Men’s Fitness, Body Dysmorphia, and “Supplements”

Let’s Go: Muscle dysmorphia is a psychological condition some believe results from an overfocus on the physical ideal.


The perspective through which men view their appearances impacts their fitness aspirations, which differs from the perspective through which women view their physiques. Because of their greater emphasis on a muscular physique, men workout to increase their morphological size.

Besides, the desire for muscle mass may be linked to the increased danger of anabolic-androgenic steroids and other health supplements whose efficacy has yet to be proven.


In extreme cases, the desire for muscle mass can emerge as a type of body dysmorphic disorder known as muscle dysmorphia.

Still, not all men are concerned about their muscle mass. Homosexual men are often more prone than heterosexual men to have the drive to be skinny due to media portrayal, and they are more likely to suffer from dietary and body image disorders.

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Stage 1:

Men’s emphasis on the desire for muscle mass can have a significant influence on how they approach fitness and diet. For instance, men frequently concentrate on obtaining a muscular shape and showcasing that form to its full potential because they believe they are less muscular than they are and equate a lack of muscle with a lack of masculinity. They may then use a variety of nutritional tactics to boost their effort to gain muscle.

Muscle Dysmorphia:

A type of body dysmorphic disorder, it is characterized by a collection of attitudes and actions displayed primarily by men who have a strong need to be more massive, even though they are already objectively thicker than the majority of other men

People with muscle dysmorphia frequently wear baggy clothing to cover up what they perceive to be an incredibly insufficient level of muscle mass and suffer high degrees of anxiety and guilt about exhibiting their bodies in society. Grieve lists four broad groups of factors that, in his opinion, affect the onset of MD: socio-environmental (such as media representations and influences), emotional (such as negative feelings), psychological (such as the perfecting of the ideal person), and physiological (such as muscle mass). A greater likelihood of using anabolic-androgenic steroids exists among men with muscle dysmorphia.

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Dysfunctional Eating Patterns


Modifying eating habits or the specific foods or nutrients one consumes can result in a change in one’s perception of their body (i.e., to grow physically or psychologically larger or thinner). This is likely most evidently observed in bodybuilding and combat sports, where participants may significantly lower their overall caloric intake before a match before consuming a large number of calories afterward.

Several men who are not participating in athletic competitions indulge in eating behaviors and techniques that may be incompatible with fitness and optimal nutrition. Dieting to gain muscle requires extreme eating behavior, including five to six daily meals. Alternating between phases of weight gain and loss is another common trend. To achieve the ideal physical state, this cycle is frequently repeated periodically.


The likelihood of excessive weight or fat gain over time with this form of cycling is a huge concern. Also, repeated cycling may cause undesirable physiological changes, such as blood fat rises, kidney alterations, and detrimental consequences on blood pressure.

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Performance-Enhancing Drugs

There is mounting data that suggests a connection between men’s desire for the bodybuilder ideal and their usage of performance-enhancing substances. PEDs, however, are rarely consumed by themselves and are frequently combined with a variety of both legal and illicit substances, including thyroid stimulating hormone, fat-burning supplements, and painkillers.

These supplementary treatments are intended to lessen the severity of certain PED-related side effects. PEDs are often consumed in “cycles,” or according to set dosages and consumption times. The minimal data available indicates that there is a growth in cycle quantity throughout the duration, with the typical cycle of PEDs reaching roughly 1,000 mg/week.


PEDs can have a wide range of negative side effects, including serious psychological and physical issues. The majority of users do experience negative effects, the most frequent of which are acne, testicular shrinkage, sadness, anxiety, and hostility. However, these side effects usually go away at the end of a cycle. Cardiovascular complications are the most severe physical adverse effects.

Sexual Orientation

In a population-based survey, gay male teenagers reported BID at a rate of 27.8%, compared to 12% for heterosexual male teenagers. The same goes for eating disorder screening tests, where gay men do much more.

Throughout all previous years, homosexuality portrayed through the media as femininity. For instance, the media frequently portrays Latino or African American homosexual men as having female identities and/or being female impersonators.


On the other hand, homosexuals who adopt a more masculinized body image are more likely to have body image problems related to muscle mass. Concerns about steroid use, workout obsession, and heavy drinking behavior are of the utmost importance for these people.

