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Measure Yourself -
Is Your Body in Proper Proportion?
Use the Golden Ratio to see if your body is in Divine Proportion.

How is the Parthenon
like a perfect body?

The definition of a perfectly proportioned male body is wide open to interpretation. For some, it's a measure of height and weight. Others use body fat percentage numbers, body mass index tables or waist to hip ratios.

Each one is a valid gauge, but there's one number that's used to judge a man's body more than all the others combined and the majority of people don't even realize they're using it.

The magic number is 1.6. It's known as the Golden Ratio or Divine Proportion. For all the guys out there, I'm going to tell you how you can figure out what your ideal proportions should be with nothing more than a simple tape measure and a calculator.

But first, a little background on the Golden Ratio.

Originally studied by the Greeks over 2,000 years ago, the Golden Ratio is a mathematical formula that architects, painters and sculptors have been using for centuries to design things that are "pleasing to the eye." Michelangelo's David, the Mona Lisa and the Greek Parthenon in Athens are all examples of things that feature the Golden Ratio in their design.

How It Works
(Skip right down to Measure Yourself if technical stuff bores you.)

You can calculate the ratio of almost any object. That object just needs two quantities you can measure. For example, on a rectangle, you would measure the two sides. Take the LARGER side and divide it by the SMALLER side. The number you end up with is the RATIO. If the ratio comes out to 1.6, then the object is considered perfectly proportioned.

Rectangle ONE Rectangle TWO

Here's an example. Start with two rectangles. Rectangle ONE is 80 inches long by 64 inches wide. Take 80 DIVIDED by 64 and you get 1.2. The ratio of the first rectangle is 1.2.

The second rectangle is 80 inches long and 50 inches wide. Take 80 DIVIDED by 50 and the answer is 1.6. Rectangle TWO, according to theory, is the more aesthetically pleasing one because it's in "Divine Proportion."

Measure Yourself
This is what that means when it comes to the male body.

A study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior looked into what male body type would be considered most attractive to women. The study concluded that muscular men, with shoulders 1.6 times the size of their waist, were considered the most attractive. Using that as a guide, you can measure yourself to see where your body fits in the "attractiveness" scale. Here's how.

Start by measuring your shoulder circumference. Have someone take a measuring tape and wrap it around your shoulders and chest at its widest point. That's generally in a line between your collarbone and nipples.

Then measure your waist circumference. Start at the tip of the hip bone and wrap the tape all the way around your body.

Take the circumference of your shoulders and divide it by the circumference of your waist. The closer your body is to a 1.6, the more perfectly proportioned your body is. A 48-inch chest/shoulder circumference along with a 30-inch waist is an example of a perfectly proportioned 1.6.

Once you know your number, you can use it to set your workout goals. If your number is smaller than 1.6, you either need to increase the size of your chest or decrease the size of your stomach. Add muscle-building workouts that target your chest and shoulders while incorporating cardio and healthier eating habits to drop belly fat.

If the number is larger than 1.6, you may be paying too much attention to your chest or not enough to your core. Bodybuilders, especially professional bodybuilders, often have numbers larger than 1.6 because of that sports emphasis on extreme musculature. That's not a bad thing, but just remember that as you move away from the ideal, fewer and fewer people will find your body pleasing.

It's all about balance. Find out your ratio, design an exercise program to bring your body as close as possible to the Golden Ratio ideal of 1.6 and start working.

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beginning any diet or exercise program.