Masculine Monday- #3

*Men Only*

10 My beloved is all radiant and ruddy,
    distinguished among ten thousand.
11 His head is the finest gold;
    his locks are wavy,
    black as a raven.
12 His eyes are like doves
    beside springs of water,
bathed in milk,
    fitly set.[a]
13 His cheeks are like beds of spices,
    yielding fragrance.
His lips are lilies,
    distilling liquid myrrh.
14 His arms are rounded gold,
    set with jewels.
His body is ivory work,
    encrusted with sapphires.
15 His legs are alabaster columns,
    set upon bases of gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
    choice as the cedars.

(Song 5:10-15)

One of the countless errors of Churchianity (and boy is it a long list) is that it teaches men that physical appearance and fitness are inconsequential. This has many negative consequences for men. For one, it hurts them in their question to find a wife, as physical appearance is a criteria women consider in mates. I quoted from the Song of Songs to emphasize that point. Second, it deprives men of a good healthy way to build confidence. Third, it leaves men weak, and thus less suited for task involving strength or endurance.  Fourth, God created us to establish dominion:

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

(Gen 1:26-27)

Physical strength has as much a role to play in that as mental strength, even in this day and age.

[Now, I suppose not all of the various Churchian strains are like that. There might be some that are even friendly to the idea of men being fit. But from what I can tell it sure seems like most are not.]

All of this leads to my point: one of the hallmarks of a truly masculine man is being in good shape. That doesn’t mean that every man must be an Olympic level bodybuilder or athlete. But it does mean that he needs to be fit. No doubt there are plenty of different criteria out there for what constitutes fit. This is where you, my readers, come in. I know a number of you have some experience, and possibly even expertise, in this area. So feel free to use the comments below to provide your thoughts on what would constitute “fit.”

[Edit: To clarify matters, as a general rule these posts are meant for men, and only male commenters are allowed. If a woman wants to contribute, she can send me an e-mail and I might post it myself. The sole female comment has been deleted, with a follow up posted by myself.]

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20 Comments

Filed under Masculinity

20 responses to “Masculine Monday- #3

  1. Tough one, Donal. Fit for what? A man that prioritises body-building won’t be fit to run a marathon. Build a wall, maybe. Whereas a chronic cardio addict will be fit to run, but not lift blocks, heavy boxes etc.

    With many jobs being sedentary, I believe men still need to make an effort to improve their strength, minimise age related weight gain, and maintain their general health well into old age. As well as exercise there is diet, alcohol and other issues like any chronic health concerns to address.

    How that looks will depend in part on the physique and preferences and ability of each man. There will be a base level of cardio fitness and muscle strength, sure. Then add nutrition onto a consistent training regime and see how it progresses.

  2. If you’re wondering whether your adequately fit, I suggest trying (and meeting the goals of) the U.S. Army Physical Fitness Test. Details at wikipedia:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Army_Physical_Fitness_Test

    -Steve

  3. theshadowedknight

    Fitness is hard to qualify because of the different types of strength. What I can do in the gym might be impressive, but I cannot run anymore. Lifters can move a lot of weight, but gymnasts can do incredible things with their bodies.

    Let us construct a standard. Critique is welcome, if you notice a deficiency.

    Chin up/Pull up: 10 reps
    Push up: 50 reps
    Squat: 1 rep at 1.5 times bodyweight
    Swim: 500 meters in 20 minutes
    Sprint: 1/4 mile in 3 minutes

    The Shadowed Knight

  4. an observer

    Thanks for that Steve. I was always ‘cardio guy’ but since anaccident two years have been forced to focus on a lot more on rehab and static work.

    I still wear the same size in everything, but during the first year I put on ten pounds which I’ve been totally unable to shift, despite gradually being able to do more cardio work as the injury improves.
    (see here for what NOT to do on your weekend:
    http://calcaneal.tumblr.com/ )

    Having been a similar weight and build for decades of my life, it is very weird to be stockier and stronger than ever before.

  5. transportman

    When dealing with the Bible, I believe it’s better to go with generalities in your recommendation, instead of creating specific numbers (unless they’re actually present in the text).

    Unless a man is in a physically active job, he should do useful, body-strengthening exercise 2-3 times per week. This can be anything from running or rollerblading to biking or weight lifting, as long as it is something that (1) is pursued with self-discipline and (2) is something where the challenge is increased (and met) over time: Longer distance, faster pace, more weight, etc.

    As someone pointed out somewhere a year or two ago: Women usually prefer a man who looks like he can fight over one who looks like he can run away really fast… but for some people, running is the best exercise to keep in shape and burn fat off, so I’m not going to exclude it.

