9:58 pm

          I probably agree with you more than you think 🙂 Hehe I think we might be coming from slightly different places is all. I started at 6’2 and 130 pounds. By the time I made it to 150 pounds I felt really great about my body and was no longer being teased about it. That got me really excited to train, because I finally liked the body I was in. Eventually I made it to a lean 185—as lean as I was at 130. For me muscular development was everything. For a lot of our members the same is true. Yes, sometimes some fat needs to be lost as well—that’s very common—however most people join our program because they want to be bigger.

          But for the purposes of this article I’m not really trying to promote anything, I’m just trying to objectively look at the research. In fact, if smaller is better I consider that fantastic news, since I’m naturally small, and our members can reach their goals more easily and more quickly.

          I agree with what you’re saying too. If a 5’7 man goes from 13% body fat to 8% body fat at 150 pounds he will have lost seven pounds of fat and gained seven pounds of muscle—that’s huge! Both the fat and the muscle will be very very noticeable.

          Moreover, when I went from 200 to 180 pounds a little while back everyone thought I’d GAINED weight because my muscle definition had improved by so much. Body fat percentage is a big deal. I tried to include that in the article.

          I also agree that as ectomorphs we need to play to our genetic advantages! We are often somewhat resistant to fat and capable of being very insulin sensitive. We are the body type that can often enjoyably rock impressively/aesthetically low body fat percentages 🙂

          • Jason on October 19, 2014 at 7:39 pm

            This question/thought is unrelated to my first one, but I was just doing some thinking about the masculinity section. As you probably know, some ectomorphs walk around with 8-11% body fat while others have 15%+. I was thinking, skinny ectomorphs with low body fat who eat at least somewhat healthy and get some exercise may have a relatively high degree of masculinity. My thinking was that (in the absence of medial issues and assuming that diet is adequate) testosterone would tend to be higher in those who are leaner. Having low body fat would mean a high degree of muscle to fat, regardless of overall amount of muscle mass.

  61. Mark on August 28, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Thank God for this article, I’ve been benching since a year and barely gained any pecs not to mention that lately my shoulders have been killing me, was on the verge of going into a depression and quitting the gym. Hopefully the bench will work I’ll try it tomorrow 🙂

  62. Sabat Akhtar on September 11, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Hey guys, I am from Karachi, pakistan. i don’t know how i landed into your website but your website is the only thing i visit almost every day at university and home. I was in a relationship with a girl for the last four years, i am 5″6 having an ectomorph body. The girl used to insist me that you should gain weight and muscle and i used to keep on saying that darling i have an ectomorph body i cannot build big muscles like mesomorph guys. Our relation kept on going untill her father came to know about me, he said i dont look good when i stand next to her daughter. He said he will divorce her mother if she continues to talk with me. My girl friend left me and my life has become a hell. i face depression day and night , i bought whey protein but didn’t have any proper program. I love her so much and i cannot lose her like this , i read your article about ECTOMORPH MUSCLE-BUILDING SUPPLEMENTS and it was a light of hope for me. I belong from a middle class family where my father earns 25,000 PKR monthly (around 250 dollars monthly) but i told a friend living in danbury,conneticut USA about the supplements you guys recommend and she’s ready to send me the supplements. All i want is a proper work out program. I see you guys charge for work out programs but i don’t have enough money to pay for it. I will be really thank ful to you if you guys send me a proper program, i am not a rich man to give you guys money but i can pray for you guys in front of Allah (GOD). May you guys have best of both the worlds. This is my number with pakistani code you guys can call me for verification 00923322286415.
    i am so helpless right now , please help me guys :’(
    I’d love to talk to you guys or if you guys can email me your cell phone number, i look out with only you guys being my hope. Trainers here in Pakistan are not educated. They treat ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs equally.

    • Shane Duquette on September 11, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      Hey Sabat,

      I’m so so sorry to hear about your girlfriend! That situation sounds like a true nightmare. I can only imagine what that must have been like.

      First, it’s horrible that they’re judging you based on your body. I know that sometimes we need to see the world as it is, not as we want it to be. And I know it’s important to realize that people will make inferences based on our size and physical fitness. Being skinny is not any kind of failure though—that’s just our body type. In fact, I’d say it’s a pretty damn good body type! Regardless, they have no right to treat you that way.

      Second, there’s no need to spend money on supplements. Did you read the introduction to the article, where we strongly recommend that you focus first on training and nutrition? If those things aren’t in order supplements won’t help. I would first buy yourself a whole bunch of rice, yoghurt, legumes, etc. Those will get you far further for a cheaper price!

      Third, while our program isn’t free, our blog always will be! We’ll keep putting out in-depth free articles for as long as we can, and we’ve got no plans of stopping. Moreover, member or not, we always answer all comments 🙂

      Fourth, we are not your only hope. We put a great deal of effort every day into creating the best program and community for ectomorphs, and we try our best to nerdily optimize every single factor… however there’s a lot to be said for just getting out there and doing your best! If you can’t afford a top notch program, just start lifting weights and do the best that you can. If you don’t thoroughly understand nutrition, just eat more and do the best that you can! I’ve linked some articles there to get you started 🙂

      I hope that helps, and good luck!

      • Sabat Akhtar on September 12, 2014 at 4:58 pm

        Thank you so much shane for such a quick reply.i am feeling motivated after going through your comment.
        See the situation is here in Pakistan you won’t find good nutritions, i mean we cook food in oil , i dont think so the end product that we eat after several hours of cooking is nutritious and helpful. Secondly i don’t like eating too much , if had breakfast around 9 in the morning i will have lunch around 3 and then dinner around 11. i also dont like to eat like an animal that’s why my tummy gets full after eating a little.
        There are my class fellows who always keep on eating after a specific period of time and i understand that’s what i have to do because i am an ectomorph and i have a very fast metabolism. i need calories after every hour if i want to put on some weight. i cannot eat chicken and fish everyday but yeah if i have supplements like carbo gain , whey ( i already have it 🙂 ) , creatine and that fish oil i am pretty sure i’ll be getting enough amount of calories and proteins because liquid nutrition is very easy as compared to food (which i dont like to eat ).
        One more thing how much your program costs? is it possible my friend living in US can pay you guys through her credit card and i will get the program here.?

        • Shane Duquette on September 13, 2014 at 1:54 pm

          Just because the food you eat doesn’t look like the food you see in the American/British/Australian muscle and health magazines and blogs, that doesn’t mean it isn’t nutritious! Most cultures have a healthy way of eating, they’re just all very different. So long as most of your meals are made up of minimally processed whole foods you shouldn’t need to stress too much. I love clumsily trying to make spicy curries out of Pakistani masalas. I can only imagine how delicious the authentic stuff is!

          If you’re struggling to eat enough that’s totally normal for us naturally skinny ectomorphs. You’re right—the supplements and focusing on snacking more, consuming liquid calories, etc should all help. (Check out that just eat more article I linked you to for more, and there are even more tricks in the actual program/member’s area, since we all struggle with that!)

          The program is all digital and we have guys from all over the world, including your neck of the woods! You’ll fit right in. Your friend can definitely buy it for you. Just have her put in your email, name and information. (The program is 197.)

          I hope to see you in there! 🙂

    • Afghani on June 9, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      What a liar

  63. ALi on September 13, 2014 at 7:26 am

    This is the best, most comprehensive and well written article I’ve seen on this subject! Very interesting and informative, it’s made me realise (at ~220 pounds and 6 “) that I should probably focus on getting slightly leaner rather than adding more mass to my frame! Many thanks

    • Shane Duquette on September 13, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Thanks for the kind words, Ali! Glad you dug it.

      6′ and 220? That’s badass, man 🙂 Good luck leaning out!

  64. joonbug on October 1, 2014 at 1:57 pm


    Nice article! But shouldn’t the shoulder circumfirence also be compared to one’s height? For example, doesn’t one look weird having 48″ shoulder and 30″ waist with like 5.7ft height or less than that?

    • Shane Duquette on October 3, 2014 at 10:39 pm

      While doing research for this post I came across some people speculating exactly that, and it definitely makes sense. I didn’t come across any actual evidence of it though, so I just left it to averages and tried not to toss my own views in there.

      (On shorter guys especially broad shoulders seem to look especially badass though.)

    • Shane Duquette on October 3, 2014 at 10:39 pm

      And thank you, Joonbug 🙂

  65. Daniel on October 27, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Hey I was wondering if you guys are still looking for more people to try the program for free and to send you guys weekly progress pictures. I’m 18, 5’8″ and I weighed 110 six weeks ago and 117 now and I’ve been working out for a consistent 6 weeks and have been eating my big meals along with a weight gain shake every day.

    • Shane Duquette on October 28, 2014 at 9:16 pm

      Hey Daniel, props for eating big and training hard for the past six weeks. That’s awesome. I hope you’re already seeing results from your efforts, too 🙂

      We finished up beta testing a few years ago now, and the program has been in full swing for a little over two years. All the transformation shots you see nowadays are coming out of the member community. That’s where we’ve been beta testing new stuff too. However, we’ll always be putting up tons of free content on the blog, and if you ever decide to join us we’d love to have you!

      Keep eating and training, man—good luck!

  66. Paul on October 27, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Well despite what some people say about “not every women agrees with it” etc the golden measurement of waist to shoulders of 1:1.6 is a golden universal ratio that cannot be denied. it’s not for debate. It’s perfect symmetery. Just like a slim women with large breasts and a perfect hour glass figure will naturally get many glances and desires so will a man with the golden ratio. It’s all mathematical. Like it or not.
    What makes a handsome face? Perfect measurements. It’s a fact. No dispute despite people saying “it’s in the eye of the beyholder..” It isn’t. Other factors are.

    Like you say, it isn’t everything. A douchbag with a golden ratio is still a douchbag. But it won’t do you any harm at all.

    Since i focused on heavy lifts on the compound exercises,getting my fat levels down to about 12% and i am very close to the 1:1.6 golden ratio is the amount of glances I get from men and women. Every-where I see people glancing. Some look pleasently, others look annoyed (maybe jealous?) When I go swimming..I feel like a movie star. Surprisingly as many men seem to look as women. LOL.When I am in the gym i feel like asking for tickets to watch me lift. But those muscles do pop out under heavy weights.

    Not to boast but to prove it really is the golden ratio. I do not like the bodybuilders physique but i love being atheletic and strong with low body fat %. In pictures I can look a bit thin on the body (31″ waist) but i can see the V taper and broad shoulders now.

    i have about 1-2″ to gain on the upper back/shoulders and i want to get my fat down to 10% and then it’s done. i will then try to maintain it the best i can.

    Your article is 100% spot on. It can’t be denied.

  67. Paul on October 27, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Froim what i understand there is a golden ratio

    it’s shoulders 1.6X your waist…

    Now what is the ideal waist measurement? for men it’s 30-34″ depending on height. It’s surprises a lot of bigger men to know Arnold Sch. was only a 34″ waist. They naturally presume he was about 38″+.

    I know for my height 5ft 7″ 31″ waist is the ideal size. There is a site that gives you the ratio. Google it. Once you have your ideal waist then it’s simply (mean cutting bod fat % <11% and broadening upper back/shoulders…could be a lot of effort) a matter of getting that ratio of 1:1.6 and then see how you look.

    I know one thing for sure, a big fat beer gut looks absolutely terrible on any-one.I don't what anyone says this is a huge turn off and should be tackled above all else. You can't be classed as desirable with a huge bursting stomach.

    Nice article! But shouldn’t the shoulder circumfirence also be compared to one’s height? For example, doesn’t one look weird having 48″ shoulder and 30″ waist with like 5.7ft height or less than that?

    • Jason on October 27, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      I’m about an inch taller than you but only have a 28″ waist and 8% body fat. I’m not lifting for aesthetics, but needless to say I don’t need to worry about dropping body fat, but only broadening my upper body.

