Guys buff up for the wrong reasons – expert

2014-06-05 16:22

Eating disorders are no longer about women who are not satisfied with how their bodies look.

Bigorexia, which is more like a reverse of anorexia, seems to be a growing problem among South African men, according to Dr Linde Viviers, a Johannesburg psychologist specialising in eating disorders.

Men who suffer from this condition believe they are smaller than their actual size and end up abusing steroids, engaging in extreme diets and over-exercising, says Viviers.

There are no official statistics on the incidence of bigorexia in South Africa. However, a study published by a professor of psychology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal showed that a high number of boys were unhappy with their physical appearance.

The study titled Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the buffest of them all? found that 28.5% of boys were unhappy with their overall weight, while 26% were dissatisfied with their abs and 19.5% with their chests.

While there are no official statistics on bigorexia in South Africa, Viviers is convinced that it’s on the rise based on anecdotal evidence from his practice in Randburg.

He explains that people who suffer from bigorexia, “are usually not underweight or frail, they are actually well-built with a perfect physique”.

“But they innately believe their muscles and body are inadequate and begin to adopt the so-called bigorexic behaviour – over-exercising, extreme dieting and the use and abuse of supplements and possibly steroids,” he says.

Steve Mululu, owner of Dream Body Fitness, cautions against taking steroids and over-exercising in a bid to get the “glossy magazine” look.

“Biologically, it is only possible to put on 4kg-5kg of muscle weight each year ... anything above that comes at a risk to your health

“If you manipulate muscle growth unnaturally, your organs can’t keep up with your muscle growth rate – and that’s a recipe for disaster,” Mululu warns.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.