This article is part of myBody+Soul’s Winter Renewal series. Each week we will bring you expert advice on how to keep your health, fitness, nutrition, wellbeing and beauty on track this winter – sneeze free. Enjoy!
Everyone is born with their very own body shape, and we think that’s pretty cool. From Kim to Kendall, ‘Yonce to Adele or JLaw to Miley; busty, lanky, muscle-y, wobbly (the list literally goes on forever!) there’s no doing it wrong.
But if your goal is to alter your body shape it’s important to understand that you may be setting yourself up to fail.
Your body shape is genetically predetermined, and while you can go up and down in weight and dress sizes it’s likely that you will always have those beautiful broad shoulders, strong calves, or curvy hips. (Hot tip: If you can’t change something, change what you think about it).
But wanting to get ‘into shape’ is totally different to wanting to change your shape. Regardless of body type you can still lean up and build muscle. Different body ‘types’ respond better to different exercise types, and although you can’t isolate fat-burning to certain areas, you can always use body weight and resistance-based exercises to tone, firm and strengthen specific areas and become leaner through cardio and HIIT-based workouts.
So which body type are you and what moves should you be doing? Chances are you’re a bit of a mix. As a result, your goals may vary. Use this info to figure out the best moves for you.
Also, depending on your current strength and fitness level, you may want to modify exercises until you’re ready to take the leap into moves like box jumps or weight lifting. Feel free to ditch the weights (or start light) and modify high impact exercises until you’re physically ready – you’ll get there!
1) Lean and lanky
a.k.a the marathon runner! Arms and legs for days without much muscle mass. Your body’s a machine when it comes to processing carbs into energy meaning when it comes to burning fat, you rock. Your fast-twitch fibers however (the muscle fibers that support big bursts of strength and speed as opposed to endurance) are a little on the underdeveloped side, making it tricky for you to bulk up.
Best moves for you:
Increasing your muscle mass is a little tricky for you, so you’re gonna want to focus on more intense workouts using compound exercises if this is your goal (exercises that involve multiple big muscle groups). Try adding weighted squats, weighted lunges, kettlebell swings, shoulder press, deadlifts and chest press to your workouts. This will also give you a boost in hormones that help build muscle. We do a lot of this stuff on KIC (our online fitness program) so if you’re not sure where to start, we can definitely help.
It’s best to keep your cardio to a minimum along with isolation moves. Three days of strength with two days of low intensity cardio should do the trick.
often pear-shaped with the tendency to store more fat (especially around the hips and tummy). You likely find it a bit harder to shift your weight and manage your fitness levels and may have referred to yourself in the past as ‘bigger boned’. Genetics play a huge role in your body shape. Try a lower carb, high fiber and protein diet in conjunction with the following exercise recommendations.
Best moves for you:
If you’re trying to reduce your body’s tendency to store fat so easily, cardio is great but you can ditch the long, slow sessions (yay!). Something low to medium intensity will help you burn unwanted fat paired with high intensity interval based training – sprints, box jumps, burpees, tuck jumps, you name it! Forget the hundreds of sit-ups too. As we said earlier, targeting fat burning to isolated areas ain’t a thing.
Next, introduce yourself to weights. Did you know that hours following a weights sesh your body continues to use up calories? Yep, you could be burning calories while kicking back with some Netflix! This comes from building more muscle, and muscle burns more calories when resting, so if you’re looking to reduce overall unwanted fat and tone up, you’ve hit jackpot. A common misconception for women is that weight training will make you bulk. Not true! Due to high levels of estrogen, women are more likely to simply tone, firm and strengthen. Train by alternating heavier weights (low reps) with interval-based conditioning (e.g. lunges, squat thrusts, burpees and mountain climbers).
strong and built with a speedy metabolism and the ability to pack on muscle – fast! Lucky for you, your naturally athletic body doesn’t really store much body fat. You can gain or lose weight easily and are likely to have a trim waistline. Make sure you’re getting lots of whole grains, plenty of protein and a reasonable amount of carbs in your diet.
Best moves for you:
To maintain your weight and increase fitness while keeping bulky muscle at bay, your workouts should consist of explosive, plyometric exercises such as squat jumps, skipping, sprinting, box jumps and burpees. Start low impact and work your way up to these.
Your workouts should also be high intensity, with something like boxing in the mix (we’re obsessed). Building muscle is easy peasy for you, but this will help you stay lean and avoid weight gain (along with diet). We’ve included two boxing days a week in our KIC program for exactly that reason, and all our KIC girls love it! When going for a strength or weights sesh, stick to lighter weights (even body weight) with higher reps. This will encourage strength and stamina without drastically boosting muscle mass.
Work with your natural athleticism to help reach your peak. Not training to your full ability is common among this body type, so having clear goals and working to a timer is a great way to tackle this.
While we’re on the topic, here’s the card game workout that actually makes burpees fun. Also, this workout will strengthen your core and prevent back pain.
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