The Best Workout for Your Body Type

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While you can’t change your genes, you can make the most of what you were born with by training for your shape. Miami-based fitness expert Jessica Smith created four body-type specific workouts for women to help you work with, not against, your body for faster results.

To get started, first you’ll want to determine your body type:

Pear: Pears are usually heavier on the bottom than up top and carry excess weight in their hips, thighs, and butt. Celebrity examples include Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé. Sound like you? !

Apple: Apples are rounder in the middle and have a thicker waist (think Oprah, Drew Barrymore, or Lindsay Lohan), especially in comparison to their hips and shoulders. This apple-specific plan mixes fat-blasting cardio and waist-defining strength moves to deliver a one-two punch to stubborn belly bulge.

Straight or Boyish: The thin, stick-straight frame of the boyish body type is also referred to as “string bean” and usually lacks curves. Famous boyish frames include Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz. If that’s you, try this workout plan to add strength and shape to your frame.

Hourglass: Hourglass shapes are typically very curvy both on the top and bottom, with a smaller appearing waist (like Scarlett Johansson and Sofia Vergara). Try this plan to tighten up all over without losing those curves.

  • By Jessica Smith @jessicasmithtv

Ever wonder why all those hours clocked at the gym are not producing the results you want? Maybe following the same routine as everyone else isn’t for you. Quit preventing your body from reaching its full potential by paying attention to the type of exercise your body type needs. We all come in various shapes and sizes and require a proper training routine to achieve success in the gym.

Which body type best describes you?

Use the guide below to determine your dominant body type (hourglass, athletic or straight). The result will let you know what training style will benefit you the most. Take the middle approach if you feel you’re between two body types.

Hourglass
‘ Do you gain weight easily and have difficulty losing weight?
‘ Are your hips wider than your shoulders?
‘ Do you have a large bone structure that has an extra layer of fat over it?
‘ Do you have a round, curvy or soft appearance?
‘ Are your limbs shorter in relation to your torso with small hands and feet?

Athletic
‘ Do you have the ability to gain and store excess fat easily, particularly around your abdomen?
‘ Are your shoulders slightly wider than your hips?
‘ Do you have a large and heavy bone structure?
‘ Do you have a sturdy and firm appearance?
‘ Are your limbs proportionate with large wrists and hands?

Straight
‘ Is it a challenge for you to gain weight and muscle mass?
‘ Are your shoulders and hips approximately the same width?
‘ Do you have delicate bone structure?
‘ Do you have a straight and fragile appearance?
‘ Are your limbs poorly muscled?

The best workout for your body type

If your body is hourglass in shape:
Circuit training will benefit the hourglass silhouette who finds building muscle mass easy but losing body fat a challenge. This type of training works best as it keeps your heart rate elevated and metabolism burning, even after you leave the gym. Choose exercises that are compound (multi-joint) movements in order to keep your body challenged and stimulated enough to use its own fat stores as energy. Try the ultimate 10-minute workout to get started.

Weight training: At a light to moderate intensity, do 12-15 repetitions, and 2-4 sets, with 30 seconds of rest between each set. Do a weight training workout 2-3 times per week.

Cardio: Do a cardio workout 3-5 days per week for maximum fat and calorie burn. On longer cardio days (20-45 minutes), exercise at an intensity of 50-70 percent. On shorter cardio days (20-30 minutes in length) your intensity should be between 70-80 percent.

Nutrition: Eat six smaller meals, rather than three large meals to keep metabolic rate elevated. This will result in increased fat burn.

If your body is athletic is shape:
This body type does not have to worry too much about muscular tone. Exercises that help maintain a svelte narrow waist with a well-balanced lower body are best. Choose exercises that are compound movements and alternate between lighter and heavier weightlifting days so the muscles develop proportionately and are not bulky.

Weight training: At a moderate to difficult intensity, do 8-12 repetitions, and 2-3 sets, with 45 seconds of rest in between each set. Complete a weight training session 2-3 times per week.

Cardio: Do a cardio workout 3-4 times per week at varying intensity levels for 30-45 minutes. This will help maintain a lean body and improve heart health for maximum fat and calorie burn.

Nutrition: Eat a well balanced diet with whole foods and a good amount of protein.

If your body is straight in shape:
Gaining muscle mass is a very difficult and slow process for the straight body type. Focus on strengthening the postural muscles and incorporate weight bearing exercises. This will reduce the chance of injury due your bone structure and reduce the likelihood of osteoporosis. Engage in exercises such as Yoga, Tai Chi and QiGong.

Weight training: At a moderate to difficult intensity, do 6-10 repetitions at a slower, controlled pace. Do 2-3 sets, pausing for a 60 second rest between each set. (The slower the tempo you are working at, the better. This keeps the muscle under tension longer, increasing the chance of muscle building.) Do weight training 2-3 times per week.