  68. Jay on December 6, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Hey guys,

    I have a unique problem…I used to have no muscle mass whatsoever and was classic skinny-fat. However, I also have very wide shoulders naturally. I had 19 inch shoulder length and 29 inch waist, and it was close to the 1.6 golden ratio. At the same time, I had no chest and arm muscles, so I’ve been working out for the past few months, eating big, etc., and my waist has stayed the same, but my back and deltoids have gotten a lot bigger. They also have a rounded appearance. As a result, my shoulder-waist ratio has become way too HIGH and it just doesn’t look aesthetic anymore. I’m actually getting LESS attention from girls now.

    Is there a way to reduce my shoulders and back, get back to the golden ratio, get a less rounded appearance, while still continuing to work out my chest and arms? I also have a gut that I still haven’t eliminated, so I want a flat stomach as well. My legs / butt could also get smaller, ideally (they were kind of big to begin with). Is it even possible to have a workout program that achieves these goals?


    • Shane Duquette on December 7, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      Hey Jay,

      Have you considered training all the muscles in your body, letting your body grow stronger everywhere? You may find that as your lower back, obliques and core muscles (and legs) grow along with your chest, arms shoulders and back that you’re much more happy with your appearance! I think you’ll like the other benefits too: health, performance, overall strength, the workouts might be more fun, etc.

      As for how to reduce muscle size… just reduce your calorie intake so that you’re losing a little weight each week (a pound or two) and stop training those muscle groups while you do it! This will help get rid of your gut as well, since you wouldn’t just be losing muscle, you’d be losing fat as well.

      Still, I think the first option would be better (perhaps combined with a cut, if you want to ditch the gut).

      And yeah, you can really tailor a workout program to do ANYTHING. That’s one of the cool things about weightlifting, I think 🙂

      I hope that helps, and good luck, man!

      • Jay on December 8, 2014 at 9:00 pm

        Thanks! I think I’ve figured out what seems “off” about my upper body…it’s not that my shoulders have gotten too big. But my traps have gotten so big they’re creating this sloping rounded appearance that’s making my shoulders LOOK narrower. I talked about this with a couple friends and I’m pretty sure this is why I’m getting less attention from girls now (they used to compliment my broad shoulders all the time)

        I think I’m going to continue training everything but my traps. My shoulders were kind of sloped to start out and I just don’t like the way traps affect my appearance. Are there any major exercises to avoid if my goal is to stop training my traps?

        • Shane Duquette on December 10, 2014 at 6:20 pm

          Traps can grow disproportionately for a few reasons. One reason is steroid abuse. there are a lot of androgen receptors in the traps, so sometimes drugs can further emphasize large musculature there. This may be true of people who naturally have higher levels of testosterone too, although to a lesser degree.

          Another reason is doing a balanced routine and then adding in extra trap exercises. For example, you might be doing a fully balanced back routine AND shrugs. The extra volume shifts more muscle-building priority to your traps and voila—huge traps.

          Perhaps the most common reason of all is pulling with your traps instead of your back in its entirety. A common cue to prevent this is keeping your shoulders “down and back”. The cue has its limitations, but it’s so popular because it’s so common to let your shoulders drift upwards when pulling, turning essentially every pull into a trap-dominant lift. (People often do shoulder raises and presses and such with their traps as well.)

          Another possible reason is that it’s not to do with the size of your traps at all, and rather your posture. Large traps often look pretty decent if you’ve got great posture, since your shoulders sit nicely in place. If your shoulders appear to be sloped forward it could be because your mid back isn’t strong enough, or your chest is too tight, or something causing your shoulders rotate internally. Virtually everyone has this by default, so a good training program will often start with a lot of emphasis on the mid back. Sometimes chest exercises may need to be somewhat avoided as well.

          Or it could be something I’m less familiar with! Could just be genetics, and you need to train a little differently to best rock what you’ve got.

          I hope that helps!

  69. Lacey on February 7, 2015 at 3:29 am

    I love what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and
    reporting! Keep up the awesome works guys I’ve included you guys to my own blogroll.

  70. Kit on February 25, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    Okay, there’s just one thing I’d like to point out about this article–from the perspective of a woman, specifically. I mean, it’s not surprising, since this article was written by a man, and how does one man assume to know about all women? I’m hoping it’ll benefit any men out there who might be feeling a little insecure about their shape.

    This article generalizes a LOT. Way too much, about what women like in particular. Statistically, a lot of women are more likely to marry an average-shaped man. Experience-wise, when I’m at work (and I work at a theme park), a lot of women are with guys that have a bit of pudge, and they’re fine with it. Women aren’t as shallow as this article makes them seem. Some women like guys who are muscular, yeah, but some don’t. Amazingly, women are not a hive mind, women are individual people with individual tastes.

    Personal preference-wise, chubby men are where it’s at. I know a lot of other women who agree with this too–soft tummies are amazing and comfy and great for snuggling up to. Any big guys who might read this, don’t think you have to go and get super ripped for women to find you attractive. It’s not necessary.

    (Honestly, this article puts a lot of emphasis on hyper-masculinity and what men HAVE to be in order to be appealing and what makes them desirable and it’s a really, really unhealthy way to think. Be fit and muscular if you want to, but don’t think it’s a necessity for happiness and romantic relationships).

    My name is Kit, I am 21 years old, and I think it’s sexy when boys get fat. My aesthetic? Someone tall (since I’m a tall woman myself), dark hair, light eyes, and FAT. Chubby hips are a plus, and if you got thick thighs, I got heart eyes. Lovehandles look amazing with hickeys. A very large community of people agree with me. This has been a Public Service Announcement, good day.

    • GG on September 26, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      Men who fit the ideal will get more partners and will tend to get more attractive partners.

      Bigger girls tend to like bigger guys because it takes a bigger guy to make her feel smaller and feminine. By and large.

      Look, women prefer taller men. Doesn’t mean shorter men can’t do well with women, but there let’s not pretend that there isn’t an ideal that just about everyone can agree is “hot”. People who can get close to that ideal will do better in the mating game than those who cannot.

  71. Michael Dunn on March 26, 2015 at 11:50 am

    I used to be incredibly lanky and thin (6’6″ @ 199lbs). Then I filled out a bit (6’6″ @ 244lbs). Some muscle, but mostly fat. Then I started lifting. I weighed 242lbs with a BF% of 24.8% (digital Omron, inaccurate, but good as a reference for change.) I am now 225lbs, still 6’6″, with a BF% of 11.5% (digital) and/or 7.8% (skin fold caliper). I am curious… Am I an ectomorph? I am still looking to put on more muscle. I still cannot see my abs. The little bit of visible fat that remains is lurking over my abs. Very frustrating. Any tips for ridding my midsection of the cursed belly flab?

    • Shane Duquette on March 26, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      Hey Michael,

      Sounds like after all of this you’ve gained a good 26 pounds of muscle and come out fairly lean! Congrats 🙂

      It sounds like you’re an ectomorph, yeah. I’ve actually been through a similar process. I started out incredibly skinny, I tried to gain weight and became skinny-fat, I lost the fat, and then I finally had success building muscle more leanly and became more muscular. That has me starting as an ectomorph, becoming an ectomorph/endomorph, then becoming a mesomorph? Things can get weird that way.

      Sounds like you’re a naturally thin guy who struggles to build muscle though, and that’s the type of guy we’re writing to. We call them ectomorphs, but it’s an imperfect term.

      As for what to do when you’re tired of being skinny and a tiny bit chubby, we just just published an article on that 🙂

  72. Classified on April 21, 2015 at 3:50 am

    What a grand display of superficial bull@#$!!!
    Particularly these two quotes:

    1-“as men sometimes we tend to think attractiveness matters less than it actually does.”

    2-“It’s not about women being shallow and judging you just based on how hot you are, it’s about women being extremely perceptive and using your physique to give them clues about your genes, your lifestyle and your character. Will you make a good breeding partner? A good husband? A good father?”

    Physique has ZERO to do with a man’s personal value or living up to the role of “husband” or “father”. The all-to common hunt for a muscle-@#$% guy is purely superficial and ALWAYS about the woman’s shallowness and showing off to her fake-ass friends. Seriously… No other reason.

    The “ideal” masculine form is a society-created poison. Unfortunately, it goes back a long way, and is very damaging to many people’s perception of themselves, others and what is ACTUALLY IMPORTANT in life! Plus, it certainly helps roll in the money to all the gyms and energy drink companies, doesn’t it??? All just a big deception, masked as something meaningful.

    What better way of making people feel inferior than to convince them that they were born with universally unattractive bodies? Did any of you idiots know that there are actually men and women who find MUSCLES ugly and unappealing? Wow! So much for universal viewpoints. Did you also know that there are great friends, lovers, husbands and fathers who aren’t muscular? Yeah. Some of them are skinny, fat, even short too. And can you imagine… Many of them take care of themselves and are actually healthy. Oh boy!

    Let’s get real: This post was made by shallow, talentless men who have been bought by a dumb perspective. They have no value or self esteem, and they and compensate by being (or trying to be) BIG! …Absolute @#$%!

    • Michael Dunn on April 21, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      Tell us how you really feel… LOL!!!

    • Shane Duquette on April 23, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      Hey Classified,

      For the sake of anyone else reading, I agree that men can be wonderful fathers and husbands without being healthy, fit and/or muscular. I never meant to imply otherwise.

      However, I disagree with most of the rest of your argument. I don’t think it’s shallow to look for clues to someone’s character and wellbeing in their appearance. There are limits to this of course, and I’m not recommending looking down on those that don’t look like fitness models—far from it—just that being a fit and healthy dude says many good things about a guy, and that others will take notice of that 🙂

      (Note: I edited out one slur in your comment that I found to be mysoginistic.)

    • Gog on September 24, 2016 at 11:52 pm

      Classified you are full of hatred and selfishness. Don’t dare to talk to Shane like that. You can disagree but you don’t have to swear and before you swear at me remember that it’s not helping you at all.

  73. Hassan TQ on May 28, 2015 at 2:55 am

    This is the best Article I have read about male aesthetics. Fully detailed and help us guys set realistic and easy to maintain aesthetics goals.

    If you add an ideal greek body proportions calculator which inline with your STRONG catagory. Also, emphasis on the danger/unnecessity of steroids use when attracting opposite sex is the goal.

    Thanks you so much

    • Shane Duquette on May 29, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Really glad you dug it, Hassan!

      That’s a cool idea about adding an automatic calculator. I’m going to talk with Jared about that—I think everyone would really like that 🙂

      I can certainly say that steroids aren’t necessary. As far as the dangers of steroids go… I really wouldn’t want to go outside of my realm of expertise. I really have no idea what the dangers of steroids are, I’ve never tried them, I’ve never even really done much research into them. I know they’re relatively common in strength sports and bodybuilding, but this isn’t really the steroid savvy kind of site, so people interested in that kind of thing are best getting that info from people who know more about them.

      (We do have a urologist in the program though—a doctor who specializes in male hormones—and he’s one of the most active and helpful guys in the community. We don’t much talk about artificially boosting testosterone though, just wholesome ways of getting it into a nice healthy natural range.)

  74. That Guy on June 7, 2015 at 12:36 am

    I have a question about body symmetry. What about crooked abs? Is there any way to fix them or is it completely up to genetics? Also, is 6-pack vs 8-pack abs also genetics or is it dependent on diet and workout?
    Thanks in advance for all the help!

    • Shane Duquette on June 7, 2015 at 9:55 am

      You can change the size (and thus to a certain extent the shape) of your abs and you can remove the fat covering them, but you can’t make them grow more numerous or switch location.

  75. Fero on June 30, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Heterosexist much?
    The bodybuilding world is filled with homosexual and bisexual bodybuilders , why are they constantly invisibilized?

