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Are Jews allowed to pump their muscles?

What if the intent is to make yourself look good?

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Hello avrohom! Please consider either rephrasing this question or splitting it into two pointed and related questions to increase the yield of high quality answers over what you've received so far. –  WAF Oct 2 '11 at 2:56
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I've deleted the second question. Please feel free to ask it separately, using the revision history if you want to find the original text. –  Isaac Moses Oct 2 '11 at 3:47
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4 Answers 4

The Rambam (Hil. De'os 4:2,14) recommends exercising (and then resting briefly) before eating.

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R' Moshe Feinstein rules (source needed) that dieting is permitted even if solely for the sake of looking good (even if it is not necessary from a health perspective). The halachic question is regarding whether it is a legitimate reason to put oneself through pain/hunger, being that the halachos of "chovel ba'chaveiro" apply just as much to oneself.

It seems reasonable that the same would apply to exercise, since the same halachic issues seem to apply. (R' Moshe might even mention it in his t'shuva; I just can't remember where it is.)

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There is no Biblical Issur that prohibits you from working out.

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@gers what if the kavvanna is to make yoruself look good? –  avrohom Jan 25 '11 at 23:35
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@avrohom, If that's what you're worried about, I recommend you include it in your question. –  Isaac Moses Jan 26 '11 at 15:39
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Not only biblical isurim are isurim (as you know well, Gershon Gold). –  msh210 Oct 2 '11 at 19:14
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physical health and well being are an integral part of being a human being. it is important that we take care of our seichal, goof, and neshama. Physical exercise is important to taking care of one's physical health. Even in the case of exercising for the sake of how one looks this can impact a person' mental well being in a positive manner. Furthermore, exercise is known to release endorphins which help regulate positive moods as well as improve blood circulation which can improve mental concentration as well as all manners of physical and mental health. Vayikra parshas achrei mois in the beginning of chapter 18 it says "you shall live by them". not only should you live by them you should live for them for our purpose in being Jews is to serve Hashem and one cannot properly do so with an unhealthy body. (on a separate note one should of course be knowledgeable about your exact state of health and know or find out what course of exercise is best for you based on your current state of health)

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