A Guide to Body Type
It’s that time again — the water is beckoning and a beach body is in high demand. How to get one, however, is more about body type than quick tricks.
Looking good — and feeling good — is not about starving yourself or reaching a new low on the scale, which are both dangerous strategies. A balanced diet, positive mindset and consistent, enjoyable workout routine can keep your body healthy and in prime shape whether you’re in a swimsuit or a sweater. Even so, personal preference sometimes calls for a tune-up, or a tone-up, before we bare it on the beach.
Know your strengths and struggles for your best body.
A larger lower body and smaller upper body characterize pear-shaped bodies, sometimes called triangle types. People with pear shapes tend to carry weight in their hips, thighs and butt.
- Strengths: Research suggests that passive, pear-zone fat, while not fully understood, has a protective effect against heart disease and diabetes, reducing insulin resistance and increasing “good” HDL cholesterol.
- Struggles: Losing weight is hard for pear shapes because the body burns fat around the middle first. Good for risk reduction, bad for dropping pounds.
- Nutrition Tip: Keep an eye on fat intake — your body is more likely to store fat and burn carbs.
- Workout: Aerobic exercises like running or biking that work your lower body can slim hips and thighs.
A slim lower body and a thicker middle is known as an apple shape.
- Strengths: Belly fat breaks down faster than other fat, meaning apples may find it easier to lose weight.
- Struggles: Risk of heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer all increase when belly fat raises blood sugar levels. Inflammation, chronic disease and weight gain are also risks.
- Nutrition Tip: Carbohydrates can raise insulin levels. People with an apple body type, particularly those with high blood sugar, should choose healthy fats over carbs.
- Workout: Cardio-heavy exercise will rev up metabolism and increase calorie burn.
If there’s no real difference in the size of your hips, waist and shoulders, you may be a chili pepper body type.
- Strengths: Narrow body types are less likely to gain weight than other shapes.
- Struggles: When chili peppers do gain weight, it’s typically around the middle, which increases their risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- Nutrition Tip: Remember to eat healthy even if weight isn’t an issue. Healthy fats will reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems.
- Workout: Strength-training builds muscles, which can help create curves and definition.