Fitness Forums – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!

September 23, 2009

A few years ago I decided to visit a few fitness forums to give helpful advice. Unfortunately back then, there were only two types, hardcore bodybuilding forums or extremely generic health and fitness forums. My experience with forums back then was a negative one. Luckily things are looking better on the fitness front. These days, there are several that are worth your time. I have a few suggestions of my own, but would love to use this post to create a growing list of good forums. Feel free to add to my list in the comment section!

fitness forums

[On the Internet, you have to weed through a lot of pollution to find the good stuff. Once you find a good forum make sure and protect it and keep it from degrading into something bad.]

My Brief Experience With Forums Made Me to Start This Site

About two and a half years ago I was visiting various forums to discuss getting the lean “GQ” look. I went over to a popular bodybuilding forum and was about to make my post and I noticed a guy who attempted the same thing. He wanted to discuss how to get a physique like Brad Pitt from Fight Club. Big mistake! I think he had over 100 nasty comments and was personally attacked for wanting to be what they called a “skinny wuss” (they used slightly different terminology).

I Couldn’t Believe Some of the Stuff I Was Reading…

The comments degraded into homophobic, sexist, and racial slurs. I decided to click away from that site and visit another popular bodybuilding forum, which wasn’t as big as this monster site but still had tons of comments. Same thing over here! A guy posted a picture of Christian Bale from American Psycho and along came the attacking comments. I read another 4-5 more threads where guys wanted to get lean and a large portion of the members would go on the attack every time.

& None of These Forums Were Welcoming to Women

The funny thing about these forums is that they repel the average woman almost immediately. Most women don’t want to see profile pictures of guys flexing in their parent’s basement…this is basically the equivalent of “female repellent”. These same guys will claim that they don’t need a woman’s approval, don’t care what women think, yada…yada. Same old story of how guys justify their lack of success with women…after the fact. Pleasing the opposite sex isn’t the goal of getting fit, but people shouldn’t pretend like they don’t care at all.

I Started FBB to Discuss Advanced Tips in a Friendly Way

The irony about both of the two main bodybuilding forums I spoke about was that mixed in with the pollution were some extremely valuable tips and techniques. I decided to start a site that just talked about the advanced stuff, without all the negatives and cutting remarks. I also wanted it to be welcoming to women and beginners, etc. Heck…I didn’t even require you to get oiled up and do a “most muscular” pose in your mom’s basement! In fact, that disqualifies you from commenting…no flexing of any sort allowed…this is a pose-free zone!

The Number One Thing to Look for In a Fitness Forum

An active moderator is the #1 thing you need to look for in a fitness forum. I can’t stress this enough. The reason I don’t have a forum on this site, is that I don’t have enough time per day to moderate at the level I think would be needed. I believe any cutting or personal attacks should be immediately dealt with and any racist, sexist, or homophobic slurs would get someone permanently banned. It would kill me if I had a site that had that type of content on it!

The Ideal Fitness Forum is Medium-Sized, but Very Active

If a forum gets too big, it becomes impossible to manage…plus it loses it’s focus. A medium sized forum is good, because it is easier to build a sense of community. As long as the forum is really active it doesn’t matter how big the membership is. Now, if a moderator is exceptionally good at staying on top of things or there are several moderators…then big is fine.

So Before This Post Get’s Too Long, Here’s the Forum List…

I am going to list a few forums just to get this post rolling. I would love for people to add in their favorite forums in the comment section. Like I mentioned before, many of the best forums are small-to-medium size…so I am sure there are some amazing ones I have never heard of.

Mark’s Daily Apple – Primal Forum
Mark Sisson is a guy who simply “gets it right”. His blog is outstanding as is his forum. This one is focused on things like the paleo diet, his “Primal Blueprint”, etc. It has a strong sense of community and the members help each other.

Body Recomposition
This one gets deep into technical fitness info. If you like getting into the deep science of fitness and want to “geek out” a bit…this is where you go. It is put together by one of my favorite fitness authors, Lyle McDonald.

Strong Lifts
Strong Lifts is a blog dedicated to strength training…so is the forum. It has a lot of topics (10,000+) so I am sure that there are a few negative things mixed in there, but overall the forum is well moderated. The guy behind the site, Mehdi, lives in Belgium was very friendly when I communicated with him over email about a year ago.

Also a Start Up “Hybrid Forum” I Will Be Supporting…

A regular reader and contributor of this site, Rafi Bar-Lev, is starting a forum that looks great. My goal is to help him get this site up to critical mass. He just launched it earlier this week, so there isn’t a lot of action (yet). I will go in there once per week or so and mix it up a bit. My guess is that we can get this from the current 24 members up to 200+ in a matter of days.

Passionate Fitness
I am going to chat with Rafi a bit about making links to sites that people want to promote a little easier than most forums. So people can get more readers to their blog, more Facebook friends, Twitter followers, etc. This is what will help it reach “critical mass” quickly.

