When the body starts to collect extra fat in certain areas, Dr. Morrison asserts that this is a symptom that there is something wrong with one of your fat-burning hormones, wreaking havoc on your metabolism. Depending on which hormone is weak will determine where the fat will go – and what your body type becomes.
By connecting all the dots and identifying where your fat is stored and the shape of your body, you can determine how you can boost your metabolism.
Apple Body Type
What does an apple look like? Apples have a tendency to put on belly fat, may have round faces, have humps on their upper backs and may have thin legs. According to Dr. Morrison, traditional methods of weight loss like cutting calories and aggressive exercise routines do not work for this body type. Why? A low-calorie diet and too much exercise translate as starvation and stress to this body type, which can increase the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Increased amounts of cortisol can slow metabolism and is known to contribute to belly fat and an increased waist size. Cortisol also floods the body with sugar. When your body does not use it for energy, it gets stored as fat. Belly fat is especially dangerous because it surrounds so many of your vital organs.
Apples may also suffer a lot of inflammation or pain, particularly in the joints, back or neck. They are also at greater risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer.
How Apples Can Turbocharge Their Metabolism
According to Dr. Morrison, apples should eat foods low on the glycemic index. One way to do this is by cutting out carbs. Carbs spike blood sugar – so reducing or eliminating them from your diet would prevent this and keep cortisol controlled. The less cortisol, the less belly fat.
Apples can replace simple carbs with the following foods:
- Lentils, which are packed with protein and require more energy for the body to break down.
- Red pepper hummus, also rich in protein; the spices can also boost metabolism
- Eggplant makes a great carb substitute. When used in certain recipes, for example an eggplant lasagna, it gives you the same density and texture as pasta.
Pear Body Type
Pears are plagued by what many of you may know as “junk in the trunk.” Pears carry most of their weight on their lower hips, thighs and butt, and – perhaps most frustrating of all – a stubborn pooch of tummy fat. While it may take longer to accumulate this kind of fat, it’s also much harder to get rid of. Why? This kind of fat is influenced by estrogen, and estrogen makes fat. When a woman gets pregnant, estrogen spikes (which is why many women keep the weight on long after the baby is born), and when a woman has a heavy period, estrogen spikes, too, making more fat. The good news is that this kind of fat is not as dangerous as belly fat, but it may be more unsightly, as it can become that cheesy, cellulite-type fat that is every woman’s nightmare. And while an apple cannot become a pear, with excessive weight gain, a pear may wind up transforming into an apple.
Pears are at a higher risk for osteoporosis. During menopause, pears make much weaker estrogen, which is not strong enough to keep calcium in the bones. Other health issues for this type are cellulite, varicose veins and joint problems.
How Pears Can Turbocharge Their Metabolism
The secret: high-fiber foods. Fiber binds to the estrogen in your gut and carries it out of your body when you go to the bathroom. Keeping your body’s estrogen in balance in this manner can enhance your weight-loss efforts and improve your silhouette.
Try these high-fiber foods:
- Edamame, rich in phytoestrogens to regulate your estrogen levels
- Whole-wheat pasta – a great swap for regular pasta that will fill you up fast
- Figs are a fruit with one of the highest levels of fiber. If you have a sweet tooth, dried figs are a healthy way to help you get your fix.
“Box” Body Type
If you find yourself possessing the attributes of both an apple and a pear, you are likely a box body type. Unfortunately, as America’s weight problem continues to grow, this body type is also on the rise.
This body type is most concerning because of its wide range of health implications: It affects the thyroid gland, and those carrying excess weight with this body type can run a greater risk of experiencing depression, memory loss, high cholesterol and an enlarged heart.
According to Dr. Morrison, if you are a box and you are lacking enough thyroid hormones, every cell in the body gets fatter due to a slowing of your overall metabolism. Since the thyroid controls the metabolism, all the body processes are slowed, including digestion, mental clarity and even absorption of vitamins.
How Boxes Can Turbocharge Their Metabolism
The box shape is regulated by the thyroid hormone. A healthy thyroid speeds up the metabolism.
The secret for boxes to turbocharge their metabolism: Foods high in selenium and iodine. Iodine is vital for healthy thyroid hormone production, and the essential mineral selenium may help decrease inflammation that can cause an underactive thyroid. Today, many people use kosher salt or sea salt, but these salts do not contain iodine. To help maintain healthy thyroid function, reach for traditional iodized table salt when seasoning food.
You can also try the following foods:
- Seaweed: A great snack packed with both nutrients
- Shrimp: A good source of vitamin D
- Sunflower seeds: Just one-third of a cup makes for a great daily snack
Learn more about boosting thyroid function and get a more complete list of selenium-rich foods.
