Men are far different beasts than our women counterparts. We’re less likely to visit the doctor and exercise, and yet we suffer from more health problems and we die at a younger age. We’re stubborn animals that are made-up of some dramatically different hormones that our environment seems to be hard at work on diminishing (see ‘Testosterone Article‘).
Men think differently than women. We train different, and we should be eating in a different way. Where the fitness industry spends a lot of time focusing on women, we’re going to go over 50 facts about men’s fitness. I’m not only showing you scary stats and problems with how we eat and train, but providing a solution wherever a problem arises.
Make sure you go through all 50 then add your men’s fitness fact in the comments section.
1. If you have a crappy diet, you’ll look and feel like crap.
Diet is the number one factor for maintaining great health and having a physique you can be proud of. It’s also the area where many of us slip up. Make no mistake about it, if you eat crap you’ll look like it too.
2. If you workout regularly, but maintain a crappy diet, you’ll still look and feel like crap.
The calories just don’t add up. Depending on your weight and intensity of training, an hour long workout can burn 700-800 calories. We then reward ourselves with 4 slices of pizza later than night and gain back 750 bad calories.
You can’t always think of calories in a 1 for 1, burned vs consumed sense, but we train 4 days a week and we eat 3-6 meals a day. If we have a crappy diet we can’t expect to look great no matter how much we train.
3. No program will work if you won’t work hard.
Expecting insane results with little effort? You’ll be disappointed every time. If you want a great physique, hard work and some sacrifice is a prerequisite. You can also make a terrible program work if you’re willing to put the effort in.
4. Breakfast isn’t the most important me of the day.
New studies are showing that our fat cells are most responsive to insulin spikes during the morning. This means that foods like carbs or dairy that spike our insulin levels are actually feeding our fat cells.
We’ve been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for years and years, but it may turn out to be the opposite for those trying to lose fat.
5. Cardio isn’t the best way to burn fat.
Long bouts of cardio can result in us storing fat rather than burning it. A better alternative:
Sprints result in more fat cells recruited for energy use, and less muscle burned for the same. They also result un Human Growth Hormone being released and don’t result in the release of cortisol – a powerful muscle and bone-burning stress hormone – that can come from longer bouts of cardio.
7. 2 cups of coffee before a workout has been shown to speed up the lipid-burning process.
Caffein can give us energy to workout harder, which is a huge benefit in my mind. Coffee is also high in antioxidants and two cups has been shown to speed up the fat burning process by bringing lipids (fats) into our bloodstream where they’re more easily used as fuel or energy.
So, all of that nonsense saying that coffee is bad for you isn’t always true. But you can obviously go overboard, which has a very negative effect (fact 16).
8. We should do more pulling than pushing in our training.
Walk into a gym and you’ll most likely see guys working the ‘mirror muscles’, that is, those muscles that are seen in the mirror. The fact is that pulling more and developing bigger back muscles actually pulls our shoulders back, giving our chest and shoulders a broader look.
Not just for looks however, our back muscles are some of the biggest on our body and are involved in many of our pushing movements. If you want to build a v-shaped torso, and build athletic power and strength, work your back as much – if not more – than your mirror muscles.
9. We can increase our testosterone levels naturally.
Testosterone is the man hormone, it’s benefits are numerable. Higher natural levels of testosterone levels result in a greater capacity for fat loss, greater sex drive, and greater tissue repair. By having fats upon rising and before bed, we raise our testosterone levels in a natural way – one not accompanied by the drawbacks of steroids.
Try this cocktail before bed and upon rising: 2 caps cod liver oil + vitamin rich butter fat + 3 Brazil nuts + 3 whole eggs.
10. Men with sleep apnea are more likely to have low testosterone, and treating sleep apnea can help return it to normal.
However, if a man with sleep apnea is diagnosed with low testosterone alone, taking steroids can worsen sleep apnea.
11. A 3-day full body split is great for beginners trying to add mass, but as you become more advanced a 4-day upper/lower split is even better.
An upper/lower split is a great way to train the entire body twice in a week, giving us the required 72 hours of recovery time that each muscle needs to benefit from what we’re doing in the gym.
12. Osteoporosis, or loss of bone density, is usually thought of as a women’s disease but is now also recognized as a man’s problem.
If left untreated, this can lead to broken bones and permanent disability or death.
13. Saturated fat is good for us.
Saturated fat has been seen as the enemy for years now, but the average size of our bellies is increasing. Studies are continually coming out showing that a diet high in saturated and monounsaturated fats, but low in high glycemic carbohydrates results in less body fat and a higher ability to maintain muscle.
The enemy? High glycemic carbohydrates (except for around or during a workout) and trans fats, which are always a bad choice.
14. Women don’t want a Hulk, the want a Spiderman.
Studies show that a behemoth bodybuilder isn’t the kind of body that women are looking for. Rather, a lean, muscular, ripped, and athletic guy that resembles more of a Spiderman than a Hulk is what they’d really want.
15. You don’t have to change your method of lifting weights dependant on your goal to gain muscle or lose fat.
When guys want to lose fat we often up the reps and cardio and eat less calories. A better way of doing things would be to keep your reps as they are if you were trying to build muscle, keep sprints and don’t start going for long runs, then eat less calories.
This will help you maintain and even gain muscle while you’re trying to burn fat. More muscle = a higher metabolism, which = more fat burned when you’re doing nothing.
16. 3 cups of green tea daily help repair muscle tissue that’s broken down during exercise.
17. Stress is a killer.
It increases cortisol levels, is a factor in hair loss and poor sexual performance.
