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Author Topic: Muscular Body Image Lures Boys Into Gym, and Obsession  (Read 3529 times)
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« on: November 19, 2012, 08:29:01 AM »

Muscular Body Image Lures Boys Into Gym, and Obsession
By DOUGLAS QUENQUA
 
It is not just girls who are consumed by an unrealistic body images. Many boys have begun to take unhealthy measures to reshape their bodies.

 It is not just girls these days who are consumed by an unattainable body image.

Take David Abusheikh. At age 15, he started lifting weights for two hours a day, six days a week. Now that he is a senior at Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, he has been adding protein bars and shakes to his diet to put on muscle without gaining fat.

“I didn’t used to be into supplements,” said Mr. Abusheikh, 18, who plans on a career in engineering, “but I wanted something that would help me get bigger a little faster.”

Pediatricians are starting to sound alarm bells about boys who take unhealthy measures to try to achieve Charles Atlas bodies that only genetics can truly confer. Whether it is long hours in the gym, allowances blown on expensive supplements or even risky experiments with illegal steroids, the price American boys are willing to pay for the perfect body appears to be on the rise.

In a study to be published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics, more than 40 percent of boys in middle school and high school said they regularly exercised with the goal of increasing muscle mass. Thirty-eight percent said they used protein supplements, and nearly 6 percent said they had experimented with steroids.

Over all, 90 percent of the boys in the survey — who lived in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, but typify what doctors say is a national phenomenon — said they exercised at least occasionally to add muscle.

“There has been a striking change in attitudes toward male body image in the last 30 years,” said Dr. Harrison Pope, a psychiatry professor at Harvard who studies bodybuilding culture and was not involved in the study. The portrayal of men as fat-free and chiseled “is dramatically more prevalent in society than it was a generation ago,” he said.

While college-age men have long been interested in bodybuilding, pediatricians say they have been surprised to find that now even middle school boys are so absorbed with building muscles. And their youth adds an element of risk.

Just as girls who count every calorie in an effort to be thin may do themselves more harm than good, boys who chase an illusory image of manhood may end up stunting their development, doctors say, particularly when they turn to supplements — or, worse, steroids — to supercharge their results.

“The problem with supplements is they’re not regulated like drugs, so it’s very hard to know what’s in them,” said Dr. Shalender Bhasin, a professor of medicine at Boston Medical Center. Some contain anabolic steroids, and even high-quality protein supplements might be dangerous in large amounts, or if taken to replace meals, he said. “These things just haven’t been studied very well,” he said.

Anabolic steroids pose a special danger to developing bodies, Dr. Bhasin said. Steroids “stop testosterone production in men,” he said, leading to terrible withdrawal problems when still-growing boys try to stop taking them. Still, the constant association of steroids with elite athletes like Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds perpetuates the notion that they can be managed successfully.

Online, in bodybuilding forums for teenagers, boys barely out of puberty share weight-lifting regimens and body fat percentages, and judge one another’s progress. On Tumblr and Facebook, teenagers post images of ripped athletes under the heading “fitspo” or “fitspiraton,” which are short for “fitness inspiration.” The tags are spinoffs of “thinspo” and “thinspiration” pictures and videos, which have been banned from many sites for promoting anorexia.

“Lifted b4 school today felt good but was weak as hell,” wrote one boy who said he was 15 and from Tallahassee, Fla., on a message board on Bodybuilding.com in September, saying he bench-pressed 245 pounds. “Barely got it.”

Many of these boys probably see themselves in Mike Sorrentino, “The Situation” from the “Jersey Shore” series on MTV, or the Adam Sackler character, on the HBO series “Girls,” who rarely wears a shirt or takes a break from his crunches.

Mr. Abusheikh, for instance, has a Facebook page full of photos of himself shirtless or showing off his six-pack abs. At his high school, participation in the annual bodybuilding competition hit an all-time high of 30 students this year.

“They ask us about everything,” said Peter Rivera, a physical education teacher at Fort Hamilton High School who helps oversee the competition. “How do I lose weight? How do I gain muscle? How many times a week should I work out?” Some boys want to be stronger for sports, Mr. Rivera said, but others “want to change their body type.”

Compared with a sedentary lifestyle of video games and TV, an obsession with working out may not quite qualify as a health hazard. And instructors like Mr. Rivera say most boys are eager for advice on the healthiest, drug-free ways to get in shape.