Cardio: Do a cardio workout 3 times per week at a moderate intensity. Cardiovascular exercises should be kept to a minimum because of your fast metabolism, which makes it difficult to gain weight and muscle. You don’t want to burn the muscle you are trying to build.

Nutrition: Eat a well balanced diet full of nutritious calories.

Note: All body types should eat whole foods, avoid sugars, processed and junk food. Eat your last meal at least 3-4 hours before going to bed. Increase water intake to keep tissues moist and functioning properly.

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Body Types: How to Train & Diet for Your Body Type

Do you have trouble losing body fat, yet seem to gain it after even the smallest slip up with your diet? Or does it feel like you can eat for days without gaining an ounce?

It could have something to do with your current body type. But is it really that simple?

What is Body Type?

Body type, or somatotype, refers to the idea that there are three generalized body compositions that people are predetermined to have. The concept was theorized by Dr. W.H. Sheldon back in the early 1940s, naming the three somatotypes endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph.

It was originally believed that a person’s somatotype was unchangeable, and that certain physiological and psychological characteristics were even determined by whichever one a person aligns to.

According to Sheldon, endomorphs have bodies that are always rounded and soft, mesomorphs are always square and muscular, and ectomorphs are always thin and fine-boned.

He theorized that these body types directly influenced a person’s personality, and the names were chosen because he believed the predominate traits of each somatotype were set in stone, derived from pre-birth preferential development of either the endodermal, mesodermal, or ectodermal embryonic layers.

Somatotype Theory, Debunked

Let’s take a deeper look at how he classified each one:

  • Relative predominance of soft roundness throughout various regions of the body.
  • Digestive viscera are more massive and relatively dominate bodily economy.
  • Have a more relaxed, comfortable, and extroverted personality.
  • Relative predominance of muscle, bone, and connective tissue that dominates bodily economy.
  • Heavy, hard, and rectangular in outline.
  • Have a more active, dynamic, assertive, and aggressive personality.
  • Relative predominance of linearity and fragility
  • Greatest skin surface area relative to body mass causes greater sensory exposure
  • Have a more introverted, thoughtful, inhibited, and sensitive personality.

Some notions of Sheldon’s theory have held up over time, providing the foundation for more accepted applications of somatotyping, but much of it has not.

The theory that personality is determined by body composition has been wholly abandoned by the psychological community. Additionally, we know that no one is hopelessly predetermined to either be fat, muscular, or thin as a lifelong consequence of prenatal development.

What makes our bodies what they are is an absolutely vast array of environmental and social influences, genetic variations, geographic locations, and personal decisions across the entire lifespan.

The Body Type Spectrum

So then why are we even discussing this topic? Because while the notion of a predetermined body composition looks far-fetched through a 21st century lens, many of the physiological markers and observations associated with each somatotype do actually exist in the greater population.

However, the modern understanding is flipped from Sheldon’s original concept; it’s our physiological characteristics that determine the current somatotype, not the somatotype that determines our collective physiologies.

No one exists within purely one somatotype; instead, we are all constantly in flux and fall uniquely on a spectrum somewhere between all three.

Your Body Type is Not a Life Sentence

As they are understood and accepted today, body types reflect a generalized picture of how a person’s physiology is functioning in their current state. The observable somatotype represents the current sum of their physical, dietary, and lifestyle choices up to that point in time, combined with a variety of uncontrollable factors influenced by both genetics and the surrounding environment.

For example, at one extreme end of the spectrum, a person who has easy access to high-quality food, makes habitually healthy diet choices, is free of chronic disease, and consistently trains at progressively higher intensities will always have a more functional, muscular, and leaner body composition. On the flip side, someone who always sits all day and eats a lots of excess calories from junk food will undoubtedly develop the “soft roundness” stated in Sheldon’s original classification of endomorphs.

But remember, a body type is not a life sentence. If it were, personal trainers and nutrition coaches would all be out of jobs. The fitness industry, at its core, is all about helping people learn to use tools they can control (i.e., improved lifestyle, diet, and exercise techniques) to overcome challenges presented by genetic and environmental factors that they otherwise have no agency over.

Body type will shift based on lifestyle, activity, and diet modifications. This notion is made clear when looking at average physiques of elite athletes in different sports, where consistent training and diet standards lead to similar average body compositions grouped across the somatotype spectrum.

How to Improve Your Body Composition

Research continues to prove that physical training and consistent, habitual changes to the diet have a strong influence on improving body composition. Metabolic conditions such as hyper- or hypothyroidism are fully within the realm of modern medicine to manage and improve, and chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes are manageable and can even be remedied in many cases through improvements to diet and exercise routines. Simply type “ impact on body composition” into your favorite search engine and quickly become overwhelmed with the breadth of research spanning the last century.