    • Michael Dunn on June 30, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      Invisibilized? That’s a new one… Most men prefer women. Most men wish to be desired by women. Someone who caters to this fact, is not a ‘heterosexist’. They are just catering to the largest market. Don’t be so easily offended. The information on this site was acquired from asking women what they prefer in men as far as body types go. I don’t think there is much data to support what a man desires in another man. Though it may be similar to what a woman wants in a man. Quit looking for things to be offended by. Just live your life.

      Michael Dunn

      • Fero on June 30, 2015 at 12:33 pm

        How about male bodybuilders who wish to be desired by men and female bodybuilders who wish to be desired by women? Wouldn’t that make your article richer and inclusive?

        Come on, we are talking about bodybuilding, at least 60% of them are homosexual and bisexual. The whole industry explicitly caters to gay males and survives thanks to them.


        • Manfred on June 30, 2015 at 12:43 pm

          If the industry survives thanks to homosexual and bisexual people, how are they “invisibilized”? And right now I recall Bob Paris from back in the day, gay bodybuilder, we all loved and admired the guy. Shut up about invisibility and stop trying raise hate.

          • Michael Dunn on June 30, 2015 at 1:51 pm

            Dear Troll,

            That is what you’ve become here. I recognize that. First off, I am a mere ‘commenter’ on this site. I do not own this site, I did not publish any of this information. This site is for lanky, skinny, ectomorph men. Not body builders. Sure, building muscle is technically considered bodybuilding. You are referring to a ‘pro bodybuilder’. People who have zero use for this site or the information that in contains.

            You said, “…stop trying to raise hate”? Are you serious man? For real? Hate? No one said, “down with homos!!!” “No one said, “We hate ___!!!” No one said, “Gays are less than human!!!” No one.

            THAT, would be trying to raise hate. Like I said before, stop looking for things to be offended by and live your life. Live it how you please.

            Have a nice day,

            Michael Dunn

          • Shane Duquette on July 2, 2015 at 2:21 pm

            Hehe yeah, it seems like I’ve successfully been trolled. Whoops 😛

            I think I need to read a little more Alan Aragon to better learn how to troll trolls.

            Thanks Michael. I appreciate the support, and you’re spot on with the subject and intention of this post. Comments like yours remind us about that, and inspire us to keep putting out good stuff 🙂

          • Michael Dunn on June 30, 2015 at 1:53 pm

            I just realized that I misread the two posts above my last post. I don’t know if I can edit it. I realize now that Manfred commented to Fero. Please disregard the last portion of my above comment.

          • Manfred on June 30, 2015 at 2:34 pm

            No problem Michael Dunn, shit happens haha.

          • Shane Duquette on July 2, 2015 at 2:27 pm

            Ah no way! Bob Paris is awesome. Great example 🙂

            Thanks for the kind words, Manfred. I really appreciate the support. And you’re exactly right. We need to respect the reason that you guys are here. We’ll get back to talking about ectomorph aesthetics. On that note, because of how well this article has been received, last week we recorded a podcast on it, and we’re about to buff up this article with some sweet new content.

            Talking about the most attractive BMI, some cool info on how the weight you list on an online dating website affects how many responses you get, more specifics on ideal proportions, etc.

            We’re determined to make this article the best on the web on this topic 🙂

    • Manfred on June 30, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      I can’t believe this. Not everything has to be pro-gay you know? We all have to be tolerant but not necesarily pro-gay. And that means you have to be tolerant too to us heterosexuals. If you don’t like the site because it doesn’t cover your interests keep surfing, you will eventually find something of your liking, meanwhile show some respect and let us talk about our matters.

    • Shane Duquette on June 30, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      Hey Fero,

      It was never my intention to exclude anyone when writing, and I’m sorry that I did that to you. I hope there are some things here that you found interesting, but I know that there may not have been. As a skinny guy trying to do research in a world where most research is conducted in the interest of helping overweight people, I know how frustrating it can be to search and search for something relevant only to realize that it doesn’t even exist.

      A lot of our passion was born from trying to solve our problems for ourselves, and then discovering that we could help other people struggling with the same thing. That’s why we created this program. To help the very small percentage of skinny / ectomorph / hardgainer guys who want to build muscle that we noticed weren’t being served by the mainstream.

      I never meant to make other people feel frustrated at being excluded though. And I know that this isn’t everything for everyone. Very far from it. A lot of people are excluded in this article. 50% of the population is female, but we’re only writing to the 50% who are men. According to a quick Wikipedia search, only 5% of the world speaks English as a first language, but this article is written in English. 97% of the population isn’t trying to bulk up, but we’re only writing to the 3% who are naturally skinny (Centre for Disease Control). According to Statistics Canada, just 0.8% of couples here in Canada are same-sex (data), but we wrote this article for the 98.2% of couples who are heterosexual (and did try to be upfront about that, since same-sex attraction is so so different, it’s not covered in a lot of the studies I researched for this article). By my rough calculations, this article is for less than 0.01% of the world.

      It’s not everything for everyone. Just for the tiniest of fragments, but a fragment we try to represent as well as we possibly can. In some ways that’s good—for the 0.01% of people who are on the internet looking for us, who finally find us, and are finally being written to on a personal level, it’s amazing! But in many ways it’s bad. 99.99% of people would read this post and feel excluded. They read this and feel like you feel—like they’re being left out. Admittedly, some types of people wouldn’t care. Overweight guys already have a bajillion articles for them, so it hardly strikes a nerve.

      We’re taking steps to fix it for the people who do care, and who are underrepresented—at least where we can. I’m going to translate one of our graphics into Portuguese because a reader thought it might be helpful in Brazil. We recently developed a program for naturally skinny women who are interested in bulking up (after receiving hundreds of emails asking for it). We just got an email asking us to create some introductory informational content for guys looking to bulk up in India, since trying to build muscle as a skinny guy is so common there (and we appeared in a newspaper there last year).

      It’s not our expertise, but I think that an aesthetics post for same sex guys (who are interested in professional bodybuilding?) could be incredibly helpful to a great number of people spread out all over the world. While doing research for this post, I did stumble on a couple studies looking into same sex attraction for men. At first glance, it seems quite different from what women find attractive, and more similar to what men find attractive for themselves. A little bigger, more muscular, more lean. But I don’t want to put my foot in my mouth—I didn’t research it that thoroughly, just in passing. For all I know, that could be wrong. I remember hearing that there were lots of different categories of body types or something? Like bears and stuff? I was listening to a feminist podcast the other day and they were saying that gay men had the most thorough way of breaking down body types, and that numerous types were considered attractive in different ways for different reasons.

      I could send some studies (not the pdfs—I don’t think that’s legal—but links to abstracts) your way too, if you’d like! Would that help? And again, I’m really sorry I couldn’t be of more help. It’s a very fascinating and very important topic, just not one that I’m well versed in or that suits me personally.

    • Shane Duquette on June 30, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      Regarding your other comment, I’m not aware of any data suggesting that the majority of pro bodybuilders are gay. Do you have a reliable source for this? (I should also point out that this isn’t an article about professional bodybuilding. We only briefly touch upon it to point out that it’s not optimally attractive to women.)

      Steve Reeves, pictured in this article, was happily married until his wife’s death. Jay Cutler, also pictured here, is also married to a woman. Zyzz, perhaps the most famous modern pop culture bodybuilder, was notorious for always doing everything he possibly could to attract women right up until his own death. Arnold, perhaps the most famous bodybuilder of all time, recently got into trouble for stepping outside of his marriage with another woman. Seems like he may like women a little TOO much… 😉

      I’ve read studies showing that guys who get very into bodybuilding—professional bodybuilders and such—score higher in stereotypical masculinity, since manly men love muscle so much. Some guys love it so much that they want to spent a great deal of energy building muscle. I haven’t ever heard of this being linked with sexual orientation.

      • Fero on July 1, 2015 at 1:54 am

        Same could be said about heterosexual bodybuilders, is there any evidence the majority are heterosexual?

        If you have read articles regarding sexual orientation you will know know that most of the human population shows some degree of bisexuality.

        And when we discuss bodybuilding, there are lots of books and studies regarding the contradictory behaviour of male bodybuilders who usually identify and try to project and aggressive heterosexual identity but end up engaging in same-sex activities, let alone the fact that the nature of bodybuilding is homoerotic which very much helps sublimate homosexuality in those men who have issues with accepting their non-heterosexual sexual orientation both fans and bodybuilders themselves.

        • Fero on July 1, 2015 at 2:06 am

          By the way, sexual orientation has nothing to do with gender expression. Your average gay guy is not your stereotypical gay male. Gay guys are just like the average guy on the streets; you don’t notice them because you assume a certain behaviour about them.

          In ancient times, the stereotype about effeminacy was attributed to heterosexual men of whom it was said they spent so much time around women that they ended up acquiring feminine mannerisms because of theri obsessive love of women.

          Allan Klein wrote an interesting book about the bodybuilding subculture in which he addresses the topic of non-heterosexual orientation many bodybuilders show but try to hide with the exaggeration of masculine behaviour (hipermasculinity), offensive homophobic language, etc. If you are interested the book is called “Little Big Men”.

          • Manfred on July 1, 2015 at 8:30 am

            Fero, why if there are specialized publications regarding gay issues do you want us to turn this into a gay conversation? Down the toilet goes your argument about being “invisibilized”, since you acknowledge the existence of publications that address your interests. We are not gay, we are not gay.Can you respect that? It used to be fun and interesting every time someone posted in here because they stuck to matter of the article, now you are trying to tipify it as sexist and trying to turn it a gay conversation. Now the author has has been forced to write apologetic material explaining that this article is not directed to gays INSTEAD of addressing the topic of the article which is Ectomorph Aesthetics.

  76. Fero on July 1, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Conversations don’t have sexual orientation; people have a sexual orientation. And I was simply asking why ignoring gay people in general, especially when it comes to things related to bodybuilding.

    When it comes to the article, I find it very laughable. For example, it says that the more feminine woman is the more she is attracted to masculine men, is the aney evidence of that? There is evidence, however, that heterosexual women prefer non-stereotypical masculine heterosexual men because what the West defines as masculine (cultural construction, by the way) is heavily related to aggressiveness. Most women, almost by instinct, prefer less aggressive men because, to them, a less masculine man may be a better father, more protective and caring than a stereotypical masculine heterosexual man who usally shows signs of authoritarianism among other undesirable traits that end up causing trouble to their children.

    Generally, men who are overpreocupied with masculinity and start giving rules and norms about it are the ones who feel they are not masculine enough. If you look at it from other perspective, it is very much connected to a homoerotic desire with masculinity.

    • Shane Duquette on July 1, 2015 at 11:40 am

      Fero, if you’re looking for hatred here you won’t find it.

      Yes, there’s evidence of more feminine women liking more masculine men. There are links to the studies right there after the statement. You’re welcome to read them and come to your own conclusions.

      I never made any mention of gay or heterosexual men being more or less masculine. Rather, I mentioned that some studies have found that bodybuilders tend to be more masculine, which is perhaps why they’re interested in building muscle more than the average guy.

      I have no idea about professional bodybuilders’ sexual orientations. It’s really not my business, but even if it were, I wouldn’t really care one way or the other. Professional bodybuilding is not my area of expertise, it’s not one of my personal interests, and a guy’s sexual orientation really doesn’t affect me (or my opinion of them).

      Mostly though, we’ve wandered way off topic here. This isn’t an article about professional bodybuilding or sexual orientation. Both are topics that could be very interesting to discuss, but they’re not relevant here.

      • Fero on July 1, 2015 at 4:42 pm

        Women prefer gentle men; not stereotypical masculine heterosexual men. Women will usually look at the stereotypical masculine men for sex but not to form family. In this sense and, just like bodybuilding exploits men, they see them as objects for their sexual needs but not so much for serious purpuses in their lives. Wonder why so many bodybuilders are alone?