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The investigation into men’s body image and the desire for muscle is still in its infancy, as are those into its causes, effects, and relations. Men exercise to increase lean muscles and dietary strategies to achieve the physical ideal; however, a few men who pursue this goal may develop MD; additionally, some will indulge in risky dieting cycling, the use of nutritional supplements, and the use of PEDS to maximize their desires.


Conversely, homosexual males are more susceptible to ED and BID than heterosexual men, indicating that body image impacts may be more complicated in this demographic.

Future studies should investigate these problems and broaden our knowledge of men’s body confidence difficulties, with an emphasis on how these challenges might affect diagnosis and treatment.


Bergling, T. (2013). Chasing Adonis: Gay Men and the Pursuit of Perfection. Taylor & Francis.

Eating disorders in college men. (1995). American Journal of Psychiatry, 152(9), 1279–1285.

French, S. A., Story, M., Remafedi, G., Resnick, M. A., & Blum, R. (1996). Sexual orientation and prevalence of body dissatisfaction and eating disordered behaviors: A population-based study of adolescents. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 19(2), 119–126.

Hudson, J. I., Hiripi, E., Pope, H. G., & Kessler, R. C. (2007). The Prevalence and Correlates of Eating Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Biological Psychiatry, 61(3), 348–358.

McCreary, D. R. (2007). The Drive for Muscularity Scale: Description, Psychometrics, and Research Findings. The Muscular Ideal: Psychological, Social, and Medical Perspectives., 87–106.

McCreary, D. R., Hildebrandt, T. B., Heinberg, L. J., Boroughs, M., & Thompson, J. K. (2007). A Review of Body Image Influences on Men’s Fitness Goals and Supplement Use. American Journal of Men’s Health, 1(4), 307–316.

Posted in Health

Fad Diets, Obesity and The Conclusion

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  1. In this episode, various diets that focus on juicing or detoxifying, intermittent fasting, the paleo diet, and high-intensity exercise will be covered.

  2. Obesity has emerged as one of the most significant global public health issues, and it is linked to higher rates of morbidity and mortality as well as more expensive medical treatment. The US spent 147 billion dollars on obesity and related illnesses in 2008 alone, and expenses are expected to climb (1).

  3. An entire industry has been developed to create and promote fad diets and exercise regimens as a result of how widespread and expensive obesity has become. The following topics will be covered in this episode as we examine the most recent research supporting four well-known weight loss programs: Diets that emphasize juicing or cleansing, intermittent fasting, the paleo diet, and intense exercise
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Juicing and Detoxification Diets

  1. Detoxification diets and juicing have long been and are still used as weight loss management strategies. The phrase “juicing” or “detoxing” typically refers to a brief period of time, typically less than two weeks, during which all calories taken come from juices and additional supplements chosen in accordance with the particular juicing diet( (e.g: The Master Cleanser, Lemon Detox Diet, the Liver Cleansing Diet, Martha’s Vineyard Detox Diet).

  2. The majority of these diets include liquids and supplements that serve as meal replacements for the duration of 2 to 21 days. The use of laxatives is also a common component of the programs, and the Hubbard Purification Rundown cleanse even calls for spending up to five hours each day in a sauna. The idea behind weight loss is that there is a substantial decrease in caloric intake, in addition to the loss of water weight and fecal matter when laxatives and saunas are included. Some of these diets offer just 400 calories per day since they are so restrictive.

  3. In conclusion, these incredibly low-calorie diets cause stress hormones like cortisol to surge, which may have additional detrimental downstream consequences including stimulating hunger, which can result in rebound weight gain through binge eating (2)(3).
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Intermittent Fasting

  1. Periodic fasting, commonly referred to as “intermittent fasting,” is a weight loss technique that entails periods of minimal or no calorie intake, usually lasting 16 to 48 hours, followed by periods of regular eating(4).

  2. The length of time spent fasting and the amount of calories that can be consumed during the fasting phase might vary greatly depending on the intermittent fasting diet. During this fasting period, a number of metabolic changes take place, including decreased glucose levels, decreased glycogen storage, decreased fatty acid mobilization, decreased leptin, and maybe increased alertness.

