in Viking Body

Becoming Attractive: Do You Want To Be Big Or Lean?

When I began my own fitness journey, I didn’t necessarily have an end goal in mind.

If I’m being honest, at first I just needed the structure in my day. Something to drag my ass out of bed, pull myself out of the dark places my mind could wander to in those days, and clear my mind with the therapy of hard labour.

But then I changed.

I decided I wanted to look better. I was in a city surrounded by beautiful women (I was in Barcelona) and I decided that I wanted to look more attractive. While many things were fucked in my life and in my mind back then, one of the biggest causes for my lack of confidence was that I’d not had a women look at me in that way in years.

But becoming more attractive to women – did that mean getting big, like a lumberjack, or getting lean like a soccer player?

Khal Drago or Tyler Durden?


khal drago

Very quickly I learned that my end goals would dictate the sort of training I should do, the diet I would eat and the lifestyle I would live. I also (incorrectly) assumed that there was a single “correct” physique that would be more universally attractive to all women.

So I needed to make a choice (and unknowingly at the time, this choice would shape the entire training philosophy of my Mens Self-Help book, Modern Viking!)

I needed to decide – did I want to be Big or did I want to be Lean?

Aesthetics & Beach Bodies

The starting point for so many people when discussing aesthetics and being attractive is going to the beach. It’s because an amnesty zone for otherwise inappropriate nudity and its where we’ve all silently agreed to show our bodies off in as little clothing as possible.

There, women want to look beautiful and men want to look handsome. We all want to show how aesthetically pleasing our bodies are.

But who decided what defines an aesthetically pleasing beach body for men and women?

After 6 months of training to be big, I went to the beach with a girl friend. She was stunning – she is hot anyway but even for that beach, she stood out. Great boobs, great bum, great body, beautiful hair and face. She captured plenty of stares from both men and women as she relaxed out in her classy, but sexy, bikini.

It was all I could do to not stare at her myself.


Our definition of female beauty and female aesthetics on a beach is pretty much universal and accepted. Large breasts, round but firm ass, flat and toned (but not muscular) tummy, small waist but curvy figure.

We all agree what “hot” looks like on a girl at the beach.

What what about men?

I didn’t have abs that day. Maybe if I laughed, tensing my core, and the sun caught a shadow at just the right angle, there was an hint of where my ab muscles were. But they were definitely hiding under 15% body fat (beach body guys aim for <10%).

But what I did have was a broad and thick back. My chest was thick. My legs were thick. There was no doubt that I could scoop up 2, maybe 3, women from their mojitos and throw them in my longship for later pillaging and plundering.

I felt like one of the manliest looking men on that beach – but I wasn’t the typical aesthetically pleasing male beach body.

So why then, were so many women checking me out?

Women Don’t Know What They Want

The problem with starting your goals, and pushing towards them, based on what women might find more attractive, is that women actually have no fucking clue what they find attractive.

My ex-fiancée always swore to me that abs and big muscles were not attractive to her, so I never really bothered about it. And then the second we broke up, the first thing she did is have sex with a guy who was on tons of gear with huge muscles, and she rushed to send photos of his body to all her girlfriends who all swooned over his muscles!

When I recently joined Tinder, a bunch of girls had profiles saying “Not interested in your shirtless pictures”, but then as soon as we matched, all they wanted to ask was how often I went to the gym and if I could pick them up, how much I weight, how big I was etc.

In Barcelona at the height of my Winter Season, I was looking pretty swollen. The ridiculous amount of carbs I was consuming each day, coupled with the higher body fat, and the almost constant gym pump, meant that almost every single shirt I owned was popping open at the buttons (actually happened while in a bar – true story).

A girl friend there told me I was getting too big. I knew she had fancied me when we first met, but now she said she didn’t think I looked attractive anymore and I should “Cut back on the protein shakes”.

So then I swept her up off the floor and effortlessly hold her there in my arms like a princess being carried to her carriage. Without any effort or strain, I asked her “So if your boyfriend did this to you tonight, are you telling me you wouldn’t look at him like you are looking at me right now?”

Of course, with a mischievous and slightly hungry smile on her face, she agreed I should continue to drink those protein shakes.

Women Want Too Much

Women are the worst motivator to decide your fitness goals because they want everything.

They want a man who is big and strong and can satisfy all of their fantasies and instincts around being protected, dominated and cared for. They want him to look like the alpha of the group. They want a manly man who would strike fear into the hearts of the 3 degenerates who were rude to her on the bus on her way home.

But they also want a lean and ripped guy with a slim face s0 that they can send photos of him to all of their girlfriends. They want to run their hands down his rippled abs, and see the deep shadows of his abs as other women stare at him on the beach. They want to boast that their new man was just on the cover of a fitness magazine.

They want both – but both are not possible.

Any man who has trained in a gym for over a year knows that achieving those two goals – Really Big AND Really Lean – is impossible. Or more accurately, impossible in anything under 5-10 years and having any kind of life.

It takes 5 years to start to approach your physical muscle mass peak, and 10 years until you can hold that muscle mass without high body fat levels (I suggest following Matt Ogus, a natural bodybuilder who has spent 10 years to achieve this). And even then, you need to live in a constant calorie balancing act to hold the muscle and keep the fat low.

You aren’t going to be able to build a perfect physique that all women will find attractive, because women don’t know what they find attractive.

…Other than they want everything.

So fuck them.

If you get really big, you’ll be more attractive to women who like big guys. If you get really lean, you’ll be more attractive to women who like shredded abs and skinny jawlines.

But you aren’t going to please all women and be universally aesthetic to all women. So fuck them. The world is full of women. And most men are stupid, lazy and weak. So that means you have all the choice and none of the competition. So don’t get hung up on all women – there are more than plenty who will be into the physique you choose.

Being a Modern Viking means achieving your own definition of a man and a warrior. The warrior comes from within, and that’s extremely fucking important to remember.

Get big or get lean. Do it for you and unlock who you want to be and who will make you happy. Don’t chase women – you wont need to. Before you know it, plenty will be queuing up asking you if you work out.