    A (partially humorous) test: If you can’t pick up your girlfriend/fiancee/wife, you both need to work on getting in shape.

  6. A Visitor

    I wonder if that PFT is the latest one that has been lowered in standards. As to Donal’s question, my idea of fit is doing Charles Atlas’ Dynamic Tension and being able to run three miles in 24-30 minutes.

  7. Novaseeker

    Good ideas in this thread so far.

    I’d say it’s combination of strength training (rather than body building per se), endurance training (should not get winded easily) and otherwise healthy eating, avoidance of vices like alcohol/tobacco/etc. and the like, sleeping well (often overlooked in our age).

  8. fatmanjudo

    A lot of what “fit is” is based upon body type and inclination. You should be fit for something. That something is the physical hobby/work you like to do. Of course you cannot ignore your body type. No matter how many times I go to the gym and work out, a body like Schwartzenigger is not going to happen. I tried when I was younger. However, a body like Mayweather is possible, if I lose (a lot) of weight and adopt training like a boxer. This requires a realistic view of your body and potential.

    Plus, there is no point in trying to do something you do not like. A hobby that requires a base line of fitness will inspire you over the long haul to go to the gym and do general fitness in order to participate in the hobby you enjoy doing. Fitness for fitness sake is difficult over the long haul. If you hate what you are dong you will never be able to consistently. Which is why I do not run, but enjoy jump rope and hitting the heavy bag. So in summary:
    1) find a hobby that requires physical fitness that you enjoy doing
    2) train like the body type you aspire to
    3) show up.

  9. theshadowedknight

    I do not mean the numbers as a prescription. They are more of a guide. A simple way to gauge how you are doing. When starting out, it helps to have a basic idea of what to do. These are a few goals to get started.

    Fighting is good. That is definitely another one to add on.

    Chin up/Pull up: 10 reps
    Push up: 50 reps
    Squat: 1 rep at 1.5 times bodyweight
    Swim: 500 meters in 20 minutes
    Sprint: 1/4 mile in 3 minutes
    Heavy Bag: Strikes for 2 minutes
    Body Fat: <16%

    Anything else?

    The Shadowed Knight

  10. For optimal health I believe the consensus of most of the fitness organizations like ACE, NSCA, and the like say to strength/hypertrophy train about 3x a week and run about 2-4x a week or somewhere about there.

    Basically, strength train and look good 3x a week and run the off days. Aim for about 7 hours a week.

    ~ Lifts — stick to compounds like deadlift, squat, bench, dips, pullups, rows as they provide the most bang for the buck
    ~ Running aim for a pace you can comfortably maintain for 30-45 minutes or so.

    TSK, I’d modify those to:

    Chin up/Pull up: 10 reps
    Push up: 50 reps
    Squat: 1 rep at 1.5 times bodyweight
    Swim: 500 meters in 20 minutes
    Sprint: 1/4 mile in 3 minutes
    Heavy Bag: Strikes for 2 minutes
    Body Fat: <16%

    Chin up/Pull up: 10-15 reps
    Push up: 50 reps
    Bench: 5-8 reps at 1x bodyweight
    Squat: 5-8 reps at 1.5x times bodyweight
    Deadlift: 5-8 rep at 2x bodyweight
    Swim: 500 meters in 20 minutes
    Sprint: 1/4 mile in 1:20 (which is about 20s per 100m). Ideally < 1:00
    Heavy Bag: Strikes for 2 minutes, preferably learn a martial art

    Body Fat: 15% but < 12%. The abs and chest really stand out at >24-25 BMI with <= 15% bodyfat will give you a solid muscular frame.

    5'6" 150 lbs at <15% bodyfat
    5'8" 160 lbs at <15% bodyfat
    5'10" 170 lbs at <15% bodyfat
    6'0" 180 lbs at <15% bodyfat

    Most of these should be achievable with solid (but not good or amazing) nutrition, sleep, and consistent training in a year. Maybe 1.5-2 years at the most if you have terrible genetics.

  11. Michael Kozaki

    One of the countless errors of Churchianity (and boy is it a long list) is that it teaches men that physical appearance and fitness are inconsequential.

    I’ve always found “Churchianity” a meaningless term until defined. Not quite sure the boundaries. Is it not following traditional Christianity (say, winking at abortion or birth control, no fasting, no headcoverings?).

    And I’m really at a loss where people teach that fitness “doesn’t matter” (they argue it’s too vain?). I don’t hear it talked about in sermons, period, but then I don’t hear 90% of doctrine and expect this and normal. I guess I have low expectations. If I can avoid heresy I consider myself golden.

