I continually have discussions online and offline about what the perfect size for a guy is, in terms of muscle mass.  Is the goal to be like Arnold?  Or to be really lean but having a nice layer of muscle?  Something in between?

Of course, it’s going to vary by individual tastes.

And I suspect that in general, guys will say other men look best with more muscle mass than women would say.

I also occasionally catch flack from some reader because I personally am not huge – of course, that’s fine by me.  Getting huge is NOT my goal!  [By the way, this might be a good time for you to review the WFN Vision.]

So let’s make this a fun post today.  I want you to vote for one of 4 pictures below.  You vote by simply posting a comment here (it’s really easy – if you’ve never posted a comment before, don’t be intimidated – it takes 20 seconds).  Just add a comment with your vote, and your own gender – I want to see if women rate the pictures differently than the men.  If you want to add other comments, that’s fine but keep it pretty short.

Oh, and I’ve intentionally chosen pictures of guys that are pretty lean, but not unrealistically so.  I want these pictures to be within the realm of possibility for just about any guy reading this site.  All these guys are in the 8 to 10 % bodyfat (so, not competitive bodybuilders by modern standards).  But of course, given our focus on the site, they all have great muscular development.  And do NOT vote based on how handsome the guy is – we’re talking about the ideal muscle mass, not what his face looks like…

Ready?  Here are the four:

#1: smaller but muscular

#2: muscular, mid-sized

#3: pretty big

#4: really large

Which of these do you strive for (if you are a guy) and which do you aesthetically prefer (if you are a woman)?  Vote with comments!

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67 Responses to “The Perfect Size”

  1. #2: muscular, mid-sized (I am a man)

  2. 1 / M

    (I’m a 6ft lightweight rower so I’m stuck under 72Kg/11st and small is my preference anyhow)

  3. #3 is my goal. Im working hard to reach this , im just 18years old ,so i guess i have time to reach this,but of course i wanna get as soon as possible Natural.

  4. I’m very short and my goal is to lose weight and look ripped, but never “big”. I would like to look like the guy in pic no. 1.

  5. #1 small

  6. #1 – Male
    Number 2 looks fine too but, for me, #1 is more than enough in terms of strength levels and aesthetic look. I also think most woman would prefer number “1 ou “2 instead of something too huge.

  7. I’m a man and I’d say guy # 2, incidentally so does my wife. All of those men shown have really good muscular development, so it just boils down to individual preference.

  8. image 3 is the best for me

  9. #3

  10. I think #1 & #2 are very similar. I think for me a slightly slimmer look is best for me, so I choose #1, although that may even be more than I’m really striving for. I’m a guy. My wife also prefers #1, as she likes the fit-but-not-huge look.

  11. #2 seems like a taller guy and has what I would like my muscles to look like since I’m tall too.
    Cheers

  12. i’m a woman (who’s been lifting for 6 months now) and i think 1 is a totally awesome bod. 2 or 3 are good too. 4 is cool to look at but a bit much.

  13. I choose #1.

  14. i´m a male and my goal is get as #2 but if i could get up to #3 it would be great, but to me is so dificult to make weigth gains :(

  15. #1 i´m a begginer, but for me, the first option es a little dificult to achieve, so i will be delight if i can reach it anyway

  16. Im a man and I would like to look like #2.

  17. Mustafa Mohamed
    May 5th, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    I’d strive for #1 since my body isn’t very big. #3 is also good, but I don’t aim for being HUGE. I just want a muscular attractive body. I don’t like being feeble nor do I want to be massive. Oh, I’m a male by the way.

  18. Male, #3

  19. I’d say realistically the majority of people will pick the #2 Mid-Size but the people that are on here are looking for a specific body type and have chosen something before looking at these images so their opinion is biased.

    Or maybe I’m looking into things too much!

  20. I would prefer #3 but my wife like #1.

  21. Male, winner is numero 3 .

  22. i would prefer no. 2 really. :)

  23. I would prefer photo #3, that’s what I would like to look like.

  24. I would prefer #3.(I am a man).I am 1,90 mt and 107 kg I work since 2006 But my fat persentage is very high yet. (%22)it is prevent to seem muscular

  25. I am a man and I see #1 is OK for non professional, 2 could also be OK!

  26. 2 F

  27. I would dream to be like #1 , simply awesome… nothing beyond that …else my girlfriend will kill me ;)

  28. #1 is gorgeous! the best of the 4!
    Am female ….

