How to Build the Ideal Male Body

5 Tips for Developing the Perfect Masculine Form

If you want to build the ideal male body… …it is imperative to structure your every aspect of your programming in a way specifically designed for your particular needs, in a way that allows you to address those goals in the shortest time period possible.

The problem is that we have a tremendous variety of tools in the toolbox, and it is sometimes easy to forget that not all methods are effective for all goals.

Athletes training for their sport practice some highly specific drills, displaying them in combines.

Bodybuilders and fitness competitors gear things for fat loss, requiring adjustment of nutritional strategies.

Powerlifters work on becoming skilled and efficient in their primary lifts.

Now matter what your goal, you have to train specifically for that goal.

Given these examples, is easy to see that none of these scenarios would really benefit from using strategies intended for the others.

And so, if your goal is simply to build a lean, symmetrical, attractive and sexy body, you have to gear your diet and training structure towards those goals.


Here Are 5 Awesome Tips To Help You Build the Ideal Male Body

1) Focus on Building an X-Shaped Physique

When it comes to being physically attractive to the opposite sex, it’s important to understand that certain body dimensions are visually important, from an evolutionary perspective.

Our progenitors credited desirable traits like strength, productivity, and virility to corresponding physical attributes. While societal ‘needs’ may have changed in a way that no longer makes it ‘necessary’ to have the characteristics to succeed, to a certain extent we carry our ancestors tastes.

This means that physical traits which imply the presence of “mating qualifiers” are important for increasing your stock with the ladies.

To that end, an X-shaped physique means: broad shoulders, a narrow waist, and strong, well-developed calves.

For broad shoulders, focus on core movements that allow for maximal recruitment, such as the push press, as well as some isolation exercises to focus on the medial delts and increases width, such as lateral raises. On the other hand, you can make it easy on yourself, and just do this 15-minute shoulder workout I posted, or this slightly longer one, which is even more awesome.

A narrow waist is primarily the result of a low level of body fat, obviously. However, it is important to understand that the muscles around your waist respond to weight training in much the same way that all other muscles do: by growing! So while I don’t ever advise avoiding certain exercises completely, I offer the caveat that one should avoid training rotational exercises with either heavy weight or high volume.

Strong, well-developed calves are not easy to come by. Calves are a notoriously stubborn body part to grow, so I recommend training them multiple times per week. Work your calves first in your training session, not last.

You should also consider why calves are so stubborn, and how this (should) factor into your training. Calves don’t grow, simply, because they’re hard to overload.

This is because your Achilles tendon acts like a rubber band, transferring energy during the lowering and lifting phases of calf exercises, so your muscles do less work.

Try this, beginning with the standing calf raise, pictured right.

I suggest you pause for 5 seconds at the bottom of each rep and 3 seconds at the top, at the minimum; this limits assistance from your Achilles, so you can overload your calves for rapid growth.

By focusing on these muscles and building a physique more in line with what our ancestors considered desirable (and let’s be honest, we still do), you are on the road to a sexier body.

2) Push Less, Pull More

In keeping with the ideas from above, the goal of training for sexiness should also include balance and symmetry. This is not only so you train the right way, but also because you need to make a concentrated effort to avoid training the wrong way.

As men, we’re highly visual creatures. As trainees, this translates into becoming highly focused on ‘mirror muscles’ – that is, those you can readily see in any mirror.

Guys in general tend to do a lot more work on muscles like chest than back. I cannot begin to describe the drawbacks of this mentality. Instead, I’ll focus on the main ideas of this post.

With specific regard to appearance, lopsided training which focuses on anterior (front) muscles over posterior (rear) muscles leads to pretty ugly imbalances. In addition to this being a great way to get yourself injured, it can lead to a round, forward shouldered look that is not the goal of any training program I’ve ever heard of.

Keeping in mind the idea of building a sexy body, it’s worth noting that such a look is also decidedly unattractive.

Instead, we should focus more on the muscles of the upper back: latissimus dorsi, teres major, trapezius, et al. These muscles, developed correctly, will help pull your shoulders back, helping to create the broad shouldered look that men find powerful and women find attractive.

