We often wonder why some people lose weight real quick while we have a hard time. Sometimes we also struggle to understand just how and why some people don’t have to do anything for a great physique, or just always look graceful no matter what they wear. Well, it’s time to find out for yourself and discover what action you can take to get your body looking great for you.
The truth behind our differences in body was discovered by a psychologist, Dr William H Sheldon, during the 1940s. After years of study, he concluded that we all inherit one of three basic human body types. He identified these body types as:
1) Endomorph: this person has a plump/ stocky build. They gain muscle and fat easily, but they have trouble losing weight
2) Ectomorph: this person has a generally lean delicate build. They don’t gain muscles easily and they also have trouble gaining weight
3) Mesomorph: this person has a sturdy/muscular build. They gain muscle and fat quickly but also lose weight easily
Biologically, women are more likely to have a curvaceous body shape because of the levels the female hormone (oestrogen) in their body, which promote fat storage. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to have a toned build because of their high levels of the male hormone (testosterone), which promote muscle growth.
Nevertheless, our body shapes still do vary quite significantly. This is because of the foods we eat and the physical activity we engage in, or fail to engage in.
There are at least four common body shapes and each one presents its own benefits and risks factors that must be taken into account for effective weight loss and fitness, they are:
1) The Apple: has a larger chest and belly with narrow hips and thighs. They are most likely to be an endomorph or mesomorph.
Men and women of the apple body shape are typically rounded, but when muscular have a funnel-like (inverted triangle) appearance. Apples gain body fat easily, but for men this is balanced out by the high presence of testosterone, which aids metabolism.
Health studies have shown that men and women with the apple shape may be more prone to cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders such as diabetes. This is because of greater stress on the heart and digestive system.
Preferred fitness regimes for the apple body shape involve longer work-outs for the chest and waistline. Sit-ups, push-ups, stair-climbing are an example of simple and effective exercises for the Apple.
Other recommended exercises include tennis, team sports, running, cycling or swimming for at least 40 minutes, 3-4 times a week. Pilates is also recommended to help tone the waistline.
2) The Pear: has a narrow chest and waistline with wider hips and larger buttocks. They are mostly to be a mesomorph.
The Pear has a vase-like shape, which in some cultures was associated with fertility. Pears tend to gain and lose weight easily, mostly on the hips.
Health-wise, Pears are said to be less prone to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as most of their body fat is stored in the thighs and buttocks. This however, is not a reason to avoid cardio work-out.
The tendency of most Pears is to aggressively work out their thighs and buttocks in order to burn fats. This, in fact, only increases the size muscles making the thighs and buttocks appear larger. Fitness experts recommend cardio exercises, racket sports, leg lifts, low resistance cycling, as excellent ways to tone up and balance out both the upper and lower body.
3) The Hourglass: has large chest and wide hips with a narrow waistline. They are likely to be either an endomorph or even a mesomorph.
The hourglass has a voluptuous body shape, commonly regarded as the classic female. They gain weight easily and some (not all) of them have trouble losing it.
As more fat is stored in the upper (chest) and lower (hip) body, Hourglasses may be less prone to metabolic disorders while being more prone to cardiovascular disease.
For fitness, endurance cardio exercises are highly recommended (e.g. running, light resistance cycling, swimming, team sports) 3-4 times a week. In addition, pilates and back exercises, are good for maintaining upright body posture and slim waistline.
4) The Banana: has little variation between size of chest, waistline and hips. They are typically an ectomorph.
The Banana shape is sometimes referred to as a Ruler. This body shape loses weight easily and struggles to build muscles.
Bananas don’t gain weight easily, but when they do it tends to be mainly around the belly (waistline) and buttocks. Excess weight gain around the waistline is said to increase risk of metabolic disorders.
Recommended fitness exercises are intended to aid with muscle building. They include, pilates, walking, jogging up steep climbs, press-ups, sit-ups, squats and bench presses