        It s not that bodybuilders tend to be more masculine; it is that most bodybuilders, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, usually feel they are not masculine enough and engage in bodybuilding (among other reasons) to create the image of masculinity they feel they lack, a feeling of inadequacy to things deemed masculine, but as Allan Klein wrote in his book about the bodybuilding subculture, the masculinity they crave is very much visual, they still retain their insecurities in their minds.

        That is the reason why bodybuilders are overpreocupied with things our culture defines as masculine. That is also why bodybuilding tends to attract the closeted homosexual guy who is uncapable of accepting his sexual orientation. He thinks that by building a muscular body he will cause people not to think he is homosexual. This is also why bodybuilders are known for being homphobic and, as many might already know, homophobia tends to be linked to repressed homosexuality.

        • Shane Duquette on July 2, 2015 at 2:11 pm

          You’re right that a pro bodybuilder physique wouldn’t optimally attract most women, but a “gentle” looking man wouldn’t be optimally attractive either, depending on what exactly you mean by gentle. Looking at the research (linked to in the article), it seems that somewhere in the middle is best. Looking remarkably fit, healthy and strong, rather than weak or steroid-y.

          Again, we’re totally on the same page that women don’t find pro bodybuilders optimally attractive. Regarding the other stuff, you’re talking about the work of Alan Klein, who did research on guys with body dysmorphia disorder who were trying to become Mr. Olympia. He said they were not only buying a cornucopia of prohibitively expensive illegal drugs in order to accomplish that, but that the poorer ones (and only the poorer ones) were also engaging in illegal activities (e.g. prostitution) to be able to afford those drugs. He’s talking exclusively about professional competitive bodybuilders. This was also taking place in a time where bodybuilding was considered a “deviant” sport. Where guys like Arnold weren’t movie stars, but rather seen as narcissistic social outcasts. Klein also mentions that even at the time of his research (60’s—80’s) the opinions towards the sport of professional competitive bodybuilding were already changing.

          If you look at guys who use steroids in more recent studies they seem to be doing just fine in terms of confidence, not just compared to non-using weightlifters, but also compared to athletes and non-lifters. The 2014 study linked there goes over all the previous research done into this, and they found that weightlifting and muscularity—steroids or not—was linked to improved confidence, self-esteem, and “positive feelings.” Klein predicted this, so I doubt it’s even a surprise to him.

          Anyway, we’re off topic again. Thankfully, I really don’t see how it in any way applies to the skinny (or average) dude who lifts weights to be bigger, healthier, stronger, and/or more attractive. It’s like comparing a guy who bikes to work for his health with Lance Armstrong… if Lance Armstrong were poor and needed to rob banks to keep up with his blood doping routine.

  77. balan k nair on July 12, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Ian having a narrow shoulder. My dad too.. Can I make it bit wider and can I strighten my back? Ples help

  78. Sanat Kumar on July 16, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I am little confused about your gender….U look like a masculine female (due to gorgeous girly hairs).The narration is good but is more towards what female wants not what we want, means men like women but we want to look good in mirror than in women’s eyes (important but comes after it)…and lastly but most importantly is there any video on youtube about this including what exercises and how has to be done….nutrition…psychological stuff…

    • Shane Duquette on July 16, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      Hey Sanat,

      Some things are innately masculine and feminine. Men are on average larger, stronger, hairier, broader shouldered, less busty, etc. Looking “manly” will probably always involve a certain amount of those things. However other things are cultural. Here in Toronto men can have long hair without it being considered feminine. I remember hearing Russell Peters say that in his culture men can wear dresses and hold hands while simultaneously being very classically masculine and heterosexual. Pink used to be considered a very masculine colour. These things depend on the culture. Perhaps we’re of different ones.

      Anyway, we do briefly mention though that most guys like to be a little more muscular and a little leaner than women want us to be, but you’re right, this is a post primarily about what women find the most attractive in a man. Looking the way that you want to look in the mirror is definitely incredibly important, but you may not need an article to tell you you’re own personal preferences 😉

      Making a YouTube video about this stuff is a great idea.

      I hope that helps!

  79. wanttogetripped on August 4, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Enjoyed the information … having dabbled in this area as best as I could from the web over the years I always found it interesting that the single quickest thing I could do is lose my gut in the sense that it’s a lot easier to lose a few inches on the waist than add to the shoulders.

    (but I need to do both)

  80. Vincent on August 14, 2015 at 5:16 am

    Hey guys,

    Again, great article!
    I’m wondering if you guys have done any research on shoulder/height ratio. I’m 5ft8, currently weighing only 134lbs, and my shoulders are only 44inches in circumference. I can see that I gained some mass on my shoulders since I started (gained 16lbs from the start, I was really skinny). So I guess they must have been less than 40inches or so.

    I’m really striving for the golden ratio but I don’t see my shoulders getting 49inches ever. Is this because of my height? Or are my shoulders just genetically verry narrow?

    You think lateral raises would help? I’m doing them twice a week for the last few months. Or is the gain in circumference more a thing of thickness (back, chest, front delts…)?


    • Shane Duquette on August 14, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      Hey Vincent,

      The shoulder numbers we gave were just an example for someone of that height. To figure out how you would get to the golden ratio, measure your waist and multiply that number by 1.618. And yep—lateral raises are great for making your shoulders wider 🙂

      I hope that helps, and good luck!

  81. Jane on September 10, 2015 at 1:35 am

    Female here. I both tend towards the masculine (thus according to theory would prefer a more feminine man) yet also consider myself very attractive (thus according to theory should prefer a more masculine man). Sexuality is interesting. I was thinking as I walked down the street after reading this article that these are very biologically/evolutionarily logical arguments; yet largely ignore psychological aspects of sexuality and attraction, which not only play a large part in evolved humans’ sexual identity and preferences but also contributes to the wide, wide variety that we see in modern human sexuality as opposed to our ancestors, who did not make love but procreate (likely in a fairly predictable manner).

    • Shane Duquette on September 10, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Hey Jane, thank you for your thoughts 🙂

      These are all generalizations, and not necessarily generalizations that we believe in, but rather generalizations that have been discovered by studies. There are certainly exceptions to everything.

      I don’t think this article ignores human psychology, which is one of our favourite research topics. I’m always game to try and learn more and improve this article though. What do you mean by that exactly?

  82. […] are targeted at the average guy. The average guy is overweight and looking to get leaner. Being muscular is considered very attractive these days, so perhaps he’s also looking to build muscle while he’s at it. This is what the vast […]

  83. Charlie on December 1, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Great site and info. Only but is that the GK guy before and after shots look very fake. Notice the differences in the freckles on the torso. Can you comment on that? Do you verify these shots?


    • Shane Duquette on December 1, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      Thanks, Charlie. Glad you dig it 🙂

      We’ve had a couple guys say that about that particular photo. He’s facing the other way and flipped the photo around so he was facing the same way in both photos. In the un-cropped version it’s very obvious because you can see that the bathroom he’s in is flipped around too. Maybe I should flip the photo on the right so that people can tell it’s the other side of his body.

      We saw the transformation unfolding in real time. We recommend that our members weigh themselves every week, take measurements and progress photos every 5 weeks. GK checked in every 5 weeks with his progress photos. (And his thread is still up in the community for all members to see.) They’re real.

      • Charlie on December 1, 2015 at 9:34 pm

        Thanks Shane. Any article on the jointo of ectomorphs and how they suffer, also squats and heavy lifting after 35 yo? C

        • Shane Duquette on December 3, 2015 at 4:42 pm

          Most powerlifters and guys who are really into heavy strength training will suffer from some joint pain, just like someone who’s really into football may struggle with concussions. There’s definitely a risk:reward ratio there, but some guys really love these higher risk sports. CrossFit is one of the most popular styles of lifting these days despite it being one of the most dangerous things you can do in the gym.

          So it all depends on your goals. It’s definitely possible to lift to improve how you feel, and certainly the goal of our program is to have guys coming out with better posture, better health, less chronic pain, less risk of developing chronic pain, etc. But we don’t take an extreme sport sort of approach to it.

          Can you squat and deadlift heavy at older ages? Absolutely! But you may want to limit the number of extremely heavy sets you do per week, or even per month. You also might want to introduce lots of variety, alternate between front and back squats, stay a rep or two away from failure most times, use different stance widths, alternate between conventional and sumo deadlifts, be smart with your assistance lifts, make sure that you’re recovering enough between workouts, introduce deload weeks every several weeks, etc.

          If you’re lifting to look and feel good (as opposed to lifting as a competitive sport) then you can aim do this in a way that gives you a good chance of happily lifting in your 80’s 🙂

  84. Zec on January 26, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Nice article and somewhat surprising. I guess thick and strong build (=me) isn’t the optimal according to female opinions but it surely gains me respect among other men strength-wise 🙂

    Btw Shane, I’m so jealous of your “natural” shoulder-waist ratio. I’m pretty muscular guy but it is really hard for me to build up shoulders even though I’ve been concentrating on them more and more. My chest circumference is about 44 inches but my shoulder circumference is only 49 (while waist being about 35,5 and my weight 225). It’s funny how your shoulder width is almost the same even though you are much lighter in the “measuring picture” of this article.

    • Shane Duquette on January 29, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      Hey Zec, glad you liked the article!

      Keep in mind that all of these fit and strong physiques are considered extremely attractive. I’m sure you’ll have no problem earning the respect of men or the desire of women because you’re a little thicker and stronger 🙂

      Ahaha yeah all my bones are long and thin. Fortunately, that includes my clavicles, extending my shoulders out a little wider.

  85. Chad on February 18, 2016 at 1:35 am

    Shane. You are long overdue for some progress pics and stats. Now that you are 190+ of lean muscle, what are your measurements and lifts? Your body seems very well proportioned for an ecto. Great gains.

    • Shane Duquette on February 18, 2016 at 10:08 am

      Hey Chad, thanks for the compliment, man!

      Ahaha I don’t post progress pics anymore because I’m not transforming anymore! I know that guys who get into this stuff oftentimes keep trying to get bigger, stronger, leaner… but I’m actually pretty stoked with what I’ve already done! I’ve never been that interested in competing in powerlifting or bodybuilding competitions or anything. I’m not a really sporty guy either. I’m the nerdy designer dude who likes to chill on the couch drawing, playing video games with my girlfriend, or hanging out in online forums with you guys.

      My body used to be a source of grief. Something I felt uncomfortable in. Something that I was desperate to change. That’s no longer the case. Now it does everything I want it to better than I ever thought it could. I got a fitness (V02 max) and body composition (DEXA) analysis and was in the ideal brackets for absolutely everything—cardiovascular fitness (very healthy), bone density (very high), body fat percentage (10.9%, which is 0.1% above the minimal recommended amount for general health), symmetry, body fat distribution, muscle distribution, etc. My girlfriend seems to love how I look too, and she comes to the gym with me, Jared and his wife.

      So you may not see many transformations coming from me. My goal these days is to help as many other people feel as comfortable in their bodies as I do.

      I do want to deadlift 405 and bench 315 though at this bodyweight. You may see those lifts posted on YouTube soon 😀

  86. AbdulRahman on March 14, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Shane Duquette
    I am really glad to come and visit your page. I was looking someone to help me build my physique. I am ectomorph and my weight is about 52Kg and 180cm height i look so skinny. this year I want to change and get weight of almost 20kg please give me your advise and what to do to transform my body from bony to beast.

    • Shane Duquette on March 14, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      Hey Abdul, glad you like the site! Every article will give you free tips and tricks that will help you build muscle, and if you’d like a full 5-month workout routine, everything you need to know about nutrition, instructional videos teaching all the lifts, a yearlong membership in the community, and coaching from us along the way, check out the Bony to Beastly Program. I hope that helps, and I hope you decide to join us!

