What is physical attraction and why does it matter?
“I wanted to look great to attract the woman of my dreams”
This is the reason why one of my clients gave me when he said he wanted to lift weights and get bigger and stronger.
It’s not a bad reason, and having a real motivation like that will help with the first month of lifting, which can be tiring.
So if you want to look better, naturally, of course, to build physical attraction, here’s what I’d say…
To improve physical attraction, focus on improving your strength and your health and your fitness—all at once. Don’t neglect one for the other.
After eleven years, every study and survey I’ve come across finds that it is genuine, well-rounded health that is physically attractive.
Now total attraction in its whole is complex. You’ve got personality, humour, integrity, kindness, selflessness, etc. So you don’t need to be huge and shredded to develop these other qualities. And I started dating the woman who I married when I was still dangerously underweight.
But if you want to look great on the physical side of things, it seems to come down to developing strength, fitness, and restoring optimal health.
Physical Attraction = Health, Fitness, Strength
- 1.618 shoulder-to-waist ratio for men = strong muscularity with good upper body strength that signals you could protect someone, and no waist with heart disease/diabetes/parasites (click here for our broader shoulders guide)
- 0.7 waist-to-hip ratio for women = proper muscularity, good bone structure, high levels of omega-3 (this type of fat is preferentially stored at the hips), and the lean waist means no heart disease/diabetes/parasites, and a narrow waist also signals they likely aren’t pregnant
- Clear, elastic, even skin = no inflammation, good mineral and vitamin status, proper intake of collagen protein sources
- Minimal body odour = no inflammation, good mineral status
- Facial bone shape (maxillofacial) = good bone density, which is good mineral status, no sleep apnea, no long-term allergies, proper tongue posture, etc.
- Good hair = no mineral dysfunction and no developing disease
- No double-chin / fat neck = no developing heart disease
- Muscular neck for men = trains/wrestles and looks like they could take a punch without blacking out.
Now I can’t talk about all of this without also mentioning that the physical state of your body has nothing to do with your objective value as a human being. (I believe that you and I have objective value as an image-bearer.)
This is why I believe a big problem of the “body positive” movement is that they’re looking to find “peace” in the wrong spot—ignoring the signals of pain that their body is sending to drive change.
Improving My Health Made Me More Attractive
I was weak. I had alopecia in my beard. I had a horrible persistent numbness in both of my arms for years, was getting persistent nosebleeds, was taking prescription face cream for painful cystic acne, got colds all the time (I was nicknamed sick boy in school), and my teeth/jaw hurt daily as they were getting more and more crooked.
This insane amount of daily physical pain managed with painkillers still didn’t drive me to change my life because I mentally didn’t understand that it was *even possible* to change. My doctor, dermatologist, and physiotherapists either told me it was normal or that there was no way to fix it.
I didn’t know that I could become pain-free, strong, and healthy by making a few changes in my life. I didn’t know what it was like to feel strong and to be able to help people with that strength. (After I bulked up, people started to ask me to help move, etc.)
If you take joy in the process, and if you are appreciative that your body is healthy enough for the ability to train it—it can be a really enjoyable experience to develop your strength, your fitness and reclaim your health.
It can be fun to get your BMI up to the right weight for your height.
It can be fun to get a flat stomach or even a six-pack.
It can be fun to add 4″ to your biceps.
It can be fun to add 5″ to your shoulders while taking a 3″ off your waist to hit your optimal shoulder-to-waist ratio.
It can be fun to do all of this while developing fitness that gives you infectious energy and good moods.
This is why it’s critical that you bulk up and lean out without doing things that ruin your health or harm your fitness.
I never understood why guys want to take harmful drugs like TRT to get big and strong when it damages your heart health and makes you unfit and age your skin faster. (Testosterone treatment and risk of venous thromboembolism, 2016)
And don’t do what I did by overdosing on supplements like maltodextrin, weight gainer powders that ruin your health in the goal of muscle.
If you want to look better, build muscle in a healthy way. Burn off fat in a healthy way through good food and cardiovascular fitness. You’ll feel better while you do it too.
If you want help doing this, take a look at our programs.