Over the past few weeks, I’ve been having a lot of discussion with various friends about sexiness.  As in, the definition of sexiness, and what accompanies it.

It’s a really interesting idea: building a sexy body. We all know what makes a body sexy (at least to us), but we don’t always think about WHY those characteristics are associated with sexiness.

Why do we want men to have broad shoulders?

Why is it attractive for women to have narrow waists and healthy hips?

The answers to those questions, as I’ve discussed on the blog, are grounded in HARD SCIENCE.

To summarize, we view certain physical traits as desirable in members of each sex: an X-shaped physique for men implies virility and strength; an hourglass shaped body on a woman, on the other hand, implies fertility and good mothering.

We view what is attractive partially through the eyes of people looking for mates—we view these bodies as “sexy“—because of scientifically proven NUMBERS.

Huh?

Yeah, numbers.

You see, our brains are programmed to look for symmetry and balance everywhere; programmed to be attracted to it and to try to create it.

And so in part, what we consider a good body is really based on what we view as a body that projects certain characteristics that imply bodily symmetry…which is based on numbers like “The Golden Ratio.”

The Golden Ratio is number that shows up all over the human body, from the length of the arms and legs compared to the torso, and it seems to define what proportions look best; that is, most attractive.

In fact, artists and sculptors have known about the golden ratio for a long time and have used it to create sculptures and artwork of the ideal human figure. Even plastic surgeons and dental surgeons use it to restructure the human face.

It’s a really interesting bit of science and evolutionary psychology that makes you think.

So, how do we use this information to help you achieve your fitness goals and get the body that YOU want?

Well, the first thing is to realize that chances are, the body that YOU are working so hard for…your idea of a “perfect” body is, made up of 3 components:

  1. Intrinsic Ideas of Symmetry
  2. Societal-Specific Created and Enforced ideas
  3. Personal ideas and preferences

We’ve already talked about the intrinsic and symmetrical aspects, so let’s skip on to the socially created and enforced ideas about what a “perfect body” is.

This basically means that the society you live in influences what you view as important for having a good body, and is generally specific to that type of society and goes beyond just symmetry.

For example, in Western society, we value 6-pack abs very highly, and for us, no “perfect” body is complete without them; this is true even though, to our ancestors, having a bit of fat would have been desirable.

Finally, you have your own personal ideas about what it means to have a “perfect body.” These are usually above and beyond both evolutionary and societal ideals and pretty specific in nature.

For some guys, it might means having a specific arm size; I know that one of my goals from the first time I started training was to have 17.5″ arms. On the other hand, for a woman it might mean having low body fat and getting into jeans of a certain size without losing your curves.

Okay, okay, so what IS the Golden Ratio, exactly?

It’s super fucking cool, that’s what.

The Golden Ratio, in mathematical terms, is a comparison of any two aspects that leads us to proportion them in the ideal way.

Algebraically, if you have two numbers, A and B, it has to be such that (A + B) divided by A = A divided by B.

Or, more succinctly, this:

In most cases, this is going to be a comparison results in a ratio of 1:1.618. This appears naturally all over your body. For example, If the length of the hand has the value of 1, for instance, then the combined length of hand + forearm has the approximate value of 1.618.

Similarly the proportion of upper arm to hand + forearm is in the same ratio of 1:618.

Looking elsewhere on the body, the face is another great example. In fact, the human face abounds with examples of the Golden Ratio. The head forms a golden rectangle with the eyes at its midpoint.The mouth and nose are each placed at Golden sections of the distance between the eyes and the bottom of the chin.

The numbers are just everywhere in places we can’t control.

So let’s talk about body proportions that we CAN control through diet and exercise.

If you look at your waist as having a measurement of 1, then the aim should be to develop shoulders with a measurement of 1.618. We’ll talk about men first here.

Using myself as an example, when in lean condition (but not compeition shredded), I have a waist measurement of 30 inches. My shoulders measure about 49 inches around, which means my Index is about right (30.5 divided by 49 is 1.606).

Now, if I want to get close to the proportion, I’d have to either gain some circumference on my waist or drop my shoulder size a bit. I’m pretty happy with the measurement, so I’ll do neither.

