Thursday 22 February 2018

Karl Henry: What body shape have you got?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to weight loss, writes our fitness expert. You need to identify your body type before you can choose the most effective programme of diet and exercise

Karl Henry: Your body shape determines your exercise routine.
Karl Henry: Your body shape determines your exercise routine.

Karl Henry

With the boom in the fitness industry showing no signs of abating, thankfully Ireland seems determined to lose the weight, waistlines and body fat that has held us back for so long.

Personal trainer courses are full, gyms and boot camps are popping up all over Ireland - there is literally a niche for everyone, of every age and every fitness level. Finally, people are moving more, exercising more, and generally taking control of their health.

One trend I am seeing in the industry is how companies promote themselves and 'before and after' pictures are the new promotional tool.

Great, if that's your kind of thing, although it's not mine. But more worrying is the trend of one training method and one diet for everyone.

Not everyone is the same - we are built differently and our bodies will react differently to different training methods and different food recommendations.

Each client should be given a programme that works for their body type, their shape and also their goals.

For example, for some people, lifting heavy weights will work really, really well - not just in terms of strength gains, but also in terms of the physique too.

For other people, heavy weights will change their shape, adding bulk and smoothness. The same can be said for any training style, trx, light weights, sandbags, boot camp. It's not a one-size-fits-all industry I'm afraid to say, although it would be very handy if it was!

It takes time and experience working as a trainer to be able to recognise a body shape and then to know what needs to be done to get the best results for that shape. It's something that you just need to learn by doing.

Today I thought I would bring you some body shapes so that you can recognise yours and some of the types of exercise that will work best for that body type:


Endomorph (Cian Healy)

The more rounded physique that is prone to gaining weight very easily. This means that although you might be eating less than other people, you find you still put on weight.

It is a great physique for strength and power, but weight loss can be hard. Depending on what results you're looking for, change the weight and reps range to see what works best for you.

Ectomorph (Peter CROUCH)

The super skinny person that has found it very hard to put on weight all of his life no matter what he does or eats. This is due to an extremely fast metabolism. Heavy weights and low reps work really well here.

Mesomorph (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

A combination of both endomorph and ectomorph, this body type finds it easy to lose weight and easy to gain strength and muscle. Their metabolism is generally high and, when your food is good, then the weight will decrease very fast. While you may put on weight quickly, you can lose it just as fast.


Celery (Keira Knightly)

A slim body with hips and shoulders roughly the same width. You often find it hard to maintain your weight and generally can eat whatever you like as your metabolism is fast. If this is a physique that you have, try plenty of body resistance exercises, such as press-ups, squats and lunges.

Apple (Jennifer Hudson)

This is a typical Irish body shape. Weight is carried around the mid-section from your chest to your pelvis, often with slim legs and arms. With age, you developed a muffin top, that developed into a spare tyre and now find it hard to shift. As your metabolism slows down, your body develops fat around the mid-section. If this body type describes you, then aim to do plenty of interval training and weights with high reps and an improved diet is the best way to go about toning your body up.

Pear (Jennifer Lopez)

A body that is prone to weight gain, with hips that are wider than your shoulders, with lots of curves for good measure. You find it hard to lose fat and when you tried weights before, you thought you built muscle very quickly. The best workouts for this body shape require lots of intervals combined with light-weights workouts, obviously combined with a good diet.

Hour glass (Marilyn Monroe)

The typical 1960s screen siren look with broad shoulders, a narrow waist and curvaceous hips. Your weight can go up or down depending on your diet and, when you knuckle down, you can get in great shape very easily. This is one of the more enviable body shapes. It's sexy, feminine and, the body shape that most women want. Your metabolism is consistent and when you improve your diet, your weight/shape returns very quickly.

The best exercise to assist this is tough boot-camp-style workouts, giving you your waist back, linking with a clean diet.

Irish Independent

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