Born to be fit?

Posted on May 1, 2011

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As published on LOVESTYLE

LOVESTYLE divas come in all shapes and sizes so surely it makes sense to find the routine that fits you and not necessarily the masses. Genetics play a lead role in determining our basic body shape and whilst ambition is good, so is realism. Genetics will ultimately determine our metabolism and pre-disposition towards gaining fat or muscle or staying lean. Our genes also determine where we are most likely to add or lose weight.

Essentially then LOVESTYLE divas, you need to do the best that you can, with the body that you have. We are after all, programmed at birth to be tall and long-limbed, petite and short-limbed, small-framed or big-framed so by accepting this we can work on what can be improved.

With this in mind, experts have divided women into three main body types. Here they are along with some direction as to what will work best for you:

1) Ectomorphic

These women are lean, long-limbed and often tall. They have long torsos, slim hips and shoulders and small bones in proportion to their height. They are normally blessed with a very high metabolic rate making it difficult for them to gain both muscle and fat. Less aerobics is required as a result and instead, these women should do anaerobic / strength building or resistance training exercises with repetitions in the range of 6-10 with a resting time of 45-90 sec between each set. Aerobic workouts should last for just 20 minutes, 3 times a week for cardiovascular fitness. If ectomorphs want to gain weight, they should indulge in strength training repetitions of 6-10 with heavier weights with a resting span of 30-45 seconds.

2) Endomorphic

These women have short limbs and torsos and have more rounded bodies. They tend to store body fat easily and might also be big-boned. They generally tend to gain weight in the lower half and can often be curvaceous. Many endomorphs spend their lives fighting fat.
 Regime-wise, they should go for cardiovascular workouts of at least 30-40 minutes, 3-5 times per week and they should attempt to increase their BMR to burn more calories at rest than fat. The best way to do this is via a strength-training program that consists of higher repetitions of at least 12-20 reps (with 30-60 sec of rest between the sets). Aerobic exercise is essential for weight loss, cardiovascular fitness and body-shaping whilst anaerobic exercise is essential to gain muscle and build strength.

3) Mesomorphic

These women tend to have square, sturdy bodies and are often fairly big-boned. They are athletically built and can bulk up their muscles more easily than women of other body types. If they do gain weight, it is generally around their middles.
Mesomorphic women need to do up to 20 minutes of cardio, 3 times a week to maintain their fitness level. They generally need a balanced strength-training program composed of low repetitions for size and high repetitions for definition. Overweight mesomorphs become ‘apple-shaped’ identified by big bellies and love handles.

So LOVESTYLE divas, identify your body type to point you in the right direction but remember that you shouldn’t pigeon-hole yourself. An ectomorph might have a little of mesomorph in her and vice-versa. Similarly an endomorph might have a little mesomorph in her.

And at the end of the day, no matter what your fitness level and body type is, any complete programme should be based on the five components of fitness; cardio, strength training, flexibility training, nutrition and weight management, albeit in varying proportions.

As for the potential rewards? These are optimum healthy body weight, improved level of strength, better posture, improved co-ordination and a resilient body. All yours for the taking by making smart choices in your everyday life.

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