Metabolism Boosters for Every Body Type
These turbocharging foods have the best quality nutrients that every metabolism can recognize. They are rich in essential fatty acids, nutrients and spices that optimize metabolic rate. Bonus: Their effects are almost immediate!
Harissa is a metabolism-boosting spice blend of hot chilies, garlic, cumin and coriander. Spices that “burn” provide an immediate metabolic boost. When foods heat the body, it is an indicator of the metabolic burn. Harissa is available at your supermarket, or you can buy all four ingredients separately and make your own blend; mix with olive oil to make its nutrients more available. All you need is one-eighth of a teaspoon per meal. Sprinkle it on everything from eggs to protein to vegetables.
Grapefruit acts as a digestive assistant that breaks down proteins so that they are ready to be used more quickly. Grapefruit can also accelerate your body’s ability to break down fat. Have one grapefruit a day, and always eat the fruit instead of just drinking the juice as the sugar in grapefruit juice can have a negative effect on your metabolism. Eat grapefruit as you would an orange, toss them over a salad or add it directly to your plate as a side dish!
Jalapenos contain capsaicin, the heat-producing substance that quickly increases metabolism. If you’re feeling brave and can tolerate spice, you can bite right into one for the most potent benefits. For those who are more sensitive, removing the seeds will reduce the heat. Pairing jalapenos with a little bit of dairy will also cut the spice. You can add them to omelets and other dishes as heating them will not affect its metabolic effects.
Fresh or canned, sardines are not only rich in protein but also the essential fatty acids that your body needs to tackle belly fat because these fatty acids work to reduce inflammation – and they are super affordable! Pair them with a whole-grain crust and put them on your pizza. Half a can is one portion size; try to incorporate sardines into 3 to 4 meals a week.
For an extra metabolism boost, consider a short intense anaerobic workout, or quick bursts of intense motions in a very short amount of time. This kind of exercise has lasting effects on your metabolism. Additionally, it helps to build muscle mass. Having extra muscle means you can eat more and gain less because muscle burns more calories than fat.
Try this 5-minute metabolism-boosting workout right at home. You’ll want to use weights to get the most out of it. As little as 2 pounds will work, and you can also use water bottles or cans.
- These Women Want to Remind You to Eat for Your Body Type—and Height
- Are You an Apple or a Pear? How to Eat for Specific Body Types
- The Apple Body
- The Pear Body
- The Bottom Line
- Pear-Shaped Body? You’ll Love This Workout
- The best workout for a pear-shaped body
- Body-balancing cardio
- Hip-slimming, shoulder-trimming circuit
- Mountain climbers
- Assisted pullups
- Squat Press with medicine ball
- Balance skull crushers
- Walking lunge with overhead dumbbells
- Side plank with hip adduction
- More body-sculpting workouts
- Rectangle // Pilates
- Hourglass // Running
- Pear // Kickboxing
- Heart // Yoga
These Women Want to Remind You to Eat for Your Body Type—and Height
Amy Rosenthal and Alli Black, the brains behind the More Than My Height movement, are both serious doers. They first came into the spotlight after challenging the body-positive movement, drawing attention to the fact that tall women are, for the most part, excluded from it. They especially called out the fashion industry for not catering to tall women of different proportions-and to help provide a solution to the problem, they launched their own boutique called Amalli Talli.
Since then, the two sisters from Minnesota have been shedding light on all sorts of issues women are facing today-one of them being the potentially harmful effects of social media. (Related: Are Instagram Food Trends Destroying Your Diet?)
Black recently noted a post from a very popular blogger that could trigger an unhealthy thought process. “I saw a story from a very popular blogger (whose name I’d rather not mention) sharing her ‘low-carb lunch,’ which was two pieces of deli meat, a hard-boiled egg, and half an avocado,” Black told Shape exclusively. “Now, I don’t know about you, but at 5’10” and 160 pounds this would never even come close to nourishing me or keeping me energized until dinnertime.”
While Black recognized that following this influencer’s advice would be detrimental to her health, she realized that there are so many women on social media who use these kinds of posts to model their own eating habits. So, to encourage women to take this kind of information with a grain of salt, Black and her sister decided to write a post on their blog encouraging women to stop comparing their lives (and their lunches!) to those on their Instagram feeds.