To prevent imbalances and help to create such a look, try to maintain a 3:2 ratio of pulling exercises to pushing exercises.

As an example, 3 sets of rows, 2 sets of bench presses.

Following this pattern, you are far less likely to develop unattractive imbalances; in addition, you will be less like to incur injury. And probably be more likely to get naked. And, by the way, if you want to address this all at once, I wrote a full program on specialization for your back.


3) Lift Heavy at Least 4 Days per Month

The benefits of heavy training are widely documented, so once again I’ll just focus on the relevancy to building a bang-worthy body.

Training heavy doesn’t just make you strong—it makes you look strong. Training in low rep-ranges (3-5 reps) necessitates the use of near-maximal weight. In general, you would be working within 75%-85% of your 1RM.

This elicits some profound physiological changes.

Training with heavy loads leads to an increase in both neurogenic and myogenic muscle tone, both of which are important for building an attractive physique.

First, it is necessary to recognize that for the purposes of this writing, the word “tone” means the level of tension in a muscle. With that understood, let’s talk about each type.

Neurogenic tone refers to the level of tension in a muscle during a working or flexed state. That is, how “hard” a muscle is when you are either training it, or just flexing it for some chick at the gym/beach/World of Warcraft party.

Myogenic tone can be defined as residual tension in a resting muscle. What this really means is how hard, full, and dense your muscles are when you’re just hanging out. Rather than some artificial pump, an increase in myogenic tone is a permanent increase in the appearance of your muscles.

Increasing neurogenic and myogenic tone also has the benefit of making muscles more visible at slightly higher levels of bodyfat – and there is a lot to be said for having your triceps pop out a bit more at 10%–just imagine how they’ll look at 8%!

To achieve the increases, my clients all have at least 1 day per week dedicated to lifting near maximal loads. In addition to the aforementioned benefits, heavy training also leads to strength increases, which has obvious implications for training in the future.

Take home: lift heavy, get hard. Wait, what?


4) Mix Up Your Training

In order to create a body suited for a variety of physical…er, tasks, (yup, that was a sexual innuendo) you need to change up your workout pretty frequently.

Training variety keeps you motivated and invariably leads to better results. In terms of helping you increase your rating on the Scale of Sexy, the main benefit of it is from a fat loss perspective.

While it is arguable that “training ADD” can inhibit muscle gains (which is only true if you are changing haphazardly with no thought to programming), for the purposes of getting lean, exposing yourself to consistently changing stimulus is an excellent way to ramp up metabolism and consistently increases the processes by which fat loss is made possible.

Certainly, I do not advocate switching programs from day to day. Instead, I recommend choosing or designing programs that have multiple training methods built into a training week. (For example, my Omega Body Blueprint program).

An easy way to work variety into your training is to change exercises for the same movement. Switching form bench presses to push-ups, counter intuitive though it might seem, can actually help you increase muscle mass, as well as lose fat.

Even a switch as simple as trading in barbells for dumbbells for a single workout can make significant changes, and keep you lean year round, aiding your quest for a sexy body.

For more structured change, consider trying out timed workouts: that is, instead of counting reps, each set will be for a given length of time—the goal of course is to get as many reps in that time period as possible.

Not only will increasing training variety make you sexier, but it also keeps training fresh and fun.


5) Tame Your Hormones

Bro, I hope it isn’t news to you that men and women have vastly different fat storage patterns. Moreover, fat storage patterns vary pretty heavily from man to man.

I covered this in a full article on hormonal optimization to lose stubborn fat, but let’s address it briefly here. In general, men tend to store fat around the abdominal and love handle areas. Once again, we have our ancestors to thank/blame for this one. So after 10,000 years of evolution, we’ve adapted to storing fat where it wouldn’t get in the way of hunting, killing, skinning, and devouring dinosaurs, wildebeests, umber hulks, and squirrels.

Women, on the other hand, store fat in the hip and thigh area.

Evolutionary favoritism notwithstanding, these differences are due in large part to differences in hormonal environments between men and women.