  29. Am female – Body #1 is really no.1

  30. #1 would be my target / M

  31. jorge bernardo
    May 6th, 2010 at 7:00 am

    I think for me the best body,is keep the proportion,number 1

  32. vote for #2 – I’m a man

  33. They all look pretty similar to me, actually; like they could be the same guy during different phases of a “competition” diet. That said, #2 (male).

  34. #1-3 are all decent, but i think that number 2 is perfect because he’s big AND very defined, at the same time he doesn’t look like he’s lost flexibility or speed since he’s not huge, number 1 looks the fastest and most flexible with good muscle definition but he’s just a bit too thin for my taste, and number 3 looks good but he looks like he’s gonna have a hard time moving his arms if he gets any bigger! number 4 just doesn’t look natural!

  35. (male)

  36. Male, and I’d like 1 because I’m sure it would be more attractive to women, but when I reach a low enough BMI my frame will look like a 3, so I’m good with that.

    On an aside, 1 and 2 look identical to me, and I’m sure it would greatly add to the validity of this survey if there were a few lower gradations – down to ” sufficient hint of muscle that makes him a believable weight lifter, albeit scrawny in comparison”

  37. I’d be content to look like #1. (man)

  38. I liked #1 because its not too big also its make nore flexible than other body

  39. #3 it’s really pretty big and acceptable reallyi like this body (I’m a man)

  40. If I am not careful I could begin to look like the guy with the blue shorts at the bottom photo on the WFN Vision page. So no. 1 would be a great start.[ man]

  41. I’d take any above. My upper back and lower pecs look like #1, but I can’t get my abs that defined w/o losing all mass. My upper chest area looks caved in compared to the rest of my upper body and gives me a pencil shape even though I’m built up pretty good in some upper-body areas (and I’ve tried it all). I think many of us would accept any of the first three but most of us have genetics (or age) that keep us from developing with symetry like any of the above. I like #2, because he has some lats to help give the hour-glass shape, but it’s hard to tell with four different poses shown.

  42. I’m a man. They all look pretty good to me. Number 4 is just a little TOO big for a guy like me – it would look like I had the wrong head on the right body, or the right head on the wrong body.

    They all have six pack abs; that looks OK, but I could get by with just a flat stomach.

    Also, I wouldn’t want to have to shave my entire body. It’s all I can handle to shave my face!

    With those caveats, I’d still be happy to look like any of them.

    I may never reach their heights, but I’m going to get a whole lot closer thanks to the tips I’ve gotten from World Fitness Network! Thanks for your helpful posts, Darrin!

  43. I’m a male: 182 cm height and weigh 85 kgs. My aim is to become like #3. He’s got a great body.

  44. I’m a man, struggling to have body number 2 ;-)

  45. I must say I have been #1 for a long time then I became like the guy in #2 now I would like to have something like #3 thats my goal as of right now. I have been training on and off for years. I like to have the type of body like #3 which is my goal in reality. I am tired of being #1 and #2

  46. Male – #2

  47. Male – #1

  48. male= i think somewhere between 2 and 3… cause 3 has great pecs but not not so great abs and i think i am a body type 3

  49. Gotta go from #1, of course I’m alsways taking the functional standpoint. I personally think anything bigger than 2 is too much of a hassle to maintain….Male btw…

  50. Fabrizio Bianchi
    May 28th, 2010 at 8:02 am

    1st one. Man here. Question is: do you think there are any women there?

  51. I’m a woman- #1 and 2, I agree with you that men tend to like each other bigger- women love men who are in shape but we don’t have requirements that you be oversized or muscle bound- keep it healthy and reasonable!

  52. Cecilia has assumed, as did Darrin, that men would choose the beefer guys, and that women would chose the least massive.

    Well, the results of the survey do bare this out with regards to women’s preference; but the assumption about what men prefer is flawed, at least by this little survey.