Note: Join Rafi’s site and make sure and introduce yourself. Rafi has extremely ambitious goals for this site, and my bet is that he will reach them. Also…comment below and list any other helpful forums. A description of the forum would be cool as well.

Important Message: Although this site has received 25+ million visitors, I am starting from scratch and abandoning it. This site is dated and old school looking, terrible to read on mobile, etc.

It's like a Ford Pinto compared to my new site...which is like a Ferrari. Click the link to head over to my new site.

Starting Over...R.I.P. Fitness Black Book!

Thanks for reading all these years!


----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

SB September 26, 2009 at 11:59 am

What about the Crossfit boards?

baz September 27, 2009 at 7:16 am

Is it possible to maintain weight(muscle and body fat) on weights training alone? Simply trying to get stronger with weights and no cardio at all. Is it possible to maintain a consistent calorie intake without gaining or losing any weight of any type without watching what i eat to stringently? I’m going on holidays and i know that there is no way that i will continue to follow my low calorie diet and that ill be eating like a normal person and not someone who is strict about their nutrition. That being said i wont be stuffing myself. I will continue to train with weights but no cardio. Will this help maintain low bf levels and muscle without chaning them?


Ogg the Caveman September 27, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Sue, I have heard the same about Mr. McDonald being impatient and rude, which is a shame because the man is often brilliant. I have to say that I still check into his forums now and then, but not as often as I check into other blogs and forums operated by more friendly people. I have to remind myself to shop for the information, not the person. But it’s human nature to shop for the person…

Chet September 27, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Nice one Rusty!

I run FK.UK, an organisation aimed at growing and linking the functional fitness community within the UK.

Check out the forum at:

Come and say hello if you like what you see!



Jaison - Seattle Strength Coach September 27, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Its a paid forum, but has some of the most intelligent trainers posting regularly, Michael Boyle’s Strength

Its the only forum I can recommend. However, I did sign up for Passionate Fitness to see what its all about.

I agree that moderation is of utmost importance when it comes to forums.

Michael September 27, 2009 at 7:15 pm

You mean there are some good fitness forums? LOL! Thanks for the post. Mark’s Daily Apple is quite good. I haven’t checked out the other ones but will shortly. And there is no question that on any forum, fitness or otherwise, a good moderator can make all the difference in the world.

Nutrition and Physical Regeneration

Etienne September 27, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Hey Rusty,

First of all, I’m very impressed with your site, and it has been helping me a lot lately with my efforts.

Secondly, I wondered if I could have your advice on my tentative workout schedule. I’m trying to lose body fat and gain definition while increasing my strength as well. I figured you’ve seen this question a lot, so you probably got quite some knowledge to impart.

I do:

Monday (HIIT, 15-20 mins, followed by some light steady state cardio) I also do some light pushups and stuff, just to practice the technique, I guess a la Grease the Groove. Not sure if I should be, you tell me.

Tuesday (Gym: CHEST [Bench Press, flat, incline and decline] and BACK (Chin-ups, wide-grip pullups and cable rows))

Wednesday (do Monday’s routine)

Thursday (Gym: BICEPS [Standing Barbell Curls, Seated Altern. Dumbbell Curls], TRICEPS [Standing Pulldowns, Dips] and SHOULDERS [Seated Upright Barbell Press, Seated Dumbbell Press]

Friday (do Monday’s routine)

Saturday (do Tuesday’s routine)

Sunday: DAY OFF (I walk nearly everyday, but do a little extra on Sundays to, I don’t know, ‘compensate’.)

What do you think?

Adrian September 28, 2009 at 8:27 am

Sue, I have easily gotten Lyle McDonald’s interview for my SMALL blog about training for skinny guys. He agreed instantly and gave good answers. He tolerates no BS and for some that looks like being an as.s… I gotta say he is approachable, you can ask question on his blog article (latest one always) and will likely answer.


admin September 28, 2009 at 6:05 pm


Marks Daily Apple is one of the best for sure. Thanks for the compliment about my site.


Steve Pavlina does have a great forum.


Good joke…T-nation is a nightmare and is exactly what I recommend that people avoid.

speed xXx,

Just put the Ryan Kwanten workout e-mail out. I was a little hesitant, because he doesn’t use a structured routine…but put one up anyway, since he is a great fitness role model.


That is a big goal, but if you work it hard and get things started properly you will be able to accomplish those goals.


Yeah…your experience is the same as mine. Thanks for recommending my site, by the way!


Yeah…I’ve seen people getting roasted when asking to look similar to Tyler Durden. Probably one of the harshest threads I’ve ever seen was generated from a Tyler Durden question.


