The Golden Ratio and the Quest for the Perfect Body

This is the kind of body I'm working towards, but without the douche leather wrist straps. In my mind, this is the ideal body, the perfect body. Muscular, lean, fit, healthy.

Is this the perfect body? What is the perfect body? Is it attainable? While physical attraction is subjective and based on personal preference and cultural influence, one thing that most people universally agree on, is that the appearance of the golden ratio in many examples of nature adds an intrinsic beauty.

The Divine Proportion

The golden ratio, also known as the golden section, the golden mean and the divine proportion, can be seen in nature, architecture, art, music and even trading algorithms in financial markets.

Fibonacci Spiral

The number is represented by the Greek letter φ (phi) and its value is:

φ = 1.618 033 988 ...

Let's take a look at a basic Fibonacci sequence, in which the subsequent number is the sum of the two previous numbers:

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89 ...

We can see the Golden Ratio appear as we apply its expression to the sequence:

1/1 = 1

2/1 = 2

3/2 = 1.5

5/3 = 1.666...

8/5 = 1.6

13/8 = 1.625

21/13 = 1.61538...

34/21 = 1.61905...

55/34 = 1.61764...

89/55 = 1.61861...

We see this relationship present itself over and over in nature, such as in nautilus shells, sunflower seeds and the dimensions of the human body (foot-to-navel:navel-to-head).

Leonardo DaVinci's famous drawing of Vetruvian Man is described as follows:

The drawing is based on the correlations of ideal human proportions with geometry described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius in Book III of his treatise De Architectura. Vitruvius described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion among the Classical orders of architecture. Leonardo's drawing is traditionally named in honor of the architect.

If we subscribe to the notion of the human figure being of ideal proportion, then we can apply the golden mean, this divine proportion, to the figure of man and the representation of the ideal human body shape.

The Perfect Body Formula (The V-Shaped Torso)

Men's Health published an article called The Perfect Body Formula in 2008 in which the author wrote:

...it's no surprise to learn that chicks dig a physique that measures up to the golden ratio. An Archives of Sexual Behavior study reveals that women are most attracted to muscular men whose shoulders measure 1.6 times the size of their waists.

There it is: the golden ratio. Do your body proportions measure up? Here's how to check:

  1. Measure Your Shoulders
  2. Measure Your Waist
  3. Do the Math: divide your shoulder measurement by your waist measurement

If the measure is close to the golden ration, you're in good shape, at least from an attractiveness-to-women perspective.

The Adonis Effect

Author John Barban has done some work with studies of attractiveness and the proportions of the human body. According to the Adonis Effect website, at 5'9" my ideal dimensions would be 49.9" shoulders and 30.84" waist. Many of you probably think this kind of attention to my body image is ridiculous, I know some of my friends would even suggest I'm being brainwashed and repressed by society's views and expectations.

Why not pay a little more attention to my body -- okay, a lot more attention. I've been neglecting it for years and I'd really like to get the same kind of reaction Ryan Gosling's character gets from Emma Stone's character near the end of Crazy Stupid Love: "Seriously?! It looks like you're Photoshop'd!" Who wouldn't want to hear that?

The bottom line is this: the body in the photo at the top of this article looks great. I want to look that great. I want to be muscular, fit, lean and healthy and I'm going to see if I can get myself aligned with these measurements and see if it makes a difference in my appearance. I'm guessing that I'm going to get a lot more compliments about my body than comments that I'm being repressed by society.