Fitness by Myriam

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BODY TYPES – knowing your body type.

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Body Types

Every person has unique genetic traits. Every piece of advice
you receive regarding weight loss must be applied against your knowledge of
your own constitution, metabolism, and genetic makeup.

The study of soma typing classifies body types into 3
main groups – ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph (the suffix morph
comes from Greek morphos, and means form, shape, or structure). Of
course, it is rare to find a person whose body type falls completely into one
of these groups. Most of us share a mix of these genetic traits.

The Mesomorph

The mesomorph is the person we all love to hate – and are
secretly jealous of. They have the following characteristics:

– Naturally muscular

– Naturally lean

– Broad shoulders

– Lose fat easily

– Gain muscle and strength easily

– Efficient and fast-burning metabolism

These people are generally gifted bodybuilders and athletes.

The Endomorph

This body type stores fat very easily, and finds it hard to lose
the fat. An endomorph often has a sluggish metabolism, and must be particularly
careful with their diet. Here are some common characteristics of the endomorph
body type:

– Tend to be naturally overweight

– Gain fat easily

– Find it difficult to lose the fat

– Larger around the waist

– Possibly sensitive to carbohydrates (particularly processed and refined carbs)

– Slow metabolism

– Body shape is more rounded or pear shaped

– Often has reasonable strength levels

If you are predominantly endomorphic – you will probably find
that diet alone (i.e. diet without exercise) will not be enough to
bring down your weight levels
. Because you have a slow metabolic rate, it
must be boosted with aerobic exercise and weight training.

You will probably need to be careful with carbohydrate
consumption (and we are not saying here that carbs are the “enemy”).
The traditional American Heart Association recommendations may not be the best
thing, as they are typically high in carbohydrates. A balanced lower carb diet
such as the may be best.

Although it seems like the hardest thing to do – good aerobic
exercise in the morning will be very helpful
. Unfortunately it seems like a
cruel genetic “roll of the dice”, that means endomorphs must work so
much harder to keep the fat off.

The Ectomorph

Ectomorphs are naturally lean and thin. They seem to eat all
sorts of unhealthy foods, and yet stay slim. However endomorphs are also low in
muscular strength, and find it difficult to gain muscle. Here are the common
characteristics on an ectomorph:

– Fast metabolism

– Naturally thin or wiry

– Find it hard to gain weight

– Naturally lower in strength levels

– Often high energy levels, and tend to be overactive.

Ectomorphs can get fat! Fat Loss for the Ectomorph is a
different undertaking to other body types.

Can you change your body type?

This is a difficult question. Most body types are genetic traits
– they are the way we were born, and genes don’t change. However many other
things do change with age – such as metabolism and hormonal activity. Many
people often find that as they get older they can tend to get more
“endomorphic” in nature. It gets harder to lose fat (particularly
around the stomach or waist), and eating unhealthy foods seems to pack the
weight on more easily than it did when younger.

As a general rule, metabolism slows down as we get older (the
“middle age spread”). Unfortunately most of us slow down our activity
levels too – which can in turn worsen our metabolism even more. This can be
rectified by maintaining cardio and weight training right into old age.

What is Body Shape?

In addition to your body type, you will also find that you have a distinct body
shape. Your body shape 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.

Determining Your Body Shape

Before you can perform the right exercises for your body, you need to determine
which type of body shape you have.

  • Hourglass: Women with an hourglass shape are often envied by all of their friends. This is because
    hourglasses have well-proportioned upper and lower bodies, with a
    distinctively narrow waist. However, if you are an hourglass, you may find
    that you tend to gain weight all over your body, particularly in your hips
    and chest area. Hourglasses tend to be endomorphs or mesomorphs.
  • Pear: Pear-shaped women tend to have 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. Most pears are mesomorphs.
  • Apple: Apples are generally bigger on the top half of their bodies than on the bottom half.
    They commonly have slim hips and a large chest and stomach. Apples tend to
    gain weight above the waist or along the backside. The majority of apples
    are mesomorphs or endomorphs.
  • Ruler: Women with a ruler shape tend to be waif-like and slim. Rulers have no large
    differences between the size of their hips, waists, and shoulders. Rulers
    tend to put on weight in their stomach and backside, while maintaining
    slender arms and legs. Most rulers are ectomorphs.

Making the Most of Your Shape

Though you may not be 100% satisfied with your body type or shape, there are ways that you can help
to make the most of your body’s characteristics. Here are some exercises that you can perform to aid in toning your body, whatever your shape.

If you are an Hourglass’

If you are have an hourglass figure, then you should be focusing on both cardio
and resistance exercises. Cardio will assist in keeping your weight in check,
while resistance exercises will help to maintain balance between your upper and
lower body. Vary your repetitions and keep your resistance weights light so as
not to build too much muscle mass. Here are some great exercises that you may
want to try:

  • slow jogging
  • stationary biking (with light resistance)
  • jumping jacks
  • swimming
  • bicep curls, shoulder presses, and squats

If you are a Pear’

If you are a pear you will want to focus on exercises that will balance out the
top half of your body with the bottom half of your body. You will also want to
try to thin down your lower half. To achieve this, focus on aerobic activities
that work out your lower body, and resistance exercises that will build your
upper body. Use light weights and perform high repetitions of exercises. Some
great activities include:

  • walking
  • cycling (with low resistance)
  • elliptical training
  • jumping rope
  • leg lifts and dips
  • push ups, chinups, and shoulder presses

If you are an Apple’

If you are an apple, you will want 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. Look to perform exercises that are
low-resistance and involve low repetitions, such as:

  • stairclimbing
  • walking on an incline
  • running
  • leg squats, leg presses, and deadlifts

If you are a Ruler’

If you are a ruler, you will be able to perform pretty much any activity you
want to. Perform cardio activities to help you lose weight in problem areas,
such as the buttocks and stomach. You will especially want to build muscle mass
through resistance exercise. To ensure that you build a symmetrical body shape,
all of the muscle groups should be emphasized and routinely given a workout.
Focus on:

  • stretching
  • sit-ups
  • step classes
  • spinning
  • walking or jogging on an incline
  • squats
  • bench presses and shoulder presses

Written by All About Fitness Group

September 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm

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