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    Photo Credit: Paul E. Pratt

Around the Gym: Save chicken legs for the barbecue

By Paul E. Pratt

We all know him. He's that guy at the gym every day pumping his chest and arms until they might burst, but never once touching the leg presses. A hulking musclehead with legs so skinny he risks having them snap under his mass, he's Faghorn Leghorn: victim of Gay Men's Chicken Leg Syndrome.

In the image-conscious world of gay men, muscles often equate to sex appeal. While bulging biceps and heaving chests are undeniably hot, any real jock knows strong, proportionately developed legs are also a must. We found four guys to weigh in on what they think about—and how they avoid—GMCLS.

Nick Candau, 23
To tell you the truth, it doesn't really bother me that much. I don't notice it at first because their pants are usually on. When they come off, you see it and it's a turn off. They focus on all the things you can see—the chest, the abs—and let everything else atrophy. There are three different types of muscle types, so I try to do a workout that not only rotates muscle groups in the body but types of muscle. I do a three-day rotation and then do low reps at high weights, then high reps at low weights. I've noticed, especially if you focus on low weights/high reps, you get size going quickly. If you hit the gym four or five times a week on that regimen, you get results fast. People think just doing cardio will take care of their legs, but you need more than that.

Alan Westley, 29
I'm pretty active and play sports, so it's something that naturally takes care of itself. It's something I really notice on other people, and it's a big turn off. I went on a date with someone who had this amazing upper body but chicken legs. You could tell he went to the gym. When I asked if he played sports, he said, 'No, honey, these are only for show. They don't really work.' You can tell when someone only goes to the gym because they don't do anything with their bodies. I'm attracted to people who are athletic in looks and personality. I'm getting ready for the Gay Games. I play for San Francisco Spikes soccer team and also play racquetball. That's how I take care of it naturally. To workout, I do squats, hamstring curls, calf raises and also pilates and yoga, which helps out.

Darrel Bayani, 32
It's really easy to spot [GMCLS]. They don't go to the gym for their legs. They just go for the money shot, which is the chest, abs and ass. When you go to the gym, the leg machines are usually pretty empty and the bench presses are always full. Leg presses are also pretty tedious. Besides, usually you're wearing pants, so who really notices anyway? I work my legs out, but I also play a lot of sports. Many of my leg workouts are primarily 'functional' workouts more than cosmetic. I primarily do leg workouts so I can be faster on the field and quicker and have better balance. I tore a ligament and cartilage in my knee playing football last year. I actually have a dead person's ligament in my knee. Coming back, it was a gradual work-up. The first part was trying to put some pressure on the leg. Then I started riding the exercise bike everyday. It's so simple, but it's the simplest solution to the problem: Work your legs! Actually do it. Don't work it once every month or every few weeks. Get at least one day of legs every week.

Jack Whiteford, 45
Usually you can see the guys with their upper body pretty developed but not the legs. What their real body looks like and how they used to look is usually like their lower body. A little attention—and whatever else they might have used—has developed their upper body. I've decided to have more of a complete workout, getting my body completely worked out in the course of a week. I read an article in a magazine last year about alternating two different workouts between upper body and lower body during the week. It told me there are two major functions of the legs. One workout is focused on the squats and the other is focused on the deadlift. I try to spread those out so I'm not overdoing it. At first I didn't think my legs would really respond, and they seem to have a little bit. I've been complimented on my legs, so it seems to be working!