With so little known about supplements, it can be difficult, particularly for teenagers, to make wise decisions.

Alonso Huizar, 16, of Tucson, could not say for sure which creatine supplements he takes. “I bounce around,” he said. “I get, like, some type of chocolate flavor, depending on the price.”

Alonso started lifting weights at 15 because he wanted to get bigger for soccer, “but I was also just trying to gain weight in general,” he said. Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese soccer player, is the man with the body he would like to have, he said.

His mother, Ana, said she would have preferred that Alonso hold off on weight training until he was older, but the pressure from coaches and peers made compromise impossible. “It’s pushed on them — if you’re going to play soccer, you have to lift weights,” she said.

A majority of girls in the Minnesota study said they, too, had changed eating or exercise habits to build muscle, with 21 percent using protein supplements and nearly 5 percent using steroids.

“The model of feminine beauty is now more toned and fit and sculpted than it was a generation ago,” said Marla Eisenberg, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, the lead author of the Pediatrics study. “It’s not just being thin. It’s being thin and toned.” Indeed, visitors to the “Fitspo” Facebook page are greeted by a sinewy model wearing a tank top that reads “Strong is the new skinny.”

Paradoxically, the emphasis on weight lifting among adolescents may be depleting the number of contestants in teenage bodybuilding meets, because many children cannot pass a drug test. “You used to get a lot of teenage bodybuilders, but you don’t get them as much anymore,” said Andrew Bostinto, president of the National Gym Association. “A lot of these kids are juiced, so they’re not entering natural shows.”

“You get these kids now, they’re 5 feet 6 inches, 5 feet 7 inches, weighing 265 pounds with two percent body fat,” he said. “Give me a break. You can’t put on 30 pounds in a month.”

Mr. Abusheikh, who stands 5 feet tall and weighs 125 pounds, said he steered clear of steroids and would prefer not to use supplements. But because of his small stature, he needed the extra bulk to compete in his school’s bodybuilding contest. “I’m mostly trying to get into engineering,” he said, “but if something gets in the way I figure I can always be a personal trainer.”


* Mr. Abusheikm, 18.jpg (46.06 KB, 650x431 - viewed 1385 times.)
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2012, 08:31:26 AM »

Welcome to forty years ago.
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2012, 08:32:30 AM »

i think obsession is a word used by people who dont work out or who r to lazy to, nothing wrong with being obsessed about bettering your body. alot of times though it does lead a person to explore the darkside
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2012, 08:41:11 AM »

Article would have been more relevant in the 80s!  Americans now are more obese 31% and out of shape. I don't see many muscular people walking around here. I see a whole lot of fat ones- especially women.
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2012, 08:51:48 AM »

Welcome to forty years ago.

 Grin Grin Grin
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2012, 08:54:47 AM »

6% Of high school boys have used steroids, that is very fucked up.

And chocolate flavored creatine?  Cheesy
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2012, 08:55:53 AM »



Mr. Abusheikh.
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2012, 08:57:35 AM »



Mr. Abusheikh.

Great muscle and at 5 even I understand his lust for muscling it up.
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2012, 09:07:39 AM »

Would they rather he be out binge-drinking and getting girls pregnant? Heaven forbid kids these days should do things that require discipline and structure.
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2012, 09:21:19 AM »

Would they rather he be out binge-drinking and getting girls pregnant? Heaven forbid kids these days should do things that require discipline and structure.

Its the liberal mentality....deride anyone who pursues goals that are hard to get and require a lot of work because it makes the former feel bad when the hardworker decides to show off.

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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2012, 09:46:52 AM »

Its the liberal mentality....deride anyone who pursues goals that are hard to get and require a lot of work because it makes the former feel bad when the hardworker decides to show off.



The fat-friendly media decrying the pursuit of a more appropriate bodytype.

The means may not always justify the end, but surely, this is better than being obese or a sloth?

Teenage boys are going to do crazy shit. That's what they do. When my son hits his teenage years and goes bat-shit crazy on the natural testosterone rush, I'd rather he burn it off in the gym than on any other number of activities a young boy can get into. Like drinking, video games, gangs, etc...lots of worse shit in life than doing curls in the garage or pushups in your room hoping for bigger pecs and biceps.

As for image issues...shit, who doesn't have one. Pick a room full of people in North America and more will have a body image issue than not. So then what's normal now? I'd say it apprears those WITHOUT body issues are in the minority.