On the other hand, let’s say we have a guy with a 34 inch was whose shoulders measure 45 inches around. His Index is about 1.323–so he has some work to do.

Let’s say our guy diets down to about 10% body fat and brings that waist measurement down to 32–even if he doesn’t gain muscle, his measurement has jumped to 1.406.

Pretty nice.

Now, he goes on to use a special workout to add size to his shoulders, and manages to put on about 3 inches on the total circumference. At 48 inches with a 32 waist, our client is now at 1.5. Pretty damn close.

For women, it gets a bit more tricky, mainly because you’re looking at the waist compared to both the shoulders AND the hips.

I won’t bore you with more math, but to be blunt, there is a resistance training program designed to optimize the shoulder to waist to hip ratio to move a womans body closest to its best proportioned shape (as defined by the golden ratio).

Here’s a question I want you to ask yourself:

If you’ve been trying to get a “perfect body”…and that concept is based on a combination of the Golden Ratio, socially created ideals and your own personal goals…and you’ve been having some success using other programs…how SUCCESSFUL could you become if you used a program built specifically and scientifically for that purpose?

Well, over your time in the fitness world, you’ve done programs for fat loss, and for muscle gain, some to work on your abs…you’ve done all of these, in your quest to get fit, healthy, and to help you develop YOUR perfect body.

Along those lines, I know you’ve been having success, and I hope I can take at least some of the credit, since some of programs I’ve written and recommended have helped you get there.

Well, now, I’d like to take some MORE credit…because I’m about to introduce you to, as I call it, “…some next level type shit.”

In fact, I would like to introduce you to a program specifically designed for exactly what we’ve been talking about.

(Two programs, really.)

One specifically designed to help men…and of course, one specifically and scientifically designed to help women achieve their ideal body.

If you’re a man trying to build an impressive body with strong, broad shoulders, a small waist, low body fat and the Western ideal of 6-pack abs, you definitely want to check out the Adonis Index:

For guys who want to look freaking awesome.

Get your copy of the Adonis Index here.

And, for the ladies…if you want results, why not use a program specifically and scientifically designed to give you a gorgeous, sexy hourglass figure? How can you possibly say no to a program specifically intentioned to  a body that is simultaneously feminine and strong?

What love about Venus is this: hopefully, this program can help get rid of the obsession with bodyweight that so many other programs promote. Most women are SO caught up in setting weight loss as the goal, which I don’t care for. I just see it a never ending proposition; after all, how will they ever know when they’ve finally lost enough weight?

The same thing for men–how big is “too big” is a great question that i’s always been hard to answer in any quantifiable way.

It’s never good enough. I believe this is what leads to serious body dissatisfaction, frustration and a loss of confidence and/or hope that getting in good shape is really possible.

That’s why these programs are cool: once you get to your golden proportions you know you are there. It’s also a map to know how close or far you are from the final goal. You may not want to go all the way to the golden target, but at least you know the closer you get the better your proportions will be.

Of course, it’s ultimately up to you to decide how close to the target number you want to get. The point is, for the smart woman who wants to get in shape but isn’t trying to look skinny, woman who isn’t, the misinformation can get confusing.

With this, she will know for sure that the closer she gets to her ideal ratios the better her body is looking. It’s a can’t miss road map.

Lastly (and I think most importantly) it’s all in proportion to height, so the goal ratios and numbers are specific to each persons body. No more comparing yourself to other people. The Venus Index isn’t about trying to turn you into someone else, it’s about maximizing the potential of your body based on your measurements.

Or, maybe I just like these workouts because when I took my measurements the formula basically told me I had a near perfect body. Which kinda made my day.

What is YOUR idea of the “perfect” body?  For both men AND women.  Sound off!  At least 60 COMMENTS and I’ll hit you with a brand new post later this week!

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  • KoNGo

    John,

    Thanks for the free download of Body Comp Blitz I got from your email.

    I'm gonna do the program and let you know my results. I've been on a strength program for about 9 weeks now, made some good gains after having suffered a mild concussion/cervical neck injury from a basketball incident. That set me back about 3-4 months.