  87. […] years ago we published an article called Ectomorph Aesthetics that covered everything you could possibly want to know about the most attractive male physique. […]

  88. Yeahsure on April 13, 2016 at 8:33 am

    A swath of tough guy bias peppered with occasional facts.
    Useless unless you’re already in that mind set and need egging on.
    Think of those who aren’t trying to compete but just be healthy.
    Thanks awfully.

    • Shane Duquette on April 14, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      Strongly disagree. Given that attractiveness and health are so closely related, training and eating for attractiveness is a fantastic way to improve your health (so long as you go about it in a healthy way). Attractiveness is in many ways conspicuous health.

      • GG on September 26, 2017 at 4:01 pm

        “Attractiveness is in many ways conspicuous health.”


        Gonna steal that.

  89. m on April 28, 2016 at 4:51 am

    Women are willing to trade an unattractive physique for status. High status is what women are looking for. Sexism or not doesn’t matter. You can not reform biology, sorry to tell you that.

    So, yes, you still can get away with quite something.

    • Shane Duquette on April 28, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      Sexism matters. It’s important not to be a misogynist. But the truth also matters, and it’s important not to twist science around just for the sake of being politically correct. Research—especially modern research in Western countries—is showing that what you’re claiming is not in fact the case though.

  90. […] our Ectomorph Aesthetics article we talk about the most attractive shoulder to waist ratio. That has to do with how broad […]

  91. Muscle-Building Supplements You Shouldn’t Be Skipping – Healthy Body 27 on June 13, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    […] are targeted at the average guy. The average guy is overweight and looking to get leaner. Being muscular is considered very attractive these days, so perhaps he’s also looking to build muscle while he’s at it. This is what the vast majority […]

  92. Ruselv on July 17, 2016 at 5:42 am

    I would like to mention something that is usually ignored. The muscular body as the ideal for men is a homosexual concept that Greek men created in ancient Greece when homosexuality was looked up to and even thought as higher than attraction to the opposite sex. The admiration of a muscular body was seen as both an athletic endevour most men had to engage in and as a symbol of male eroticism. Masculinity was linked to homosexuality and attraction to men was seen as the supreme expression of masculinity. Because of this it was common for homosexual and bisexual men to form strong brotherhoods that encouraged them to build their bodies and share concepts of masculinity. Being men attracted to men it is easier to find a partner that will share the same interest in physicality.

    • Shane Duquette on July 17, 2016 at 12:57 pm

      That could very well be true, and the most muscular bodies nowadays still appeal more to gay men than to women. However, this article is based on studies looking into what women find the most attractive in men nowadays.

      (To become too muscular for a woman’s preference most guys would need to use steroids. This is especially true for ectomorphs, who can usually get right up near their genetic potential before becoming “too big.”)

  93. […] few weeks ago we got an email from a Beastly member, Nick, saying that he had referenced our Ectomorph Aesthetics article on his site. He thought that it perfectly described the physique that women find the most […]

  94. Gog on August 16, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Shane could you please draw a mass monster bodybuilder? That would be amazing!!!! You’re very good at drawing.

    • Shane Duquette on August 17, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      I think I can, yeah 🙂

      • Gog on August 18, 2016 at 7:37 pm

        A Phil Heath look? You rock!!!! Plus, how to tell the difference between fit,strong, and jacked? When I look at people I just can’t tell the difference.

        • Shane Duquette on August 22, 2016 at 4:28 pm

          How good you are at estimating a guy’s muscle mass will depend on how experienced you are with this type of stuff. You’ll get better at seeing the distinctions over time.

          Keep in mind, though, that these are generalizations. If you can’t tell if someone is more strong or more jacked, maybe they’re in the middle. Or maybe a mix. A David Beckham type of guy might have strong legs and a fit upper body whereas an MMA guy might have fit legs and a strong upper body.

  95. Gog on August 23, 2016 at 12:07 am

    I don’t like disproportionate physiques. I mean all I know is you would be considered strong had you been below 10% fat but I want to be able to figure out once I look at it.

    • Shane Duquette on August 23, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      You don’t need to be under 10% body fat to look strong. Anything under around 15% is pretty ideal, actually!

      • Gog on August 27, 2016 at 9:44 pm

        If you look closely my question was what’s the difference between fit,strong or jacked? But my definition of strong is below 10% body fat. I also need help on how to gain weight. I’m 7’2 and 170 pounds. And I want to become jacked like Lazar Angelov; please help me!!!!!!!!!!!!

  96. Gog on September 5, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Hi Shane, sorry if I’m bothering you(I have a lot of questions). Does strong mean a Rob Riches body; in the sense dose it mean lean fitness model?

    • Shane Duquette on September 6, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      You could think of it this way. If he’s a professional fitness model or bodybuilder or powerlifter then he’s probably jacked (including Rob Riches). If he’s an NFL quarterback or actor who women find attractive then he’s probably strong (think Daniel Craig, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, etc—not Schwarzenegger and Dwayne Johnson).

      • Gog on September 7, 2016 at 6:23 pm

        Thanks for answering you are the best! I’m 7’2 170 lbs and i am a promising athlete and want an athletic body but should I be fit,strong, or jacked? You are the true best!

        • Shane Duquette on September 8, 2016 at 1:45 pm

          Maybe start by trying to bring your BMI up closer to 23 and then go from there. Unless, of course, the athletics you want to pursue favour a different body type.

          • Gog on September 9, 2016 at 8:45 am

            I’m mostly into soccer so which body type would that favor? I want to also be aesthetically pleasing too.

          • Shane Duquette on September 9, 2016 at 10:26 am

            That would be a “fit” body. And those are aesthetically pleasing, too. You’d be looking like David Beckham.

          • Gog on September 10, 2016 at 11:06 pm

            I want more of a Cristiano Ronaldo body what body type would that be? I want abs but David Beckham doesn’t have abs.

          • Shane Duquette on September 12, 2016 at 10:15 am

            Ah, nice! He’s more of the strong body type.

          • Gog on September 13, 2016 at 7:11 pm

            So he pops in the strong category. If Cristiano Ronaldo is not the “fit” body type, then I don’t need to become like him. Do you know of any “fit” guy that has abs. That’s my goal physique.

  97. Gog on September 21, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Is fit an attractive body type like Marlon Teixeira? I want to have the strength and endurance for soccer but also get attraction from women.

    • Shane Duquette on September 21, 2016 at 8:36 pm

      That’s a great example, yeah 🙂

      • Gog on September 23, 2016 at 4:10 pm

        So I have created a sort of scale to differentiate fit, strong, jacked. A BMI that is below 20 is skinny
        FIT:20 to 23.7
        STEROIDS:30.6 and more

        • Shane Duquette on September 23, 2016 at 8:39 pm

          That’s awesome! I love it.

          These terms are subjective, but if got to pop in my 2 cents, I would say:

          FIT: 20–22
          STRONG: 22–25
          JACKED: 25+ (including the steroid-y look)

          My reasoning is that 20 and above wouldn’t look at all underweight (assuming good body composition). Then about 23 is considered the height of attractiveness, which is what we used the word “strong” to describe. That “strong” natural and athletic look doesn’t fall off until past 25, when the guy might start to get described as “bulky.” So this slight adjustment to your scale would align a little better with the research that we meant to communicate.

          Worth noting that a guy could be at a BMI of 23 and not look strong because more of his mass is fat, less is muscle. But at a good body composition, this should ring true.

          • Gog on September 24, 2016 at 10:34 am

            Thank you so much I’ve been looking up these fitness model and saying, “How are these fitness models fit?” You have helped me so much!

          • Gog on September 24, 2016 at 12:05 pm

            According to you, you say that Brad Pitt in Fight Club is extremely attractive. However his BMI in fight club was 21.6 so he was fit. Am I correct?

          • Shane Duquette on September 24, 2016 at 7:33 pm

            Yes, and with a very particular look. Smaller in the legs, bigger in the shoulder girdle. Sort of a strong/fit blend, but yeah, I’d say that’s a good example of someone with a “fit” BMI overall.

          • Gog on September 24, 2016 at 10:44 pm

            But I don’t like this idea about a mix between fit and strong. I think everyone should pop into a category. So Brad Pitt in “Fight Club” was fit. For soccer you say that “fit” is the ideal body type for soccer but also attraction from women. I also want to state that “fit” is the most attractive physique to women. All of them prefer “fit” and say that “strong” is way too muscular and that they don’t like how “strong” guy’s abs pop out and prefer a flat stomach with abs which is “fit”. To women “jacked” is absolutely terrifying and disgusting. I really like your articles and your patience with haters. I’m a huge fan of you!

  98. Gog on September 25, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    I don’t like this idea about a mix between body types everyone should pop into one. I’ve asked women and they say that “fit” is the most attractive body type rather than “strong”. Brad Pitt in “Fight Club” was “fit” and women find it most attractive with Marlon Teixeira. This is not hatred simply just helpful advise. I’m a huge fan of you!

    • Shane Duquette on September 26, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      I’m not saying you should like it, I’m just saying that people don’t fit neatly into categories.

    • Shane Duquette on September 26, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      (Marlon Teixeira is a good example of someone who fits neatly into the fit category, though. A way better example than Brad Pitt in Fight Club.)

      • Gog on September 26, 2016 at 9:16 pm

        Brad Pitt in “Fight Club” is totally fit except from the angle it looks like his biceps and shoulders are big. I think he is totally “fit”. Marlon Teixeira too. Everyone fits neatly in categories. As I think you may think differently.

  99. Bony to Beastly—How Big Should Your Legs Be? on September 27, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    […] If you want to know all about aesthetics, we’ve got an in-depth article on it here. […]

  100. Gog on September 30, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Is Men’s Health fit, strong, or jacked
    Is Cosmopolitan fit,strong, or jacked?

    • Shane Duquette on September 30, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      That image was showing Cosmopolitan being fit, Men’s Health being strong, Men’s Fitness being jacked.

      • Gog on October 1, 2016 at 8:46 am

        Ah! I see. It wrote 175 lbs next to the Cosmopolitan which meant it would be strong. Men’s Health would be jacked according to BMI.

        • Shane Duquette on October 1, 2016 at 11:46 am

          The article could probably use an update with the newer BMI research.

          • Gog on October 1, 2016 at 5:43 pm

            Good observation skills! This article should be updated with the new research.

  101. Gog on October 16, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    Is Aljamain Sterling fit,strong, or jacked?

    • Shane Duquette on October 17, 2016 at 10:57 am

      Hard to say. Aljamain Sterling Looks to be on the strong to me, although on the lighter side because of his very low body fat percentage.

      • Gog on October 17, 2016 at 6:32 pm

        His BMI looks fit to me but he might be strong.

  102. Henderson on December 31, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Hi Shane,

    For the waist, is it the waist at the narrowist (typically the naval, above the handles)) or at the widest (typically around the handles) and then we just divide the shoulders by that to get the ‘aesthetics# value?

    • Shane Duquette on December 31, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      The waist is measured at the narrowest point, shoulders at the broadest point.

  103. […] Then, I learned about it from an evolutionary biology perspective. Studies show women are genetically wired to like more muscular men without even consciously thinking about it. This is because it signals fitness, health, ability to protect, and fertility. You shouldn’t be mad about it. It’s just a response that helped their ancestors protect their offspring and survive. (More on that here.) […]

  104. Will on March 26, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Hi Shane, the section of the article on looks not being superficial and women looking for signals that are hard to fake reveal that you have a fairly thorough understanding of the science of female attraction. I’m really impressed. I’m going to share this article with all my followers; it’s great.

    • Shane Duquette on March 27, 2017 at 10:20 am

      Thank you so much, Will!