Embrace your body issues, then learn to control them so they don't control you.

Weightlifting gives confidence. And that's good for young men. Too much confidence is trouble...too many fights. But too little is bad too...gangs and stuff. Help your son get it right and he'll be ok.
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2012, 09:52:14 AM »

im honestly starting to think in the us if your ARENT fat and obese you may get treated differently by people,employers etc.
seems like a stretch but look at everything happening.
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2012, 09:55:45 AM »

Quote
Pediatricians are starting to sound alarm bells about boys who take unhealthy measures to try to achieve Charles Atlas bodies

Do teenage boys even know who is Charles Atlas?
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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2012, 10:14:03 AM »

im honestly starting to think in the us if your ARENT fat and obese you may get treated differently by people,employers etc.
seems like a stretch but look at everything happening.

Doubt it.

We're genetically hardwired to over-value fit bodies, and under-value fat bodies, when it comes to reproductive prowess. And yes, women hiring managers evaluate potential male employees based on reproductive prowess, at least sub-consciously. Just as male hiring managers do with women. It's genetically programmed, and we can't un-program that.

Being obese is still a huge disadvantage in society today. As much as the massive competitive bodybuilder is viewed as a quasi-pariah in today's society, he is far more socially acceptable than his morbidly obese counterpart on the other end of the spectrum. At least when it comes to desirability, employement prospects...

But let's explore the not-so-extreme ends of the spectrum. A fat man, compared to an in-shape muscular man. Say, comparing Jim Belushi bodytype (a man who is fat, but maybe not what we'd call morbidly obese) and a Hugh Jackman body (obviously muscular). Put both of these bodytypes in a suit and send them in for an interview. Assuming same talent for the role and ability to demonstrate skillset, the Hugh Jackman body will win the interview over the Jim Belushi body, the majority of the time. Whether a man or woman is interviewing. The female decision is not surprising. But the male hiring manager decision is. You would think that any man would view another fit male as a threat. And subconsciously, he does. But that is often over-ridden by another sinister sub-conscious urge...the urge to strengthen a pack.

People often seek to align themselves with strong fit people in order to strengthen the capabilities of their social circle/network. 'Tis far better to count your friends as fit muscular young people than fat out-of-shape people, especially if things go down.

Of course, the more morbid amongst us wouldn't mind a few fat people in the group if the Zombie Apocalypse hits. You can always outrun a fat friend. Or eat them and be full if you do happen to turn into a zombie. These are the thoughts in my mind right now.
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« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2012, 10:15:52 AM »

The fat-friendly media decrying the pursuit of a more appropriate bodytype.

The means may not always justify the end, but surely, this is better than being obese or a sloth?

Teenage boys are going to do crazy shit. That's what they do. When my son hits his teenage years and goes bat-shit crazy on the natural testosterone rush, I'd rather he burn it off in the gym than on any other number of activities a young boy can get into. Like drinking, video games, gangs, etc...lots of worse shit in life than doing curls in the garage or pushups in your room hoping for bigger pecs and biceps.

As for image issues...shit, who doesn't have one. Pick a room full of people in North America and more will have a body image issue than not. So then what's normal now? I'd say it apprears those WITHOUT body issues are in the minority.

Embrace your body issues, then learn to control them so they don't control you.

Weightlifting gives confidence. And that's good for young men. Too much confidence is trouble...too many fights. But too little is bad too...gangs and stuff. Help your son get it right and he'll be ok.

its textbook projection.  everyone wants to improve their body and their health.  but when someone puts a lot of time and dedication to that goal they are labelled as "stupid" and "obsessed".  this is the entire theme of planet fitness.  "come in and get in shape!  just don't work very hard or get results becasue then we'll make fun of you and run you out of here as quickly as possible"
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« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2012, 10:48:31 AM »

A guy who becomes obsessed with bodybuilding in NOT like a guy who becomes obsessed with other athletics, like tennis or golf or basketball. Why? Because bodybuilders can't leave it at the gym like those kinds of sports. Bodybuilders are obsessed with their diets, dieting, counting carbs, fat, protein, cramming down shakes, eating out of Tupperware. They drag their boring food to family get-togethers, Thanksgiving meals, picnics, cookouts, vacations. They fret over their bodyweight, bodyfat, and freak if someone says they look fatter, skinnier, weaker. They can't pass a mirror without one eye checking themselves out.