“I do think it’s very important to bring awareness to the fact that most women in the influencer space are built differently than me (and probably you, too), and therefore we need to remind ourselves that we absolutely cannot get caught in a comparison trap,” wrote Black. “I would confidently bet the average height of all of the bloggers and influencers falls around 5’3″ or 5’4″. Somewhere in line with our national average height. But more often than not, we have no idea (without asking) how tall someone is or how much they weigh based on their image in an Instagram square. So, when they post a picture of their dinner, it can be easy to forget that their needs can be totally different from our own, as women that are taller and therefore, naturally take up more space.” (Related: Fit Bloggers Reveal Their Secrets Behind Those “Perfect” Photos)
Black continued by explaining that there’s no way of telling what kind of lifestyle these influencers live, so comparing your eating habits to theirs doesn’t really make sense. “We have NO idea of what their activity level is, what their body composition level is (don’t forget more muscle takes more energy), or even how many snacks or other food they could be eating behind the scene. Keep in mind social media is often a highlight reel,” she wrote. “It is not unusual for us to want to show our healthiest salad concoction versus the Twix bar we had with our coffee that morning.”
Black also asked Brittany Jones-a certified personal trainer, wellness and nutrition coach, yoga teacher, and founder of Project You Coaching-to weigh in on the matter. “To break it down in the simplest way possible, you need to eat for your body, your body type, and also your current size,” Jones told Black. “A taller person will likely need several hundred more calories per day than someone shorter. This is based solely on the fact that there will just be more of you.”
Jones also shared an important reminder to not compare yourself to someone else. “Comparison is the new normal for women,” she told Black. “Instead, we should take more time each day to bring our attention inward. Let’s focus on the beauty that is our own life. Have gratitude for the body you have.” (Related: Why You Have to Stop Comparing Your Eating Habits to Your Friends’)
For women to feel more comfortable in their skin and to have the confidence to listen to their bodies, Black believes there need to be better leaders on social media. She uses an Instagram post shared by 6’3″ pro volleyball player Gabby Reece as an example. “In her video, Gabby confidently stepped on a scale at 180 pounds to highlight the fact that she does not fit into any of the typical measuring modalities because of her height and her build,” Black pointed out. “The takeaway? It doesn’t matter what the scale says, she’s healthy, feeling energetic, and sleeping well.”
Black says several followers reached out saying that they could really relate to what this blog post was saying. “Sometimes I feel I shouldn’t eat really anything because my shorter friends don’t, and I feel like I’m overeating when I do. Thank you for explaining this, and I hope every woman continues to be comfortable eating right for her body,” Black recalls one woman telling her. “I’ve struggled with this my whole life. Thank you for reminding me to eat today!” said another, she reported. (Related: Is It Harder to Lose Weight When You’re Short?)
At the end of the day, Black and Rosenthal say they hope the blog post resonates not just with tall women, but with anyone who struggles with body image and comparison issues. “We chose to write this article because many bloggers and influencers are short and petite and we thought our community could use a reminder they simply aren’t built like we are,” says Black. “But we do believe this message is something that can be heard by all women regardless of height, as we should all be listening to our own bodies and not fixated on what someone else is eating for theirs.”
Are You an Apple or a Pear? How to Eat for Specific Body Types
Losing weight can be so frustrating. Why is it that one diet works well for your friend, but not for you? There’s no one-size-fits-all diet, because all bodies are different. Hormonal imbalances, amidst other factors like genetics, correlate to how and where you gain weight. Creating nutrition and exercise programs to balance your hormones, in addition to getting adequate quality sleep and managing stress levels, is proving to be a much more effective way to lose weight.
While most people can be classified into one of four body types—apple, pear, hourglass and box (or carrot)—the predominant two body types are apple and pear. The location and type of body fat in these two body types are driven by specific hormones and have numerous health implications.
The Apple Body
Carrying your weight around your midsection—chest and abdomen—is the classic hallmark of the “apple” (also known as android, central or truncal obesity) body type. Not only is there a layer of subcutaneous fat (just below the skin), but deep visceral fat as well. Visceral fat is the more dangerous type of fat because is surrounds and infiltrates all of your major internal organs, affects blood glucose levels, increases inflammation and promotes fatty liver, all of which increase your risk for metabolic disease, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer.
Men and post-menopausal women are more likely to take on this shape due to insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone that is released from the pancreas when blood glucose levels rise. It shuttles the glucose into the cell where it can be burned for energy. When blood glucose levels are constantly elevated due to poor dietary choices, the pancreas must pump out more and more insulin. After a while, the cells are not as responsive to the insulin, leaving excess insulin in the blood stream. If insulin can’t move glucose into the cells for energy, it takes the glucose and packages them into fat cells.
