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What shape are you?

EACH different body shape requires its own set of exercises to ensure a perfect figure and the wrong regime could be harming your physique

There are a few things to consider when getting into shape for the summer. No matter what training you are involved in, you should always make sure that the exercises you are doing are the correct ones for you. Are you getting too many aches or pains in your joints, and is your figure or physique shaping up the way you want it to? Are you seeing the results in the right place?

When someone calls in and asks for advice on improving their figure, one has to look for balance in order to give the body a look of symmetry, with the correct shape being given to the legs, hips, back, shoulders, arms and waist.

One has to take into consideration the person's body type: endomorph, ectomorph or mesomorph. There are specific exercises and diet for each.

For example, if a person has a thin wiry frame, with lots of nervous energy, they may find it hard to gain weight until they are put on a special exercise programme of weights with low repetitions and a high carbohydrate diet with added calcium.

The opposite may be the case for the mesomorph type with their blocky frame and sluggish metabolism. There are also many things to consider such as lifestyle and job.

I have seen the results for men and women who were given exercise programmes without any thought of balance or symmetry.

To me, it's a shame to see someone who has the potential to have a wonderful physique being destroyed by stupid exercises.


One example would be of a person who has stooped shoulders being given bench presses or shoulder shrugs -- both will make the problem worse instead of correcting the posture. They need exercises to pull back the shoulders and uplift the chest and bust.

Other exercises of the wrong kind, in my opinion, are side bends and straight-legged sit-ups. Both exercises widen the waist and also take away the natural curve of the waistline.

The latter simply damage your back while side bends with weights will build up your oblique muscles just above the hip bone on the side of your waist.

How do you get rid of this? Well, the best thing is to do twists with the handle of a brush, moving from side to side: simply sit on a chair or bench with the handle behind your neck, look straight ahead and twist or swing from left to right keeping the head straight.

This will help but, remember, the oblique muscles, like all other muscle groups, almost have a memory of their own, so when you are moving the body, avoid working the side of your waist, if you want to be shapely.

Another crazy exercise is squats with heavy weights for women. If done incorrectly, it will build up your thighs and hips giving you a shorter look, instead of creating an illusion of length and shape, which is what most females want.

Similarly for men, someone in nice shape will always be preferred to someone who has stuck a bit of muscle on here and there, thus looking completely out of balance. And all because no thought was given to creating a balanced look.

I know I will cause controversy by saying these things, but I feel that when someone has the potential to have a balanced figure it is a sin not to do the correct exercise.


I worked in California with Vince Gironda who was the world master in creating shape with exercise -- he simply got annoyed when a person exercised incorrectly.

When one guy performed squats, which he does not allow, he simply collected his bag, left it outside and waited until he had finished.

He then told him to leave and never come back. That's how eccentric he was, but he got results for the majority of movie stars from Hollywood who trained there.

As far as the figure is concerned the fashionable look at the moment is for a curvy figure for women and for men. Pot-bellies are definitely not in fashion but then they never were.

So guys, how about losing those extra inches?

In a recent survey, women who were asked what they found to be the biggest turn off in a man was firstly a large belly hanging over the trousers, and number two was body odour. The two are closely related.

If you are overweight you will sweat more which can cause body odour, no matter how much you shower. So try natural cleanliness by changing your diet and eating habits.

If you are interested in attaining a balanced look, examine what you are doing and ask your trainer for advice. After all, it's your body and you deserve the best shape possible!