I'm not slamming this, I'm just sort of observing/analyzing what I've seen and done myself for my whole teen and adult life. You could say that I've been there, done that, though not all bodybuilders are this way, just those prone to OCD and zealousness.
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« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2012, 11:14:51 AM »

A guy who becomes obsessed with bodybuilding in NOT like a guy who becomes obsessed with other athletics, like tennis or golf or basketball. Why? Because bodybuilders can't leave it at the gym like those kinds of sports. Bodybuilders are obsessed with their diets, dieting, counting carbs, fat, protein, cramming down shakes, eating out of Tupperware. They drag their boring food to family get-togethers, Thanksgiving meals, picnics, cookouts, vacations. They fret over their bodyweight, bodyfat, and freak if someone says they look fatter, skinnier, weaker. They can't pass a mirror without one eye checking themselves out.

I'm not slamming this, I'm just sort of observing/analyzing what I've seen and done myself for my whole teen and adult life. You could say that I've been there, done that, though not all bodybuilders are this way, just those prone to OCD and zealousness.

Agreed. Those types of people are social freaks. To be avoided. And to the average american, when they think bodybuilder, that's what they think of. This journalist is counting on it.

The scare piece of journalism would have mom and dad believing little Johnny and Jane will pick up a dumbell and be inevitably changed into the bodybuilder you portray above. Of course, any parent worth their salt can steer their kid clear of this.

But in the Facebook/twitter/Iphone/Honeybooboo/how-to-manual-from-Amazon parenting fads of this decade, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a guttural reaction from the slack jawed mouth breathing masses. But they're as sick as the bodybuilding douche, for they too have lost touch with reality and people. I'm sure some jackass will put up a book on shelves on how to help parents avoid the threats of weightlifting and devilish scourge of the gym. And these hopeless rubes will buy it. Men worried their sons will turn gay (I'm sure Bay will have a comment here) and women worried their little boys will turn into women-abusing hulks.

Like anything, journalists just want you to be scared of everything, so that you'll need more media to consume to feed your insatiable desire for fear to reaffirm your beliefs that the world is out to get you. Or for you optimistic shut-ins, to occasionally feed your desperation for a feel-good piece as some little girl somewhere gives a few pennies to a homeless person.

Believe some of what you see, half of what you read, and none of what you hear.
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« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2012, 11:52:02 AM »

A guy who becomes obsessed with bodybuilding in NOT like a guy who becomes obsessed with other athletics, like tennis or golf or basketball. Why? Because bodybuilders can't leave it at the gym like those kinds of sports. Bodybuilders are obsessed with their diets, dieting, counting carbs, fat, protein, cramming down shakes, eating out of Tupperware. They drag their boring food to family get-togethers, Thanksgiving meals, picnics, cookouts, vacations. They fret over their bodyweight, bodyfat, and freak if someone says they look fatter, skinnier, weaker. They can't pass a mirror without one eye checking themselves out.

I'm not slamming this, I'm just sort of observing/analyzing what I've seen and done myself for my whole teen and adult life. You could say that I've been there, done that, though not all bodybuilders are this way, just those prone to OCD and zealousness.
u nailed it ,,,but's its easy to get into this mindset ...the plan works but yeah it's am crazy way to live...
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« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2012, 12:22:23 PM »

Would they rather he be out binge-drinking and getting girls pregnant? Heaven forbid kids these days should do things that require discipline and structure.
SPOT ON
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« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2012, 12:30:22 PM »

A guy who becomes obsessed with bodybuilding in NOT like a guy who becomes obsessed with other athletics, like tennis or golf or basketball. Why? Because bodybuilders can't leave it at the gym like those kinds of sports. Bodybuilders are obsessed with their diets, dieting, counting carbs, fat, protein, cramming down shakes, eating out of Tupperware. They drag their boring food to family get-togethers, Thanksgiving meals, picnics, cookouts, vacations. They fret over their bodyweight, bodyfat, and freak if someone says they look fatter, skinnier, weaker. They can't pass a mirror without one eye checking themselves out.

I'm not slamming this, I'm just sort of observing/analyzing what I've seen and done myself for my whole teen and adult life. You could say that I've been there, done that, though not all bodybuilders are this way, just those prone to OCD and zealousness.