As insulin is produced in response to elevated blood glucose levels, the ideal diet is one that will not provoke a strong insulin response. Carbohydrates are the primary driver of insulin, so controlling carbohydrate intake and balancing it with both protein and healthy fats will improve insulin response. Choosing lower glycemic load (GL) carbohydrates such as vegetables, berries, legumes and some whole grains are better options than refined carbohydrates, desserts, sugary drinks and energy bars. Each meal should have a balance of low-GL carbs (vegetables, beans, lentils), lean protein (chicken, turkey, fish) and healthy fats. The best fats are anti-inflammatory monounsaturated (avocado, almonds, olive oils) and omega-3s (wild Alaskan salmon, wild Pacific halibut, chia seeds, ground flax seeds).
The following meal suggestions are ideal for reducing inflammation and combating insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is also improved with regular exercise that combines both aerobic and strength training.
- 2 eggs scrambled in organic coconut oil with onions and spinach and topped with 1/3 of an avocado
- Protein smoothie: 1 scoop grass-fed whey protein powder, 8 oz. unsweetened almond milk, ½ frozen banana, 1 Tbsp. chia seeds, 1 cup baby spinach leaves, ice
- 3 oz. smoked salmon, ½ cup sweet potato hash, sautéed baby spinach with lemon juice
- Drink green tea instead of coffee, as coffee can elevate insulin
- 4 oz. hormone-free/organic chicken or turkey with 1 cup roasted asparagus and ½ cup roasted butternut squash
- 4 oz. baked wild Alaskan salmon with ½ cup cooked quinoa and sautéed shiitake mushrooms and collard greens
- Sliced cucumber and jicama with 2 Tbsp. hummus
- 8 oz. unsweetened almond milk with cinnamon (improves blood sugar control), 1 Tbsp. each chia and ground flax seeds
The Pear Body
The “pear” body type (also known as gynoid obesity) stores fat easily around the hips and thighs. This type of fat is known as “passive” fat. The good news is that it may be health-promoting in terms of insulin resistance and cholesterol levels. The bad news is that it is stubborn and difficult to lose.
The pear body type is more common in pre-menopausal women and some men and is associated with estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance causes toxic fat gain, water retention, bloating and other health conditions. Estrogen can be produced by the body as well as taken in from food and the environment (plastics, xenoestrogens). Foods that promote more estrogen production include high-fat dairy, non-organic meats, caffeine, alcohol, trans fats and unfermented soy foods. Fiber, which is found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains, slows insulin release and aids in the removal of estrogen from the body. Aim for 30-40 grams of fiber per day. Processed meats (including lunch meats) should be avoided as they are high in sodium, which causes water retention.
The ideal diet for a “pear” body type is high in fiber and balanced with organic protein, low-fat organic dairy and smaller amounts of healthy fats that come from food (nuts, seeds, avocado, olives) rather than oils. The following meal suggestions are best suited for this body type. Exercise, proper sleep and stress management will also help control insulin, cortisol, and estrogen levels.
- Egg white frittata with grape tomatoes, shallots and basil
- Chia-flax pudding: ½ cup unsweetened almond milk, cinnamon, 1 Tbsp. ground flax, 1 Tbsp. chia seeds, ½ cup organic blueberries
- 4 oz. hormone-free/organic ground turkey sautéed with onions, tomatoes and garlic, and served over zucchini “noodles”
- 4 oz. wild Pacific halibut tacos: butter lettuce (in place of tortillas), fish, pico de gallo and avocado
- Green smoothie: 1 cup green tea (cold), 1 cup baby spinach, ½ frozen banana, 1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds, ½ cup organic strawberries
- 1 organic apple with 1 Tbsp. raw almond butter
The Bottom Line
Success at losing weight and keeping it off requires a combination of proper nutrition, exercise, adequate quality sleep and stress management. These four items work together to balance hormones so that appetite and fullness cues are easier to recognize and energy levels are steady. See your doctor if you think you have a problem with your hormones, and consult with a registered dietitian nutritionist for a more individualized meal plan.
Pear-Shaped Body? You’ll Love This Workout
Power to the pear! The pear shape is a common, if not the most common body type for women. Celebs everywhere, from J. Lo to Claire Danes, rock the red carpet with their sexy hips and slender top halves. Appearances aside, studies find that pear-shaped women may be healthier than those with an apple-type shape, who tend to accumulate weight in their midsection. So how can you get your hot bod into tip-top shape?