To make it basic: men generally have higher levels of cortisol, which will lend itself to storage of midsection fact, whereas high estrogen leads to lower body fat storage.

Of course, we can’t talk about dude hormones without mentioning testosterone.

Men, listen up: testosterone is your friend, and the more of it you have, the faster you’ll gain muscle, lose fat, meet women, and read my blog posts. Therefore, high levels of test are good.

Unfortunately, when you are on a fat loss program (AKA when you are dieting down for beach season or spring break), the way testosterone effects insulin management gets a little screwy. And insulin (or rather insulin resistance) is a tremendous problem for most guys trying to lose fat.

In fact, with most of the male clients I’ve had, as they get closer to their goal body fat level, it gets much harder to lose fat in those more “masculine” areas such as abs, obliques, and lower back.

Therefore, as you continue to lean out towards your ideal sexy body, you will probably notice that you are suffering from Chronic Love Handular Fatittude—never fear, Roman to the rescue.

Of course, the training protocols to address both of these are heavily detailed in Omega Body Blueprint, and are both so comprehensive that they are rendered a bit beyond the scope of what I can cover in this post. 

However, to aid in shedding the love handles and creating a body worth seeing naked, there are a few ways to improve insulin management via supplementation and diet.

IC-5 handles love handles like nobody’s business.

For supplements, fish oil, along with the myriad of other benefits, has been shown to vastly improve insulin management when taken in high doses. 

If you’re looking for a more advanced (and more effective) approach, you can supplement with something like BioTRUST’s IC-5, which is specifically designed to improve insulin sensitivity. 

You can also make some additions to diet: cinnamon, when added to meals containing carbohydrates, has been shown to mitigate the effects of insulin spikes and fat storage.

Along those same lines, there is some evidence to support that drinking a moderate dose of apple cider vinegar prior to meals containing carbohydrates has similar effects. 

In combination with an intelligent diet and training program, the supplement recommendations above can have a profoundly beneficial effect on your endocrine system, allowing it to work with you to create a sexy body, instead of against you.

You now have 5 simple strategies to help you lose fat, put muscle on the right places, and build a body women are evolutionarily programmed to want to see naked. (You’re welcome.)

Guys: what tips do you have?

Ladies: what do YOU look for in a man’s body? Inquiring minds want to know!

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

  • Kevin Wright

    Hi I am 41 and have received email posts from you for 3 plus years. But only now am I seriously trying your systems to lower my body fat to 10%(currently around 25% body fat 3 weeks ago). Using Hormones to cut body fat really interested me and am currently in the 3rd week of prime from your book Engineering the Alpha 2.0,

    I am getting stronger and fitter using all your advice in the book, measuring food and cals (LBM weight) ALSO LOGGING INTO and have bio trust low protein powder.

    Really looking forward to stage 2 surge to see what density training does.

    You have mention calves and My calves are strong but pins, and the only time I saw them grow was 18 years when I was doing mike mender style of training(now that was lactic acid burn).

    My question is. When would you fit calves into this program of yours?

    look forward to your reply.

  • Greg Giordano

    I can see a lot of what makes OBB awesome outlined here. I’m almost through half of the program and am loving it. I’m leaner but not much, if any, lighter. As a bonus, a lot of nagging aches and pains are slowly going away from doing something very different. OBB is worth every penny.

  • Omi Baker

    to take exercises, taking nutritious food is also helpful to gain a fit &
    fine body. Your personal fitness trainer & health consultant’s advice is
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    one of my friend used the body buildo and he gained enormous results.

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  • Julie

    10 Tips To Get You In The Best Shape Of Your Life

  • Amit schindler

    can u suggest me a workout program vid variations as u have suggested in ure post….. and also tell me is there any alternative for seated rows as i dnt hv rowing machine in my gym…

  • Murugan

    help me with some good tips

  • Cade

    Great post Roman. Common sense stuff that I hadn’t heard or thought about before. Definitely going to incorporate those strategies in my training starting tomorrow.