    Now it's time to strip some fat off.

    I'll let you know how things turn out.

    Thanks!

  • http://bikinirun.blogspot.com/ BikiniMommy

    I've always read the whole .7 waist to hip ratio for women, which you divide the opposite way ie: divide the waist by the hips. I'm not sure how closely aligned they are, when I do waist to hip I get .7, the other way I get 1.42 I'm 25 in waist, 35.5 hips. Following your line of thinking I guess I prefer waist to hip bc I'm closer to ideal :D

  • http://www.mikearonefitness.com Mike Arone

    Hey Roman!

    Great post man—I think that when it comes to physique that RATIO is overlooked.

    Many people associated a low body fat with having a great physique–to this I say look at the dude with huge shoulders and chest and upper back. He looks like he's got a low body fat–when in reality–he's not super low.

    I think that by focusing on ratio and tweaking your diet accordingly that a damn near physique can be achieved.

    I would def like to see more on this…interesting stuff my man!

    Hope all is well!

  • Liam

    Man what did your diet look like when you were upto 207 pounds and lean? Can you do an article on how you got to your largest??

    Also why dont you get back upto that weight? you have made a name for youself and people know you so get LARGE lol

  • http://www.naomirules.com Naomi

    Venus and Adonis are it for sure. I've bought a lot of programs but I've stopped looking for the answers because I finally found them! There really isn't anything else to say!

  • Tom

    John, have you looked into the Adonis program? Before I discovered TNation and guys like you, I bought that program. It had you DB pressing like 5 days a week. I could be wrong, but I don't think there were any DL's or BB squats either. Do you really endorse this program?

  • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

    I like it — the way John explained it to me, the program was designed so that people can do it at home. That's why there are no barbells etc.

    As long as you're following the method, you can feel free to replace dumbbells with barbells, or throw in some of the exercises from my YouTube channel etc

  • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

    Having seen your before and after pictures, I can see why you would say that – you look fantastic!

  • Gerry

    John, it needs to be noted that the 1.618 ratio is all well and good but it must be relative to height. Your ideal waist should be 0.447 of your height and your shoulders should be 1.618 times your ideal waist.

    I'm 5' 11″ and have perfect proportions for someone who's 6″ shorter so I have some mass to build. I have a V shape but can look skinny. Still not bad but could be better.

    Someone who is the opposite, e.g. 5' 5″ but has ideal proportions for a taller person would tend to look squat.

    It's all relative to the waist otherwise, most people could just diet down to their ideal waist without needing growth in their shoulders to get the 1.618 ratio.

  • Kia

    This is really interesting stuff – and totally explains why I don't feel 100% happy with my shape now… especially since I am the kind of person that can instantly tell whether something is not visually balanced or straight.

  • http://yzse.blogspot.com yzse

    Talking about Venus…and Mars

    I have Mars in Taurus which means I like man to be big and strong, but with a little fat on him (how comfortable can it be to sleep on the peace of rock?) and defently man relaxed about his body.

    And because I have Venus in Scorpio ideal female body is thin and athletic… and over those few past years I managed to make my body look like this.

    People are different, thanks God :)

  • Leon

    Just some trivia for you: That perfect ratio works for pretty much everything. We learned it in woodwork when I was still in school. If you want to make a table that looks “right” the ratio should also be 1:1.618

    Another bit of trivia: take the row 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,35… If you're sharp, you'll see each number is the sum of the two in front. Nothing fancy. But now take each number, and divide it by the previous number. For the first few, it doesn't work, but thereafter it's pretty much 1.618 all the way (I checked in Excel, it's from 233 – the 12th number, onwards).

    Seems nature/maths agrees with what the perfect ratio should be.