    Women prefer a man who looks like he can fight over one who looks like he can run away really fast…

    Women (and everyone else) prefer men who could care less what a woman prefers, and sets his own standards for excellence. Have American men really fallen to this level, groveling to women? Makes me want to watch Fight Club again…

  12. theshadowedknight

    DS, these are basic goals. The sprint I am not sure on, that seems like a pretty rough pace. I was about 2:15 in boots and utes, and was one of the fastest sprinters. Higher reps on the lifts defeat the purpose of finding a max. Running is terrible for the body. Sprints and shorter rest periods during the lifts will train endurance.

    The Shadowed Knight

  13. theshadowedknight

    Agreed, Michael. I do not lift to impress women. I lift to be healthy and to harm my enemies. Approval of women is nice to have, but nothing to seek for itself.

    The Shadowed Knight

  14. There’s nothing wrong with having goals toward particular things. If someone wants to look good naked then cool. If someone wants to get strong then cool. If someone wants to stay in shape that’s cool too. If someone wants to get big and strong to be harder to kill that’s good. If someone wants to look good for women that’s fine too.

    The issue isn’t that you should care or shouldn’t care what women think (or really any other goals that are not part of say your mission)… the issue is making it an idol where it becomes paramount or you’re putting it on a pedestal. For working out/looking good that would be vanity and/or making yourself a slave to a woman’s desires.

  15. Thank you everyone for your contributions with this thread. A sharp readership is one reason why I still blog.

  16. @ TSK

    Oh forgot the mention on the fitness standards.

    Yeah, if you’re in boots and rucking then 2 mins is good. If you’re just straight running I’d aim for then 1:20 400m or less. 20s per 100m is double the world record, so most athletic people should be able to run that.

    And endurance running is not bad for the body. HIIT/Sprints does improve cardio somewhat but only for a limited period of time like 6 weeks or so. To truly increase stroke volume which is healthy for the heart you have to hit the 20-30+ minutes of longer sustainable running. That’s why you can’t HIIT/Sprint your way to a good 5k time.

    IF you don’t like jogging then find something you like such as cycling, swimming, rowing, or other things like that

  17. theshadowedknight

    No, endurance running is terrible. Pretty much any other way of getting your heart rate up is better for the body than running. It does a number on the knees and is, in general, a poor form of cardio. It does not train anything useful, it catabolizes muscle, it damages the joints, it jostles the brain, and it is not efficient at burning calories.

    I will limp for the rest of my life because the military has a monomania for running. I am not the only one of my friends that ended up that way.

    Now, if you like running personally, then go for it. Do your thing, what you enjoy. I do not mean to spoil that. I am saying that for a starting point, running is not beneficial enough to outweigh its inefficiencies or inadequacies as a form of exercise.

    I disagree about women. Looking good for women is allowing them to control the standard to which you set yourself. Looking good for women is good, but not as a goal. Women are not that bright, and so they really do not know how a strong body is supposed to look. If aesthetics are the goal, pick a look you like, and train for that, but do not allow others–man or woman–to define your goals for you. Do not let other people set your goals for you.

    Pick a look. That has an array of different body types to choose for aesthetics. If it appeals to you, go for it.

    The Shadowed Knight

  18. From a female commenter:

    Swimming would be a great alternative to running. It isn’t nearly as harsh on the body (especially joints) since it doesn’t jarr anything. Plus it works more muscles than running does. I’ve also heard that running in particular is very bad for building up way too many free radicals in the body, which causes your body to age faster than it would if you didn’t run.

  19. Too much broscience here. The military encourages forced activity through pain and/or injuries. It’s not the endurance running (or endurance anything) that is the problem. It’s exercise through injuries that are the problem. I know several people who are ripped to shreds with lots of muscle and also run and are not injured.

    The only time you actually lose muscle from endurance running is if you don’t eat enough or you’re training to win half marathons or marathons. That’s where it gets detrimental and the body starts dropping muscle in order to optimize performance.

    I hate running or any endurance activity but I recognize its impact on optimal health.

    Disagree about your disagree. Having trained many people through many different things whatever gets someone to stick to doing something is good. Often times “training for yourself” isn’t enough to get people to commit. It has to be a lot of factors all tied together. However, I agree that those who are self focused tend to be more successful. However, many goals is not necessarily bad, especially if it gets them to keep training when they otherwise wouldn’t which is the case for a sizable portion of the population.

  20. Also, for note typically what happens is that people get into training because of a lot of different reasons like women or wanting a great bod. However, after they get in and see good progress they tend to stick to it because they want to improve and make themselves goals in training. In the long run this is a good thing because they become internally passionate about what they initially found motivating only for external things.

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