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Nov 16, 2012 by TAMMY McKENZIE
Which Body Type Are You? What It Means For Your Clothes and Fitness

Apple, pear, round, hour-glass, slim or athletic? Body type is a scientifically calculated classification of your body as per shape and other measurements. Categorized by a number of physical traits, whether slim, athletic or voluptuous, it's a good idea to figure out which body type you belong to and learn how to maximize your fitness level and appearance based on your optimal shape.

The three women above are an excellent example of the genetic differences that exist in the human body. From left to right (slim, athletic and pear shaped).

Why? So that you set realistic goals in your endeavours to get fit and slim. No person who is genetically round will ever obtain the same shape and somebody who is very slim.

According to studies into diet, weight loss and body shape, many individuals feel dissatisfied with their body shape, and develop sub-clinical / borderline eating disorder attitudes and behaviors. For example, 80 per cent of American women claim to be dissatisfied with their appearance and shape, and 1 in 2 American women are on a weight loss diet. The prevailing standards of body weight and shape, as revealed in the use of abnormally thin models in the media, continue to emphasize the idea that "thin is beautiful" and (one suspects) only make things worse for adolescents and adults with borderline anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorders.

It is essential to understand your body type so that you know which part of your body needs special attention without going to the extreme and trying to make your entire body match a specific role model. Sometimes, that just is not possible so we have to be realistic.

Let's find out your body type and how you can get the most from your diet, workouts, and clothes!

Apple shaped: If your top is comparatively heavy but you are tiny from the waist down area then you have an apple body type. You have a considerably heavy upper body along with broader than usual shoulders.

Fitness: Focus on chest, stomach and arms, as this is where fat accumulates for apple shaped people.

Clothes: Take focus away from the top heavier areas. Avoid cleavage-revealing tops, instead go for high neck collars and well-fitted jeans for a slimmer look.

Pear shaped: This type is smaller on top, but comparatively larger on the bottom. The first place where you tend to gain weight is around the hips and thighs.

Fitness: Lots of leg work will help you sculpt your thighs. Cardio is essential. Also, focus on building your upper body more through strength training to create an hour-glass look.

Clothes: Wear dark coloured bottoms and lighter coloured uppers. Play with stripes when wearing tops and go for single coloured bottoms.

Round: People with this kind of a body shape complain of their weight settling right around their tummy and breast area, as well as the upper thigh and hips area.

Fitness: Round shaped body types don;t need to pay attention to spot targeting. Fat fighting and fat loss through high repetition weights and resistance training will do wonders if coupled with an excellent boot camp or cardiovascular program to even out the form. If you don't watch your diet, you'll have a hard time meeting your goals.

Clothes: Wear single coloured outfits (tops and bottoms, or dresses), with defined structures to create a well-shaped figure. Knee length skirts work well too.

Hour glass:
May of us might just die to get a body type like this. People with hour glass figure have a curvy body type with proportionate breasts and hips.

Fitness: The perfect body type that allows you to focus on muscle tone without worrying too much about fat loss.

Clothes: Frankly, you can wear anything which is well-fitted and it'll look good on you.

People who have a slim and athletic body type are low on curves, and usually appear taller for their height, although some might even be petite. Many have less percentage of fat in their body and have a narrower bone structure as well.

Fitness: Low body fat means an increased muscle area would serve well for fitness.

Clothes: People with slim body type generally have a small bust size, so padding would help if you want to add to enhance that area for purposes of ego, but be comfortable in that look amazing.

Weight and Resistance Training

There are three basic body types that coincide with the above body shapes. They are ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph. Some of us gain weight with difficulty and some of us put on fat easily and others easily maintain a high percentage of muscle mass. The genetic differences between individuals is great. Body type has little to do with athletic ability or coordination, it simply relates to metabolism and genetic predisposition to gaining fat or muscle or staying lean.

Ectomorph. The Ectomorph generally has very high metabolic rate (slim) making it difficult for them to gain both muscle and fat. The Ectomorph is a naturally lean individual. Ectomorphs need less aerobics and should do anaerobic / strength building resistance training with repetitions in the 6 to 10 range.

Mesomorph. Mesomorphs (athletic, hour glass) are the individuals who naturally have excellent proportionsof muscle mass and can gain muscle relatively easily through resistance training. Some mesomorphs are very lean and defined with "six pack abs" with little or no exercise.

Endomorph. Endomorphs are people who tend to put on fat easily (pear, apple, round). Endomorphs tend to have a lower metabolic rate and require more aerobics and higher repetitions in resistance training, preferably 12 - 20 reps, in order to burn more calories. Adding muscle through anaerobic exercise helps the endomorph's fitness tremendously by increasing their basal metabolic rate (muscle burns more calories at rest than fat).

Tammy McKenzie is a certified personal trainer and fitness specialist with a speciality in women's fitness.

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