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Sun Nov 25, 2012, 02:54 AM

Muscular Body Image Lures Boys Into Gym, and Obsession

It is not just girls these days who are consumed by an unattainable body image.

---snip---

Pediatricians are starting to sound alarm bells about boys who take unhealthy measures to try to achieve Charles Atlas bodies that only genetics can truly confer. Whether it is long hours in the gym, allowances blown on expensive supplements or even risky experiments with illegal steroids, the price American boys are willing to pay for the perfect body appears to be on the rise.

In a study to be published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics, more than 40 percent of boys in middle school and high school said they regularly exercised with the goal of increasing muscle mass. Thirty-eight percent said they used protein supplements, and nearly 6 percent said they had experimented with steroids.

Over all, 90 percent of the 1,307 boys in the survey who lived in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, but typify what doctors say is a national phenomenon said they exercised at least occasionally to add muscle.

more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/19/health/teenage-boys-worried-about-body-image-take-risks.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

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Reply Muscular Body Image Lures Boys Into Gym, and Obsession (Original post)
Behind the Aegis Nov 2012 OP
Warren DeMontague Nov 2012 #1
Behind the Aegis Nov 2012 #2
Warren DeMontague Nov 2012 #3
Major Nikon Nov 2012 #4
DavidDvorkin Nov 2012 #5
radicalliberal Nov 2012 #6
DavidDvorkin Nov 2012 #7
radicalliberal Nov 2012 #8
DavidDvorkin Nov 2012 #9
Warren DeMontague Nov 2012 #10
DavidDvorkin Nov 2012 #11
radicalliberal Nov 2012 #12
DavidDvorkin Nov 2012 #13
radicalliberal Nov 2012 #22
Warren DeMontague Nov 2012 #14
radicalliberal Nov 2012 #24
lumberjack_jeff Nov 2012 #16
radicalliberal Nov 2012 #25
Mosby Nov 2012 #17
Warren DeMontague Nov 2012 #18
Mosby Nov 2012 #20
Warren DeMontague Nov 2012 #23
lumberjack_jeff Nov 2012 #15
Warren DeMontague Nov 2012 #19
Mosby Nov 2012 #21
missnyjane259 Dec 2012 #26
missnyjane259 Dec 2012 #27
Taverner Jan 2013 #28
Warren DeMontague Jan 2013 #29

Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 03:35 AM

1. OTOH, lifting weights can be a good part of a regular exercise regimen.

Steroids though, obviously not.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 03:46 AM

2. It certainly can be, if one knows how to use them properly.

I think what is more interesting is the issue of body image issues among young men. It is a group often overlooked.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 04:39 AM

3. Yeah. I actually glanced at the same article the other day, and posting it here occurred to me, too.

Personally, I'm in a long stretch between being a teenager myself, and worrying about my own kids dealing with that stuff. For me, trying (if not always succeeding) to maintain a more fit appearance has been a net positive in my life from a health perspective. But I would be lying if I said I had a good grasp of what teenage boys today deal with.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:38 PM

5. It's hard to believe those numbers

Based on the shape the kids I see are in.

And I live in Colorado, one of the fittest states in the Union.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:07 PM

6. I'm a 62-year-old guy who's had a body image problem for most of his life.

I remember feeling self-conscious about my slight build as a kid way back to when I was in kindergarten. I'm not sure how it started. I was impressed by Mighty Mouse. (Don't laugh. I was only five years old.) Perhaps being physically assaulted by bigger kids had something to do with it.

