Sunday, April 18, 2010

What is Your Body Type?

I remember sitting in seventh grade health class when the teacher asked, "What is your body type?" She gestured to the pictures that she had displayed on the overhead projector. I glanced at the three female drawings: the muscle girl, the fat chick, and the stick figure (i.e., Mesomorph, Endomorph, and Ectomorph respectively). I knew which one I was even if I didn't know the technical term. I had larger calves than boys my own age did. I could lift people who weighed almost as much as I did. Even though I wasn't an athlete, the track coach was forever trying to convince me to join the team because I possessed strong legs. My father called me, "Stout." Yeah, I thought to myself, I am that "M" one.

I'm not saying having a mesomorphic body is a bad thing. However, I was built for gymnastics; yet, I pursued ballet for seventeen years. I was constantly struggling to achieve the look of an Ectomorph, which is ideal for a ballet dancer, but impossible for me. I still laugh though when men with chicken legs ask me how I got my calves and they look perplexed when I reply, "Good genes and dance class." Part of accepting your body type is learning to love your DNA. I probably should have been an athlete, but no sport compared to my love of dance. At least I walked away with a nice pair of gams.

During one of my gym experiences, I had a trainer who completely ignored my body type. He assigned me a list of exercises on various types of equipment and encouraged me to "up my weight" as much as possible. If he had spent even ten minutes asking me questions about my exercise history and examining my physique, he would have realized how quickly my body accumulates muscle. After following his program for two weeks, I noticed that my quads were larger—all muscle, but I didn't desire bigger legs. I quickly lowered the weight and increased the reps. I also stopped using some machines (e.g., leg press) altogether. Eventually I said, "Screw the Gym!"

When I researched body types, I discovered that the definition of "body type" has expanded since my youth. For example, Dr. Abravanel has proposed a body-type diet that asserts your metabolism determines your body type. According to his site, I have a "thyroid" body, but then I took a more in-depth quiz at Find Your Body Type, which revealed that I am actually an Adrenal body type. Then there are the food body types: apple, pear, or banana. During the mid-twentieth century, the most revered female body type was the hourglass figure, which is determined by your waist to hip ratio (WHR). At My Shape, you can find clothes that specifically suit your body's measurements. According to their categories, I have an "M-shaped" body.

With such a plethora of choices, determining your body type can be confusing; however, the old-school stuff works for me. Are you a mesomorph, an endomorph, or an ectomorph? Once you answer that question, then you can design an exercise program that works for you!

AWW – XoXo


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    The information in this blog is not intended as a substitute for professional health care. Please consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.