      I think we’ve got a similar way of researching in a lot of ways 🙂

  105. […] there are many other areas that you can control in terms of your physique. You can check out our Ectomorph Aesthetics and our follow-up article Ectomorphs Aesthetics #2 that has more of the […]

  106. Bony to Beastly—The Skinny on Clothing & Style on August 10, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    […] Keep in mind that both the balanced and top heavy guys are comparably strong, it’s just one will be able to squat more, the other will be able to press more overhead. The point isn’t that you should build a physique that only appears to be strong, but rather that you should build a physique that gets you both form and function. (Here’s our article on building the most attractive physique.) […]

  107. GG on September 26, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    GREAT article. Every guy should read this.

    I can tell you from experience. I am “only” 5’10”, but I worked my way up to a lean 190-195 lbs. I am an ecto with naturally wide shoulders and narrow, so I had that going for me. But by adding muscle mainly to my delts and lats, my physique is what people mostly talk about now when they see me. I have had way better luck with women since getting past 180 lbs. Way better. I am in a committed relationship now, but I hear constant reports still about women commenting on my body to my friends. My girlfriend is way prettier than I deserve and she is often staring down girls who steal glances at me. Meanwhile all her girl friends have remarked about how lucky she is to get to sleep with me. Gay men gawk and guys make room for me as I walk down the street (not kidding). Friends and strangers alike tell me I look like a superhero 🙂

    I like to powerlift so I am always on the cusp of being “too bulky”. I look at the illustrations and numbers here and cringe a bit; I know my lifting goals will push me past the ideal. But my monkey arms make me great deadlifter and crappy bencher, so luckily even when I start to get more muscle beyond the ideal, it’s in my butt and thighs. I don’t really have to worry about my chest and arms getting too big.

    I’m not bragging (I do wish I were prettier and taller), but what this article says is spot on. Studies show that the most important physical feature to hetero women is a V-Taper. And I know that is the thing people are reacting to when they look at me. So bulk up those delts and lats, and keep that waist trim.

    Thanks for putting this together, guys!

    • Shane Duquette on September 30, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      Glad you dug it, GG, and thank you for your sharing your experiences with this. I know it sounds like bragging, but I mean… given the topic of the article… it’s fully relevant here. So we appreciate it 🙂

      Also, props for bulking up so successfully! That’s awesome!

  108. GG on September 26, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Whoa. I just read through a few replies in this thread. A lot of bitterness and butt-hurt and nitpicking going on. I know objective truth about how unattractive one currently is can be hard to deal with. But there as far as attraction, height, shoulder-to-hip ratio, access to resources, and facial symmetry are important. Just because you don’t have these things and don’t want that to be true doesn’t make it any less true. At least for guys, there is something you can do about. At least one study determined that shoulder-to-hip ration is THE greatest factor in how immediately physically attractive a woman will find a man. And that’s something that can be improved with some simple effort and willpower.

    Everyone is trying to find the exceptions or making accusations of shallowness. That’s the typical unattractive person response. Men who have had lots of sexual success with lots of different partners know that their looks, height, and build are what made it possible.

    • Shane Duquette on September 30, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      I don’t think that’s the typical unattractive person’s response, per se, but rather the response of someone with the “fixed” mindset, as they say. The person who says “I’m skinny, and that’s that.”

      I think it’s more helpful to have the “growth” mindset, where instead you say “I’m skinny, but I can change that.”

      However, the people who see their problems as permanent and give up, well, that’s unattractive. What woman wants to be with a guy who will never become better? So, yeah, that’s the response of the unattractive guy because even that mindset is unattractive.

      I’d go so far as to say that the too-skinny guy who tells his date, “I’m skinny now, but I gained 5 pounds last month, and I’ll gain another 5 pounds next month. Just you wait!” will be rated more attractive than the awesomely fit guy who says, “Eh, I used to play a lot of sports. You should have seen me last year. I was twice as fit! Now I’m too busy for that, though.”

      The first guy is starting low, yes, but has an upward trajectory. The second guy started high, yes, but he has a downward trajectory.

  109. Stede on October 3, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    I think this was an elegant research. Aggressive traits must be balanced out by non-aggressive traits. I have a feeling more masculine traits in men will be preferred by gay men, just like straight men will prefer the most feminine traits in women, without compromise. I think women are more willing to accept flaws if other factors like gentleness are part of the equation

    • Shane Duquette on October 20, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      That’s a fascinating hypothesis, and eloquently stated, too. Thank you, Stede 🙂

  110. Will on January 31, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    I would just like some help with the proper hip measurement technique from the “Bone Breadth” video. I tried to post a comment on that article, but for some reason, I lost access to the site itself when I did. I just want to know, for the hip measurement, whether the measurement is taken from the top of the iliac bone itself, or from the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS), the bony protuberances between the iliac bone and the pubic bone. Look forward to hearing from you.

  111. MB on March 30, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    Hello Shane,

    What is the most determining factor to know if you are fit, strong or jacked? Is it a certain BMI assuming a low body fat 8-15%? Is it an specific range of measurements? for example 14-15″ biceps 32″ waist 52″ inch shoulders <— because I guess that may vary depending on wrist size too I guess? I ask this because I'm about 5'10" and have 6" inch wrists.

    About this image | What do you mean by Strong + would it be someone with lets say 15.75" inch biceps instead of 14.5"?

    Just wondering what is your hip and thigh measurement?



    • Shane Duquette on April 3, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Hey MB, good question. With a body fat percentage of 10–12%, I’d say “strong” is somewhere between a BMI of 23–25.

      Biceps measurements aren’t the most reliable, as they don’t have the biggest impact on your overall shape. Having a shoulder circumference that’s at least 1.618 times the size of your waist circumference would be better than biceps, and is incredibly important for aesthetics, but I think body fat percentage and BMI might be better for classifying the “strong” body type.

      This varies, mind you, and I don’t want to make it sound more objective than it is. I think the overall idea is well supported—that being a visibly strong and healthy man will make you the most attractive, and that certain proportions look more strong and healthy than others—but when we start zooming into the specifics, we lose the ability to be precise. For example, 14-inch vs 16-inch biceps… it’s unclear if that really matters in the context of an otherwise strong and healthy looking body.

  112. Hoi Y on April 1, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    My weight and postural alignment has fluctuated up and down over 20 years and it seems my body will never be quite right. Things are hopeful in one’s teens and 20s, but then things shift in one’s 30s and 40s.

    It’s just unfair. I’m currently 5’10 1/2″ tall and 134lbs at my physical last week…tried CrossFit this summer but quit mainly due to expense, can run 10 miles but stopped lifting altogether. Total disinterest in sex. Career transition. Existential crisis perhaps if we care to take it that far…

    Any constructive thoughts?

    • Gary on April 2, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      Have you had bloodwork to check testosterone, estradiol, prolactin, etc? You may want to check out HRT/TRT? A man’s 40’s are the start of a tricky time.

      • Shane Duquette on April 3, 2018 at 12:51 pm


    • Shane Duquette on April 3, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      Hey Hoi, I’m sorry to hear about your struggles, man. That sounds rough.

      I’m not sure what you mean by your body not ever seeming quite right. I think striving to be strong, fit and healthy should help, and if you’re a naturally skinny guy, then focusing on types of exercise designed to build muscle is probably the best way to achieve that. I wouldn’t recommend fitness/competition-oriented types of exercise for that, such as CrossFit (high-intensity power training), and running won’t do much to improve your body composition either. So if you had meh results with CrossFit and running, I wouldn’t blame your genetics, I would simply switch to a type of exercise that better suits your goals.

      Here’s our article on the best types of exercise for building muscle.

      As for a lack of interest in sex, that’s a symptom of low testosterone. (Here’s an article written by a urologist.) However, that’s well outside my realm of expertise. And given the existential crisis, I’d seek the health of a mental health expert.

      I know it feels hopeless now, but with some work, you’ll get through this. Many of us have felt hopeless at some point, and we hear this from guys at all ages (with our oldest being in his 60s). I really wish you the best, and let me know if there’s anything else I can do, or any other question that I might be able to answer.

  113. Gary on April 2, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    I was sitting strong and pretty at 5’9″ – 5’10” and 90 lean kg (198 lbs) with a 200 kg (440 lbs) DEEP, beltless, high bar squat and 245 kg (539 lbs) beltless deadlift. I knew I was a little “too muscly” to be ideal for attraction, but I was still getting a lot of attention from women and respect from other men.

    But circumstances have kept me away from training for a few months and I’ve shrunk to around 170 lbs. I have always had wide shoulders and last on a skinny body so my shoulder width to waist width has always worked in my favor. But carrying less muscle has me looking even better and getting even more positive attention from women. I really wish this weren’t the case because I like being strong. But optimal attractiveness and ultimate strength and/or size are very far away from each other, just like the studies say.

    • Shane Duquette on April 3, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      Even after writing this article, my gut instinct still tells me that extra 28 pounds of muscle could only improve aesthetics. Seems crazy to think that more muscle could ever be a downside, but seems like you’ve even experienced it yourself. Huh.

      Think you’ll stay around 170? Or will you bulk up again?

      • Gary on April 4, 2018 at 9:52 pm

        Good question! The odds go down each day. I am getting older and fighting harder just to stay in place is not so appealing. So probably not.

        Muscle is like height and phallic endowment in terms of attractiveness: you can have too much of it. A man may want to be 7 feet tall, 300 lbs of muscle, with a 12-in tackle (i.e. Shaq), but most women most prefer a man at 6′-6’2″, 190-210 lbs, and with something less freakish and potentially damaging between his legs.

  114. Sean on May 25, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    After lifting heavy on average 3 times a week for nearly 10 years I only managed to gain about 10 pounds of muscle.
    I am not sure this will overcome all genetics.

    • Shane Duquette on July 10, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      Some people are true hardgainers, and it takes a lot more conscious effort for them to build muscle. However, even for them, they can still build appreciable amounts of muscle in a good timeframe. The difference is that they need to put more effort into following a good lifting program, eating a good bulking diet, and living a healthy lifestyle (including quality sleep).

      While someone with good genetics might grow wonderfully with a simple strength-training program (e.g. 5×5), the hardgainer might need that perfect blend of a variety of different exercises and rep ranges.

      While someone with good genetics might be able to “lift hard” in the gym, the hardgainer might need to lift with a specific intensity (leaving just 1 rep in the tank, say).

      And while someone with good genetics might be able to just “eat big,” the hardgainer might need to track his macronutrients using an app like MyFitnessPal, at least until he gets the hang of eating a proper bulking diet.

      The big difference seems to be that the guys with good genetics intuitively do a lot of things correctly. Perhaps they love steak, chicken, and milk, so every single meal they eat is intuitively high in protein, whereas the hardgainer needs to consciously make sure that each meal has at least 20 grams of protein in it, and that he eats 1 gram of protein per pound bodyweight per day. Or perhaps the guy with good genetics naturally gives his workouts his all, erring on the side of lifting too heavy, too often, too intensely, whereas the hardgainer is more cautious, and he doesn’t intuitively push his muscles quite enough to stimulate growth.

      Our job as coaches is to a) give guys a fully optimized plan with all of these fundamentals explained, and then b) figure out what’s holding our hardgainers back so that they can overcome the factor that’s limiting their gains.

  115. […] years ago we published an article called Ectomorph Aesthetics that covered everything you could possibly want to know about the most attractive male […]

  116. […] over time. If you only do squats, don’t be surprised when your chest doesn’t grow. To build a masculine looking physique, that will mean building a V-Shape. Broad, muscular shoulders, with a strong back and chest, and […]

  117. Chris Smith on March 31, 2019 at 12:52 am

    I’ve seen a lot of buzz about women’s attraction to “V lines” or “sex lines” referring to the lines where the obliques and lower abs meet. Seems pertinent to your article. Any thoughts on that?

    • Shane Duquette on March 31, 2019 at 11:34 am

      Sure, sure. There are lots of attractive things that people can be drawn towards. You might hear a woman comment on the vein running down your bicep or whatnot. These seem to be secondary to the main features, though, and often come bundled in with them anyway.

