Work with Your Body Type: Apple Shape
Not everyone likes the body shape they were born with, but there are ways to shape and tone your body to make the most of what you have. In my last article, we discussed how you could slim down and tone a pear shape body. Today we will discuss the “apple” body type and how proper diet and exercise together can give you the body you want.
The apple body frame is distinguished by having a bigger top half followed by a lean bottom half. Apples tend to store fat around their midsection, like chest, abdomen, and stomach. The good news about the apple shape is the abdominal fat is easier to burn than the gluteofemoral fat that the pears carry around their hips and thighs. This is because the fat that is stored in your stomach can break down more easily then than fat stored in your hips and thighs.
However, ‘belly’ fat has more health risks, like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. This fat, also know as visceral fat, surrounds your organs to help protect and help them work properly. But if you have too much, then the opposite happens, passageways start to block up and your insulin levels spike because there is too much sugar in your system and your body cannot process all of it.
Apples, do not get scared there is hope! So now is the time to get motivated to change, so you can take the next steps towards a healthier and leaner body. When working with your body type you have to adapt your eating habits and your exercise plan to your body type, not your friends. Remember, that everyone is different and you need to focus on what is best to achieve your individual goals.
The Apple Body Type Diet
Apples do have one thing in common with the other body types and that is they should focus on eating 5 to 6 small meals a day. This will help to keep their metabolism burning and their hunger at bay.
One of the biggest differences between apples and pears is their need to focus on a diet that is low in processed carbohydrates but includes a lot of healthful (unsaturated fats) like olive oil, avocados, and nuts. These fats will actually help increase your body’s ability to burn fat, as well as decrease inflammation around organs that can led to disease.
When it comes to carbohydrates, apples need to choose foods that are low on the glycemic index. This is because these types of food will help stabilize blood sugars after a meal, stave off hunger, and lower hormone insulin. These are all things that can lead to disease. The added benefit is that you will have more energy throughout the day and be able to focus more at work. Examples of these carbohydrates are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans. Remember to eat everything in proper portion sizes because too much of anything is not a good thing.
Lastly, we need to talk about protein intake. Protein intake should make up 25 to 35% of your daily diet. You want to focus on lean meats, like salmon, chicken, and egg whites. Red meat should be eaten rarely and in moderation. Make sure you always pair a protein source with a complex carbohydrate. This will help the nutrients to be properly absorbed and help keep you full and satisfied. Protein also helps keep sugar cravings down. Processed sugars are Apples worst enemies. If you are craving sugar, then you need to amp up your protein intake.
Exercises for The Apple Shape
If you are an Apple, then you want to focus on cardio sessions that burn fat. You also want to look for cardiovascular training that tones your legs as well. Apples tend to be smaller on the bottom so exercises that tone and build your legs will help balance your whole body.
Apples should focus on doing cardiovascular workouts for 5 to 6 days a week for 45 to 60 minutes. These sessions should be moderate to high intensity. If you are just starting, make sure you start off slow so that you do not increase your risk for injury.
Examples of Cardio for Apples
- Stair Climber – This will help build your quads and butt, as well as burn fat around your mid section. Apples should aim for 45 minutes on the stair climber.
- Running – Running helps define leg muscles and is a great exercise for burning fat around your stomach. Apples should take their runs outside so that you can challenge yourself on hills and trails. This will help tone your legs and give you a great cardiovascular workout.
- Spinning – This intense 60 minute class burns tons of calories plus works your Hamstrings. Quads, and Glutes. The class offers a variety of workouts from climbs, sprints, and flat roads. If you have never tried spin, now is the time to go for it. Do not try to compete with the class. Get comfortable with the bike and aim to make it for the whole 60 minutes. Then build from there.
Strength Training Tips for Apples
Strength training is great for raising your metabolism and building muscle to help balance out your body. Apples need to focus on building muscle in their lower bodies, while toning the arms and midsection.
The lower body workout should focus on 8 to 10 repetitions for 3 sets, while the upper body workout should aim for 12 to 15 repetitions. By the last set it should be hard to finish the number of repetitions, for both upper and lower body. If you can do three sets without and problem then you should add more weight.
5 Lower Body Exercises
1. One Legged Jump Ups – Stand with you left side towards a bench. Place your left leg on the bench and jump up, driving your right knee towards the ceiling. Land, keeping your left foot on the bench. Continue at a fast pace for 10 repetitions.
2. Jumping Jack Squats – Start with feet together, squat down and jump up and land with your feet farther apart. Immediately squat and then jump your legs back together and land in a squat position. Continue for one minute.
3. Reverse lunges with Knee Up – Start with feet together and a barbell behind your neck, that is resting on your shoulders. Standing tall and abdominals tight. Bring your right foot back and bend the knee towards the floor. The front knee should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Push up through your front heel and bring your right knee all the way through and up, so it is now bent at a 90-degree and angle. From that position bring it back to a reverse lunge and repeat. This will help build muscle and work on your core strength.
4. One Legged Leg Press – Sit on a 45-degree leg press machine. Put needed weight on each side. Place one foot on the platform and it should be close to the middle. Extend the leg and release the dock leavers. Lower sled by flexing the hips and knees until just short of complete flexion. Extend the knees and hips and repeat. If you have knee problems, then just bend your knees to a comfortable point.
5. Standing Calf Raises – Grasp dumbbell in one hand. Position your toes and balls of feet on a calf block or step. Your heels should be hanging off the back. With your free hand hold onto the wall or something for support. Raise heels up as high as you can go and then lower them as far down as possible. Repeat and then switch to the other side.
5 Upper Body Exercises
1. Decline Push Ups – Place the top of your feet on a bench. Then walk your hands out until you are in a push up position. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Also, make sure your chest is over your hands. With abs tight and a straight back, lower yourself down to the floor by bending at the elbows. Then push yourself up to your starting positions and repeat.
2. Medicine Ball Circles – Grab a medicine ball and place your hands on each side with palms facing in. Start with your hands straight out in front with elbows slightly bent. Now move the ball in large circle in one direction. Keep your abdominals facing forward and tight. Once you do 15 circles, switch to the opposite direction.
3. Bent Over Dumbbell Row – Kneel on a bench with your right knee and place your right hand flat on the bench about 2 feet in front of it. Your left leg should be on the floor and next to your right knee. Grasp the dumbbell with your left hand and pull it up so that your elbow goes towards the ceiling and then return the dumbbell towards the floor until your arm is extended. Make sure you focus on squeezing that shoulder blade as you life the dumbbell.
4. Door Knob Turns – Stand with feet shoulder width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. With palms facing inward raise your arms until they are should level and extend out. Always remember to keep your elbows relaxed. Now with your arms extended out turn your hands like you were opening a door. Continue for 30 secs and then relax. Repeat after a 1-minute break.
5. Bicep Curl Standing On One Leg – Stand on your right foot and place dumbbell in your left hand. Your palm should be facing forward with elbow close to your side. Bring the dumbbell up towards your body by bending at your elbow and then slowly lower back down. Repeat and then switch arms. Make sure to not let the lifted foot touch the ground.
Love Your Shape
Apples have an advantage over other body types because they have the ability to loose fat easier. However, it is important to start a workout routine immediately and stick with it so that you lower your risk of on setting certain diseases.
Apples need to focus on getting cardio training sessions in 5 to 6 times a week. This will help burn extra calories and build up your leg muscles. Cardio training should be followed by strength training exercises at least 3 times a week. These sessions will help apples continue to burn more calories throughout the day, as well as balance their lower half with their upper half. Along with the proper diet, apples will be on their way to slimming down and looking good in no time!
The next part of the series is about the “hourglass” figure!