I was lured into a gym (specifically, a local 24 Hour Fitness) when I was 57 years old. Ever since I placed membership, I've wondered why I didn't join a health club much sooner. Perhaps the disgrace that was mandatory boys' P.E. had something to do with it. (You know what I mean: forced participation in competitive team games, fear of humiliation and bullying, no instruction in the sports themselves, disdain on the part of the P.E. teachers and coaches against scrawny boys and fat boys, no mention of exercise programs -- not even any mention of bodybuilding). Incidentally, I never got any exercise in P.E. Never so much as worked up a sweat. Sorry, but I just had to say all that. It's just that I get sick and tired of all the people who demand that P.E. be mandatory K/12 because of all the kids who are fat, but don't see any need for genuine fitness programs that actually help nonathletic kids. Of course, the original mandatory P.E. was never really about promoting physical fitness in the first place. In my humble opinion, the purpose of the old P.E. when it was first instituted in schools was two-fold: (1) to promote sports, and (2) to punish nonathletic boys.

Anyway, my experience of working with personal trainers on a bodybuilding program has been quite therapeutic psychologically, as well as beneficial to my physical health! I have more muscular development now than I ever did when I was a boy or a young man (which actually isn't saying much, since I had no development at all when I was young). I have considerably more self-confidence, feeling power in my body that I've never felt before. But I'm still not satisfied with my physique! Progress has been extremely slow because of chronic sleep disorder and dietary restrictions imposed by diabetes. If I were foolish, I'd succumb to the temptation to abuse steroids.

I wish I had taken up bodybuilding when I was a teenager, a time in my life when I had no self-confidence. Bodybuilding is a wonder fitness activity for teenage boys who have no interest in sports.

I just wish a lot of boys could accept their bodies (something I wasn't quite able to do when I was a kid) and get away from the notion that sports or muscularity defines masculinity. There have been many great men, including extremely heroic guys, who had lousy physiques. It's funny; I certainly don't look down on guys who are scrawny or fat. In fact, I think such an attitude is stupid and contemptible. But I'm sure hard on myself!

Don't know if any of my comments in this post will add to the conversation. Probably not, but who cares?

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Response to radicalliberal (Reply #6)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 03:07 PM

7. "I wish I had taken up bodybuilding when I was a teenager"

Same here.

I started lifting very small weights in my very late teens, but I didn't get serious about it till years later. The positive effect on my self-esteem has been enormous -- an effect I could very much have used when I was a boy.

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 01:58 AM

8. Hi, DavidDvorkin! :-)

Hiring a personal trainer has been particularly helpful to me as a beginner. Yes, they're expensive; but they're worth it, in my humble opinion. One reason why is because maintaining proper form while doing the exercise is extremely important. Even a slight departure from the way the exercise is done properly can make a great difference. Making that sort of mistake can result in the targeted muscle for that exercise not receiving the workout it needs. Injury can also result. I injured myself once when I did one of the machine exercises incorrectly on an occasion when I tried working out by myself. The injury was mild and did not keep me from exercising, but it took more than half a year to heal. Making appointments with a physical trainer also provide more motivation to go to the gym. Some of us need just a little bit more encouragement of that sort to keep on working out.

By the way, I'm not on some kind of macho trip. I don't judge guys by their physiques. I don't put down guys who are weaker than I or who happen to be fat. What they do or don't do with their bodies is their own business, not mine, and has absolutely nothing to do with their character. I've taken up bodybuilding as a fitness routine because I have a mild case of diabetes and also (from a psychological point of view) so I can feel better about myself.

(This is not a sample of my best writing. I'm suffering from sleep deprivation as I write this.)

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Response to radicalliberal (Reply #8)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 12:42 PM

9. For decades, my problem wasn't a lack of motivation

but lack of time because of work and other obligations. I did squeeze in exercise time, but never enough of it and never regularly enough. That changed once I retired almost four years ago. I'm very regular about it now.

I've always been careful about form and technique. I'm a solitary type and need to exercise alone.

I introduced my wife to lifting weights when we were in college, in the 1960s, long before if was common for women to do that. She became a real enthusiast and later an exercise teacher, specializing in a weight-training program she devised. She was a pioneer in the field. You can read about it here: http://www.leonoredvorkin.com/wts/

For years, people would ask me if she had taught me to lift weights, which I must admit really annoyed me. I learned to paste on a smile, though.