As a pear-figured woman, you may find that you focus all of your time on your “problem area” lower half. Sure, pears are quicker to gain weight in their hips and thighs, so it is important to get in lots of cardio and lower body strength training. However, don’t ignore your smaller upper half. It’s all about balance, people! In order to achieve a more balanced look, make sure to tone your arms, shoulders, and chest to supplement your kick ass booty and legs. How? Check out this pear figure workout that you can do right at home.
1. Curtsy Lunges. Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes facing forward. Step forward with your right foot into a lunge, crossing your body and landing on the left side of your center. Both legs should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Push back into a standing position. Repeat on the left side, making sure to cross your left leg to the right side of your body. Do 20 reps on each side, for a total of 40 reps.
2. Bicep/Shoulder Combo. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. Your right weight should be extended down at your side. Your left arm should be extended from your shoulder and bent at the elbow at a 90-degree angle so that your weight is next to your head. With your right hand, curl your weight up and in toward your shoulder. At the same time, press your left weight up over your head until your arm is fully extended. Continue to do bicep curls on your right while doing overhead presses on your left. After completing your reps on this side, switch sides. Do 25 reps on each side.
3. Plank to Row. Get into pushup position gripping two dumbbells in each hand. From here, drive your right elbow up to the ceiling keeping it tight to your body. Lower your weight back to the ground, and repeat on the left side. Alternate sides as you work. Remember to keep your abs tight, and your neck in line with eyes focused on the ground. Do 15 reps on each side for a total of 30 reps.
4. Speed Skaters. From a standing position, cross your right leg behind your left leg, as you lower your left leg into a 90-degree angle. As you lower, touch your left foot with your right hand. Jump up from this position over to your right foot, switching the position of your legs and touching your right foot with your left hand. This counts as one rep. Do 30 reps total.
Have a curvy body type? Check out this curvy body workout!
Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, best-selling author, and entrepreneur. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CW’s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants’ to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show, Extra, The Doctors and Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and on Pinterest.
The best workout for a pear-shaped body
by Taryn Davies | 11 February 2014
Ensure you’re doing the right workout for your body
I know that lots of you email me your questions so this week I’m going to answer a reader’s question that I received last week.
Jane Cooke from Bolton said: ‘Hi David, I have a pear-shaped figure but, despite doing a lot of exercise on my lower body to try to make it more proportional to my top half, nothing’s working. I thought that cycling might help to slim my thighs down but, if anything, they’re getting bigger. I’m not sure what to do. Can you help?’
Jane’s problem is not uncommon. Over 60% of women in the UK are pear-shaped, including celebrities such as Kate Winslet, Jennifer Lopez and Coleen Rooney. Now I bet you’re thinking… ‘I didn’t know they were pear-shaped?’ ‘…But their bodies look in proportion!’ Well, that’s because they know a few fitness secrets that you didn’t… until now!
The main aim of fitness, other than health reasons, is to make the most of your body. Notice the your. Not every body is the same. Some are hourglass, some are apple, some are triangle and some are pear-shaped. The trick to making the most of your body is first knowing your body type and adapting your fitness regime to include exercises that work with it.
Are you pear-shaped?
People with pear-shaped figures tend to have a smaller upper body, slim waist and lean arms. Most of their weight is distributed from the waist down, mainly around their lower stomach, hips, thighs, waist and bum.
What happens when pear-shapes gain weight?
When pear-shapes gain weight, it goes straight to their hips, bums and thighs. The downside to this is that it can make them more prone to cellulite than other body-types but, don’t worry, the plus side is that, if you follow the correct training program, you have the potential to make bigger changes to your figure than any other body-type.
What type of exercise should pear-shapes do?
Most pear-shaped women have well-defined waistlines and enviably flat stomachs, so most of their training program should focus on their bum and legs.
Include: You should do a combination of cardio and toning exercises. Cardio is important as it will help you to get rid of excess body fat. However, the focus should be on toning as this is what will help you to fit comfortably in your skinny jeans. Try pilates, yoga or kick-boxing, they’ll work great for you
Choosing the RIGHT cardio workout FOR YOU: I know that Jane said she’s been doing a lot of cycling to reduce the size of her bum/thighs but that this hasn’t made them smaller. The reason for this is that, although cardio is important and will make her fitter she’s chosen the wrong type of cardio for her body shape. By choosing cycling (which focuses on the legs), it’s causing her to bulk up in the very area that she’s trying to slim down. In future, try to choose cardio exercises that involve the whole body (e.g. swimming or cross-trainer), rather than legs only. This will help to prevent your legs from bulking up and give more even results.