  • Karen

    Venus Index is a great program! I highly recommend it. I enjoyed and got some good results with Final Phase Fat Loss, but Venus Index really did take me to the next level and get me pretty close to my VI. One more contest and I should be there! :)

  • http://www.getshotnaked.com Natalie Kita

    I must say (without sounding like I'm bragging, hopefully), I was genetically blessed in some ways. No matter how large or tiny I've ever been, I have always been fortunate to maintain that golden ratio (shoulders : waist : hips). Even when I became severely overweight (5'3″, 235 lbs – YIKES) I still had that ratio going on….so I definitely wouldn't say if you meet the ratio, you're where you want to be. My struggle has always been size, not shape… I'm also blessed/cursed with a mesomorphic body type AND I do a lot of strength training, so now that I weigh 152, I actually look pretty darn good, even if the stupid BMI scale says I'm overweight. The only part where my ratio is not where I want it to be is proportion of limb length to torso length…and I don't think there exist any programs to make my legs and arms grow longer….unless you're holding out on me, Roman? LOL

  • Howard

    Hey Roman, thanks for the props!

    To address Tom's question, the first 12 weeks of Adonis includes the MBF program, which includes deads, squats, and barbell bench.

    This was added to the 3.0 edition after we discovered that most of our guys hadn't been consistently training for a year or more. Which was a huge assumption. So Barban added in Foundations to bring guys up to speed.

    Also, here are the results of the latest contest [with pics], in case people want to check 'em out:

    http://www.adonisindex.com/adonis-contest.php

    http://www.venusindex.com/venus-contest.php

    We need to catch up soon.

    B

  • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

    Anytime man!

    Thanks for stopping by, and thank you for expanding on the program – like me, you guys are always pushing. I appreciate it.

    As for catching up, I'm always down. You guys need to get to NY, stat!

  • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

    I'll do a post on this in the future for sure =)

  • Evy

    I won't bother spending money on the program since no matter what they promise or how hard I work, I will never hit those ratios. Long torsoed slender female ( meaning my ribs literally come down to within a half-inch of the top of my pelvis) so unless they can move bone, it ain't happening.

    Fortunately, this has never seemed to be an issue as far as attracting members of the opposite sex and my offspring will assure you that my fertility is just fine. Some men actually prefer women with “longer lines” and a hard body.

  • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

    Can't wait to see the pics, Karen!

  • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

    Cool indeed, right? It's amazing how many place these numbers and ratios appear throughout nature, science, mathematics, and our own creations.

  • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

    I prefer to think that you're blessed, not cursed =)

    And if I had a program to make limb length longer…I'd be 6' right now!

  • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

    Very good insight! You make a great point – height will factor in, especially visually.

  • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

    Excellent stuff =) I may edit the post to include that.

  • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

    Interesting insight. I've never been one for Zodiacs, but I can imagine we'd find some cool stuff if we looked. Do you have any resources or sights you could point me towards?

  • Heyward

    What a coinky-dink. I just signed up for coaching wishing to work on my adonis ratio.

  • http://www.askfitnesscoach.com Skyler Meine

    Definitely give me something to think about. Looks like a great fitness program.

  • http://www.facebook.com/1sixty1 Ty

    The downside to fitting the 1sixty1 ratio is that it's impossible to find clothes that fit wothout a tailor. Worth it, but unfortunate.

  • Jorma

    Roman,

    Really cool post. I hope more people adopt better methods of monitoring their fitness with correct proportions and multiple measurements. It's way more logical than just using watching their weight.

    I been doing that for the last several months and am MUCH more pleased with the progress it have lead to.

  • Stefan

    Hi Roman

    My question is about reducing the size of muscles in specific areas. Is there a specific type of training that can help to achieve this?

    I am naturally quite muscular and stocky (I am 1.75m weigh 90kg with 11% BF). I am in decent shape and if I may say so, my body looks okay, except for a few extra pounds of fat and my large out-of-proportion thighs. When I buy a pants, the determining factor for size is not the waist size, but whether it fits over my thighs. The result is that the waist of the pants has to be 1 or 2 sizes bigger than what fits around my waist.

    I have completed the Ironman South Africa in April this year. The training helped me to shed 10kg of excess weight/blubber. I am starting Joel's 25 Day Extreme Fat Loss program next week and thereafter I am going on you Final Phase Fat Loss program. I am hoping this will help me to loose another 10kgs of fat and thigh muscles.. :-).