Bodybuilding/Fitness attracts this kind of people. Insecure, obsessed, fragile ego's. How many alcoholics or drug addicts have you heard say they traded their addictions for the gym? Only to become addicted to steroids later on of course LOL.
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« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2012, 12:47:54 PM »

Alonso Huizar, 16, of Tucson, could not say for sure which creatine supplements he takes. “I bounce around,” he said. “I get, like, some type of chocolate flavor, depending on the price.”

Alonso started lifting weights at 15 because he wanted to get bigger for soccer, “but I was also just trying to gain weight in general,” he said. Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese soccer player, is the man with the body he would like to have, he said.

I strongly suspect "Alonso Huizar" will taste the angry end of a penis a few hundred times in his life.
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« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2012, 12:52:46 PM »

SPOT ON

Love the healthy, self-improvement, and discipline....the fixation on the next meal, the next workout, the next contest, betting bigger, getting shrink-wrapped...but chasing hypertrophy as if it were god....not so much.

I'm attending Sergio Oliva's Wake in an hour or two. Oliva tried to flag off Junior from the carrot on the stick which draws him to one more contest, to talk to one more judge, try one more drug, get drier, more carbs, less carbs, high fat, low fat, in order to win a NPC swag to hang on his mantle. Sergio knew it was a fool's game. Not referring to the the healthful bodybuilding or lifting, but the meaningless 'pro card'.
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« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2012, 01:12:59 PM »

Would they rather he be out binge-drinking and getting girls pregnant? Heaven forbid kids these days should do things that require discipline and structure.

they would actually! they've been working hard over recent years to feminise young males with poisons that lower testosterone in our food, water.. even the fucking air that we breathe . not forgetting the constant media barrage promoting femininity in males and homosexuality
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« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2012, 02:49:53 PM »

I strongly suspect "Alonso Huizar" will taste the angry end of a penis a few hundred times in his life.

 Grin Grin Grin
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« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2012, 10:45:05 PM »

Muscular Body Image Lures Boys Into Gym, and Obsession
By DOUGLAS QUENQUA
 
It is not just girls who are consumed by an unrealistic body images. Many boys have begun to take unhealthy measures to reshape their bodies.

 It is not just girls these days who are consumed by an unattainable body image.

Take David Abusheikh. At age 15, he started lifting weights for two hours a day, six days a week. Now that he is a senior at Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, he has been adding protein bars and shakes to his diet to put on muscle without gaining fat.

“I didn’t used to be into supplements,” said Mr. Abusheikh, 18, who plans on a career in engineering, “but I wanted something that would help me get bigger a little faster.”

Pediatricians are starting to sound alarm bells about boys who take unhealthy measures to try to achieve Charles Atlas bodies that only genetics can truly confer. Whether it is long hours in the gym, allowances blown on expensive supplements or even risky experiments with illegal steroids, the price American boys are willing to pay for the perfect body appears to be on the rise.

In a study to be published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics, more than 40 percent of boys in middle school and high school said they regularly exercised with the goal of increasing muscle mass. Thirty-eight percent said they used protein supplements, and nearly 6 percent said they had experimented with steroids.

Over all, 90 percent of the boys in the survey — who lived in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, but typify what doctors say is a national phenomenon — said they exercised at least occasionally to add muscle.

“There has been a striking change in attitudes toward male body image in the last 30 years,” said Dr. Harrison Pope, a psychiatry professor at Harvard who studies bodybuilding culture and was not involved in the study. The portrayal of men as fat-free and chiseled “is dramatically more prevalent in society than it was a generation ago,” he said.

While college-age men have long been interested in bodybuilding, pediatricians say they have been surprised to find that now even middle school boys are so absorbed with building muscles. And their youth adds an element of risk.

Just as girls who count every calorie in an effort to be thin may do themselves more harm than good, boys who chase an illusory image of manhood may end up stunting their development, doctors say, particularly when they turn to supplements — or, worse, steroids — to supercharge their results.

“The problem with supplements is they’re not regulated like drugs, so it’s very hard to know what’s in them,” said Dr. Shalender Bhasin, a professor of medicine at Boston Medical Center. Some contain anabolic steroids, and even high-quality protein supplements might be dangerous in large amounts, or if taken to replace meals, he said. “These things just haven’t been studied very well,” he said.

Anabolic steroids pose a special danger to developing bodies, Dr. Bhasin said. Steroids “stop testosterone production in men,” he said, leading to terrible withdrawal problems when still-growing boys try to stop taking them. Still, the constant association of steroids with elite athletes like Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds perpetuates the notion that they can be managed successfully.

