**This is the unedited version of an article I wrote for the Jan 2015 edition of Harper’s Bazaar Thailand. It’s a little different than my normal style of writing but life is about learning to adapt, so this is me adapting to writing for an International Publication. Remember, if you ever have any questions regarding our blog posts, please don’t hesitate to contact us so we can try to help and answer them.
‘How to look good in your own body shape’
Every individual body is different from another and when looking at the female body, there are about 12 different body shapes. However, the majority of woman fall into 1 of the 4 most common shapes: Apple, Banana, Pear & Hourglass.
Apple, or V shaped woman, have shoulders wider than their hips, a larger abdomen and skinny legs. They carry most of their body fat around the waist being very ‘top heavy’.
Banana, or ‘l’ shape has an evenly proportioned body with not much shape leaving them typically straight from top to bottom.
Pear, or A shape, has a hip measurement much greater than their bust measurement tending to deposit body fat around the hips and thighs making them very ‘bottom heavy’.
The Hourglass shape consists of an equal sized bust and hips, which is where it normally distributes fat, with a much smaller waistline.
A study by researchers at the North Carolina State University of the shapes of over 6,000 women found that 46% were banana, just over 20% pear, just fewer than 14% apple, and 8% hourglass.
So how do we train specifically for each of these as well as tailoring your diet to something more relevant for you? One thing we must first understand about fat loss is that you CAN NOT spot reduce fat. That means you can’t just focus on burning fat in one specific spot only. The body burns fat, just as it puts it on, evenly. The first place you put the fat on will most definitely be the last place for it to come off. So the only way to ensure lasting results is to be consistent, in all aspects! That being said, you can tailor your workouts and diet to try and make your body shape work wonders for you.
As an apple shape, you want to try and trim down body fat and build some muscle on the legs to try and give a more proportioned shape. The best way to do that is with high intensity intervals (H.I.I.T.) to burn any unwanted fat plus big lifts like squats, lunges and deadlifts can help to build and shape your legs.
The Banana shape body type is already equally proportioned so could benefit from trying some activities to stay lean as well as sculpt the body. Boxing is a great way to stay trim, toned and super fit plus is always a lot of fun! Strength and weight training is important for everyone due to it’s amazing benefits for your health but can benefit the Banana body shape especially by helping to give the body some extra shape.
For the Pear shaped body, we want to try and trim down the lower body while building the upper body. Lots of dynamic and explosive lower body exercises, like running, jumping & skipping are great ways to shape and tone up your legs. For the upper body, lots of press and pulling with weights of any kind to build up and sculpt the upper body evening out the shape of your body and looking more proportioned.
The Hourglass body shape is the curviest of them all. Working out, to best accentuate the assets of this shape, needs to be very well rounded. An even mix of exercises that will get your heart rate soaring and challenge your muscles. Mixing your strength and cardio will give you unbelievably better results than separating the two. It will also save you a lot of time at the gym, too. Trying a circuit class or group fitness class is a great way to explore all the different possibilities of how to workout using a mix of weights and cardio.
When it comes to diet, no one person is the same, even if you’re the same body type. The way we all process the foods we eat is a very individualized thing and something that we should all take great personal interest in. One thing is for sure though when it comes to fat loss and health, avoiding processed foods is key in obtaining optimal health and results. Processed foods are created with a cocktail of different chemicals that when consumed wreaks havoc on the body in ways we still don’t fully understand. To maximize your results and improve your overall health, fill your meals with ‘real’ food. Include lots of different varieties of plants/vegetables, seafood, meat, nuts and seeds, in their purest form, without any kind of processing. Don’t be scared of fats or carbs either. The right kinds of fats and carbs, at the right time, can work wonders in aiding fat loss.
By making these simple changes to your diet and by trying something new and more specific for your training, one that is more tailored to your own personal needs, you can make your body shape a shape you love.