      For example, if you’re sufficiently strong, then your obliques will be big enough to pop out, and if you’re sufficiently lean, then there won’t be any fat hiding their lines. Same thing with a vein running down your biceps, having nice forearms, etc.

      You can take this stuff into consideration with your training, helping to emphasize them. Mind you, obliques are often properly developed with big compound lifts (assuming decent posture), so guys who are strong overall tend to have strong looking obliques. So in this case you don’t necessarily need to do anything differently: just become bigger, stronger, and leaner. (This isn’t true with your 6-pack ab muscles or the sides of your shoulders, which are also highly aesthetic, but which often need targeted training in order to pop.)

      • Chris Smith on March 31, 2019 at 7:53 pm

        Shane – I agree that the compound lifts in your program seem to encourage good V line development.

        To give some context to my comment… I’ve been a B2B member for years now and have seen great results. Over the years I’ve gotten a lot of positive comments from people. However, in the last 6 months it seems like everyone (from women in their 60s to my 15 year old’s high school buddies) comments on my V lines. Honestly I did even know what those were (thought they were talking about my back V taper) until I googled it. Maybe it’s just a fad or maybe I’ve just really been out of the loop…

        • Shane Duquette on April 8, 2019 at 4:25 pm

          Ah! I didn’t connect your name here with your username in the community… which was silly of me. “Smith” is in both of them. I’m sorry about that. In my head, everyone’s name is their community name.

          I also saw your latest photo update, man, and your obliques are crazy! Great muscle size and you’re lean, too. It looks awesome. I think that’s an example of you having a signature muscle group, you know? It’s not that obliques are the most attractive muscle in general, it’s just that you have obliques that look absolutely badass, so of course people comment on them. Sort of like a guy who has absolutely awesome biceps and gets a ton of compliments on them. It’s not that biceps are necessarily the most important muscle group for aesthetics, it’s just that he has absolutely killer biceps that draw attention and compliments.

          Now that I’m thinking of this, I think you’re bringing up something that I might have overlooked. Perhaps in addition to having a fit body overall (which you have), perhaps it’s also important to develop some sort of signature feature that makes you stand out a little bit extra. Channing Tatum is known for having great muscular development in his neck, for example. It’s not necessary to make your neck that muscular—it’s total overkill—but the fact that he developed that signature muscle gives him a cool, remarkable feature.

  118. Vision on April 16, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    GK isn’t even the same person, note the moles are inconsistent in the 2 shots. More interesting is how the information here waterfalls down:

    Before/After shots: Faked/pumped/exaggerated/already great shape guys. This information is intentionally, yet arguably necessarily misleading

    Articles: Mostly solid with mild exaggeration (BF % estimates, muscle growth rates, etc)

    Inline comments by Shane: Very solid and realistic, honest and insightful

    • Vision on April 16, 2019 at 4:29 pm

      I jumped a bit too quick to accuse GK of not being the same person, the point is the same either way. Apologies here, I do really like the information you put out.

    • Shane Duquette on April 16, 2019 at 6:12 pm

      Hey Vison, I get the skepticism. Everyone in the coaching community saw GK go through his transformation month by month, and there’re also other progress pictures that show his steady progression. They also show that the moles are inconsistent because the image is flipped for a better comparison. Without the context, though, yeah, I get that it seems suspicious.

      As for the rest of the photos, we have several thousand readers on this site who are also members in the coaching community. These before/after photos aren’t secret email submissions or anything. Every single member in the coaching community can see every single progress thread, including all of the ones in our sidebar. They know the guys in these photos. They’ve watched them have good weeks and bad weeks, accidentally gain fat and then cut it off, etc. We see lagging muscle groups and switch the training program around, we coach them through plateaus, we look over each other’s diets, share bulking recipes, give each other encouragement and congratulations. They see the progress accumulate month by month. There’s no real room for being dishonest here given that everyone can see the updates that everyone else is posting.

      Body-fat guesstimates are just guesstimates. We aren’t trying to make them out to be more than that. I got myself measured by DEXA, though, and I’m 10.8% body fat after gaining 55 pounds. Aside from that, all I can do is make guesstimates. Fortunately, we don’t need a great degree of precision. It doesn’t really matter if i’m 9% or 13%, it just matters whether I’m 9% or 25% (at which point I should probably focus on losing some body fat).

      I’m happy to talk about on any other doubts you’ve got.

      And no need for apologies. I think being honest is far more important than being strong, and I pride myself on having integrity, so if you were, say, my wife, then these accusations would cut deep… but when it comes to anonymous online accusations, there’s nothing better than someone saying “that’s too good to be true!” when you know it’s true. It’s like being called a wizard. It feels great 😛

  119. […] the latissimus dorsi. Building up your lats contributes to the coveted v-taper that makes you look broader and more manly. That makes the chin-up a classic […]

  120. […] years ago, we published an article titled Ectomorph Aesthetics: The Science of Building an Attractive, Aesthetic Physique, covering everything you should know about why women find certain physiques more attractive than […]

  121. […] we know that some muscles are more attractive than others (full article here), so we can prioritize our shoulder, chest and arm growth while making sure that our legs are […]

  122. What's the Best Type of Lifting for Skinny Guys? on September 5, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    […] the good old days weren’t so good for skinny guys. Even back in the 1920s, muscular men got more attention from women and more respect from other men. The skinny guys didn’t want to be skinny, but since it was considered immutable trait, […]

  123. […] ideal (study, study, study). Men want to build broader and bigger shoulders, and women find those broader shoulders incredibly attractive. This effect is so exaggerated that your shoulder-to-waist ratio is actually the most important […]

  124. The "Big 5" Approach to Bulking – Outlift on September 20, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    […] have any prejudice against pears. In fact, some of my best friends are pears. It’s just that most men would rather look like tortilla chips, and most women would rather look like a […]

  125. […] problem was that my posture was becoming so bad that it was preventing my physique from looking more attractive. Despite all of the extra muscle, despite all of the strength I was gaining, and despite actually […]

  126. […] development. I’ll need to write a whole separate article about this, but the idea of building an aesthetic physique largely hinges on developing the type of strength that helped us survive as we evolved. It’s […]

  127. […] Some women do prefer chiseled abs, but the research pretty clearly shows that most guys have fairly optimal attractiveness by the time they get down to 15% body fat. This will not only give you great muscle definition, it will also make your face look lean and healthy. […]

  128. How to Bulk Up a Bony Upper Back | Bony to Beastly on September 22, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    […] The trick with chin-ups is to do them with an underhand grip. That’s going to allow you to use a much greater range of motion, which is going to bring a greater number of overall muscle fibres into the lift (including your biceps). That’s going to help you build a more balanced upper back, and it’s going to help you build a more aesthetic physique. […]

  129. […] than just prevent injury, it also helps you lift with more ease, recover faster, lift heavier, and build more aesthetically pleasing muscles (and […]

  130. Why Ectomorphs Should Lift a Little Differently on September 22, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    […] Overall, ectomorphs are just longer people. We make better decathletes than shot-putters; better quarterbacks than linebackers. Hardly anything to be upset about—it’s not like we can’t build strong and aesthetic bodies. […]

  131. […] Build a golden ratio of 1.618 from shoulders-to-waist […]

  132. […] it comes to our aesthetics, most people would rather look like the fickle fellow on the left but would rather look like the […]

  133. Chin-Ups vs Curls for Biceps Growth – Outlift on February 7, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    […] even though barbell curls are often thought of as a bodybuilding and aesthetics lift, they’re actually pretty great for our general strength and posture. They’re a […]

  134. Isaac on April 8, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    Hello, very good article in my opinion. Just wondering, it say “under construction”, what more are you looking into adding?

    • Shane Duquette on April 8, 2021 at 9:21 pm

      Hey Isaac, thank you!

      Yeah, that’s a good question. I need to get back into there and bring out from being under construction.

      The reason I put it under construction was because of a study looking into cues of upper body strength and attractiveness. The study found that the more muscle someone builds, the more attractive they’re rated by women. These were college kids, and so the biggest guys had only been lifting for a couple of years. They didn’t look like jacked bodybuilders, they looked like strong guys who had recently started lifting weights. But even so, being stronger was always an advantage, at least up until that point.

      So I put this article under construction because I wanted to make sure that my model was correct. I spoke with the lead researcher to get his opinion, and he was saying that within the context of naturally building muscle (i.e. not using performance-enhancing drugs) building more muscle generally seems to help. If you’re building muscle naturally, there won’t ever come a point where you’re too muscular (at least for people with average genetics).

      The other thing is, after a few years of bulking on and off, I think I’m getting closer to my natural potential, and I’m not as bulky as I thought I would be. I can bench 315 pounds, but my chest isn’t “bulky.” Now, part of this is because I’m naturally thin and tall. But even so, I’m starting to think, huh, maybe genetically average naturals won’t ever hit that point where they get too muscular. I think what might confuse things is that so many people that we see on social media are either on drugs and/or have great muscle-building genetics.

      Point being, I think I might adjust the conclusion to: the most attractive version of yourself is probably as muscular as you can naturally become. Mind you, much of the article is still true. There’s a huge plateau once you get to that fit level.

      But I’m not sure. This study was on college kids. These are 20-year-olds. Most 20-year-olds are not very big. They haven’t had enough time to build muscle. So the study doesn’t necessarily contradict anything in the article at all. Very hard to say. I’ve been hoping for more. Maybe even run some of my own surveys by polling the women on our women’s newsletter (as we’ve done in the past).

  135. Johnblack45 on September 19, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    So what about the attraction of toned or slimmer body types for men? What about women who prefer average-sized men? Why do people believe that a man who is fit and muscular is more attractive? I didn’t finish the article yet, but as I kept on reading, I felt disappointed in it. It almost felt like it was pushing the idea that building a muscular physique is what makes you attractive. No discussion of diversity. This doesn’t talk about male attractiveness like how the women’s article does. The women’s one (The Most Attractive Female Body to Men (And Probably Everyone Else, Too) talked about preferences and body types like slim, thin, curvy, fit, average. It talked about body sizes and social effects while discussing the ideal appeal for female attractiveness for both genders. Whereas the male version just talked about one body type and size. There is a lot of information and data to support the claims but I can’t help but feel like this is no different than how the fitness industry promotes and perpetuates beauty standards—that for men, being strong and muscley is the way to go.

    • Shane Duquette on September 21, 2021 at 11:27 am

      Hey John, I think you might like our latest post on male attractiveness, where we go over the results of a recent survey we did. I think it has some of the nuance you’re hoping for.

      I think people believe that fit and muscular men are most attractive because, on average, they are. It’s a correct assumption. There will always be exceptions, of course, but 9 times out of 10, the body that’s athletic or strong will look more attractive than the body that’s weaker. That’s true for women as well. On average, men tend to prefer women who look athletic and strong.

      You’re right that some men prefer curvier women. We didn’t see as much of that trend when surveying women. The vast majority preferred men who looked athletic or strong. Diversity of preference still exists, of course. It’s just less common than it is with women, it seems.

      You don’t have to be THAT strong or THAT lean to benefit from looking strong and athletic, though. Women don’t expect us to look like fitness models or anything. We just need to be in good shape (if your goal is to fully maximize the appearance of your physique) 🙂

      • Johnblack45 on September 23, 2021 at 10:56 am

        Thanks for the suggestion, much appreciated. So I finished reading this article and the one you suggested. It is a great read on body types but I found an older blog post, “The ideal male body—is it possible to be too muscular?” to be more helpful in understanding male attractiveness and the ideal body type for health and fitness.

        I didn’t know this site was mainly about bulking and building mass, but yes, overall I do agree with you health-wise. I’m mid 20 y/0 who’s 5’9 and roughly 158-160lbs with 17% body fat, but I struggle to find the right body shape based on Asian standards (slender and slim) and Western standards (muscular and athletic).