Different people will give you different answers…so I will tell you what I believe to be true. Gaining size is more about training volume and less about extra calories consumed. Both Brad Pilon and John Barban share this belief. Train your chest hard and do a lot of volume and you can increase the size of your chest. Do less volume for the rest of your body. This is how you can gain size on your chest without adding size to the rest of your body. Note: Your shoulders and triceps are going to grow along with your chest since they get used in most chest exercises.


Dragondoor is great! I simply spaced out and forgot about that one. Pavel is one of my favorite trainers of all-time. Thanks for the compliment about my site. Appreciate it!


Glad you like the Vacation Body Blueprint. It was fun to write!


Thanks for the kind words. I think Will Smith looked his all-time best in “I am Legend”. He slimmed down and lost substantial weight for that role and had a clean slim look.


I will take a look at that forum…sounds interesting.


Stay close to that weight for at least 6 months and you will better than ever.

The Spaniard,

Thanks for the compliment…I always enjoy reading and look forward to what you have to say.


Lyle McDonald has always been a great resource for me. I really enjoy his stuff a lot!


Yeah…going at level 20 you are almost leaping up each step…it is hard to keep up at that intensity for long. I think if you really wanted to you could go longer, but I’m not sure you need to push that hard to get great results. Maybe for short periods of time it would be fun aiming for 15-20 minutes. You know you would be sweating like crazy!


One of the reasons I have brilliant pictures is that I buy licenses and pay to use them. I am not sure if it is necessary for a beginning blogger, but I justify it because my site gets heavy traffic now. Mark does have an amazing site.


I try my best to keep a friendly feeling here. Most people are great when they comment here…it is rare these days that I don’t approve a comment. Thanks for the compliment!


I should do a style post. My girlfriend designs women’s clothing for high-end boutiques and may start a blog someday to talk more about her clothing brand. Maybe I will have her do a guest post at some point.


You should stick with a self-hosted Wordpress blog. For $15 per month you can use the hosting company I use. The gentleman in charge, Dave Olsen, is an expert with Wordpress…which is why I use him…..


No more skipping your workouts to read my site! It will be here when you get back. Just kidding…thanks for the compliment. If you want to add more mass simply add in more sets and possibly reduce rest a little in between sets. Aim for muscle fatigue when building mass. Strength training on the other hand is about avoiding fatigue with less volume and more rest in between sets.


I have seen those $10 per month sites. It sounds like a good deal if the content is great. I would be hesitant to charge a monthly fee for Fitness Black Book, simply because I would stress over whether I was delivering enough value each month. Keeping this free just makes it less stressful for me (and allows it to grow much quicker than a paid site).


T-nation has some amazing articles mixed in with a nasty forum. It is too bad, because I have a tough time sticking around the site for long. It has a strange feel to it. There are a lot of great bloggers who comment here on a regular basis. I have found most of my favorite sites from people commenting here as well.


I appreciate the compliment, but if you have extra time you may want to visit some of those other sites I mentioned as well.


I think those guys slammed my site when it was new, but I could be mistaken. I’ll take a look.


I have heard from a few people that Lyle can be rude, but he has been kind to me. The last site you mentioned, is one of my all time favorite blogs…fantastic site!


Crossfit is a huge movement across the US, good call on mentioning them.


Keep your calories reasonable and you will stay at the same body fat percentage. To maintain muscle just make sure you are training with some form of resistance training 2-3 times per week.


I have heard that about Lyle McDonald as well. If that is true hopefully he will lighten up a bit.


I will check that out.


I will take a look. Possibly I will join if the fee is reasonable.


You think it would be easier to find a good fitness forum.


So you are doing chest and back twice per week…and shoulders and arms just once? I suppose it could work since you are working your shoulders biceps and triceps when you work your chest and back. Here is what I would change…make Wednesday a rest day. Also, drop decline bench presses from your routine since flat bench will work the lower pecs hard enough. Maybe do flat bench flyes with a dumbbell instead -or- hammer press. Everything else looks soild.


It is nice to hear a positive comment about Lyle as well. He was very kind when I e-mailed him about 2 years ago.


Etienne September 28, 2009 at 10:23 pm

Thanks for the advice, Rusty.

So does that mean I take both Wednesdays and Sundays off? 2 HIIT sessions per week is enough, I suppose…

Also, I just was worried that doing shoulders and arms the day after I did chest and back meant that I wasn’t leaving enough recovery time for the former muscles, since they were certainly used during the chest and back exercises. Does it matter?

Thanks again.

