UNDERSTANDING YOUR BODY SHAPE
Understanding Your Physical Appearance
Your body shape is unique as the color of your eyes,
texture of your hair or color of your skin. There are
many things that contribute to our overall appearance,
- Body Type
- Body Shape
- Body Weight & Fat Distribution
- Skin Type & Tone
- Hair Type
Your body shape is a combination of your body type
and your lifestyle. The lifestyle components determines
your body fat and lean muscle composition, and where
body fat is most likely to be stored.
- Increase in Fat - As we age, our
body shape tends to change, as fat increases and muscle
decreases. The proportion of body fat may increase
by as much as 30%. Fat deposits increase around the
center of the body, including around the abdominal
- Loss of Muscle - muscles, atrophy,
losing some of their cells. Tissue loss also reduces
the amount of water in your body. Bone density reduces,
resulting in loss of height. Height loss is related
to aging changes in the bones, muscles, and joints.
Muscle changes often begin in the 20s in men and the
40s in women and can affect balance.
- Loss of Height - Typical height
loss is about 1 cm (0.4 inches) every 10 years after
age 40. Height loss is even greater after 70 years
old. Although it varies, you may lose 1 to 3 inches
in height as you age.
- Weight Gain - Men often gain weight
until about age 55, then begin to lose weight. This
may be related to a drop in the male sex hormone testosterone.
Women usually gain weight until age 65, then begin
to lose weight. Weight loss is, in part, caused by
a loss of muscle tissue.
- Body Hydration – Loss of
tissue results in loss of cell hydration, leading
to loss of fresh plump look to the skin. Changes in
cell composition can play an important role in how
your body uses drugs. Medication doses may need to
be adjusted in older people.
Male Body Shapes
The ideal male body shape is the ‘X’ shape,
typified by broad muscular shoulders, well formed pectoral
muscles, taut waist, slim hips and nicely rounded buttocks.
Female Body Shapes
There are 6 basic female body frames. For each frame,
there are certain exercises that can add balance back
to the body. These will be reviewed in our exercise
- The Pear Shape - The Pear shape
or “A” frame carries extra weight in the
lower region of the body, mainly in the hips, thighs
and buttocks. Waists and busts are generally small.
Exercise programs generally aim to balance the body
by widening the shoulder girth and the back.
- The H Frame - The "H Frame"
is a strong athletic build, with a powerful core,
including a large waist and shoulders. The frame lacks
symmetry, giving a square, blockish appearance. Shape
can be added by working on minimizing the waist.
- The Ruler - The lean "Ruler"
frame lacks any definition, with chest, waist, and
hip measurements all fairly equal. This type generally
has a high metabolism, and doesn't gain weight very
easily. Any program should emphasise building muscle
to add shape.
- The Hourglass - The figure 8, hourglass
figure has long been touted as the perfect female
form. The height relative to the weight is of good
proportion, with bust and hips about the same size;
the waist being 10 inches smaller. This frame generally
has fat evenly distributed and requires little in
the way of muscle sculpturing. Program goals should
focus on cardio fitness and maintaining strength and
- The Apple Shape - The Apple shape
is an oval frame of short to average height, with
large bust and thin legs. This shape tends to store
fat in the midsection so focus needs to be on fat
burning, muscle building exercise.
Body tone is a factor of lean muscle mass and skin
tone. Those cellulite dimples that appear even on lean
people tend to disappear when the skin in pulled taut.
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