Breaking the myth…. If you’re pear-shaped and looking to re-proportion your body with exercise, DON’T neglect your upper body. Many people fall into this trap but, to add overall definition and proportion, you need to continue to condition your upper body, especially your chest, shoulders and back. (A good ratio to follow is: 75% lower body; 25% upper body.)
I know that many people long to have an hourglass figure but being pear-shaped can be fantastic too so don’t knock it. Bigger bums are not only seen as sexy and a sign of fertility but being pear-shaped has healthy benefits too. E.g. The distribution of your body fat means that you have a lower risk of developing medical problems such as heart disease. This is because hip fat contains an anti-inflammatory called which Adiponectin and prevents arteries from swelling up and becoming blocked.
So for all you bootilicious pears, be confident and rock your pear-shape with pride.
I hope this helps Jane. It’s always nice to hear your feedback and questions so keep getting in touch and I’ll do my best to get back to you all. David x
by Taryn Davies for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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Tagged in fitness exercise fitness tips Workout
If you’ve been busting your booty on the stair climber and racking up the squats in the gym in an effort to slim your “hippy” pear-shaped frame, then you may be selling yourself short. Since pear-shaped women tend to have wider hips and narrower shoulders, the key to balancing the frame lies in upper body exercises that target the shoulders, triceps and back.
Fitness for the pear body shape
This doesn’t mean you should ditch your lower-body workout regimen altogether — you need to keep you hips toned, too! — but it does mean you need to work your upper body just as hard. Try this killer routine to help you achieve a more balanced appearance.
If you’re a cardio-machine queen, look for pieces of equipment that allow you to work your arms and legs simultaneously. Ellipticals and stair steppers with moving handles are a good choice. You can also switch off between a bike or treadmill and an arm ergometer (it looks like a bike for your arms), performing 10 minutes on the bike or treadmill, five minutes on the arm ergometer, then switching back to the bike or treadmill again for another 10 minutes.
For the class-enthusiast, try kickboxing or cardio-focused suspension training — both include extensive upper body engagement. And if you’re looking for a really fun alternative to traditional cardio, try out an indoor rock climbing class!
Whatever form of cardio you choose, schedule it at least three times a week, then add the following 20-minute circuit routine another two to three times a week. If you add it on the days you’re already doing cardio, you won’t even have to spend time warming up!
Hip-slimming, shoulder-trimming circuit
Perform each strength exercise for a minute and each set of mountain climbers for 40 seconds, allowing 20 seconds rest before the next strength exercise starts.
- Assisted pullups
- Mountain climbers
- Squat press with medicine ball
- Mountain climbers
- Balance skull crushers
- Mountain climbers
- Walking lunge with overhead dumbbells
- Mountain climbers
- Side plank with hip adduction, right leg
- Side plank with hip adduction, left leg
Mountain climbers are a quick burst of high-intensity cardio that challenge your core, thighs, shoulders and chest. Hop your feet back and forth as fast as you can, but if you have a hard time keeping it going for the full 40 seconds, slow down as necessary. You can even remove the hop and simply step it out.
Many women don’t have the upper body strength to perform traditional pullups, but that doesn’t mean you should ditch the exercise altogether! Use an assisted pullup machine, a low bar at the gym or a Smith Machine to target the large muscle groups of your back.
Squat Press with medicine ball
Pear-shaped women still need to keep their booties toned and high with squats, but by adding a press to the exercise, they’ll be toning their shoulders and tightening their core muscles, too.
Balance skull crushers
Skull crushers are a great way to add definition to your triceps while gradually balancing out your frame. When you perform the exercise on a stability ball, you’ll also engage your core, hips and lower back for a full-body toner.
Walking lunge with overhead dumbbells
Like squats, lunges are a must-do for pear-shaped women, and when you perform the exercise while holding dumbbells over your head, you’ll challenge your balance and strengthen your shoulders, too!
Side plank with hip adduction
Rather than spending innumerable hours on the hip adduction and abduction machines at the gym, you can tone your hips while shaping your upper body with the side plank with hip adduction exercise. We used a Lebert Equalizer to perform the exercise, but you can use a bench, chair or low-bar instead. Expect this one to kill your shoulders, obliques and hips, leaving you sore and satisfied for days!
More body-sculpting workouts
Sculpt your body type: Curvy
Sculpt your body type: Athletic
Sculpt your body type: Rectangle
Photo credits: Sean Thorton/WENN.com (Leighton Meester) Lance Williams/Girls Gone Sporty (all others)
The shape: Pears populate the roster of bombshell beauties, from Alicia Keys to Jennifer Love Hewitt. As the name of this body type implies, pears are proportionally smaller on top, easily pack weight onto their lower bodies, and have a hard time toning their arms and shoulders.