18. Short, 20-minute power naps help release Human Growth Hormone.
19. Getting 8 hours of sleep is one way to keep cortisol levels low.
It’s also a great way to ensure healthy testosterone levels and low stress levels.
20. Carbs before and after (and even during) a workout give our body fuel to burn.
Important for fat loss or gaining muscle as our bodies can use muscle and proteins as fuel if they’re not provided with an alternative source.
21. You can spend a lifetime within the same 5-10 pound weight range with some simple lifestyle changes.
Bulking and cutting dominate the bodybuilding and fitness industry. We bulk to gain mass then try and lose it all to look ripped. Why not just work hard at the gym 4 times a week, eat healthy 6 our of 7 days and look great year round? Check out this article for a few more lifestyle tips that will keep you ripped year round:
22. Any skinny guy can gain muscle: proof.
23. Any fat guy get ripped: proof.
24. Vitamin D is an under-utilized supplement, especially if you’re not living closer to the equator.
Instead of the recommended 1,000 IU’s daily as it often says on the bottle, we can be taking as much as 5,000 IU’s twice daily to meet our requirements. Vitamin D improves immune system strength and function, it aids in calcium absorption, maintains brain function later in life, as well as a host of other benefits.
Get some sun, or take the supplement and stay healthy and happy.
25. Building broader shoulders is a great way to appear to have a thinner waste.
That V-shaped torso (X-shaped if you count the legs) is the ideal for men. It’s pretty tough to attain this look if we’re not building width in the chest, back, and shoulder region. As such, train accordingly and read this article: How to Accidentally Build Broad Shoulders.
26. Don’t write your own programs.
It’s our tendency to go easy on ourselves. Instead, download or buy one from someone who has achieved what you want to achieve.
Fat Loss: Final Phase Fat Loss
Muscle Building: No Nonsense Muscle Building
Get in Great Shape: Lean Hybrid Muscle
27. A cold shower after a workout helps speed up the recovery process by flushing out glycogen and other muscle-burning molecules and hormones that pool in your muscles after and during intense exercise.
28. A cold shower upon rising and before bed helps increase testosterone levels.
Keep your boys cool if you want a healthy sperm count and testosterone levels. Heat kills sperm and hinders our ability to create testosterone. So give your boys some room to breathe.
29. More than 3 cups of coffee a day results in the release of cortisol.
Keep it to 3 or under and you’re good.
30. If running hurts your lower back, try sprints.
31. Exercise boosts brain power.
Not only does exercise improve our body, it helps your mental function.
32. Exercise is also a great way to minimize stress.
My suggestion: try boxing or a team sport. Team sports are fun, in boxing you get to punch things.
Erections are all about good bloodflow, and lighting up calcifies blood vessels, stifling erectile circulation. So even if you don’t care all that much about your lungs or dying young, spare the li’l guy. Thanks to Men’s Health for this one.
34. Music can be just what you need to have a great workout.
Use it to ignite your workout. Here are some tips: 10 Inspirational Songs.
35. The government is the worst source for nutritional advice.
36. Eggs are a great source of protein, nutrients and good fats.
By processing the cholesterol from eggs we end up producing less of our own cholesterol. This goes directly against any argument saying that whole eggs lead to fat belly’s and heart disease. Don’t throw away the yolk!
37. The best way to prevent injuries is to take action.
Get stronger and more flexible. Work on your minor injuries, don’t simply lie on your arse and hope they get better.
38. Men are stubborn beings. A hard lesson or a health scare is often what it takes for us to take our health seriously.
39. Binge drinking raises estrogen levels in men.
As does any amount of alcohol, but the degree that 1-2 drinks a day does is so minor its not worth the worry.
40. Muscle is 3 times for efficient at burning calories than fat.
41. 69% of men consider themselves physically fit. Only 13% of them actually are.
42. Exercise is better than Viagra.
A German study from Cologne University Medical Center found that physical exercise can be as effective as Viagra in dealing with erectile dysfunction. Over 80% of their participants with mild to medium circulatory problems reported better erections compared to 74% taking Viagra!
Thanks Men’s Health for this one.
43. Men have higher death rates for all 15 leading causes of death than women (except alzheimer’s disease) and die more than five years younger.
44. The average life expectancy for men is five years less than women (presently 78 years old compared to 83).
45. For every 1kg of muscle you gain we burn up to 300 calories more per day.
So even if your goal is fat loss, your goal should also be to maintain as much muscle as possible even if you’re depleting calories.
46. Testosterone: those newly in love have lower testosterone than men flying solo or with a long-term partner.
Congrats to us single guys?
47. Percentage of men 20 years and over who are obese: 33% (2005-2008, US)
48. Men are less likely than women to seek help for depression and are 4x as likely to commit suicide.
Men far too often feel like whatever burden we have to bear is ours alone. The reality is that we all have someone to talk to, even if we don’t realize it. Also, exercise can help with depression in a big way. When we workout we release endorphins that give us a natural high without the corresponding crash that drugs often produce.
If you feel like you’re suffering from depression, find a purpose and set a goal, find someone to talk to, and start working out.
This article will also help you: The Meaning of Life
49. Leading causes of death for men:
- Heart disease
- Accidents (unintentional injuries)
50. No time is no excuse.
Those who want it bad enough make time for it. They turn off the TV, wake up an hour earlier, go to bed an hour later, and figure out a way to make it happen. If you don’t want it bad enough you won’t make time for it. Hopefully some of the previous 49 facts help you find that desire and urgency to make time to get in great shape.