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The Best Workout for Your Shape

January 7, 2011

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If you’re stuck in a workout rut or find yourself flat-out uninspired to get in shape, perhaps a fitness mismatch is to blame. “One size definitely does not fit all when it comes to exercise,” says our mind-body fitness expert Ellen Barrett. A friend’s “amazing workout” may be your recipe for boredom, just as what motivates you may fail to inspire her. The key to staying fit for life, our experts say, lies in pairing your program to your body type. You’ll see the best results — and have the most fun along the way.

Schools of thought in both the West and East (specifically, India’s Ayurveda) put people into three camps: muscular/athletic, slender/quick, or curvy/steady. You probably lean toward one grouping, but “most people are hybrids,” explains Barrett. “You’ll often have both a primary and secondary type.” Each category has its strengths, and the optimal fitness plan capitalizes on these while also helping you to balance out your weaknesses.

To find the one that best caters to your body type, identify yourself in the descriptions that follow. “You’ll be much more likely to stick with a program that suits your individual needs,” says Jennifer Kries, a Philadelphia-based Pilates instructor and creator of the Hot Body Cool Mind: The Life Force Power Workout DVDs. “You’ll also build greater self-respect as you do.” And that might be the best benefit of all.

Decide your body type and get your new customized workout:
Ectomorph: Slender (Energetic and Quick)
Endomorph: Curvy (Strong and Steady)
Mesomorph: Muscular (Driven and Athletic)

Text by Kate Hanley; photographs by Henry Leutwyler
Read more at The Best Workout for Your Shape

I identify with Mesomorph- muscular(driven and atheletic).

Mesomorph: Muscular (Driven and Athletic)
“Mesomorphs bring an intensity to everything they do,” says Barrett. “Exercise is like therapy for them. It calms them down and helps their moods stay on an even keel.”

Physical Traits
Naturally well-proportioned, you’re blessed with good coordination, endurance, strength, and agility. You develop muscle easily and master sports quickly. Another thing you’re blessed with? A pleasing physique. (Think Birth of Venus or Michelangelo’s David.) Note, though, that because you push your physical limits, you’re prone to injury.

Confident, intelligent, and creative, you radiate a magnetism that puts you at the center of attention; you also possess great stores of motivation. The downside? Sometimes your intensity can turn to grumpiness and anger.

You Love
You’re interested in anything new, so you love the latest fitness craze. You also thrive on competition, intensity, and “feeling the burn.”

You Avoid
Anything you see as too slow or wimpy (such as water aerobics).

Your Dosha: Pitta
Of medium height and build, folks that fall under what Ayurveda calls pitta tend to have thin reddish or brown hair and easily irritated or inflamed skin. Because pitta rules digestive fire, you’re prone to overheating, resulting in excessive sweating, acid indigestion, or strong emotions such as hate or jealousy.

Your Plan
Go ahead: Indulge your natural athleticism and love of high-intensity activity with cardio at least three times a week, whether it’s cycling, running, boot camp, Vinyasa yoga, or dancing. But be careful not to overdo it. To balance out your competitive nature, incorporate contemplative practices such as tai chi, qigong, or Yin yoga into your weekly routine. “The most nurturing forms of exercise teach patience and introspection to balance your ambition,” says Kries. Also make time for informal exercise (long walks with the dog, playing Frisbee with the kids) to give yourself periodic breaks from your propensity for intensity.

Sample Week
Day 1
30-minute run

Day 2
Restorative yoga

Day 3
Spinning class or laps at the pool

Day 4
45-minute walk with the dog

Day 5
Strength-training: 30 minutes of weights at the gym

Day 6
15 minutes of qigong or tai chi

Day 7
Frisbee with the kids

Read more at Your Best Shape Workout: Muscular-Types

What body type are you? I challenge you to give the sample workout week a try!


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