The human body is highly adaptable and always seeks homeostasis (i.e., equilibrium) within its environment. But it can take a while to break old patterns that the body has gotten used to. This fact – that change takes time and consistency – is more than likely what leads many people to resign to the notion that they are stuck in a somatotype; because change is hard, and it’s often far easier and convenient to chalk one’s body dissatisfaction up to forces beyond direct control. But this is also where Certified Personal Trainers and Nutrition Coaches have the most opportunity to build long-lasting relationships with clients.

Muscle is healthily gained at around one pound per month, and fat healthily lost at around one pound per week. After a desirable body composition has been attained through lifestyle modification, physical training, and healthy changes to diet – and, more importantly, when those new habits are adopted and maintained permanently – the new body that is symptomatic of all those changes will eventually become the “new normal.”

Metabolisms and appetites adjust to new energy intakes, physical activity becomes a natural part of the day instead of a chore, and someone who was predominately ectomorphic or endomorphic will eventually see themselves displaying far more mesomorphic traits over time.

How to Identify Body Type

In light of all this, understanding a client’s current-state body type is quite beneficial for fitness professionals. A simple observation of body composition can help quickly identify various physiological situations a client might be dealing with and allow you to tailor solutions that will preferentially address each one. Use the following somatotype traits to determine which one a person primarily aligns to:

Endomorphic

  • Stockier bone structures with larger midsection and hips.
  • Carries more fat throughout the body.
  • Gains fat fast and loses it slow.
  • Naturally slow metabolism; potentially due to chronic conditions (e.g., thyroid deficiency, diabetes) but too frequently the result of a sedentary lifestyle and chronically-positive daily energy balance.

Mesomorphic

  • Medium bone structure with shoulders wider than the hips.
  • Developed athletic musculature.
  • Efficient metabolism; mass gain and loss both happen with relative ease.

Ectomorphic

  • More narrow shoulders and hips in respect to height.
  • Relatively smaller muscles in respect to bone length.
  • Naturally fast metabolism makes it difficult for many to gain mass.
  • Potentially indicative of disordered eating (e.g., anorexia, bulimia) when BMI is ≤17.

Once you identify which somatotype a client most aligns to, consider the structural and metabolic challenges that are associated with it. Then, tailor the exercise programming and dietary coaching to overcome those hurdles. This will preferentially develop the necessary foundation that each client individually requires.

For the typical new client, the initial, overarching goal to “get in shape” will essentially boil down to a desire to shift their current-state body type toward a more mesomorphic physiology.

Obviously, there will be exceptions to this rule – there will always be endomorphs who want to get even bigger to compete in strongman events and ectomorphs who want to keep thin and trim for running ultramarathons – but it rings true for the majority of clients seeking the help of a Certified Personal Trainer or Nutrition Coach.

In light of that average goal, for example, a client who presents predominately as an ectomorph will most likely need dietary and training solutions that focus on muscle protein synthesis and overall mass gain, while typical endomorphic clients will benefit far more from frequent metabolic training and reduced calorie intakes. So, take a look at each individual, critically evaluate whether you are using the right methods for the body type they currently display, and use the following tips to better tailor your programs for maximal success.

How to Train Endomorphs

Training endomorphs should predominantly focus on fat loss techniques until a desirable body composition and functional cardiorespiratory efficiency have been achieved. Resistance training should be used to strengthen muscles and stabilize joints to support more-efficient movement elsewhere in life, but this population tends to need cardiorespiratory improvement and fat loss above all.

In the gym, work through OPT Phases 1 and 2, but keep the majority of training sessions focused on metabolic conditioning. Use short rest periods, circuits for resistance exercises, lots of plyometrics (within client tolerance), and use as much additional time as possible for steady-state cardio. Consistent anaerobic and aerobic training will help endomorphic bodies increase their metabolic efficiency and boost the body’s daily energy requirement. Additionally, recommend that primarily-endomorphic clients increase their non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) factor as much as possible, moving more during times of the day when they’re not in the gym. Commitment to a less-sedentary lifestyle overall is the most important thing for this population to begin overcoming their metabolic challenges.

Due to those slower metabolisms (regardless of the underlying cause) and a surplus of stored energy (body fat), nutritional solutions for primarily-endomorphic individuals should focus on techniques to maximize fat loss while still supporting, and even building, the existing lean muscle mass. To accomplish this, a diet that is both low-calorie and high in protein is ideal. Diets containing daily protein of as much as 2.2 grams per kilogram body weight (and sometimes even higher) have been shown safe and effective for supporting existing muscle tissue during times of calorie restriction and weight loss.

