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Everyone naturally has a body type or shape -- Hourglass, Spoon, Ruler or Cone. These shapes are for the most part genetically predetermined. Recognizing and understanding your shape is the key to a successful fitness program. To achieve a leaner, more toned and better proportioned body you must recognize what you were born with and adjust your exercise plan accordingly. In my previous book, I articulated as no one had ever done before the difference between a standard cookie-cutter exercise program and a targeted exercise regime that would yield the desired results.
Here is an example of why understanding your body type before you begin exercising is critical to escaping your shape. It also explains why most people who are currently exercising fail to meet their goals. Say your wife playfully tweaks your ever-growing love handles or you find you no longer fit into your favorite jeans. What is your first reaction? If you are like the majority of Americans, you hit the gym and shell out good money for the advice of a personal trainer who looks like a clone of Arnold Schwarzenegger. He leads you through a series of exercises as he explains in a vague way what his particular exercises will do for you. You vow to attack the newest wave of steppers and lift weights for 2 hours every day. Simultaneously, you declare that nothing will pass through your lips save a carrot stick and tofu until the weight is lost. The experience of throwing yourself headlong into an exhausting physical and mental realignment without a clear sense of the results you have a right to expect leads, understandably, to failure. What's missing? Since you have decided that fitness will be a priority in your life, you need an exercise program that will deliver results! The first step in achieving these results is to recognize and identify your unique body type. The next step is to create an individualized plan that you will enjoy and master.
If you took a hard look at thousands of people's bodies, you'd notice the same thing I have: that people fall generally into 4 categories. Some people are bottom heavy, some are top heavy, some are naturally well proportioned and curvaceous and others have few curves. You too are either a Spoon, a Cone, an Hourglass or a Ruler. Whatever your body type is, it is basically determined by genetics. As you enter adulthood there are certain factors that influence how your body looks: how active or inactive you were growing up and are currently, the sports you participated in, your childhood and adolescent diet, how much time you spend sitting, and, most important, the variety of exercises you have performed over the years that have either enhanced or bulked certain regions of your body.
Your body type has nothing to do with how tall, short, skinny or fat you are. It has nothing to do with how much you weigh. Nor does it have anything to do with your innate athleticism, age, agility, coordination or fitness level. In fact, even your diet (food intake) has nothing to do with your body type. For example, if you are a Spoon and you are 5 foot 6 inches and weigh 140 pounds, you can diet and lose 10 or 15 pounds. But you won't significantly improve the way your body looks, especially your problem areas, by dieting alone. The only way I can transform you from a ladle to a demitasse spoon is by getting you to exercise properly for your type. You can be a fat Ruler, a thin Spoon or a skinny Hourglass, for example. No matter what your type, weight or fitness level, you can improve them.
Identifying your body type is simply a matter of observing how your weight is distributed on your frame. No one body type is better or worse than another. While you cannot change from one body type to another, you can improve your shape and make the best of your body type through proper exercise. Some of you may want to lose weight and inches throughout your body; others, just inches. Some will want to trim their thighs, stomach or other specific areas. Whatever your goals, it's paramount to identify your shape in order to exercise appropriately.
First use the following questions to determine what your body type is. Then take a look at the illustrations of the four types. Do you recognize yourself? If you're still unsure, read the detailed profiles for each body type.
Do you tend to carry weight in both your upper and lower body, yet are more slender through the waist? Is there a significant difference between the circumference of your chest and your waist (or between your hips and waist)? Does your body appear balanced and curvaceous when you look in the mirror?
If so, you are an HOURGLASS.
Do you carry most of your weight in your hips, thighs and buttocks? Are you more slender on the top? Do you tend to gain weight or carry extra weight from the hips down? Do your eyes go directly to the lower half of your body when you look in the mirror?
If so, you are a SPOON.
Are you pretty much built straight up and down with very few curves? Is there little difference in the circumferences of your chest, waist and hips? Do you tend to put on weight around your midsection?
If so, you are a RULER.
Do you tend to carry most of your weight in your back, chest, arms and stomach? Are you more slender from the hips down?
