If you’re in Australia, you might have noticed that native-son Chris Hemsworth graced the cover issue of GQ, as he is Australia’s GQ Man of the Year. The Thor star is striking an awkward pose that flashes just enough bicep to turn heads in the checkout line.
What better way to determine masculinity than big biceps and hot abs. Seriously, men, shape up or ship out. If those sleeves aren’t busting at the seams, you may not count as a man.
Bulk Up, Already!
What are you waiting for? Go get your hands on some dumbbells and start doing some curls for the girls. Being a beefcake is the way to go in 2016, so a bulk up is in order—and if you think you’ve already got a decent set of guns, guess what: you’re wrong. They can always be bigger.
You might not be able to hire a celebrity trainer like Duffy Gaver, who’s known for taking little boys and turning them into superheroes, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. All you need to do is start lifting and eating to watch those Thor-style Hemsworthian GQ Man-of-the-year-type gains appear.
All Kidding Aside
Look guys, ignore those previous paragraphs, I suppose I just don’t understand how starring as Thor in a movie or having a decent set of biceps makes someone a Man of the Year. After all, there are a host of others who made greater contributions to humanity. But still, although it might not be grounds for man of the year—or even the definition of masculinity—building muscle, performing cardio, and eating a healthy, balanced diet, can help you live longer and prevent disease.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the aesthetics of big biceps and a barrel chest, or looking for the best abs workout, the reality is that the benefits of building muscle go far beyond what you can see in the mirror. Stronger muscle and greater muscle mass helps you burn calories, speed up your metabolism, and prevent age-related conditions like osteoporosis and sarcopenia (loss of muscle tissue). And although these issues might not be that important to you right now, they make a huge difference on your quality of life and risk of injury as you get older.
The best part is that you don’t need to have a big, muscular looking body to have strong muscles or plenty of lean body mass. There are different ways of training your muscles to provide different aesthetics, so if a fear of looking too muscular is keeping you out of the gym, you needn’t worry. Adopting a strength training program—or working at different rep ranges—can help you strengthen tissue without putting on too much noticeable muscle. Of course, if you want big biceps, there’s a way to train for that too.
Building and maintaining muscle requires you eat a high protein diet, because protein is the building block of muscle. Getting at least 1-1.6 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight helps accomplish this, with the remaining calories in your diet being made up of healthy fats, complex carbs, and green veggies (for the most part).
“Protein Intake for Optimal Muscle Maintenance,” American College of Sports Medicine web site, 2016; http://www.acsm.org/docs/default-source/brochures/protein-intake-for-optimal-muscle-maintenance.pdf, last accessed November 17, 2016.
Gerace, J., “Exercise for Osteoporosis,” Web MD, 2007; http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/features/exercise-for-osteoporosis, last accessed November 17, 2016.