The Rx: A pear often becomes obsessed with whittling down her lower body by doing dozens of lunges and leg lifts. Of course you want your butt, hips, and thighs to be tight and toned. But, pears: you also want your body to be balanced, so don’t neglect what’s above the belt.
The Best Workouts
Monday: For each exercise shown, do 1 set of the prescribed repetitions, rest 30 seconds, then do another set of that same exercise. To amp up your results, follow your strength workout with a round of Smart Cardio Intervals.
Wednesday: Perform the moves circuit style: Do the prescribed number of repetitions for each exercise, with no rest between exercises. After you’ve done all of the exercises once, rest two minutes. Perform the entire circuit 3 times, resting two minutes between each circuit.
Friday: Perform each set of two exercises back-to-back, with no rest between each exercise. Rest 30 to 60 seconds before repeating the set one more time.
SET 1 Lift-off Lunge, Hundred on the Ball
SET 2 Scissors Jump, Pushup and Leg Raise
SET 3 Mermaid, Boat Curl and Press
SET 4 Triangle Lat Raise, Dip and Knee Raise
Nothing scorches calories or firms your muscles like fighting gravity. Follow your Friday strength-training sequence with the following Butt-Busting Hill Repeats—which can be done on a treadmill, elliptical trainer, or stationary bike.
1. Lift-off Lunge
Tones: Butt, thighs, shoulders, triceps, and core
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold dumbbells up at your shoulders—elbows bent and pointing out to the sides, palms facing forward. Take a giant step forward with your right leg and lower your body until your knees are bent 90 degrees. Your knees should be in line with your ankles. (A) Press into your right foot, straighten your right leg, and come to a stand, simultaneously pulling your left knee forward in front of your hips (so you’re standing on one leg) and pressing the weights up toward the ceiling .(B) Return to start. Repeat with your left leg. 10 to 12 reps per leg
To make the move more challenging, place your front foot on a step.
2. Scissors Jump
Tones: Butt and thighs; raises heart rate to burn extra calories
Stand with your right leg forward and your left leg extended behind you, toes on the floor. Bend your right knee and dip your left knee toward the floor, so you’re in a lunge position. Place your arms straight out in front of you or out to the sides.(A) Swiftly jump up and switch legs in midair, in a motion like a scissor. (B) When your back knee grazes (or nearly grazes) the ground, jump again. Keep jumping continuously, without resting, for a full set. To prevent injury, try to land as softly as possible. 10 to 20 jumps
3. Pushup And Leg Raise
Tones: Shoulders, triceps, chest, and core
Lie facedown on a fitness ball, with both hands on the floor. Walk your hands out, allowing the ball to roll beneath your body until it is under your shins. Your hands should be directly below your shoulders, so it looks like you’re ready to do a pushup. Keeping your torso straight and your abs contracted, bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the floor. Stop when your upper arms are parallel to the floor. (A) Return to start, and immediately contract your glutes as you lift your right leg off the ball. (B) Lower your right leg to the ball, then lift the left leg. That’s one rep. 8 to 12 reps
Make the move harder by placing the ball under the tops of your feet. Make it easier by keeping the ball under your knees.
4. Hundred On The Ball
Lie on your back with your arms by your sides. Bend your knees to 90 degrees and place your calves on a fitness ball. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor, making sure to keep your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed. (Put your head down at any time if you feel stress in the upper body.) (A) Take 5 short, consecutive inhales, followed by 5 short, consecutive exhales. Do this 10 times for 1 rep. At the same time, lift arms off mat and pulse them up and down palms facing down, in unison with the breath. (B) 10 reps, 100 breaths per rep
Tones: Core (especially obliques) and shoulders
Assume a side plank position, with your right elbow on the floor directly beneath your shoulder. Stagger your feet so your left foot is in front of your right foot. (A) Raise your left arm directly overhead—bicep next to your ear, arm extended, and with your palm facing the floor—so your arm is in line with your body. Arch your left arm towards the floor as you raise your hips up in the air. (B) Return to start. Repeat for a full set; then switch sides. 8 to 10 reps
6. Boat Curl And Press
Tones: Core, biceps, and shoulders
Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your arms extended at your sides and your palms facing forward. Sit on a bench and lean back slightly, pulling your knees to chest height, so you’re balancing on your tailbone. Curl the weights to your shoulders; (A) then immediately rotate your wrists so your palms face forward and press the weights straight overhead. (B) Return to start. Each dumbbell extension is one rep. Balance on the bench during the entire set if you can. 8 to 10 reps
7. Triangle Lat Raise
Tones: Butt, thighs, back, and shoulders
Hold a dumbbell in your left hand and lunge forward with your right leg. Taking a cue from the triangle pose in yoga, turn your left foot out—so it’s perpendicular to your leg—and rest your right forearm on your right thigh, palm up. Extend your left arm straight down, with your palm facing your right leg. (A) Keeping your left arm extended, squeeze your shoulder blades together and raise your left arm straight out to the side until it reaches shoulder height. (B) Return to start. Complete a full set, then switch sides. 10 to 12 reps per side
8. Dip And Knee Raise
Tones: Triceps, shoulders, and upper back
Sit on the edge of a bench with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent 90 degrees. Grasp the seat on either side of your butt; make sure your fingers are facing forward. Walk your feet out slightly and inch yourself off the seat. (A) Bend your arms, keeping your elbows pointed straight back as you dip your butt toward the ground. Simultaneously contract your abs and pull your right knee toward your chest. (B) Return to start. Concentrate on using your arms to raise your body, rather than pushing up with your legs. Complete a set, alternating legs. 10 to 12 reps
Make the move more challenging by performing it with your legs extended.
