Are you kidding me?

In the Men’s Health section of, I ran across an article entitled:

Guys have body issues, too
Hunky media images have negative effects on men, spark reckless behavior

And yet another one with a similar theme….

Men under pressure to have perfect body too Muscle-bound media images have effect, may lead to dangerous behavior

So apparently all of the media images of fit, muscular male bods in the movies, on TV, in magazines and on numerous underwear ads across the nation’s billboards has the more average members of the male population feeling a bit insecure and unhappy with their physiques.

Would it be petty of me to snicker now?

Poor boys!

How horrible that to attain the current popular male ideal you may have to get up from your reserved PS2/Xbox station on your couch, stop eating junky man food and become familiar with the produce section of your grocery store! What a travesty that such “reckless” behaviors as lifting weights and performing regular cardio might be demanded of you! “Dangerous” forays into healthy food preparation now lie in your future if you want to have any chance of competing! What a terrible thing to have to turn yourself into a lean and fit specimen with great cardiovascular capacity, low cholesterol, strong bones and muscles, and endless energy!

Hold on while I find a hankie….No, it’s not for you. It’s for me–so I can mop up these tears of laughter flowing out of my eyes.


I am now firmly convinced that the mainstream authors of these and many other “health” articles all have their heads up their collective asses.

We women can only dream of being so lucky as to have a female version of the male ideal at which to aim.


1. 1/3 c. oatmeal, 3 T. raisins, 1 whole egg, 3 egg whites
2. 1 banana, 1 scoop protein powder
3: 4 oz. chicken breast, 2 steamed Mandarin rolls, 1 c. vegetable mix
4. 2 rice cakes, 1 T. ANPB
5. 2 oz. spaghetti, 1.5 c. cucumber, carrot, seaweed and bean sprouts, 2 oz. turkey, 1/3 c. dried berries
6. 2 whole eggs + 4 egg whites omelette with 1 c. broccoli, 1/2 bag light popcorn

Water: 16 cups

Supplements: multivitamin, calcium 600+D, EAS l-glutamine, 3 fish oil capsuless

Calories: 2052 calories (50.8% carb/28.0% pro/23.6% fat)


* YF Cardio (60 min)

Calories burned: 412 calories

DEFICIT: -48 cal

9 thoughts on “Are you kidding me?

  1. Yeah, I have seen shows on this actually. I think problem therin lies that even though they actually have a “healthy” image to aspire to, the majority of men are just as stupid as everyone else. Meaning they look for a darn PILL to solve their problems. So, just like the nitwit women who want to be a size zero, they’re flocking to ephedra, but they’re stacking up on the illegal steriods too. It’s sad, they actually managed to make a good thing disasterous.

    But, all seriousness aside – I’m 100% with you. We have nothing like they do to aspire to that’s on a healthy level. Thin is never thin enough. Muscle is too manly. Blah blah blah, paris hilton can bite me. :pirate:


  2. The way I see it, men have it a lot easier. It’s not as if their popular ideal is Iggy Pop/Heroin Chic. I also tend to think that men as a whole deal with being overweight differently than women do.

    Men notice that they have to move up a belt loop or pant size and tell themselves, “Crap. I’m getting a gut. I’d better cut back on sodas, beer, and fries and hit the gym. Maybe some of my buddies would play some bball with me this weekend…”

    Women realize one day that they are sporting the dreaded muffin top and think, “I’m fat! Oh no! I’m going to stop eating, take some pills, and do cardio until I look like Skeletor on crack.”

    You are right that men and women are probably equally stupid (or at least clueless) when it comes to the fine points of fitness and weight maintenance, but I also believe that the sort of outside information men and women receive and internalize about staying in shape as they are growing up is very different. I don’t think men are quite as quick to go for a miracle pill as women are. I’m willing to bet that 90% or more of high school males realize that resistance training and cardio are key components of being fit and achieving that desired Brad Pitt in Fight Club look. I’m equally willing to bet that most high school females have never given a single second’s thought to lifting a weight (“That’s a guy thing!”), but nearly all of them have probably considered, if not tried, starving themselves and only performing cardio to lose weight.


  3. Oh, I don’t know. It seems like the masculine ideal is something like 6’2″, 220 lbs of sculpted muscle, which is not something most men can ever hope to attain genetically, much less within life’s confines of job, kids, other hobbies, etc.

    And it’s still unhealthy, as being 40 pounds overweight — whether it’s extra muscle or fat — is still putting extra strain on your joints and heart, shortening your lifespan.

    So it seems to me that it’s pretty reasonable for a magazine called “Men’s Health” to actually discuss the issue, even if the pressures felt by men are less than those felt by women to reach a certain ideal.

  4. Some truthful reflections from a man’s perspective:

    – Steroids are a problem for pro athletes and hard-core bodybuilders, or 1% of the population. This is hardly an issue for the general male population.

    – I can’t believe I am commenting on this 😯

    – I receive as much grief for being an utter fitness fanatic from men as from women (I am actually just balanced with good nutrition and exercise).