After ensuring that daily protein requirements have been met, the remaining pool of calories can come from whatever blend of carbs and fats the individual best tolerates. Some may tolerate a very low-carb “ketogenic” diet that helps them preferentially burn even more fat throughout the day, while others will experience hypoglycemia and its associated nauseating symptoms without enough carbohydrates in their diet. This rings especially true during workouts, where carbs are important to fuel the higher intensities needed for cardiorespiratory improvement. But regardless of whether carbs or fats are the preferred source of energy, the most important thing is to determine the client’s total daily calorie requirement and keep food intake a bit lower (with still-ample protein) so that the body remains in a negative energy balance with as little muscle catabolism as possible.

TLDR:

  • Maximize calorie burn and the improvement of metabolic efficiency by primarily using high-intensity, metabolic training techniques.
  • Consume a high-protein diet with balanced carbs and fats that maintains a slight negative energy balance.

How to Train Ectomorphs

Ectomorphs face the opposite set of challenges as primarily-endomorphic individuals. Due to the numerous factors previously mentioned, most ectomorphic clients have developed bodies with highly active metabolisms and “lanky” bone structures, making it hard for them to put on mass and keep it on. For this reason, exercise techniques for hypertrophy and maximal strength should be prioritized, with a greatly-reduced focus on cardiorespiratory training to reduce overall energy utilization.

After working through the initial level of the OPT model, Phases 3 and 4 will be of most benefit to average clients in this population. Hypertrophy and maximal strength resistance training are primarily anaerobic in nature and, when combined with longer rest periods, won’t stimulate elevated calorie burn in the moment like more-intense, fast-paced exercise programs will. When paired with a consistently-positive energy balance, this type of lifting will preferentially help ectomorphs build up their body mass.

To accompany the mass gain-focused resistance training, ectomorphic bodies should eat a mass gain-focused diet. These individuals tend to burn through energy sources faster than most, so ample calories will be needed. Low-carb, fat-loss focused diets are not recommended here, and in some cases, it may be prudent to recommend that ectomorphic clients even incorporate “mass gainer” nutritional shakes into their diets.

And just like with endomorphic bodies that are working to become more mesomorphic, ectomorphs need high levels of protein too. 1.2 to 1.6 grams per kilogram body weight of daily protein has been shown to be optimal for muscle growth, with some individuals requiring up to 2.2. That protein should then be spaced out every three hours so that muscle protein synthesis (MPS) signals (from the amino acid leucine) are maximized all day long. An additional protein shake at night, right before bed to minimize the fasting window, can also be beneficial for maximizing MPS in individuals with difficulty gaining weight.

TLDR:

  • Maximize muscle gain using lower-intensity hypertrophy and maximal strength resistance training with longer rest periods.
  • Consume a high-protein diet with balanced carbs and fats that maintains a positive energy balance.

How to Train Mesomorphs

There’s no avoiding the fact that mesomorphs have things a bit easier than others. Their metabolisms are relatively efficient, they carry functional – if not athletic – muscle mass and are essentially ready to take on whatever fitness goal they please with minimal foundational work. But remember, while there are undoubtedly some people who look lean and fit with zero effort, they are the exception to the rule. Most individuals who present a more-mesomorphic body composition have developed it as a consequence of numerous factors over their entire lifetime. And for formally endo- or ectomorphic individuals who have improved their lifestyles, diets, and fitness, hard work and discipline are the biggest factors of all.

A mesomorphic body type indicates a client is ready to transition to more advanced forms of power, athletic, and sport-specific training. Comparatively, diets for mesomorphic bodies should be tailored specifically to health and fitness goals. Protein should be consumed anywhere between 1.2 and 2.2 grams per kilogram body weight depending on the intensity of the exercise program, with remaining calories coming from a blend of healthy carbs and fats. Then, if changes in body composition are still desired, the daily calorie load can either be increased or decreased to gain or lose weight, respectively.

TLDR:

  • Utilize OPT Phases directly aligned to client goals.
  • Eat specifically for fitness goals and activity, increasing or decreasing daily calories to preferentially control body composition with positive, neutral, or negative energy balances.
  • Increase protein intakes to as high as 2.2 grams per kilogram of body weight for muscle gain goals; or, keep closer to the 0.8 gram per kilogram of body weight FDA recommended dietary allowance (RDA) when healthy body composition maintenance is all that is desired.

