Love the body you were born with – that’s what we’re often told, right? But sometimes, we can’t help but be overly critical with our own body, especially when it pales so much in comparison with that of our sister, friend, co-worker, or gym buddy. And we are not even talking about the latest covergirl of Sports Illustrated basking in her bikini-clad glory. Her kind usually unleash the green-eyed monster in us, causing large, painful knots to form in the pits of our stomachs.
The painful truth is, some people are genetically blessed to have that hourglass figure, while others are born with some other odd shape. That’s right, body type or shape is a genetic thing and it is usually impossible to change this, without having to go through very painful major surgical operations.
Good news is, there are special diets and workout routines that you can do to sculpt your body and make the most of what you have. So you don’t need to make that emergency appointment with your friend’s plastic surgeon – not yet.
But before we go to the recommended workout routines, let us first have a clear understanding of what Body Type is and its three main classifications.
What is Body Type?
Body type is completely determined by genetics. Every man and woman is born with a different body type and develops different levels of body fat and muscle mass. There are three different body type classifications:
Endomorphs: Endomorphs tend to have bigger bones and have higher levels of body fat than the other body types. They usually have round faces, larger thighs and hips, and arms and legs that tend to be short and tapering, giving them a stocky appearance. Weight loss is most difficult for the endomorph body type.
Mesomorphs: Mesomorphs are usually described as athletic-looking. They often have an hourglass or ruler shape, and gain muscle mass easily. The majority of mesomorphs have broad shoulders and a narrow waist. They have a fast metabolism and can lose weight more easily than endomorphs.
Ectomorphs: Ectomorphs have a thin, linear appearance with their narrow waists, hips, and shoulders – the runway models, if you may. Ectomorphs can lose weight easily and tend to have low levels of body fat. However, they also have a harder time gaining lean muscle mass.
In addition to your body type, you will also find that you have a distinct body shape – which is based upon the size of your physical features and the overall balance of your body. Men and women tend to have different body shapes. Men are often described as having a rectangular shape or a cone shape. Women are typically described as having hourglass, pear, apple, or ruler body shapes and for each body shape, there are recommended exercises to perform in order to highlight those good features and hide the unsightly ones.
However, before you hit the gym and go on a massive campaign to sweat out, you must know your body type and shape and have a clear mindset of what it is that you really want to achieve. There are different workouts for different body types and this is what you should be aware of. It will depend on your body shape for each routine that you need to do. Each specific type of workouts can strengthen weak spots and tone all those flabby areas you have. Here are some exercises that you can perform that will aid in toning your body, whatever your shape is.
Hourglass: Proportional, curvy chest and hips with narrow waistline. This shape is known as an hourglass because of the curves shown off by the well-proportioned upper and lower bodies and the distinctively narrow waist. For this body shape, both cardio and resistance exercises are recommended. Cardio will assist in keeping the weight in check, while resistance exercises will help to maintain balance between upper and lower body. Jumping rope is the appropriate exercise for you which will get you toned all over. You can start doing this with 50 rotations then slowly work it up until you reach about 250 to 300. Riding a stationary bike can do the trick too but do this only with light resistance to avoid adding more bulk to places where you don’t exactly need them. Doing this for half an hour will just get you right. You can engage in swimming or dancing for that matter. Half an hour of this will get your entire body the toning it needs. It will work you out and it will build better endurance.
Ruler: Waif-like and slim but pehaps with that prominent belly look. Other than that belly, you are already in good shape so all you need is to tone evenly as well. Running is the ideal exercise for you. This will keep your build lean. You can do this for about half an hour. Sit-ups can also do well for you to strengthen your abs and maybe even that prominent belly look. You can do these 3 sets of 20 if you can. The ideal sports that you can engage to will be volleyball and basketball. These sports will involve your whole body and you can do this for also half an hour. Reaching and stretching before the game will do wonders on your upper body segment.
Pear: Larger lower bodies and smaller upper bodies. If you are a pear, you will find that your hips are slightly wider than your shoulders and that you tend to gain weight below your waist. Pears usually have small chests and flat stomachs. If you are a pear, your focus should be on balancing-out the top half of your body with the bottom half of your body and aerobic activities are among the recommended workout routines. You may also include walking, cycling (with low resistance), elliptical training, jumping rope, leg lifts and dips, push ups, chin ups, and shoulder presses to your routines.
Apple: Larger top half, smaller bottom half. Apple-shaped bodies commonly have slim hips and a large chest and stomach and they tend to gain weight above the waist or along the backside. Same with pears, people with apple-shaped bodies are encouraged to focus on aerobic training in order to slim down and lose body fat. By working on the lower half of your body, you can help balance out your chest and shoulders. Perform exercises that are low-resistance and involve low repetitions, such as stairclimbing, walking on an incline, running, leg squats, leg presses, and dead lifts.