Some people seem to have bodies meant for certain types of physical activity—shoulders for swimming, a petite build for gymnastics, height for ballet or basketball.
If you think your body was created for desk-sitting or couch-lounging, though, think again. It’s time to consider your natural shape, and we don’t mean changing it. We mean embracing what you’ve got and strengthening what you don’t have (yet).
While there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” style of exercise for different body types, every workout style yields different results. Here’s what fitness professionals had to say about which exercises are best suited to your build.
Robin Long of The Balanced Life. Photo by Annemarie Bollman.
Rectangle // Pilates
Those whose bust, waist, and hips are about the same width should try Pilates. It’s “known for the way it builds deep core strength and stability,” says Robin Long, Pilates instructor, and creator of The Balanced Life. With Pilates, “one can expect to build strength, improve muscle tone, restore posture, correct alignment, increase flexibility, reduce stress and ease chronic aches and pains,” she says. It’s not uncommon for people to find some of the exercises and positions in mat Pilates challenging. So Long advises finding a teacher and class that offer the modifications you need.
Also try: HIIT or Dynamic Stretching
Hourglass // Running
If your hips and bust line are proportionate to each other, try hitting the road. Holistic Health Coach and RRCA running coach Laura Peifer says running is well-suited for an hourglass shape, “as it will help to slightly slim down the hips butt and tone the legs,” which helps distribute balanced strength throughout the body. According to Peifer, “Hill training can help tone the glutes. And by adding intensity, like sprints, the abs and core will get some training as well.” However, “if the goal is overall toning, the better option is to use running for basic cardio training and incorporate strength workouts and/or high-intensity interval training for fat burning.”
Also try: Crossfit or Swimming
Pear // Kickboxing
If your hips and thighs are the widest part of your body, you likely have more natural flexibility than the average person, says Grant Clark, a personal trainer. Hip mobility is integral in kickboxing, and body shapes with a wider hip base “have an easier time entering a deep squat than someone with narrow, shallow hip joints,” he notes. Squats and kicks will tone your legs, while quick upper-body work will build muscle in your arms. Bonus points if you’re petite: high kicks and single-leg extensions may come more easily to you because of your more stable base.
Also try: Rock Climbing/Bouldering or Aerial Silks
Heart // Yoga
A heart-shaped build has a bust and shoulders that are wider than the hips, making it ideal for workouts that involve holding up your own body weight like yoga. Clark, who’s also a certified yoga instructor, says, “Body weight exercises like planking and the downward dog can help create significant strength in the abs, chest, and upper back.” The flow of moving up and down to the floor “helps lengthen the body overall.” When practiced consistently, Clark says yoga can, “improve your balance, body awareness and flexibility, as well as strengthen your arms, legs, and core,” creating a powerful, lean physique.
Also try: Barre
Robin Long of The Balanced Life. Photo by Annemarie Bollman.
A good workout shows us what our bodies are capable of, even on . Some of these moves may come more easily to others at the start. But Clark points out, “if you keep moving, regardless of body type, the exercises will become easier and more natural over time…any amount of movement will benefit the body, so don’t be afraid to start even after a hiatus.”
Robin Long agrees. With any form of exercise and any body shape, “The more you do it, the quicker you’ll see results.” What’s most important is that you enjoy your workout routine and make time for it consistently.
Photo Credit: Annemarie Bollman Photography
Illustrations: Emma Block