National Academy of Sports Medicine. (2019). Certified Nutrition Coach. Online education program, accessed at www.nasm.org

How to Lose Your Curves

Diet

    Historically, curvaceous and voluptuous women have been depicted in art and media for their perceived desirability and beauty. However, these women tend to have softer bodies and less athleticism. Typical characteristics of a curvy body are a broad bust, small waist and wide hips. To lose your curves, you must significantly lower your body fat percentage. This is achievable by lowering your daily caloric intake and by performing strength training and cardiovascular exercises regularly. These activities will kick-start the fat-loss process, optimize your athleticism and result in a leaner physique over time.

  1. Calculate your optimal daily caloric intake. Use this simple equation: Your body weight x 10 = calories/day. For example: 150 lbs. x 10 = 1500 kCal per day

    This caloric total is a quick and simple way to calculate how many calories you should be eating during your training. These calories will allow you to lose body fat progressively, while providing you with enough energy to perform your crucial workouts 1.

  2. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These foods provide you with more nutrients and fiber than fatty and sugary foods. These foods are also lower in calories than calorie-dense choices, which allows you to eat more of them and feel more full.

  3. Drink 64 ounces of water per day. Water promotes fat loss, makes you feel less hungry and removes harmful toxins from your body 1.

  4. Recalculate your daily caloric intake every week. You should lose a couple of pounds per week, so updating your calorie total is integral to progressively losing more fat 1.

  5. Eat five times per day. Eat three regular meals and two light snacks. There should be three hours between eating times. Eating regularly will minimize hunger pangs and elevate your metabolism throughout the day, according to “Losing Body Fat. 1”

Workouts

  1. Strength-train twice a week. Perform compound movements, such as rows, squats and presses. Three sets of 10 repetitions per exercise is sufficient for effective muscle training. It is important to strength-train during restrictive diets, because it boosts your metabolism and maintains your current musculature.

  2. Perform cardiovascular exercise for 30 minutes three to five times per week. Three of these 30 minute sessions should be high-intensity interval sessions, characterized by intense sprints followed by rest periods. For example, sprint for one minute — rest for two minutes, then repeat. You can exercise on cardio machines or by doing simple running exercises. The other two cardio sessions can be slower, steady cardio sessions.

  3. Stretch following every training session. Stretching diminishes the chance of muscle strains and pulls in subsequent workouts.

The Wrap Up

Eating regularly will minimize hunger pangs and elevate your metabolism throughout the day, according to “Losing Body Fat.” x 10 = 1500 kCal per day

This caloric total is a quick and simple way to calculate how many calories you should be eating during your training. It is important to strength-train during restrictive diets, because it boosts your metabolism and maintains your current musculature.

Shall we repeat that? Naturally occurring.

‘Hip dips are caused by the shape of your pelvis. Although, not everyone will have noticeable hip dips, if reduced to a skeleton, all of us would have an indentation where the hip bone meets the top of the thigh. Hip dips are a normal part of your body’s structure.’

Are hip dips good or bad?

A common misconception is that hip dips – or a lack of hip dips – are a sign of how healthy you are. However, as already ascertained, hip dips are associated with the shape of your bones – something which cannot be changed.

And, because your pelvis is unique and will look completely different to those of all the other women at the squat rack; so, too, will your hip dips.

Does everyone have hip dips?

‘Hip dips are not a sign of being healthy, unhealthy, overweight or underweight,’ says Wiener. ‘Although the amount of body fat you have can make hip dips more noticeable and they can be the result of having a higher level of muscle mass, it’s important to remember that hip dips are a part of your bone structure, and while you can enhance your body shape through exercise and diet, you cannot change your bone structure.’

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How to get rid of hip dips?

While exercising to build muscle mass and reduce fat can help minimise their appearance, it won’t make them completely go away. Plus, avoiding exercises that work your quads and hip flexors to focus on exercises that work your backside (thus avoiding the dips) you could be doing yourself more harm than good. Why? Because injuries often happen when you overwork one body part and don’t work on your weaknesses.

All lower body workouts should focus on:

  • hips
  • thighs
  • abdominals
  • buttocks

And, more importantly, isn’t it time you stopped obsessing over any one part of your body and simply celebrated your form for what it is? Beautiful.

Related Story

Hip Dips: Should I Worry?

In a word: No.

‘Obsessing over any part of your body, especially those which cannot be changed, is potentially very damaging to your health,’ says Wiener. ‘It’s important for women to learn to love their body, rather than being continually determined to change it.’

Amen to that.

20 Gymwear Buys Our Fashion Assistant Thinks You Should Pick Up This Month

Best new gymwear accessory for your kit Icon Quilted Everyday Bag Sweaty Betty sweatybetty.com US$115.00

This is the ultimate in kit-bag luxury with a water-resistant inner pocket for sweaty gym gear. Smart enough to take to work afterwards, too.