        My thought is more based on culture and mass appeal than on biology and science. My question to you is: how does social influence play into attractiveness? And if masculinity really increases a man’s attractiveness, then why do women in different parts of the world have different preferences on the amount of masculinity they find most attractive? Like my statement between the slimmer standard in Asia and the more muscular standard in the West.

        I don’t mean to make this about me. It mostly has to do with social conventions and thinking that men have to have an adequate body for women to feel attracted to them. Like you said, most women don’t seem to need a specific body type to be attractive to men.

        However, I do think your studies and blog posts are useful and realistic. Anyway, that’s just one of my thoughts and I hope you wouldn’t mind answering. I didn’t mean to change the subject, but I thought it was worth sharing.

        • Shane Duquette on September 23, 2021 at 3:05 pm

          I wrote that “Is It Possible to Be Too Muscular?” article more recently than this aesthetics one, it’s just that I’ve updated the aesthetics one more recently. I think the two articles basically say the same thing, though. One just goes into deeper detail specifically on muscularity. Our newest article of all is the survey results article. Again, it lines up with the older ones, though.

          Our survey and most of this research were done in the United States. It’s certainly possible there are different standards in Asia. I’d still expect the ideal to look healthy, athletic, and probably at least somewhat strong, but I don’t know. The other thing to keep in mind is that some “feminine” things are purely cultural. The colour pink, long hair, jewelry, makeup, and dresses aren’t inherently feminine in any way, they’re just cultural trends right now in some parts of the world.

          Most men prefer women who look healthy, athletic, and natural, too. It’s really quite similar for both sexes, I think. But again, I don’t know how this varies in other parts of the world. I’d expect the general principles to be true, but cultural influence can definitely impact the degrees to which various traits are preferred.

          • Johnblack45 on September 24, 2021 at 12:34 pm

            I also assume that different cultures could affect preference in ideal shape. Similar to trends in the US. Both of your blogs did help me understand a lot about myself. But I wanted to know your opinion about it. Maybe you might do a future post on the different cultural shapes if relevent enough. 🙂 But yes generally speaking I would say being healthy, strong, and doing it naturally is the main goal.

  136. Dave on December 13, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    Awesome article! I have a couple questions if you don’t mind.

    Firstly, would having the ideal shoulder to waist ratio fall under the “fit” or “strong” category?

    Secondly, would you classify most iconic Hollywood actors as falling into the “fit” category?

    • Shane Duquette on December 20, 2021 at 11:46 am

      Hey Dave, good questions!

      I think having broader shoulders makes it easier to look strong. You won’t need as much muscle mass to fill out a large t-shirt.

      Your shoulder-to-waist ratio has to do with the size of your shoulders AND the size of your waist. If you have the ideal ratio, you might be slimmer and look fit (small waist with medium shoulders) or you might be bigger and look strong (medium waist with broad shoulders). Could be either one. These categories are fairly loose, though. I wouldn’t read too much into them.

      Hollywood is always changing, but if you look at the men who are supposed to be attractive to women, most of them look fit. Think of guys like Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, Diego Luna, and Justin Baldoni. They aren’t jacked, they just look fit and athletic.

      If you look at the men who are supposed to look cool to other men, it changes. The guys starring in action movies are often super jacked. Back in the day, that was Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. Now it’s the Rock, Chris Hemsworth, and John Cena.

      There are also guys who straddle that divide, able to star in both types of movies. Think of someone like Will Smith. He’s definitely a strong dude, but he also looks totally healthy, athletic, and natural. Same with Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, and Tom Cruise (at certain points in their careers).

  137. Kade on January 19, 2022 at 3:45 pm

    I just came to give thanks for a small, likely ignored detail. I really appreciate that certain images, like the one of the overweight/obese dude and the guy with “bad” posture, it says “potential health concerns” and “potentially less attractive” (respectively). I started bodybuilding as a teenager, was a certified personal trainer, and went to college for exercise science, all very early in life. At the same time, I also developed an eating disorder (with symptoms surrounding the obsession with diet, exerise and the constant pursuit of “ideal”) and spent enough of my developmental years sufficiently malnourished due to dieting , so that I was diagnosed with full-blown osteopersosis at the age of 21.

    Now 29, I still am drawn to the science of health, physiology, nutrition, and anatomy as well as the practice of exercise and physical activity but I am still a bit wary of any community that revoves around those things. This is especially if those communities focus on the aesthetic/visual/attractive components of health.

    I am not one of those people who will argue that it is healthy to be obese or have bad posture, but I really do appreciate the way you worded it and, more generally, how you approach all manner of similar things. It’s much less toxic than the way things were back when I was looking at stuff way back 13 years ago or whatever (sheeesh!)

    • Shane Duquette on January 20, 2022 at 9:52 am

      Thank you, Kade! Sometimes the visual stuff is overblown. Like how being overweight has a relatively minor effect on our health compared to how many steps we get each day. The sedentary guy with abs might be in worse than the overweight guy who goes on a hike each day. That can change with more severe degrees of obesity, but still.

      Just to play Devil’s advocate, I’m not sure there’s any consensus that “bad” posture is unhealthy. Things that cause bad posture, such as being weak or sedentary, can be unhealthy. But I’m not sure that posture affects our health directly. For instance, a sprinter with severe anterior pelvic tilt—classic “bad” posture—might have developed that posture to improve his sprint performance. Since it’s tied to an active lifestyle, there’s no issue at all. Someone else, who developed anterior pelvic tilt because they spend all day sitting, might have worse health. It’s not necessarily because they have bad posture, but rather because they’re sedentary.

      The main reason we talk about aesthetics is that most people are interested in looking better. And if we improve our appearance by eating better, improving our body composition, getting to a healthier body weight, lifting weights, and exercising, then we can drastically improve our health even while striving for superficial goals. It can be a handy motivator, you know? (And it can be fun.)

  138. Alan on February 5, 2022 at 1:25 am

    Hi Shane,

    This article has truly motivated me and guided me well like nothing else before it.

    I know it’s important not to get too caught up with the Adonis measurements. But I like it because it gives you a ballpark to go for with goals.

    I’ve also loved your latest attractiveness article, how women are drawn to that rugby/soccer play physique.

    Would the Adonis measurements be the same thing? Or would the rugby player measurements be a bit leaner?

    Would love your advice!

    • Shane Duquette on February 5, 2022 at 8:33 am

      Thank you, Alan! I’m so glad you liked it.

      I hear you. I like knowing about the ideals, too. Even if I don’t take them THAT seriously, it’s still nice to know, still fun to set aesthetic goals.

      Did I say that women were drawn to soccer player physiques? I might have. But after looking at the research and speaking with the author of one of the main attractiveness studies, I think an athletic UPPER body tends to look better than an athletic LOWER body. So I’d think that gymnasts, wrestlers, rowers would have the edge over soccer players, even if their overall degree of athleticism and muscularity is the same. More mass in the shoulders, upper back, arms, and chest, you know? And a lifter who works both his upper and lower body would do even better. But that’s a very minor detail. Anyone in good shape should look great, and that absolutely includes soccer players. I just wouldn’t use a lower-body-only athlete as the archetype.

      The Adonis measurements depend on bone structure as well as muscle mass. Someone with broader shoulders and a smaller waist will get the measurements fairly naturally, whereas someone with narrower shoulders and a thicker waist might never quite get there, even when in perfect shape.

      I don’t think rugby players are known for being crazy lean or anything. If I google the best rugby players, they seem to be around 12–15% body fat. That seems about right for general health, aesthetics, and athletic performance. They aren’t ripped or shredded like a fitness influencer, fitness model, or bodybuilder.

      I hope that helps!

  139. Joe on April 2, 2023 at 9:00 pm

    Hey Shane,

    I want to express my gratitude for your excellent articles and the positive impact they’ve had on my fitness journey. I stumbled upon BtB in November 2020 when I came across your article “How to Build Muscle with Bodyweight Workouts”. That article really kick-started my fitness journey. At the time, I weighed 185 lbs (at 5′ 8″). Since then, I’ve completely overhauled my nutrition, eating plain oats, sweet potatoes, broccoli, chicken breasts, and protein smoothies with bananas during the week, with cheat meals on Saturday and fasting on Sunday. I also started doing resistance training three times a week (bodyweight and resistance bands) and made sure to hit 10,000 steps daily. As a result, I’ve lost 30 lbs and gained lean muscle.

    I credit BtB and Outlift as a crucial part of my lifestyle change. Your websites offer well-researched, motivational, and (literally) life-changing information that you generously make available for free. I also appreciate the fact that you take the time to respond to every comment in a positive and professional tone, which shows a level of commitment to your readers that is rarely found online. You guys are doing an incredible job, and I’m sure that many share my sentiment when I say thank you.


    • Shane Duquette on April 10, 2023 at 6:39 pm

      Hey Joe, that’s awesome! Congratulations on losing those 30 pounds! That’s huge! 😀

      You did all the work, but I’m happy we could help.

      Thank you so much! Your comment means a lot. Really.

  140. Matt on June 13, 2023 at 4:09 am

    Hey Shane,

    Great article! I have a few questions, particularly regarding Pitt’s legendary “Fight Club” physique.

    Based on what I’ve found online from somewhat reliable sources (like GQ and Men’s Health), Pitt was reportedly 155 lbs at 5’11” with a body fat percentage of 5-6% during “Fight Club.” Assuming these numbers are accurate, plugging them into a calculator gives Pitt a BMI of 21.6.

    If someone who is 5’8″ wants to achieve a similar physique (lean with some muscle), does that mean they would need to reach 143 lbs for a BMI of 21.6 in order to have a similarly low body fat percentage? Would getting that lean be necessary to eliminate the remaining belly fat and achieve a perfectly flat stomach, like Pitt’s? I already have a visible six-pack, so I know I must be lean, but I still don’t have a perfectly flat stomach like Pitt. Is that even possible?


    • Shane Duquette on June 13, 2023 at 9:19 am

      Hey Matt, thank you!

      With body-fat percentage estimations, you always have to consider the way it’s being measured. Brad Pitt in Fight Club looks closer to 10% body fat to me, but I could be wrong, and it doesn’t matter too much anyway. 155 at 5’11 could be right. I’m not sure, but it looks like it could be.

      You can have a low body-fat percentage at any BMI.

      Most people get a flat stomach at around 15% body fat. Their abs gain more definition as they get closer to 10%. Under 10%, everything starts to look more crisp and fibrous. I’ve never been under 10%. I’m not sure there’s any advantage to it, and it can come with several disadvantages.

      If you have abs but your stomach isn’t flat, it could be that you have a disproportionate amount of visceral fat, but I doubt it. It’s probably just that your hips are canted forward (anterior pelvic tilt). It’s probably postural. You could try getting stronger at exercises like front squats, deadlifts, push-ups, dead bugs, and planks. If you do those exercises with good technique, gradually gaining size and strength, you can strengthen your muscles in a way that holds your stomach in a flatter position.

      It’s possible, yeah! Improving posture takes time, though. At first, it will feel like you need to consciously tilt your hips when walking around or lifting weights. It can take many months before it starts to feel natural and intuitive.

  141. Adnan Adil on March 2, 2024 at 1:27 pm

    Another nice article! I like how you make the difference between thick bones and wide frame. I think that you might be quite wide and still have thin bones and vice versa.
    About the jaw- I had a colleague in the university, who was a rower. He was claiming that rowing made his jaw bigger and more formidable, because of the tension in his whole body, including the face, during races and the clenching of the teeth in the final parts of the races.

    • Shane Duquette on March 7, 2024 at 8:30 am

      Yes, definitely. I’m tall and moderately wide, but my bones are incredibly thin. I have friends who are narrower and shorter but have much thicker bones.

      Clenching your jaw can bulk up your jaw muscles (masseters), giving you a more formidable jawline. It could be that stressing the bones in his jaw as he was going through puberty helped his jaw grow wider, too. I’m less sure about that, but it could be.

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