AnneMarie September 29, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Rusty, I love your blog! I’ve gotten a lot of great information here. I’m just kind of your average-type woman, mom of 3, and I’m 42…so typically thinking – I could have some excuses to be out of shape. But I turned that around about 5 years ago. I can honestly tell anyone that consistent training, weightlifting, good nutrition – and following sound advice like yours, can completely change your physique and in the process, change your life. I can’t tell you the confidence it gave me recently to hear my daughter’s varsity basketball coach say to her…”train to be in the kind of shape your mother’s in.” Whoa…what a moment that was! I can’t thank people like you enough for being willing to share information. And know that it does make a difference in people’s lives! :o)

Duncan October 2, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Rusty: Mark’s Daily Apple is a great site, and I originally found it from a link in one of your previous articles. I dropped the dreaded last 10 pounds in 2 weeks following the Primal Blueprint. Thanks. You’re one of the good guys out there.

Nancy October 16, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Lyle, while smart as heck, is too rude. He knows it and he doesn’t care. His main forum is mostly helpful, but he also runs another forum, which I will not link to, that is anything but helpful. It’s basically a forum to let Lyle and his followers be as mean and rude and dismissive as their hearts desire. And it includes much questionable content. Just a window into the man. You need to not p*ss Lyle off, and construct all your queries in a Lyle approved manner, or else watch out. That’s his prerogative, but who needs it?

Declan Shanahan October 21, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Hi I’m trying to download the book but it keeps bringing me to registration. I was wondering how I can download it

Corey Springer October 22, 2009 at 10:47 am

Hi… I’d like to add another small-to-medium-sized forum to the list:

It’s got a great atmosphere, much like a close-knit family. Loads of content on board (10,000+ threads), with staff contributing well-written articles monthly.

João Henrique October 28, 2009 at 11:57 am

I have recently started reading some articles from this site and they seem to be quite straightforward and the way fitness is discussed made me feel less concerned about being fit because of “looking” rather than “being”. I hope I will have some more spare time to catch up with the news. Great site!

AabidaJamshut November 27, 2009 at 11:47 pm

I’m sorry – i’m new online. Im from Pakistan!

I need help about Antiaging and HGH!
I know that HGH injection is very good for antiaging, but I dont have much money for it…

Is there some good and effective HGH or Anti-Aging supplement that works good and is not too expensive?
I need to look beautiful and young for my Husband, please!

Denzel - Genf20 December 9, 2009 at 11:00 am

The problem you described about forums is not confined to the body building or fitness community but is also a problem everywhere else. I think there are very few forums where the nastiness is at a minimum level; the only ones I’ve seen are those that have very few members anyway.

There needs to be key members too and not just moderators. These key members often set the tone at the start, but after the membership swells, it may go back to square one.

Maggie January 10, 2010 at 7:44 pm


I’m so confused for what I have seen in this link, I never thought that overweight can be too negative for a woman, please consider this link first then try to provide an answer to the questions bellow,

this is the link to the video:

I just watched this video, can’t believe some of the stuff this guy says, and I am now left wondering whether or not this guy is right.

So, I am putting the question to all members on this forum:
Do men find fat women attractive?
Do I have to become slim for guys to find me attractive?

An overweight woman with a nice heart

Maggie January 12, 2010 at 9:38 am

Ihope someone can make suggestion, this is something I actually give important to.

Tara January 21, 2010 at 1:36 am

Rusty, you rock!! I love your site, keep doing your thing!

Ron January 24, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I tried to register at passionate fitness but something is wrong with his site it says my e-mail address is invalid. But It is not and I use it every day.


vibration plate February 23, 2010 at 6:58 am

Hi rusty, I found your post interesting too like others commnting here. You are right about the forums. The problem isn’t gone completely….the part about “women repellant” is really funny.Thanks buddy

brittany July 18, 2010 at 8:04 pm

I decided to start a fitness blog for the girl who’s in her prime but isn’t quite the fittest of the bunch but not the big one either. For those who are really stuck on just being blah. it’s a baby site so please check it out and comment! I have no idea how to get it out there, other than posting on my favorite blog, i.e. rusty’s!

haibo May 1, 2011 at 9:20 pm

This is definitely helpful information. Personally I really like to browse through some good weight loss forums.

Christine May 15, 2011 at 7:26 am

It’s a misunderstanding that women don’t need muscles. If you are serious about your body shape and help, you always need burn your fat and grow your muscles, such as in your belly and thigh areas – very important! Thanks so much for your posting!

Tyler May 24, 2011 at 12:47 am

Great content, the part about, ‘He wanted to discuss how to get a physique like Brad Pitt from Fight Club. Big mistake! I think he had over 100 nasty comments and was personally attacked for wanting to be what they called a “skinny wuss”…’ really stood out to me.

To learn how to lose a fat tummy go to

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Stefan October 31, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Yes so true about the profile pictures.

That said, I still find that the forums contain a lot of good information. There are many guys who are really happy to help and share their tips and strategies. I have found some awesome content about fat loss and also threads that just keep you motivated.

Rebecca January 9, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Useful and interesting information.
Another useful thing for men and women trying to train more – Military Grade nutritional supplements. It’s amazing how they have improved my trainings!

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