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The Four Female Body Types

The Four Female Body Types
Original Source: Government of Western Australia

The Four Female Body Types and How they Affect Fat Loss

Body types are categories used to describe a persons skeletal structure, and how muscle and fat are distributed throughout that structure. Metabolic cooking can have amazing results, but we all begin with what are parents gave us.

Every person is unique, with their own combination of habits and genetic predispositions. The more we continue learning about diet and exercise and how they affect weight loss and overall health, the more we understand that there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to health and fitness.

Though every woman responds differently to changes in their nutritional and activity habits, identifying  which of the four basic body types you fall into can provide valuable insight into best practice fitness strategies. These strategies can then be used to help you get the results you want in the shortest amount of time.

Here’s what you need to know about each of the 4 main body types and how they can affect weight loss:

Hourglass Shape

Conjuring up images of curvaceous stars of the 1950s like Sophia Loren, Betty Brosmer, and Liz Taylor, the hourglass shape is one of the most revered of the four types. Despite it’s popularity as an “ideal female body type”, only about 8 percent of woman have it.

Women with an hourglass shape distribute weight evenly between their busts, upper arms, and hips and thighs, while maintaining a thin tapered waste. With the hourglass shape fat tends to be stored around the backs of the arms and/or the inner and outer thighs.

Typically women who have hour glass shapes can be more focused on incorporating exercise into their lives rather than significantly changing their diets. In order to lose weight while maintaing a healthy shape, it’s important to include full body strength training. Your goal should be to tighten and to tone your body (lose fat while preserving muscle), not necessarily to lose pounds.

Famous Hour Glasses include: Sophia Loren, Betty Brosmer, Raquel Welch, Salma Hayek, and Dita Von Teese

Apple (Inverted Triangle) Shape

Women who have an apple shape have shoulders that are wider than their hips, and they often have thin legs. Accounting for about 14% of women, apple shaped women tend to store weight first around their abdomen, which is typically the last place they’ll lose it. An important note about this pattern of fat storage in the abdominal regional is that studies have shown that it can put people at greater risk of heart disease and other adverse health conditions.

Apple shaped women should focus on consuming a diet that consists of complex carbohydrates, such as those from vegetables and whole grains like rice, barley, and oats. The remainder of their diet should come from lean proteins (like chicken and turkey), and healthy fats.

Their exercises should include cardio that focuses on their lower body, and strength training that includes heavy lower body exercises like step-ups, squats, and deadlifts.

Famous Inverted Triangles include: Demi Moore, Naomi Campbell, and Jennifer Garner .

Pear Shape

Representing about 20% of the population, the pear shape is a bit more common among women than either the hour glass or apple shapes. Pear shaped women tend to gain weight around their hips and thighs, while retaining a slim waist and narrow upper body.

In order to lose fat women who have a pear shape are encouraged to eat a diet that is low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates, primarily from fruits and vegetables. Coconut oil is also encouraged as a source of fat for its metabolism-boosting properties.

For exercises cardio based interval and HIIT are great ways to lean out a bit because they typically involve a ton of lower body movement, which can help blast calories while reshaping their hips, thighs, and buttocks.

Activities like swimming and cycling are great ways to start reshaping your body while having fun, but don’t become fixated solely on reducing your larger lower body to match your upper body. It’s entirely possible that your best version of yourself lies somewhere in between two extremes, so add some full body strength training a couple of times a week and attack your goal from both sides by slapping on some metabolically active upper body muscle.

Some perfect example of famous pears include: Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, and Kelly Clarkson.

Rectangle (Banana) Shape

Representing about 46% of women the most common female body type is the banana, or rectangle shape. Women with a rectangle shape tend to carry weight proportionately, similar to the hourglass shape, but they also carry weight around their middle. Women who have a rectangle shape have an overall slim figure with weight around the midsection or buttocks. Typically the rectangle female body type includes women whose waist measurements are less than 9 inches smaller than the measurement of their hips or bust.

Rectangle shaped body women tend to have a higher metabolism than other shapes, so they can eat most foods in moderation. The key is to keep an eye on calories in and calories out. Do you know how many calories you should be eating?

Exercise and strength training are also important, but banana shapes should be careful not to overdo it in order to prevent overstimulating their already high metabolisms.

Looking to build more curves? Focus your strength training on your shoulders and lower body muscles like your buttocks and thighs.

Famous Rectangles include: Gwen Stafani, Sienna Miller, and Nicole Kidman.

If you have been trying to lose weight and get fit but you haven’t been successful, take a look at what type of body shape you have and see what you need to tweak. It might be the difference you’ve been waiting for!

A Note From Matt:

*It’s important to note that the female body types mentioned above are described independently of any body fat percentage, or body weight considerations. Excessive caloric consumption and a sedentary lifestyle are key contributors to becoming overweight regardless of body type. 

One of the easiest things I’ve ever done to increase my gains is to allow myself etiquette recovery time between my workouts. If you start strength training, make your workouts count more by doing the same. 

About the Author:

Bridget Sandorford is a freelance food and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching culinary school requirements. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.

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