  • Mattias Sørensen

    thanks for these tips man. It will really spice up my training and my body this summer :P 

  • Ryan Austin

    Roman, I love your stuff, best advice for a lean body (and loved your superhero workout program). Question for you though on the strategic fasting idea you’re always promoting. I’m planning to do Xtreme Fatloss Diet for the second time (did it last summer), which you were integral in helping design, and I want some advice on how to survive on fast days :) I found out last summer (and when I had fast days on the superhero wkout) that I get wicked energy drained and ligh headed not eating all day, and I also found that If I just eat around 300 calories this significantly helps (ie. couple hundred calories vs. 0) … my question is what type of food would I want to eat for these couple hundred calories (I generally have a protein shake and some nuts) and am I severely hurting my fat loss efforts by not having a pure fast day? I know there’s a lot of science behind this idea so I wanted your take on it. Thx again for the blog man!

    • John Romaniello

       A few hundred calories won’t hurt, provided you eat them towards the end of the day. Protein and nuts works great. 

      I would also suggest some caffeine to help.

      • Ryanpaustin

        Awesome, thanks man. Generally end of the day is when I’m feeling I need something small or I can’t function ;) Appreciate the advice! Keep up the good work!

  • calvin

    Hi John, My name is Calvin and I would like some advice? I broke my wrist at work and was put in a cast for a month, and as a result, fell badly behind with training and actually put on Weight, Fat, Unfortunately. My wrist has healed fully now so any advice on what are the best Exercises to catch up with and lose the extra weight i have put on?? Cheers John, Calvin from Nottingham, uk.

    • John Romaniello

       Hey Calvin,

      best thing to go is go back to the routine that was successful for you before the injuries; obviously work back into it, and be sure take care to avoid hurting the wrist again.

      I’m afraid there’s no magic, just slow and steady

  • Cathy

    LOL Roman I can’t stand it when I see all these guys in the gym with big upper body but puny a*s legs! It looks totally ridic and they think they’re hot!!  Hopefully they read your blog lol…

  • Adam Richards

    For females looking to drop fat would you reccomend kettlebell circuits 8-10 rep range with one day of low rep low volume heavy lifting?

    • John Romaniello

      That’s a perfectly reasonable way to go, yeah.

  • Dzimm

    Roman, I always love reading your stuff. I leaned down a bit in the last few months and my triceps(in particular) look great pumped after workout and flexed, but don’t show it at all “just hanging out”. Can I get more on the myogenic topic in the future? Keep up the good work. Dennnis

    • John Romaniello

       Absolutely; I’ll cover it in depth in another article at some point.

  • Olga

    Hey, Roman!
    Nice article. So I prefer this X-shaped body for sure, and guys with huge biceps, back, front muscles AND not developed leg muscles do not attract at all, I guess I’m not alone. Y-shaped body looks strange. Please, guys,  pay attention to your butt, and strong legs that suit your upper body. 
    Roman, the article is really useful…any similar article for ladies? Thnx for ur blog!

  • Vandza

    High quality read. I like your no-nonsense-no-bullshit approach with actual advises, which I find very helpful. Your blog really stands out from the whole bunch of other “fat loss gurus” who promise you the world with very mystical and vague arguments, while they’re afraid to take off their shirt in the pictures. 

    Thanks and thumbs up from Croatia ;) Hope this comment helps a little in reaching the 100 mark ;)

    • John Romaniello

       Thanks so much for the comment, Vandza. Much appreciated. Hello to Croatia!

  • Trevor

    Great article, love reading these, as they bring a lot of good info back to the front of the mind. Its easy to get carried away over complicating exercises. Very often simple is the best. 

    • John Romaniello

       Much appreciated, Trevor =)

  • KO

    Dear Roman!
    Thank you for your SuperBlog.
    I live in Ukraine, and it is extremely difficult to find such a useful fat loss dtabase as yours.

    • John Romaniello

       =) appreciate you, KO!

  • rmg

    roman – thanks

    • John Romaniello

       You are quite welcome!

  • Nicholas English

    OK I love you and I love this site but chicks do not care about big calves, they just don’t!

    • John Romaniello

       As someone with exceptional calves, I can tell you with 100% certain that you are wrong. Yes, many women DO care about calves.