Best new gymwear for a bit of extra sparkle Icon Quilted Everyday Bag just arrived sweatybetty.com US$115.00 Best new gymwear for yoga Comet Sports Bra LNDR fashercise.com £58.00

A supportive seamless bra with an added touch of sparkle – from a brand designed in London.

Best new gymwear accessory for your post-workout latte Coffee Cup Chrome Rose Gold Chillys chillysbottles.com £23.00

I cannot state this enough – this is one of my most treasured possessions. It keeps drinks warm (or cool) for hours and you’ll get the reusable cup discount at Pret, too, so it’s a win-win.

Best new gymwear for lounging Side Stripe Sweatshirt hush johnlewis.com £55.00

Autumn = new cosy sweatshirt. I love Hush for their ultra-comfortable cotton loungewear – you can also get matching trackies.

Best new gymwear for compression Pink block compression leggings Oysho Sport oysho.com £35.99

Oysho is my activewear best-kept-secret – their gear is high-quality, stylish and affordable to boot. These compression leggings are a total style steal.

Best new gymwear for a new brand you need to know Sweat bag LA POCHETTE selfridges.com £35.00

Life hack: put your sweaty gym gear in this anti-bacterial, water-resistant sweat pouch to keep your bag fresh all day long (and then wash it when you get home, obvs).

Best new gymwear for upgrading your basics Legging with laser cut detail ASOS 4505 asos.com £22.00

While I am a firm believer in never having too many pairs of plain black gym leggings, sometimes it’s nice to mix it up a bit – which is why I like this ASOS pair, which have cut-out sides. Glam.

Best new gymwear for an eco-friendly buy Girlfriend Collective Compressive High-Rise Legging Girlfriend Collective thesportsedit.com US$63.00

My go-to brand for size-inclusive, ethical activewear. These leggings are an all-round fave for a flattering, flexible fit.

Best new gymwear for travelling to and from classes The Riley Star Hoodie in Navy Hard Tail mygymwardrobe.com £72.00

Just another cosy hoodie, obvs. A super-snug inner lining means this sweater stands out from the crowd.

Best new gymwear for a bargain buy Seamless sports bra Oysho Sport oysho.com £17.99

I love this sports bra – it’s more supportive than you might think for bigger boobs and has a unique cut-out design on the back. Best for low-to-medium impact workouts.

Emma Pritchard Contributing Health Editor Emma interviews the world’s leading sportswomen, top health experts, and women who have turned their lives around through fitness – women like you.

Which Body Type Are You & How Should You Be Training?

Perhaps you’ve heard about the 3 different body types, but did you know that it is also important to train according to your body type? Your body type is predominantly genetic, but that doesn’t mean you are doomed to your genetics. You probably won’t ever get that hourglass figure if you have a more straight and narrow physique (like me!), but there are ways you can train in order to make the most out of your body type and have the body you’ve always wanted!

What are the 3 body types?

The three body types are Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph. You can get a good idea of what those body types look like and where they are prone to store more fat (or muscle) from the image below.

Are you able to identify which body type you are? Not everybody is going to fit exactly into one or the other, of course, but you might notice that there is one that is more predominant. Let’s break it down a bit further and talk about each body type in more detail as well as how you should approach your strength and cardio training in order to maximize results.

Ectomorph

The Ectomorph is naturally very thin, has narrow hips and shoulders, very low body fat and very thin arms and legs. The Ectomorph might say things like, “No matter how much I eat, I cannot seem to gain weight.” Quite contrary to popular belief, not everyone is looking to lose weight.

Strength training for the Ectomorph:

  • Train with heavy weights and lots of rest in between sets (2-3 minutes) as well as in between exercises (5 minutes).
  • Only train 1-2 body parts per training day to avoid too much caloric expenditure.
  • Aim for 5-10 reps and 6-8 sets of each exercise.
  • Take plenty of rest in between workouts and never train a muscle group that is sore. And if you’re feeling really sore, try out foam rolling for recovery.

Cardio training for the Ectomorph:

  • Very minimal cardio.
  • Moderate and low-intensity bike rides and brisk walks (think of them more as relaxing cardio activities to reduce stress).

Mesomorph

The Mesomorph is kind of in between the Ectomorph and the Endomorph. They are able to put on muscle easily and genetically are the ideal body type for bodybuilding. They have very strong legs, broad shoulders and a narrower waist. Generally, they also have very low body fat as well.

Strength training for the Mesomorph:

  • The more varied the training, the better the results.
  • Light, moderate and heavy weight training as well as bodyweight training with the adidas Training app.
  • Basic exercises (squats, lunges, deadlifts, rows, chest press, shoulder press, etc.) with heavy weights, followed by isolation exercises with moderate/light weights.
  • Aim for 8-12 reps for most exercises. When it comes to leg training, you can incorporate really heavy weights with around 6 reps and really light or no weights at around 25-30 reps for 3-5 sets.
  • Add in any other strength training activity that you think is fun and want to try out, like this resistance band workout.

