What does your body shape say about you? (Eg. pear, apple, etc. )
We all know if we’re inactive, we’ll gain weight, but where you gain that weight says a lot about what’s going on with your body beneath the surface. It’s interesting to know why you are the shape you are, but it could also help you to plan your diet and exercise more strategically, to really personalise it to what your body needs.
Upper body, or abdominal, weight gain is more common amongst men, whilst weight gain on the lower body, gluteofemoral fat, is more common amongst women. You’ve probably heard of body shapes being compared to either apples or pears, with pears being more of an hourglass shape and apples having more weight around their middle. This is largely down to a mixture of your metabolic rate combined with the levels of hormones floating around in your body.
Pears, you’ll be glad to know that you’re at lower risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes and other nasties! Also, you probably look rockin’ in a nice A-Line dress, so it’s not all doom and gloom. However, If you’re carrying a lot of fat around your hips and legs, you could be at risk of varicose veins or urinary problems during the menopause and, ultimately, carrying too much fat anywhere puts you at risk! Although it’s recommended to do a combination of both healthy eating and exercise, pears you need to concentrate on exercise even more! This is because you’re carrying more subcutaneous fat, which is lying just under the skin, and can more easily be shifted by getting moving. Cardio is important if you’ve got a lot of fat to lose, mixed with strength exercises like squats and lunges to ensure that whilst you’re losing fat, you’re gaining muscle to replace it!
Apples, you’re carrying your weight around your tummy and, unfortunately, this means that you’ve probably also got quite a bit of visceral fat surrounding your organs. This is the dangerous stuff as it increases your risk of diseases mentioned above. However, although it’s tough to totally change your shape, you can obtain a healthy BMI and therefore slash your risk, so don’t panic! There is some research that claims that dietary changes can be the most effective way to lose visceral fat but, of course, this should be combined with some exercise. Be careful though apples, a diet that reduces your calories too quickly or too drastically can lead to muscle loss, so be sensible with it. Aim to eat a higher fibre diet which will be good for you in many ways but will also be naturally lower in calories than a diet high in rich, fatty foods.
It’s important to remember when you’re planning your exercise regime, whatever shape you are, that trying to spot reduce fat does not work. That means running won’t make you lose weight off your legs necessarily, and doing crunches every day won’t give you a flat stomach. So do whatever exercise you enjoy, keep active for your health, not just for weight loss, and eventually you will reach the shape you’re happy with.