Chad Farley

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The Rules of Attraction by Chris Shugart Michael has it going on. He's 27 years old, smart, has a good career, and a cool personality. Everyone likes Michael. Men want to be his friend. Women do too; they just love being around him. He's that kinda guy. Problem is, these women don't want to be his GIRLFRIEND. They even tell him that they "love him like a brother" which, by the way, is equivalent to stabbing a man in the heart with an ice pick. What's the problem here? Michael possesses all the characteristics women say they're looking for. Along with the intelligence, the personality, and the good job, Michael does his best to make himself more appealing. He drives a nice car. He wears stylish clothes. He pays attention to the details that the men's magazines tell him are important. He even trains with weights a few times a week. So what's the deal? Why can't Michael get a girlfriend or at least a meaningless hook-up once in a while? Answer: He's fat. Well, he's not obese. But he could stand to lose 30 pounds and drop the gut and love handles. Although he belongs to a gym, he's not as hardcore as most of us are about this stuff, and his diet is pretty awful. I think about Michael and his situation a lot. I also think about the eternal question: "What do women want?" Well, in spite of all the great things about Michael, they certainly don't want him. He's chubby, and that's a deal breaker. Ugly Is Better Than Fat While I don't think we'll ever figure women out, we have learned a little over the years. Believe it or not, a smart, beautiful woman can be won over by an ugly guy. Women often say that "looks don't matter in the big picture." And that's largely true, at least for mature women. Yep, women can deal with ugly. In fact, ugly dudes sometimes have an advantage because they often try harder at all the other things and develop better social skills. But here's the kicker: while you can be ugly, you can't be fat. An ugly face and a lean, muscular body can take you a long way. An ugly face and a fat body will stack the odds against you. Let's call it the "room scan theory." Think about it. You walk into a room with a bunch of people in it -- a bar, a party, an office, a gym. You scan the room, right? And during that natural scanning process, you spot members of the opposite sex and you evaluate them at the speed of light. You immediately categorize them. Some you glance at for half a second and you disregard them. They're not pretty, they're overweight, they're plain, they, well, just don't get your loins jumpin'. Your eyes pass them by like they're not even there. Others catch your eye and you pause to look at them. They're good looking and/or have good bodies. Women do this just as much as men do. And poor Michael, because of his flabby body, just gets looked right over. While personality and intelligence and goals and core beliefs and all that stuff really matter, women don't often give Michael a chance to DISPLAY these qualities because he's overweight. Sad, but true. Sure, a chubby guy or gal can still meet someone and have a great relationship, but their odds are poor compared to the non-fat person. It's much tougher for them because they just get MISSED in the room scan. Ugly folks get overlooked too, but again, an ugly mug with a killer physique certainly improves the chances of getting noticed, or getting that foot in the door. All this comes back to the subject of physique transformation -- massive changes in body comp. Michael's world would change if he lost the extra flab. That's why when it comes to the subject of physique transformation, body fat is almost always part of the equation. For most people, it should be the #1 item on their list. Now, every time I say this, I get knee-jerkers who put me into the same category as those 140 pound, muscle-free skinny guys who, for some reason, are trying to lose more weight so they can weigh 125. No, obviously muscle gain is important here, and I'd never suggest a fat loss diet to a beanpole. You've got to have something underneath there, otherwise you've just changed from "ugly fat body" to "ugly puny body." But still, fat loss is going to be the main goal for most people, especially with the obesity rates skyrocketing. The "average" person these days is carrying too much fat, and the main thing they could do to look better, feel better, and improve health is to lose it. Maybe it's a little unfair that chubby people are so often disregarded, not even given a chance to show their great qualities to prospective mates. But it happens, almost instinctively it seems. Our primitive brains and bodies are coping with an exploding population, and we have learned to make snap judgments and rapid categorizations. And if you're too fat, you go into the "no" pile pretty quickly. And not just with the opposite sex in relationship scenarios. Studies have shown that fat people even get unfairly labeled at work and are perceived as being lazy and weak-willed. It's not fair maybe, but it happens. Is There Hope? Yes, of course there's hope for Michael. He knows exactly what's holding him back too. But of course it's easier to buy a nicer car or a more expensive watch in an attempt to attract the eyes of women (whether those are the kinds of women you'd want to attract is a whole other post) than it is to train harder/smarter and clean up his diet. Twenty or thirty pounds of extra fat is controlling Michael's life. Hope it's not controlling yours. -- CS More from the author here: http://www.t-nation.com/powerful-words/phoenix-theory

Muscle: The New Status Symbol? by Chris Shugart Money expert Dave Ramsey has a catchphrase for his radio show. It goes something like this: "The paid-off home mortgage has taken the place of the BMW as the status symbol of choice." I like that. Some of the most successful, wealthiest people I know live modestly, drive paid-off cars over five years old, and prefer Timex to Rolex. Some of the most broke folks I know are just the opposite. The bank owns their new cars and Visa owns their fancy timepieces. They are walking facades of wealth, big houses built on foundations of particle board. One of the predicted consumer trends for the upcoming year is further investment in personal health rather than the pursuit and accumulation of more "stuff." People are, supposedly, going to spend more money on getting healthy, losing fat, and building muscle. So, instead of decorating a chubby, pre-diabetic body with jewelry and sliding it into shiny 2014 convertibles, they're going to spend their cash on gyms, better food, exercise equipment, and supplements. Man, let's hope so. Your body is, in many ways, your ultimate status symbol anyway. Studies show that we're judged on our bodies. Fat people are thought to be lazy and lacking in self-control. Fit people are judged to be disciplined and more intelligent than the overweight. Fair or not, these snap judgments dictate the way people treat you, from your boss to that hot barista you'd like to see naked. Fact: How you take care of your body tells us more about you than the objects you've purchased with your credit card. With the world getting fatter and weaker, the lean and strong are going to stand out even more. Muscular and athletic will become a rarity. Maybe the new status symbols will be lack of dependence on prescription drugs, a non-protruding belly, or the increasingly rare ability to take the stairs without getting gassed. You won't have to tactlessly and tackily stick your pink, conflict-free diamond ring into people's faces; you'll just have to walk into the room. Stepping out of your used Honda looking healthy and strong will carry more status and elicit more respect than struggling to get your plus-sized ass out of a limited-edition Corvette you can't quite afford. The whole "status" thing is a bit stomach-turning to begin with, but sociologists tell us that we can't escape it; it's just built into our genes. Okay, fine. But let's choose to display our status not with baubles on loan but with a body that reflects hard work, wise decisions, and engaged living. -- Chris Shugart More articles like this here: http://www.t-nation.com/powerful-words #abs #fitness

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