    I know that losing more body fat will also help, but my thighs are already reasonably lean. (I store most of my fat in my mid-section. Hopefully FPFL will solve this :-).

    Reasons why I would like to reduce the size of my thighs are: The pants issue, wanting to look better and carrying less weight for my next Ironman.

    I believe the solution is to loose some muscle in my thighs, but still maintain their strength. Is this possible? How? Cardio?

    While following your and Joel's programs, should I modify them slightly to address my problem area = thighs?

    Please help.

    Thanks

    Stefan

  • Charles Mclaughlin

    Hi Roman,

    How bout Natural Bodybuilders such as Steve Reeves? He had a 52 inch chest and a 28 inch waist. (1.857)

    Arnold Schwarzenegger had a 57 inch chest and 34 inch waist. (1.676)

    I am not sure about their shoulder measurements. Would they have lose muscle mass to fit the perfect ratio? Steve Reeves didn't look extremely muscular but on the other hand Arnold looked extremely muscular. Steve Reeve ratio has a 1.857 index using Chest measurements versus Waist Measurements while Arnold Schwarzenegger has a 1.676 index using Chest measurements versus Waist Measurements. They are also the approximately the same height which 73.5 inches or 74 inches. What about mass per index? Could this be taken into account to justify the decision to add or decrease muscle size to fit within the Golden Ratio?

  • xena

    hi roman! just a little question: How many months long is your Coaching Program and what are the costs? Thank you my friend.

  • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

    The coaching program runs at a 3 month minimum and a 6 month max. Prices vary based on promotions I'm running, but I try to make it as affordable as possible for everyone =)

  • http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com John Romaniello

    Good question.

    You have to remember that most bodybuilders look to exaggerate certain masculine characteristics.

    Steve Reeves physique, because of his ratio, might be considered “hypermasculine.” Does that make it less attractive than someone with a perfect ratio?

    To a portion of the population, probably.

    However, there are those who'd prefer it.

    If you fast forward several decades and look at the current BBers, none of those guys would fit our standards based on the ratios.

    Bodybuilding has always been about going ahead of the norm.

  • http://yzse.blogspot.com yzse

    About the Zodiak… you should look at basics and just combine it. It works excellent for everything, even for the food we need.

    Venus is female, pleasure, fat. Mars is male, action, muscle. Ok, we need the both in our bodies, but we look for those qualities in the outer world to find the person who matches our natal chart.

    And just short list…

    Aries is stubborn warrior, Mars is strong (and a bit stupid there), young male body. Venus is military type, short hair, she's the one to take action.

    Taurus is stable earth, food and money, what we own. Mars is big and fat, a kind of lazy guy, Venus is almost like those female ideals in renesanse times.

    Gemini gives Mars and Venus qualities of a child, slim bodies, lots of interests, lack of focus.

    Cancer Venus loves to cook, big breasts, she's blond and during her life she'll be fat. Being water in its element Cancer's cure for Venus weight issues here is lots of water. Mars is weak here, family dictator, something's always wrong, belly problems and inflammations.

    In Leo Venus is blond, but she's the queen, best dress, best jewelry, big hair, lion type… Mars is the ONE, he's the king, best body (even when the mirror says opposite), best poet, best sportsman. “You're my lady, but only if you adore me… all the time”.

    Virgo's Mars and Venus are small, thin, they just talk, and talk, and talk… Not good place for her here, pleasure's not good in combination with intellectualisations.

    Libra Mars is surrounded with females, they love him, he's like those metro males, parfums, great clothing, muscles, but something is wrong… (where is my real man? I want to feel like as if I am irresistible, and not him… ) Venus in Libra is just perfect, harmonious body, she moves lovely and lives on chocolate.

    Scorpio Mars is warrior but dangerous one. Firm body, firm mind, small butt. Venus is femme fatale, slim body, high heels, black eyes.

    Sagittarius Mars is relaxed, good guy, calm. He travels a lot. Venus has to has the longest legs and she has to be the smartest one. Their problem are big thighs and often big butt.

