KNOW YOUR BODY BETTER

20 Nov

Every woman wants to have a slim, toned and healthy body. Most of the women I know have shared with me their goals in having their ideal body, whether to be at certain kgs or to have a tighter and smaller this and that. It is great for every person to have such goals as it shows that we all want to be in a better shape, or better state. But it also extremely sad that some of the goals I’ve been hearing is actually very unhealthy and unrealistic.

THE DISTORTED IMAGE OF THE IDEAL

Australian fitness icon, Kayla Itsines, says that as she interviewed her female clients, it became apparent that ‘many girls were aspiring for a specific yet common look’. In the international sphere, this “common look” goal usually refers to the tall, slender, slim figure of a supermodel or Victoria’s Secret angels. Here in Indonesia, the “common look” goal is quite similar, but it has more potential to be unhealthy, in my honest opinion. In a Victoria Secret show we can still see some (although little) muscle tone and definition in the models’ bodies, and from what I know, full-figured busts and bottoms are considered as treasures. On top of that, I see that the International media has slowly shifting our paradigm of the ‘ideal body’; I can see more and more women with different body types being shown in the media. Here in Indonesia, especially in Jakarta, the body that most of the girls and women want to have is a lightweighted, skinny and thin body (and preferrably light-skinned). Some of my friends told me they are not happy with their B-cups breast sizes and wish they would have smaller busts. I have also overheard, more than twice, a girl being taunted by their friends for having a round and rather protruded behinds and I have seen pictures and comments of girls in instagram posts mentioning that they wish they had a flat (literally), tipis (thin) and bony (yes, bony) body. But what saddens me the most is that in our culture here, it is considered fine and even funny, to tell someone or throw a joke to someone that they are fat (not overweight, fat). Every time I hear one of these jokes being thrown at someone, I always wish I could change this culture.

I have been around the fitness world for at least 7 years, and the more I dig deep into it, the more I find that reaching one body type, and by ‘one’ I am referring to the slender supermodel body type and/or the ‘flat and thin’ type is unhealthy and unrealistic. I am not saying that it is impossible for everyone to be slim and healthy, I am stating that not everyone has the body type that those supermodels are blessed with. We are all given and blessed with different body types, which in its ideal and healthy state, one type would look different to the other.

THREE PREDOMINANT BODY TYPES: SOMATOTYPE

Somatotype is one of the most popular ways in categorizing body types and it is based on the development of embryonic tissues; these are the three layers that develop when an embryo is almost three weeks old. These layers are called ectoderm (outer), mesoderm (middle) and endoderm (deep layer). During a person’s growth process, the predominance of these three layers will determine the person’s body type.

The three body types are Ectomorphs (“skinny”), Mesomorphs (“athletic”) and Endomorphs (“plump”). Each of this body type reacts to weight gain and loss in different way, and yes, weight loss or weight gain is possible for all body types, but the rate and the degree of how they happen will vary, as well as the shape of each body type in its healthy and ideal state – this will vary too.

It is always good for us to know our body type because then we will be able to cater our training style and diet to suit our own body type.

ectomesoendo

Ectomorph

Ectomorph body type is what we often see in the catwalk and fashion magazine. The person with ectomorph body type is slim boned, long limbed and have very little body fat and body muscle. It is also hard for an ectomorph to gain weight and add muscle.

Characteristics of Ectomorphs:

  • narrow & lean in the shoulders
  • lack muscle tone
  • fragile
  • small chest and buttocks
  • difficulty in gaining weight and muscle
  • hyperactive thyroids (which accelerates metabolism)
  • when training, body can recuperate quickly
  • lack of strength in spine (which causes lack of strength in abdominals)
  • prone to postural defects

Training & Diet Tips for Ectomorphs:

  • less cardio activity & more weight training (1 cardio session per week)
  • when doing weight training, focus on doing small reps with heavy weights
  • concentrate on strengthening back muscle & abdominal muscle
  • eat more frequently with foods rich in carbohydrate & protein

Famous Ectomorphs:

Kate Moss, Cameron Diaz, Kelly Rowland, Giselle Bundchen

Mesomorph

Mesomorphs are often referred as the ‘genetically gifted’ people. They usually have shoulders that are wider than their hips and people with mesomorph body type tend to have excellent body postures. Their muscle is easily developed and they are naturally strong.

            Characteristics of Mesomorphs:

  • naturally lean, muscular and strong
  • medium sized joints & bones
  • stronger upper body
  • defined hourglass figure
  • big calves & forearms
  • produce little amount of testosterone but will never match mens’
  • handicapped in endurance sport
  • weight problems only occur when overeating
  • respond quickly to exercise
  • weight fluctuates easily

Training & Diet Tips for Mesomorphs:

  • balanced amount of cardio and weight exercises
  • improve fitness level by doing more endurance training
  • when doing weight training, do more reps with average weights to obtain muscle definition
  • eat moderate amount of carbs and more protein to maintain physique

Famous Mesomorphs:

Halle Berry, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Garner, Madonna

Endomorph

Endomorphs have big bones and a soft, curvy and round physiques. They also tend to gain weight easily and it is rather difficult for them to lose body fat. Endomorphs also tend to have larger hips compared to their shoulders, giving them a pear body shape. The sexy media personalities are usually endomorphs.

Characteristics of Endomorphs:

  • round body
  • predominant thighs and upper arms
  • body fats tend to settle in lower part of body (lower abdomens, hips, thighs)
  • Lazy thyroids which cause slow metabolism
  • Difficult to lose fat
  • Weak knees
  • Prone to attacks of tiredness
  • Tend to fall asleep easily

Training & Diet Tips for Endomorphs:

  • more cardio activity is good to keep the heart rate up (doing cardio 3 times a week in the morning with empty stomach can be effective)
  • weight training is necessary to increase metabolism rate
  • carbohydrates sensitive, therefore consume less carbohydrates

Famous Endomorphs:

Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Oprah Winfrey, Marilyn Monroe

It is important to remember that pure ectomorphs, endomorphs and mesomorphs do not exist, a person is most often a combination of two body types, having characteristics and traits of more than one body types.

LOVE YOUR BODY BETTER

Now that we can identify our body types better and understand how to treat them, I hope that we all can love our body even more and be grateful for what God has blessed us with. I may not be able to look like Giselle Bundchen in my lifetime, but I know I can be at my ideal shape and be healthy. After all, if we look deeper to the cause of why we want to be slim and healthy, it all comes to the fact that we want to be content with who we are and be confident with our body, I believe if we base our fitness journey on a healthy mindset, we will reach that confidence and contentment.

Reference:

Delavier, Frederic., “Women’s Strength Training Anatomy”

Itsines, Kayla., Bikini Body Guide

Superskinnyme.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: