"If you’re trying to suss out the most attractive male body type, look at mediamarketed towards women.We can illustrate this with a study that looked into the differing degrees of muscularity in men’s and women’s magazines (study).Most women are attracted to physiques that are a little leaner and more muscular than average, like the guy you’d see on the cover ofCosmo. Most men consider that physique too small.
At theMen’s Healthlevel, the disparity shrinks. These bodies are muscular enough to look good to men but not so muscle-bound that they look bad to women. Some researchers argue that these stronger physiques are what women gravitate towards in real life. After all, both guys look ripped with their shirts off, but theMen’s Healthguy can fill out a shirt better than theCosmoguy can.
However, once you’ve got a “fit” physique, you’ll hit a point of diminishing returns. Gaining another twenty pounds of muscle won’t make you look significantly more attractive to women because it won’t make you look significantly healthier or more athletic. The benefit at that point is that you’ll look better to yourself and other men.
Then, as we move towards media designed for male lifters, such asMen’s Fitness, the disparity between male and female preferences widens again. Most guys who lift weights prefer these more muscular physiques, whereas women start to find them muscle-bound and bulky"