  3. Due to the fact that calorie consumption is typically lowered by roughly 25% relative to the person’s baseline calorie intake, intermittent fasting diets generally result in weight loss.

  4. In conclusion, although intermittent fasting diets are becoming more and more popular as a weight loss strategy, there are still very few research that evaluate its effectiveness and potential drawbacks.
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The Paleolithic (Paleo) Diet

  1. The Paleolithic (Paleo) diet was developed to resemble how prehistoric humans consumed solely whole, unprocessed foods. This diet was developed on the grounds that, according to a theory, human genetics are best suited to it since human genes ceased changing during the Stone Age, roughly 10,000 years ago.

  2. Fresh produce, fruit, lean meats, chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, and seeds are all considered paleo foods. Cereals, grains, legumes, and dairy products are not.

  3. Mellberg et al. conducted the largest randomized control study (RCT), which involved 70 post-menopausal, obese women who were given either a paleo diet or a Nordic Nutrition Recommendations Diet. At the end of 6 months, those who followed the paleo diet significantly improved in terms of weight loss and fat loss; however, at 24 months, there was no difference in these parameters (5).

  4. The fact that these foods are typically more expensive is one of the criticisms of the paleo diet, and the higher cost may make this sort of diet unaffordable for some people. Weakness, diarrhea, and headaches are a few potential adverse effects that study participants have mentioned.
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High Intensity Training

  1. Although high-intensity training (HIT) has long been a technique used by professional athletes to improve their athletic ability, it has only lately gained popularity as a method for the general public to lose weight. HIT consists of brief periods of maximal intensity work followed by rest intervals. When compared to moderate intensity training (MIT), such as long-distance running or cycling at a moderate speed, this is very different.

  2. 24 men and 17 women with normal body fat percentages who did not frequently exercise at baseline were enrolled by Bagley et al. Participants in the study were asked to complete four sets of 20-second sprints with two minutes of low-intensity cycling in between for a total of 12 weeks. Participants showed a 1.2% decrease in body fat and a 1.2% increase in lean body mass after 12 weeks. It’s interesting to note that positive changes in body composition were seen after only completing a total of 80 seconds of sprints and 8 minutes of low-intensity exercise three days a week for a period of 12 weeks (6).

  3. But one drawback of this program is that it doesn’t accept those with physical disabilities or serious comorbidities who can’t engage in high-intensity training.
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Our Conclusion

  1. Juicing or detoxifying diets cause weight loss as a result of their stringent calorie restrictions, however they are not long-term maintainable. Even while people may lose weight while on the diet, once the program is stopped, they frequently gain the weight back.

  2. By lowering weekly calorie consumption overall, intermittent fasting appears to promote weight loss. Although there is currently very little research on humans, it is a more sustainable choice than juicing diets.

  3. The paleo diet seems to produce significant short-term gains in weight reduction and other metabolic parameters, but for some people, it may not be a realistic diet because of the expense, time commitment, side effects, and questionable long-term benefits.

  4. Although HIT appears to provide significant advantages for weight loss and only takes a little time commitment, it might not be practical for people with physical limitations, which could include a significant number of obese people.
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Academic References

  • Klein, A. V., & Kiat, H. (2014). Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: a critical review of the evidence. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 28(6), 675–686.
  • Mazurak, N., Günther, A., Grau, F. S., Muth, E. R., Pustovoyt, M., Bischoff, S. C., Zipfel, S., & Enck, P. (2013). Effects of a 48-h fast on heart rate variability and cortisol levels in healthy female subjects. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67(4), 401–406.
  • Mellberg, C., Sandberg, S., Ryberg, M., Eriksson, M., Brage, S., Larsson, C., Olsson, T., & Lindahl, B. (2014). Long-term effects of a Palaeolithic-type diet in obese postmenopausal women: a 2-year randomized trial. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 68(3), 350–357.
  • Obert, J., Pearlman, M., Obert, L., & Chapin, S. (2017). Popular Weight Loss Strategies: a Review of Four Weight Loss Techniques. Current Gastroenterology Reports, 19(12).
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Posted in Health