Online, in bodybuilding forums for teenagers, boys barely out of puberty share weight-lifting regimens and body fat percentages, and judge one another’s progress. On Tumblr and Facebook, teenagers post images of ripped athletes under the heading “fitspo” or “fitspiraton,” which are short for “fitness inspiration.” The tags are spinoffs of “thinspo” and “thinspiration” pictures and videos, which have been banned from many sites for promoting anorexia.

“Lifted b4 school today felt good but was weak as hell,” wrote one boy who said he was 15 and from Tallahassee, Fla., on a message board on Bodybuilding.com in September, saying he bench-pressed 245 pounds. “Barely got it.”

Many of these boys probably see themselves in Mike Sorrentino, “The Situation” from the “Jersey Shore” series on MTV, or the Adam Sackler character, on the HBO series “Girls,” who rarely wears a shirt or takes a break from his crunches.

Mr. Abusheikh, for instance, has a Facebook page full of photos of himself shirtless or showing off his six-pack abs. At his high school, participation in the annual bodybuilding competition hit an all-time high of 30 students this year.

“They ask us about everything,” said Peter Rivera, a physical education teacher at Fort Hamilton High School who helps oversee the competition. “How do I lose weight? How do I gain muscle? How many times a week should I work out?” Some boys want to be stronger for sports, Mr. Rivera said, but others “want to change their body type.”

Compared with a sedentary lifestyle of video games and TV, an obsession with working out may not quite qualify as a health hazard. And instructors like Mr. Rivera say most boys are eager for advice on the healthiest, drug-free ways to get in shape.

With so little known about supplements, it can be difficult, particularly for teenagers, to make wise decisions.

Alonso Huizar, 16, of Tucson, could not say for sure which creatine supplements he takes. “I bounce around,” he said. “I get, like, some type of chocolate flavor, depending on the price.”

Alonso started lifting weights at 15 because he wanted to get bigger for soccer, “but I was also just trying to gain weight in general,” he said. Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese soccer player, is the man with the body he would like to have, he said.

His mother, Ana, said she would have preferred that Alonso hold off on weight training until he was older, but the pressure from coaches and peers made compromise impossible. “It’s pushed on them — if you’re going to play soccer, you have to lift weights,” she said.

A majority of girls in the Minnesota study said they, too, had changed eating or exercise habits to build muscle, with 21 percent using protein supplements and nearly 5 percent using steroids.

“The model of feminine beauty is now more toned and fit and sculpted than it was a generation ago,” said Marla Eisenberg, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, the lead author of the Pediatrics study. “It’s not just being thin. It’s being thin and toned.” Indeed, visitors to the “Fitspo” Facebook page are greeted by a sinewy model wearing a tank top that reads “Strong is the new skinny.”

Paradoxically, the emphasis on weight lifting among adolescents may be depleting the number of contestants in teenage bodybuilding meets, because many children cannot pass a drug test. “You used to get a lot of teenage bodybuilders, but you don’t get them as much anymore,” said Andrew Bostinto, president of the National Gym Association. “A lot of these kids are juiced, so they’re not entering natural shows.”

“You get these kids now, they’re 5 feet 6 inches, 5 feet 7 inches, weighing 265 pounds with two percent body fat,” he said. “Give me a break. You can’t put on 30 pounds in a month.”

Mr. Abusheikh, who stands 5 feet tall and weighs 125 pounds, said he steered clear of steroids and would prefer not to use supplements. But because of his small stature, he needed the extra bulk to compete in his school’s bodybuilding contest. “I’m mostly trying to get into engineering,” he said, “but if something gets in the way I figure I can always be a personal trainer.”

I don't think this finding is really all that new.  Decades ago, when I was just a kid, long before middle school, I wanted to have big muscles when I grew up.

I think there is something very innate, deep within us males when we are young, to do physical things with our bodies.  Mostly that manifests itself in playing sports, like football, basketball, etc.  But for some, this desire mutates or offshoots into a desire to grow and have big muscles.

I do think the difference today is that the impact of the internet, and various TV shows, have made  bodybuilders/muscles much more visible and accessible.  Like every other interest, sub-culture, hobby, et cetera, that the internet has impacted.  It has opened up a new world for lots of people.  Bodybuilding is just no exception.
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