      • Matt K

        Completely agree, Roman. I used to think women didn’t care. Then, my girlfriend said it was her favorite feature! 

        • John Romaniello

           Ladies love nice calves. It’s just how it is.

  • spartacus

    well, the info. about reps and 75-85% 1Rm  was great. But, seriously, I personally think working out for the purpose of being sexy is shallow and pathetic. I’m a 40 year old male, happily married. I would have thought training to be the strongest, healthiest version of one’s self was a goal worthy of striving for. Sexiness is an added bonus, a side affect if you will, rather than the goal. I don’t want to have “beach muscle” to be pretty for the ladies (even if I was single), I do it for myself.  By the way, due to my attitude and training, I mix it up with 20 something’s playing Touch Footy, and can outsprint most of them, and am the strongest I’ve ever been.

    • John Romaniello

      I couldn’t disagree with you more. If you think you would personally “never” want train just for appearances, that’s fine; however, I don’t think that lambasting others, and calling their goals “shallow and pathetic” is fair. Some people just don’t care about strength. It’s totally okay to be into the result over the process.  No judgement, dude. Not cool.

  • TheTylerCarter

    What’s a “high” dose for fish oil?

    • John Romaniello

       20g per day or so.

  • Ron

    I’m 50 and fighting low T level –  in my case I cut out 95% of my sugar intake, lowered carb intake, upped protein alot. I increased cardio to a min of 400 cal/session. I also added 15 minutes of cardio at the end of each workout. Roman is dead on with doing more pulling exercised – my waist is now 29.5 chest tad under 44″. Evaluate your asthetic weakness – make it a goal to work on it – train hard – play hard!

  • John Romaniello

     Cycling is usually better

  • Bulent

    Awesome post a always. On the Batman scale I give you 0.7 Batman

    • John Romaniello

       that’s almost a full Batman!

  • Mani

    What passes as a high fish oil dose for a 220 pound male?

    • John Romaniello

       1g per 20 pounds of LBM, then another 1g per % of body fat. 

  • Harold

    Loved the article, Roman.  Looking forward to more information on manipulating hormones.

  • Justin Grinnell

    Great post John. Made me want to stay away from the holiday food and get back into the gym tomorrow! Thanks! 

    • John Romaniello

       Hit it hard, Justin =)

  • Jonathan

    Oh and I was just wondering my biceps and triceps ache ALL the time unless im working out and they ache more if I dont work out for several days at the time so I was wondering if I could fix that somehow or make it not ache.

    • John Romaniello

       Could be a bloodflow issue?

  • Andy

    Another awesome post Roman. With regard to spilling T IGF1 and GH; us it better hit all three in the same workout, different days or cycle training?



  • Picking up Women

    This means that physical traits which imply the presence of “mating qualifiers” are important for increasing your stock with the ladies.

  • Luke H

    Good post with some good points – but I have seen better from you (lol). I would definitely recommend training heavy for more than 4 days per month. Alcohol is a killer for testosterone, also lack of sleep. Thanks for the post

  • K T

    Great tips (I found the info on neurogenic and myogenic tone particularly interesting), but perhaps ALCOHOL should be mentioned. I understand it's one of the great enemies of testosterone and as such should be avoided by anyone wanting to build a hot figure.

  • Holmes Place

    Fitness should be important to everyone who wants to be happy and healthy – nice blog.

  • Triv

    Hey Roman,

    I have a SOMEWHAT controvercial question to ask of you. What is your opinion of focusing mojority of one carbs intake PRE workout? (Anaconda protocol style)

    From experience, would you say most are better off using the typical approach of POST workout carbs?

    Thanks man.

    Appreciate your advice.

  • Ylwa

    Personally, I've never really understood mens obsession about pecs and bench presses. But basically, this focus is created by the very same fact that you're obsessed with porn? The visual stuff-thing.

