The average guy wants 15-27 more pounds of muscle and a three to four percent decrease in body fat. And a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics in January found that 18 percent of boys are very concerned about their weight and physique. Failure to attain these unrealistic body goals can lead to depression, high-risk behaviors (like drinking and drugs) and eating disorders. Though about 15 percent of boys concerned with their weight are worried about thinness, about half are concerned with gaining more muscle and an additional third are concerned with both muscle gain and thinness.
Many of these changes are thanks to media images—and the 300 movie series is leading the way in the promotion of unrealistic male body standards (buttressed by video games and clothing ads featuring scantily clad men).
Now I feel guilty for admiring my abs after a round of crunches the other day!
I’ve put on about ten pounds of muscle since last fall when I started lifting weights regularly again. I mix that with treadmill walking (got a new one, no thanks to you cheapskates) and running through old soccer drills outside, with some yoga and Pilates thrown in as needed. Still, if any of those angsty young men are reading this, looking for advice, I’d say the same thing as before — it doesn’t really matter what exactly you do, just make sure to cultivate your stick-to-itiveness and do it consistently. Slow and steady and all that.