    In my tally, I’m assuming that all responses are mens except for those who stated they are women.

    Men (Forty-five responses)
    #1 – 15 *close winner*
    #2 – 14
    #3 – 13
    #4 – zilch
    One man said any of the above.

    Women (five responses)
    #1 – 5 every female chose #1

  53. Drat – Greg beat me to it! This week I was going to summarize this, but I don’t want it to stop new people from adding their vote.

    One different interpretation of the summary is the AVERAGE man rates more muscle as better (roughly, the average of all the male votes were #2 whereas the average of all the female votes was #1).

    I didn’t vote, but my personal tastes, as a man, are #2 because with #2 you can tell the guy lifts and is muscular even if he has a shirt on. I’m guessing that #1 would of course look good shirted, but he could just look thin and it might not be obvious he lifts.

    I’m sure there must be some women out there who think a size other than #1 is best, right? If you are one of them, chime in!

  54. Sorry Darrin. My math was a little off anyway, but I believe the tally numbers are right (or at least close).

    Anyway, I couldn’t resist, because Cecilia had made this male preference assumption even after all the prior posts show a different conclusion than her assumption. Although #1, #2, and #3 are all close in the tally, it was pretty apparant that most men, who have tuned into this site, prefer leaner over mass (i.e. no votes for #4 and just as many votes for #1 as any other photo).

  55. 2
    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
    def 2!!!!

  56. #4 I wanna be big oh yea

  57. Number 1, I am a man

  58. @ken haha,funny.
    ok,i am a guy and i think it should be number 3 cuz what is important is to look good even with our clothes on and only number fits that criteria, thanks :)

  59. How would one train differently to acheive the four different looks?

  60. @ts – it’s not as simple as saying “heavy poundage, low reps” or “bodypart splits”. Partly it has to do with your starting point. If you are naturally large already, and you want to look like #1, you’ll have a completely different training style than if you are a skinny guy trying to look like #1. And by “training” here, I mean lifting, cardio/energy work, and diet.

    And nobody stays on the same routine forever, so even if you are already #1 and trying to become #2, you might need a few different routines over a year or two to get to #2. The farther you are from your goals, whatever they are, the more likely you will need to use various routines and take longer time to get there.

    If you want to start a thread in the forums, talking about where you are now and where you want to go, we can get you some specific advice.

  61. Male. #2 is my choice. Not huge but not small. That’s my goal. Perfect size for me.

  62. I like someting in each one. Personally I like the bigger pecs and biceps in #3, but I like the abs in #1. #2 may be in the middle, but not enough of either of them in my opinion. So my best pick would be #3 and #1. I am a guy.

  63. I like the pecs and biceps in #3, but the abs in #1. But #2 Just isn’t there for me. I have to say that if #3 had just more visible abs, #3 would be it. But I still have to say #1 and #3. I am male.

  64. I’m a female! Okay you say #1 is smaller, but #1 looks like he has more muscle mass than #2.
    SO therefore I’d go for #2, but I prefer someone small and lean. All these guys seem on the too-muscular side. They look like they’re trying to hard, even though they do appear quite sexy. :)

  65. Im a girl! I prefer my men lean, and smaller most of the time. But all these men look too muscular. If I had to choose I’d say #2 because he looks like he has less than any of the others. shout-out to the guys: If you’re too muscular, you look like you’re trying too hard, wether you’re sexy or not.

  66. Being 53 and wanting to have a younger healthier body, I would have to vote for 1-3! But, if i had my choice i would prefer #3. He is still defined but also has the size and mass to get looks and respect :)
    My wife said she liked them all…ha

  67. Honestly, in my training I aim to be #3 so I guess that’s the answer.

    Being sensible about it, #2 would be great, and that’s mainly a matter of losing 3-4% body fat for me.

    I don’t see much difference between #1 and #2. I don’t see much difference either between #3 and #4.

    I’m not sure #2 is “mid-size”, really. Perhaps in this day of roid usage. It all depends on genetics, but seriously not many guys will naturally be larger than #2. Having said that, it depends on his height – I’m taking him to be around 6 feet tall from head to body-part proportions.

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