    Guys, if you're going to do chest, there's really only one part you should focus on – the upper and inner pecs. Why? Beacuse they make a great compliment to your S-H-O-U-L-D-E-R-S. (Not that this is being written from a purley vain perspective)

    If I had to pic one body part 9 out of 10 guys should foucus on, shoulders are it. I think they're the very foundation of an X-shaped physique. It signalizes authority and manliness, which makes us ladies feel that you're there to care for us. Plus, they make alot for you posture as well.

    To conclude – if I'm at a bar with a fella with a scrawny pair of delts I make a note to self that I'm gonna have to fight my own battles that evening.

  • Matty

    Hey John, excellent post. I have a larger chest, no bitch tits though, i think its genetics, my dad has a larger chest. . is there a way to ” spot” reduce the chest, so to speak.

    I know building up shoulders, traps and a low body fat % is key for the look, but is there a exercise routine too do to, let's say, reduce the size or create a leaner look.

    Also, What happened to Shoulders of doom? i think i remember it, but would that specialization regime be beneficial to help with the x- body.

    and FPFL has changed?, im about to start it again next week. do you care to share how it has changed? anything worth noting?


  • Fred

    Very nice post my man. X-shaped definitely beats V-shaped every day. An old soccer player should know 'bout them good 'ol calves. And I sincerely apologize in advance for whopping your ass on the badminton court (if you are up for a face-off that is…)

  • John Romaniello

    @Chad – glad you enjoyed it, sir. Appreciate the kind words!

    @nathan – for guys who have high(er) body fat on the lower body, density training would be me recommendation. Check this article

    @Zac – we'll be running a huge sale on the updated version of FPFL in Feb =)

  • Patti

    Loved the post. Men, don't ignore getting your hormone levels checked by an experienced and of course qualified health professional, especially if you're losing a large amount of body fat. I work with large (as in bodyfat) people and hormones are whacked. If you're tired, depressed, not building muscle as you think you should, or have squishy muscle tone…go get them checked. Besides, a good level of testosterone will make your girl really really happy!

  • Evy

    I find the most attractive look to be lean, balanced, and muscular without going overboard. Guys that are hugely built in the chest and back to the neglect of the muscles from the waist down are a turn-off for me. Most men underestimate the effect of a nicely shaped butt for getting a woman's attention and concentrate on everything else.

  • Naomi

    The single most important thing is abs. Lean and defined. With that always comes strong shoulders. Legs matter. A lot. Really, the whole package matters (no pun intended).

  • Shaun

    Great post, Where would you throw Nate Green's “Built For Show” Program in all of this. I'm trying to get stronger but a few showpiece muscles are slacking. Should I on my cheat days focus on “accessory work” to make them pop or will that not be enough?

    That would make my total training days 4 instead of just 3. Also, note i'm doing finishers after all of my weight sessions to keep my conditioning up to par.

  • Scott

    Excellent article John… and great pic too!

    I know that I neglected these 5 rules when I was a young trainee. I avoided legs and totally focused on the mirror muscles.

    I also didn't add much variety to my training and I tried to push heavy all the time.

    I see the same thing happen when I see the teenagers in my gym and unfortunately, many of them refuse to listen, and many of them spend several hours in the gym every day. I sure wish that I had better guidance back then.

    I went in the opposite direction for a couple years as well and reduced the weight and rest time significantly. This made my workouts more aerobic than anaerobic.

    I definitely catch myself saying, “I wish I knew this back in the early training days.”

    The one thing about bodybuilding is that it's a continuous journey with plenty of opportunities to learn and discover new things about yourself.

    Thanks for another great post John.

    Scott Tousignant

  • Zac

    Always looking for advice as to what builds a kick-ass X frame; I'll save enough pennies for your FPFL programme eventually!

    Cheers for the blog!


  • nathan

    Hey Roman,

    great article, with all the new stuff that gets written…you sometimes forget the basic stuff that really works.

    Q. What training/diet strategy would you prescribe for guys who have high(er) levels of bodyfat on the lower body? Im finding this a lot with my clients… Is it purely a dietary issue?


  • Chad

    Great article John – I remember reading it when it first came out on Craig's blog.

    Each point is beneficial and I've put them all to use in my training.


    – Chad