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Getting fit is easier once you know your natural shape

IN order to determine your potential for losing weight and getting the shape you want, first you have to find out your body type, as this determines everything. If, for example, you were Kate Winslet, who has a mesomorphic frame, trying to get as slim as Kate Moss is just not going to happen. Kate Moss would be an ectomorph -- small bone structure, narrow hips, small ankles.

So it pays to be realistic; your body type will dictate what training suits you, what diet is best for you and what you can hope to expect.

For 30 years I have been using the wrist measurement to determine exact and correct body type rather than the weight/body fat method. Scientific American has just released a report saying wrist measurement is the most accurate test to assess an individual's body type.


Are you prone to carrying too much fat? Are you muscular, or too slim? Are you active? Do you exercise regularly, or do you not bother with exercise at all? Do you feel you gain weight easily and keep it on, or do you have trouble gaining weight? Do you eat when hungry, or all the time out of habit? Does your body look round, or angular and slightly round, or long and thin? If you are a woman are you are thin-framed, pear-shaped or do you have a voluptuous rounded figure?

These are some of the questions you need to answer truthfully in order to find a realistic programme suitable for your own personal body type.

The traditional method of calculating your correct weight using Body Mass Index (BMI) is now being questioned because it doesn't take into account the whole picture. It doesn't take account of the person's muscle/fat ratio. They may be carrying a lot of fat but still get a low BMI reading or they may have a good BMI but may have a very large waist.

A lot of abdominal fat can cause serious health problems. There is a growing number of professionals here and in the US who want to cease using the BMI as a guide and instead use a more comprehensive method.

If a person I am training is fit but tells me that they were told their BMI is too high, I find the best method is to take their wrist measurement, which tells me what type of body shape they are predisposed to be, and then look at their overall shape and the areas where body fat is most problematic.

Taking waist measurements is a very good indication of health risks and it is recommended that a woman should be no more than 35 inches and a man no more than 40 inches.

An example of the benefits of assessing body type by wrist measurement rather than weight methods would be if we were to assess our top rugby players.

If we were to measure them by fat/weight they would come out as overweight according to the BMI assessment. However, this index is not taking the structure and shape into consideration.

Ask your trainer if you are in a gym to assist you if you are not sure which body type you are and follow our eight-week plan to get into the summer shape you have always wanted, and you will stay that way all year long.

When all is said and done, the secret is to remember that you could be a combination of two different body types. With that in mind the most important thing is to follow correct exercise programmes and diets and give yourself eight weeks to improve your figure and physique.

Put in genuine effort and you will see the results.

You will be glad you did!