If so, you are a CONE.
If you are having problems determining your body type, it is probably because you are carrying extra weight. Fear not, simply follow the Hourglass workout until you shed off some of that weight. As you become slimmer and your natural shape begins to emerge, you can start adding some resistance and weight to your exercises. I find that many women look in the mirror and have eyes only for their problem areas. I can't tell you how many women misdiagnose their body type as a Spoon. They are all obsessed with the size of their thighs. A woman who is 5'8" and 170 pounds, who bulks in the arms and the thighs and is more slender around her stomach may think she is a Spoon because she has very big thighs. But in reality, she is an Hourglass with a tendency to bulk down below a little faster than she does up above. I call this type of woman a bottom-heavy Hourglass. She bulks both above and below but more on her bottom half. Because she is overweight by at least 20 pounds, a lot of that extra weight is emphasized below. She only thinks she is a Spoon because she dislikes that part of her body so much.
In truth, you're only temporarily caught between types. Deep down you are a pure Hourglass, Spoon, Ruler or Cone and you're overweight. You cannot be anything else. For example, you can't be a top-heavy Ruler, because someone who bulks only on top by definition is a Cone. Nor can you be a top-heavy Spoon, because that would make you an Hourglass. If you are larger throughout any one part of your body, you are either overweight and/or bulkier due to the type of exercises you have been performing.
I strongly recommend you take measurements prior to starting your body-type fitness routine. (See the section below for directions.) If possible, have a friend or colleague take them for you because it is very difficult to precisely or accurately measure yourself. Each time you turn and twist to get a measurement, it throws off the reading. Your measurements are important because they're a definitive indication of your body type. They are also a good way to track your progress so you can make adjustments to your workouts as necessary. You may find that quantifiable improvements come in inches, but not scale weight. If you are overweight, and need to lose both inches and weight, you may need to adjust your caloric intake and/or diet. Once you see your problem areas start to shrink, you will become even more motivated to continue with your workouts. I suggest that you record your measurements every 30 days.
Keeping track of your measurements will help you adjust your workouts to meet your goals. Let's say you are an Hourglass and two months into your workouts you notice that while you're losing inches from your hips and thighs, your upper arms and back aren't responding as well. That typically means that you are not doing enough of your upper-body routine and/or aerobic exercise. Knowing that, you can adjust your workouts so that your upper body begins to change at a faster pace. You may also find that after losing a certain number of inches throughout your body that you don't need to lose as much weight as you first thought. You may have started out thinking you needed to lose at least 15 pounds, but after two months find you have dropped two dress sizes though lost only 5 pounds. I have seen countless clients, both men and women, lose just a few pounds but more than 10 inches from their body.
I haven't stuck with any excersize program long enough to see huge benefits but I have seen results with this book.Published 5 months ago by MC
this is a good work out guide and helped me get into great shape. I have purchased it for others as well.Published 6 months ago by Molly Rathbun
I have worked out for many years and am what I would consider an avid workout person. I was frustrated that as hard as I work out my body just didn't show the difference I thought... Read morePublished 18 months ago by tesero
Like the other book he has I now learned how to excercise for my shape and which ones to avoid. If you live in New York then meet him like i did - so worth it. WWW.exude.comPublished 21 months ago by Me
I read this book a few years ago and took a little of this and a little of that but I didn't follow instructions step by step. Read morePublished on August 5, 2012 by JoJo James
This book is really good. It changes the whole way one has to work out to slim down. It has worked amazingly for me in the 1st 3 weeks. Read morePublished on June 22, 2012 by Julie
I had been working out for a good 6 months--lifting weights, cardio and stretches. I started to notice that my arms were getting huge because I was increasing my weight every few... Read morePublished on November 15, 2011 by miche001
This book sheds light on why the exercises your personal trainer told you to do don't work! I bought copies for my friends!Published on February 6, 2011 by L. Smith
This book has to be the biggest piece of garbage I've ever come across about exercise advice. Holy cow! Do yourself a favor and don't buy it or read it. Read morePublished on September 20, 2010 by Amazon Customer