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #9)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 01:51 PM

10. I try to do 4000 reps with 25 lbs. on each arm 2X a week

Not bad for a geezer.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #10)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 04:41 PM

11. 4000! That's a lot.

I do a couple of days a week with light dumbbells and high reps, and a couple of days with lower reps and heavier dumbbells (one day) or a bar (the other).

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #11)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 06:50 PM

12. At the risk of sounding like a broken record (Hey, that's an outdated expression! ...

... Most kids today, quite understandably, have no earthly idea what that means. ) ... oh, what the ... let me start over.

At the risk of sounding like a one-issue guy, I've been on a bodybuilding program not because of the sports culture and the mandatory boys' P.E. of my youth, but in spite of it. The noxious culture of school sports says the only way to get into shape is by participating in a sport. If you're a nonathletic guy, you're supposed to stay sedentary because, after all, you're just a wimp, a "feminized male."

I have nothing but contempt for a physical education establishment that never showed any concern about the bullying of nonathletic boys in mandatory P.E. classes -- classes that not only didn't provide any exercise programs for the physically unfit, but often didn't provide any instruction in the sports themselves. Classes that were often "taught" by men who viewed nonathletic boys with either complete indifference or outright contempt. Classes in which nonathletic boys learned absolutely nothing about exercise programs of any sort, but did learn to fear (and resent) coaches and athlete classmates. When I first began to endure the misery of mandatory "sports only" P.E. as a fourth grader, I was weak and scrawny. By the time my last P.E. class had mercifully come to an end when I was in the eighth grade, I was (you guessed it) still weak and scrawny.

There's now this big outcry how P.E. should be mandatory K/12 because so many kids are fat. The hypocrisy is so astounding, it almost makes me puke. (That's strange. We've always had mandatory P.E.; but we still managed to end up with fat kids, anyway. Could it be that the increased frequency of obesity among children has been caused by something other than * gasp * playing video games?) But do these same people support any genuine fitness programs that would actually help these kids? Do any of these people object to the bullying of fat kids (as well as others)? Nooooooooooooo! Really their only concern is sports. They believe in forcing sports on all nonathletic kids, no exceptions. If the kids are bullied in mandatory P.E., who gives a flying (expletive deleted)?!

So, I'm eccentric ... I'm not proud. Consider me the online equivalent of the small town crank.

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Response to radicalliberal (Reply #12)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 07:42 PM

13. Very well said

I was chubby and weak, but it was much the same for me.

Part of my school life was spent in South Africa, a very macho culture. How I hated and dreaded PE!

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #13)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 05:58 PM

22. Thank you! :-)

I was slightly apprehensive about the possibility of being personally attacked by a sports fan for daring to be critical of mandatory boys' P.E.

I know I've said this elsewhere in this forum (if I remember correctly) and in the forums of other websites, but I'll say it again: I get more exercise in a single workout session at my health club than I ever did in an entire year of P.E. The only time I ever worked up a sweat in any of my P.E. classes was when I was worried about being humiliated or bullied. If any academic class had been conducted in the way the mandatory P.E. of my generation was "taught," there would have been a lot of outrage. But no one cared that nonathletic students were being neglected and humiliated. No one cared about the bullying, which was tolerated for generations. They only cared about sports. The history of mandatory boys' P.E. in the United States is an absolute disgrace.

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Response to radicalliberal (Reply #12)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 09:26 PM

14. I absolutely hated PE growing up.

I do think things have changed a bit since I was a kid.

I also think the primary driver for obesity rates is diet, and there may be some unknown environmental factors in there as well. It's not video games IMHO.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #14)


Response to radicalliberal (Reply #12)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 10:52 PM

16. This is why I love cross country

 

Every few years, the school board discusses cutting the program because it has comparatively few participants, and every few years, I call the boardmembers to try to talk them out of it.