Cardio training for the Mesomorph:

  • 3 days per week of cardio for 15-30 minutes.
  • Mix in a combination of both HIIT training and LISS training.

Endomorph

The Endomorph is more round and pear-shaped. They tend to store more body fat throughout the entire body, especially in the legs and arms. It’s much harder for the Endomorph to put on muscle and much easier to gain weight. However, as mentioned before, you can’t sit on the couch and blame your genetics! You can be thankful for the body you have and work towards becoming more fit and healthy — it just might take a bit more time and effort than for the Mesomorph.

Strength training for the Endomorph:

  • Total-body workouts with compound movements to burn the most calories. This can be a mix of bodyweight training with the adidas Training app as well as moderate weight lifting.
  • Avoid heavy weight lifting with low reps.
  • Aim for 8-12 reps and 3-5 sets for upper body and 12-20 reps for lower body.
  • After reaching initial weight loss goals, it is okay to start to isolate muscles you want to shape a bit more.

Cardio training for the Endomorph:

  • Incorporate cardio a minimum of 3x per week for 20-30 minutes in your target heart rate zone.
  • Make your cardio training easy on the knees and low-impact (swimming, biking, hiking, walking, elliptical).

I know this was a lot of information, but I really hope you find it useful. With so much information out there, it can be quite confusing to find the right training style to best meet your needs. This is a great jumping off point to help lead you in the right direction. And remember, long-lasting results, regardless of your body type, take time and consistency! Keep it up, and you’ll get there — I believe in you!

***

The rectangle body shape goes by many names, such as ruler, banana, or straight.

It is characterized by skinny features and a lack of curves, a cause of many complaints.

Most times, women with rectangular body shapes are light-weight, and their chest, waist, and hip proportions are equally aligned.

In addition, they have very high metabolisms, and have a lot of difficulties gaining weight.

On this page you will find my free 12 week diet plan, tailored for women with rectangle shaped bodies.

It is designed to provide women the healthy lifestyles they want, at a price point they can afford: absolutely free!

In addition, I have designed a workout plan that is not only effective, but fun enough to keep you motivated enough to see it through.

Note: these plans are for rectangle shaped women only! However, if you want to reap the benefits but don’t have an rectangle shaped body, no worries!

We also have plans for the other three body shapes and if you aren’t sure which shape you are, you can use this convenient body type calculator!

Body Type Calculator

Find out what body shape you are with my body type calculator, all you need to do is measure your bust, waist and hips with a flexible tape measure.

Enter your measurements to my body type calculator below and click calculate.

Results

Your body shape: Hourglass

Bust Size

Waist Size

Hip Size

Food and Diet

For those with a rectangle shaped body, foods which are high in protein are perfect. Furthermore, the addition of muscle mass can help a rectangle shaped body visually progress into more of an hourglass shape.

This diet focuses on the type of food you eat, and how often you consume it.

Most people eat three large meals a day, and have snacks in between.

Instead of this, we are going to eat six smaller meals a day.

While this may seem drastic, there is a method behind the madness.

By doing this, we are spurring the body’s metabolism into high gear, and eliminating the hunger pangs that lead to excess calorie consumption.

Because so many people associate the word “diet” with weight loss, the most important concepts of dieting are lost.

Many believe that by simply eating less they can achieve the body that they desire.

When I use the term “diet”, I am actually referring to the food you consume over a specific time period.

In order to attain the body you desire, you should be incorporating a proper diet into your lifestyle as well as exercising regularly.

Everything you’ll require to create that new lifestyle can be found below and best of all: it’s designed just for your body shape.

What are you waiting for, print out this information and let’s get started!

The 12 Week Diet Plan

How it works

Remember that you will be eating six meals a day! We provide a daily template for your diet, and you follow it.

Don’t like the food? You can change most foods in the diet with other foods in the replacement list.

Follow the plan for 12 weeks to bring your body back to its natural, healthy, state.

Download the 12 Week Diet Plan
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It’s important to stay consistent. Keep a weekly record of your weight and body measurements, such as your waist and legs.

This will allow you to track your progress and stay motivated.In addition, take a monthly photo of yourself in the mirror.

Seeing changes occur over a longer period of time is a great pick-me-up.

For food, try to stay one week ahead of schedule. This will give you extra time to go shopping or order deliveries.

Have a family? Incorporate some of the meals into their diets so you can get the most bang for buck out of your groceries.

In order to increase the effectiveness of the diet plan, it must be combined with an exercise plan such as the one below.

The combination of proper diet and exercising habits invariably leads to a healthy lifestyle and complete results.