    – The reason I’m commenting is that you should know, fit men are attracted to fit women: strong, fit, lean women. Fit men are not attracted to unfit thin cover-model women or unfit fat women. The lean group is the more rare and the most attractive. I have little doubt that fit women prefer the same, preferring fit, athletic, lean men to superhulks…they freak everyone out.

    – The bony-thin covermodels are admired only by the advertising and fashion industry. I know this is a very deep issue, as society applies pressure to women (weight, aging) no man would ever understand, but why care about the ideals of an industry of 99% women and gay men. You guys shouldn’t even read the articles or buy the magazines peddled by this group.

    – I still can’t believe I weighed in here. I’ll probably get killed for oversimplifying things. Typical male.


  5. Michelle – If Matthew McConaughey, the example used in the first MSN Health article is an example of what the author is talking about, I’d say that 6’2″ / 220 lbs is exaggerating a bit. I know my boyfriend, who is 5’8″ and an annoyingly stable 150 lbs, has no desire to be 180 lbs of muscle, but he’s admitted that he wouldn’t mind changing his body composition and lowering his body fat while staying the same weight.

    Besides, if he got up to 180 lbs, I wouldn’t be able to pick him up anymore. 😥

    I’d say the desired look according to these articles is something more along the lines of 170-185 lbs for a 6’2″ male, but lean (~10% bf) and clearly familiar with a bench and squat rack. I think *that* standard is well within reach for the genetically-average male with just moderate (but regular) effort, just as 130-135 lbs and sub-20% body fat is attainable and sustainable by a 5’6″ female like me with a normal metabolism and run-of-the-mill genes.


    Phil – No worries. I agree with all of your points. 😉

  6. No offense marathonP as I also agree with what you have said. My comment is directed to those other guys. Ya know those ones that pride themselves in buying “No Fat Chicks!” t-shirts and bumper stickers. Ever seen some of the men that where those shirts? :yuck:

    Let guys be alittle uncomfortable. Women regardless of what their shape or size have had to put up with men complaining about “How women SHOULD look” for years.

    And yes, just to be a pain in the ass, I’ll probably be the first to buy the “No Fat Dudes!’ t-shirts when they come out. :medusa:

  7. I skimmed through the articles. Pity we live in a society where freedom of the press values image (and the pursuit of such) over character that we deal with such nonsense of emotional insecurities. Judging by the responses, it looks like all of us (myself included) bought into the aforementioned imageries of desirable bodies. Isn’t that why you hate the way you looked in the first place and sought to change that by working out and dieting?

    The media is obsessed with the desirable “heavenly bodies” image. Consequently, the public becomes conditioned by it. Public being both men AND women. Deny all you want consciously, but subconsciously we are all hooked, lined and sinkered. Women are notoriously critical of their own bodies. My guess is either they are more insecure than men, or they are just worse naggers. All those weight-loss commercials, the ‘Before’ and ‘After’ shots, the ‘perfect’ supermodel look, the counter-productive self critique must really give you every excuse to hate your ‘Before’ look. Right, Maggie?

    Apparently I’m one of the many (actual) average Joes that don’t have to feel insecure by those imageries. (Imageries of buff or well-cut women, Maggie Wang included, and what I do in response to viewing them are another matter entirely!) It’s one thing if those guys do it because their jobs demand it (modeling, movies, professional sports, bodybuilding, etc.), it’s another if they do it just to *look* good. I wonder where their life priorities lie. If they judge themselves in that way, do they likely judge others the same way?

    I find that ‘out-of-shape’ average Joe types are more likely to be neither shallow nor superficial, and more comfortable with the way they look.


  8. “We women can only dream of being so lucky as to have a female version of the male ideal at which to aim.”

    100% agreed. The slope leading to idealized perfection is far steeper for you than it is for us. We men should be grateful that doing basic maintenance is usually enough to pass inspection. I certainly am. Messing with eye shadow, blush, creams, eyeliner, and foundation every day seems like a HUGE pain in the ass… and that’s just the start of it. No thanks (except for Halloween, perhaps).

    However, it’s a two-sided coin because like it or not, women derive far more personal power from their image than even the most beautiful of men.

    So yes, the slope is skewed, but the rewards skew along with it.

  9. One thing to keep in mind is that very few people are pushing the “ideal” body image on the rest of us. Think of how few people own all of the movies, television, magazines, clothes lines, etc. And they decide what’s “best” for everyone. I remember watching a documentary on Judy Garland recently. She had gone through a period where she got off of her pill addictions, was sleeping well, eating healthy. She added a few pounds and looked great. Completely healthy and all. When she met with her movie company execs to start doing movies again, they said she was too fat and had to lose weight if she wanted to be in another movie with them. Of course, she got back on the pills, sleeping only a few hours a night, starving herself etc. When you watch some of the films from that period, she looks terrible. Pale…unbelievably thin…very unhealthy. She was sick and it showed. Can’t believe that was the look these people wanted. Just a handful of old rich geezers deciding for the entire country what a woman should look like.

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