In cross country, the main opponent is your previous best time.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #16)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 07:25 PM

25. That's an excellent program!

I'm acquainted with a fine young man in Canada who has participated in such a program at his high school. This was a year or so after having to put up with a boys' P.E. coach who treated him with contempt simply because he wasn't an athlete.

Sorry my post to you isn't as long the preceding one!

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #11)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:32 AM

17. high reps are a waste of time

Unless you want to just burn calories or something.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #17)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 01:57 AM

18. Maybe, but it works for me. I find I've put on some muscle mass and the exercise aspect is important

Plus I don't feel like putting a whole weight room in my house, so I work with what I've got.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #18)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 01:17 PM

20. whatever works for you, by exercising you're way ahead of the game

I started strength training about 15 years ago, typically I like to read up on something before I start. According to the books I read the key to building muscle mass (hypertrophy) is to reach "momentary muscle failure" for every lift. You do this by using enough weight so you max out in 6-10 reps upper body and 10-12 reps lower body. This is the only way to stimulate muscle growth. There are a lot of opinions about the number of sets but the consensus is that three sets are enough. The reps are supposed to be done very slowly, 3 seconds per rep but I can't do them that slowly.

I like free weights because you end up working out a lot of small muscles in addition to the large ones. There are some free weight lifts that are very hard to duplicate using machines, rotator cuff muscles for example.

I don't worry about endurance because I get a great deal of exercise at work and I walk my dog every day from one to two miles. I could benefit from more aerobic exercise though, but I hate jogging.

I was extremely thin as a teen, 6'2" and about a buck 35. I used to wear 30-38 levis shrink to fit! I have filled in some but always have been self conscious about my thinness. To say I was picked on a little is an understatement.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #20)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 06:24 PM

23. Right. I'm not as well read but I'm aware that the idea for muscle mass growth is to take the muscle

to that point where it's shutting down.

I've done that, before, at the gym etc. and it does generate results, no question. Part of my thinking with adding the smaller (relatively) weights to my workout was that I wanted to get some sort of weight action in there, and at least previously I've had to think about having small kids running around that I don't particularly want in the way if all of a sudden I can't hold a giant barbell. Plus it's not realistic to ask a 4 yr old to spot you. I also had a pretty significant elbow injury about 20 yrs ago which has limited what I can do with my left arm; I don't want to screw around with it too much, that's why I don't get into curls for instance- my ability with my right far exceeds that of my left arm.

And I know from experience that if I get myself a gym membership I might as well just burn the money- I won't go.

So I started with the weights I had and just increased the # of reps. I'm about maxed out time-wise though, now, so I may need to get larger weights, esp. since at least now the kids will listen when I tell em to steer clear.

I was a skinny, nerdy kid, myself- then I hit about 14 or 15 and filled out significantly. I didn't feel any different but one day I realized that all the people who had been giving me shit were all of a sudden smaller than me, and real quiet. But I didn't get into fitness or keeping thin until later- my idea of exercise in HS and college was the keg hoist and the bong pull- I really didn't discover regular exercise until around 30 when I had put on lifestyle-related weight.


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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #10)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 10:50 PM

15. Not bad at all. Flies, presses, curls or ??

 

Now that I'm working near a gym, I intend to get back into the routine.

I find that relatively light weight and high reps is key to avoiding bursitis.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #15)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 01:59 AM

19. Presses mostly. I have one of those adjustable weight benches.

I'm by no means the expert on any of it, I just wanted to put some weights into my routine somehow.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)


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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 12:28 AM

28. A lot of people are juicing

 

Men, women - it's everywhere

One thing tho - steroids have become a lot safer these days

But they aren't risk free

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Response to Taverner (Reply #28)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 06:17 AM

29. I had to take prednisone once for a real fuckin' nasty bout of poison oak.

that's as close as I'd like to get to steroids.

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