    Capricorn Mars is the strongest, that doesn't have to show in his body. It shows in his mind and as he gets older he's more successful. Big, but skinny, durable guy. Venus is a perfect lady with style here, but… when she gets old, not before that.

    Aquarius Mars is “if everyone is doing it – let's do it”, a bit crazy. Venus is unusual. She's either like all the same high school girls, or she's dressed in her's grandma's nightgown and eats only organic, raw high mountains dandelions every morninig and elephant legs… from time to time.

    They both just can't be harmonized in Aqu place. Yes, and they have big or weak parts of legs lower than knees. (English is not my native language, sorry.)

    In Pisces Mars is lost. He wants and tries but nothing happens, so he turns to art and poetry and tries to catch a female with “I'm gentle and romantic type of guy”.

    He maybe won't be able to move furniture or get the food from the market, but he'll be the best in making sushi and reciting Walt Whittman at the same time. His fetish are woman's feet. Venus here is very fragile, very misterous, dreamy. everything is so nice, but the thing that misses is the real physical contact.

    And that was short :)

    If you are Leo, for example, that doesn't mean that you automaticaly have Mars or Venus in Leo. You have natal Sun there, but everything else you should check in your natal chart.

    Zodiac charts are great if you just study them, how body looks, where are the problems, where are the strenghts, solutions… Everything is in the stars :)

  • http://Mustliftcars.com Brian

    Great information.As a natural body builder I never aspired to those proportions,however as I train people their general goal is lean and symentrical look,not big and bulky.

    I would have to say that once I went to monster size, the level of attention that I personally get from women has gone through the roof.That never was my intention.It's as almost if they can't stop themselves from looking.I also noticed that the younger girls stare the most.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dadirtyharry DaDirtyHarry

    Does the 1.618 ratio apply to the women as well?  And if so, how does this number apply to them (shoulder-to-waist? waist-to-hips? shoulder-to-hips?)…

  • Fitgirl

    While I get the gist of what you were trying to convey in the post, I don’t think women should kill themselves trying to achieve “The Golden Ratio”. You should strive to be the healthiest and most fit that you can be despite your measurements. I’m female and possess a straight, up and down figure, who for most of my life, loathed my body because it wasn’t the “ideal”. Now I’m happy with me and don’t really care much what others think.

    • http://www.facebook.com/markjhewitson Mark Hewitson

      I just searched thru the entire article again, and I could not find any reference to where he say woman should kill themselves trying to achieve the golden ratio.

      “You should strive to be the healthiest and most fit that you can be despite your measurements” – This is just a ridiculously generalised statement, and doesn’t even apply to everyone. I’m sure a synchronized swimming athlete would disagree with you there.
      I’m glad you are happy with your straight up-down “un-ideal” figure as you call it, its just than most guys in general will not see you as having the perfect body… which is what this blog is all about

    • Xing Liu

      I concer, it’s more like to say, the planet earth should be geometrically an ideal round object, why ? because it looks better, yes, of course, but that doesn’t mean it meant to be that way, right. base on Golden ratio, we do look better, but that doesn’t mean anything at all. it’s just a guide line, by the way ,i don’t think anyone can find any human being can be in a perfect body, IT SIMPLY DOESN’T EXIST. GET OVER WITH IT.

  • Ara

    For me the perfect body used to be as u mentioned glass shape. Being a Hispanic booty offcourse along with hips is a most . But although I do care about keeping my booty sexy I now prefer the more toned fit look and this bodies don’t necessarily have a small waist line or I must say curvy look they are more squared from sides of waist line. But I do live that fit look and that is what I am going for now near my 40′s :)

  • yavou

    I was into astrology for a loooong time and understand what you mean. But a few things happened in my life, few people lied to me… and my “knowledge” about astrology was deeply shaken. Long story short, astrology does not have any more value to psychology then the paintings of Van Gogh for example. I can tell you don’t trust my words, but you should.. here’s why http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPCsCiOqmXA I am perfectly OK with anyone who uses astrology as a toy, but they should be aware of the reality – It does not work at all (any more – if it worked when it was created before thousands of years)

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