If you feel overweight, stick to the diet plan for at least 12 weeks. At the end of every month, you will be sure to notice a difference in the way your body looks and feels.

After your first month, you will notice one of two results:

  1. You return to your old bad habits.
  2. You stay on course, but don’t notice much of a difference!

It’s easy to feel like you’re not making much progress, especially given all the work you’re going through.

In the long run however, you will notice lasting results.

Nobody makes outstanding results in just a couple of weeks. Reaching your ideal weight and figure takes time, effort, and patience.

Continue to exercise and eat healthy and you will reach your goal.

The best time to start making changes in your lifestyle is now.

The moment you choose to love your body.

The sooner you will begin to see results.

Exercise Plan

Taking control of your diet is a essential step in the right direction, if you want to maximize your progress and effort you need to add an effective exercise plan to your weekly routine.

Get back into shape and learn how to stay fit for the rest of your life – This is a twelve week program that requires you to train four days a week.

Every workout day you will need to complete eight core exercises consisting of three to fours sets, six to fifteen reps.

Every rest day you will need to complete twenty minutes of cardio exercise at home or in the gym.

This exercise plan is designed for women who are out of shape, do not currently exercise and require guidance. ()

We all have different body shapes, and as a result, our exercise regimes should differ. Some benefit more from weight training while others see the effects more clearly from a session on the treadmill or in a Pilates class. This is what you should be doing, depending on your body shape:

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Pear-shaped body

iStock/Irina Kit

YOUR BODY: Women with a pear-shaped body are proportionally smaller on top, with their bottom halves mirroring that of a pear shape, hence the name. They typically gain weight in the lower half of their bodies and find it difficult to tone their arms and shoulders.

THE PROBLEM: Women with this body type can make the mistake of focusing solely on their bottom halves, concentrating only on exercises like lunges and leg lifts.

EXERCISE SOLUTION: Top-half-centred exercises need to be a major focus. This way your body will be balanced. The best workout for a pear-shaped woman to trim fat below the waist is any kind of aerobic exercise. Exercises that get your heart rate up such as running, biking, rowing and working on the elliptical trainer will shift your metabolism into fat-burning gear, which is good!

Hourglass-shaped body

iStock/Irina Kit

YOUR BODY: This body type is characteristically curvier, with larger chests with a proportionate bottom, while the waist is the smallest part of the body.

THE PROBLEM: When hourglass figures put on weight, they tend to gain all over. Like pears with larger chests, they have the curves, but what they usually lack is all-over muscle tone.

EXERCISE SOLUTION: Those with an hourglass figure need to focus on full-body toning exercises, otherwise they run the risk of gaining excess weight in the thighs and upper arms. ‘Balancing muscles and curves in the upper body, core and lower body is paramount,’ explains American trainer and dietitian Jenny Champion. Rotate between strength training (core-focused weights or weight machines), cardio (anything from running to aerobics) and dancing (for example belly dancing or dance-focused classes).

Apple-shaped body

iStock/Irina Kit

YOUR BODY: The apple-shaped body is broad across the back and shoulders, and narrower through the hips. With a lower ratio of fat to muscle than curvy or pear-shaped body types, this body type tends to have a square silhouette.

THE PROBLEM: Swimsuits can be difficult to find for apple-shaped bodies, because what fits the bottom half will often be too small to stretch over the top.

EXERCISE SOLUTION: To create more of a balance and add a little curvature, this body type needs to focus on tummy-tightening core moves, along with lower-body exercises that shape the glutes and thighs. If you have an apple-shaped body, you will want to focus on aerobic training in order to slim down and lose body fat. You can take up cardiovascular activities like rowing, swimming or cycling to protect the knees and ankles. Yoga and Pilates are also excellent exercise options for apple-shaped women to develop the core area and tone the midriff.

Rectangle-shaped body

iStock/Irina Kit

YOUR BODY: The rectangular body shape generally has a ruler-straight body, and can wear anything, but they lack a curvy physique.

THE PROBLEM: Any weight this body shape does carry usually forms a little potbelly, and it tends to have a tough time getting muscle tone.

EXERCISE SOLUTION: To add curves, this body type must focus on tightening their core and obliques. On top of that, amp up the weight training to add lean muscle mass to the buttocks area. If your shape is defined by long-and-lean limbs and a boyishly-slim torso, it’s especially important for you to choose a cardio routine that’s going to help you build muscle in your extremities, such as spin classes and kickboxing.

PHOTO: iStock/fizkes

ALSO READ:

The 4 body shapes and the clothes that flatter them

The benefits of 20 minutes of early-morning exercise

7 steps for a healthy heart and brain, according to a study review

Best exercise for my body type

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