Body Shape: What is My Body Shape?

Apple Shape

These people tend to store fat around the mid-section from the breasts to the hips. This will be true internally as well as externally, and therefore apple types are more at risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and gall bladder disease. Apple types, however, can find it easy to lose weight if they really set their minds to it, and this will not only lower their health risk but also make a difference to how they look.

Pear Shape

what is my body shapePear types tend to store fat around the hips and thighs and have hips that are wider than their shoulders. This means that their upper body can look disproportionately slim when compared to the bottom half. The risk of disease for pear types is lower than for apple shapes. However, in terms of how they look it can be frustratingly difficult for them to re-proportion their shape as when this type loses weight it tends to come off the upper body and not from the bottom half.

Stick Shape

Stick types tend to have a less obvious waist. They can be slim and trim yet look less curvaceous. Whilst they may not be overweight, their waist to hips ratio might be at the upper end of what is acceptable as their hips are smaller and their waist is larger than the classic frame. Stick types who put on too much weight tend to become more like apple types.

Health Risk Indicators

Body shape, however, is only one indicator of health risks. Others include:

• Heredity and family history

• Smoking and drinking levels

• Cholesterol levels

• Lifestyle habits such as exercise

Measure Yourself

You can measure your waist-hips ratio to see if you are an apple, pear or stick shape. Just do the following:

1 Measure your waist at the navel or just above -wherever you are smallest.

2 Measure your hips by bending the knees and pressing the thighs outwards. Measure around where the hip bones are.

3 Divide your waist size by your hip size to get the ratio. Women should have a ratio of 0.8 or less; men should have 0.95 or less.

• If you have apple type tendencies you need to plan a programme of healthy living (and weight loss if necessary) to combat any of the risk factors to your health that you may have.

• If you are a pear type you have less health risks, which is good news! However you will need to focus your fitness training to move as much excess fat as possible from your lower body.

• If you are a stick type you may have to work harder to define your waist. Keep your torso twisting and bending throughout your life to stay defined in this area.

Which shape are you – apple, pear or stick shape?

Problems Related to Heavier Lower Body

The problem with a thicker lower body is that the fat can be difficult to shift. Even though the health risks are better for a pear shape this isn’t much consolation if you can’t wear the outfits you want or you have trouble buying dresses that end up being too loose on your top half and too tight on your larger lower half! Unfortunately, there are no miracle exercises that will shrink your lower half and suddenly make you completely in proportion. Some people (and this might be you) have larger pelvises and hip bones so that no amount of exercise or lifestyle changes will alter your basic bone structure. The good news, however, is you can make the best of what you have!

Perception

First of all, think positive and remember that while there are pear and apple types there are also many other shapes and none of them are wrong! There is another classification of body types called somatotyping where the body is defined in terms of its musculature and fat tendencies. Indeed, there are now some studies that talk of defining the body into over 40 different types to make the point that tall, slim shapes are not the only healthy shapes. The somatotypes, however, are useful in helping you to understand how your body works and thereby how you might approach your training programme.

Ectomorph Shape

This is the long, tall body shape that you tend to see in catwalk models, ballet dancers and long-distance runners. These people tend to have difficulty in gaining weight or large muscle masses, no matter how hard they train. Only a small proportion of the population has this type of body.

Mesomorph Shape

Mesomorphs gain muscle quickly and tend to have slightly stockier builds with shorter arms and legs. They are strong although they may find it more difficult to lose weight and may weigh in heavier on the scales because of their higher muscle to fat ratio.

Endomorph Shape

These types tend to have a higher body fat percentage and have a harder time losing body fat, even when they diet and exercise. They may have softer, less muscular frames and are well built for endurance events.

Your Type

You may well be a combination of all these types or you may be able to recognize in yourself one particular type that seems most like you. The thing to remember, with regard to these categories, is to accept what you are and train in harmony with your type.

For instance, if you have heavier hips and thighs the chances are you will be an endomorph (or have strong elements of this). If you are an endomorph you need to work at building muscle and keeping existing muscle firm and toned. Although you may not be attracted to muscle-building-type workouts, these are important for you – as they are for the ectomorph.

Ectomorphs tend to be attracted to long-distance running and other cardiovascular regimes and, again, may well shy away, by choice, from muscle-building regimes.

Mesomorphs are the opposite. Resistance work comes easy to them and they are often far more inclined to opt for this kind of fitness training or sport than for cardiovascular training.

The thing to remember, with regard to these categories, is to accept what you are and train in harmony with your body type.