Work With Your Body Type: Pear Shapes
Every woman has a unique body type. Genetics, exercise, diet, and environment all play key roles in how you look on the outside. Have you ever noticed that some of your friends can eat more than you can and never gain a pound? On the other hand, others workout everyday and never seem to lose a pound?
Women are continually trying to change their bodies. However, if you want to lose the weight and keep it off for good, you need figure out what your body type is and work with it, rather than against it. Genetics give everyone a different body type. This is why some store fat in their stomachs and others just do not seem to store fat anywhere. The good news is with proper diet and exercise, you can help shape and sculpt every body type into the toned, fit body you want.
Women most commonly carry fat in their hips, thighs, and butts — this shape is known as the “pear shape.” This is one of the most common shapes among women and is characterized by being smaller on top and bigger on the bottom. Other common body types are the “apple,” “ruler,” and “the hourglass.”
In this four-part series we will learn about each of the four different body types. This time we will focus on the pears!
Are You a Pear Shape?
To determine if you are a pear shape, ask yourself where on you body you store fat? Also, are your hips slightly wider then your shoulders? Pear shapes tend to be described as an athletic build, which can add bulky muscle in their lower sections fast but can have a hard time sculpting their upper body.
A recent study performed by Syracuse University, stated that pear shapes have a lower risk of heart diseases, but have a very hard time removing fat from their thighs and hip region. They believe this is because this body type has estrogen multiples fat storing enzymes that direct fat to these areas.
So great news if you want to have a baby, but not so great when you want to trim down. However, there are ways to work with this body type, so that you can lean out and be comfortable in your jeans.
Understanding Your Pear Shape
The first piece to this puzzle is cardio! Pear shapes need to amp up their cardio to 5 to 6 days a week. There are two types of cardio sessions you should be alternating throughout the week — long sessions that achieve constant heart rate and the other is intense interval training.
Here are some examples of each:
1. Spinning – Do not let the resistance get too heavy. You want to keep a quick pace with moderate resistance. This cardio class is great because it gets your heart rate pumping and then allows you short recoveries. Perfect interval training.
2. Running – Excellent exercise for Pair shapes. Work on building up your endurance and lengthening the time you run. Ever noticed marathon runner’s legs? They have little fat in their upper thighs and butt!
3. Tennis – Great for burst of energy. Playing singles is key and work on volleying more than playing an actual game. This will keep your heart rate up for a longer period of time. Also the side-to-side motion is great for toning and slimming your legs.
4. Elliptical Trainer – This one is great because there is no impact. So if you have joint problems you can still get a great workout in. There are also different settings so you can do interval training one time and then endurance the next.
These are just a couple examples. Also try the stair climber, jumping rope and power walking. Your goal is to get 45 to 60 minutes in each day.
The Importance of Strength Training
Strength training is very important for pear shapes. Since the upper body is smaller then the lower body, pears need to build muscle in their arms and chest. This will help balance their overall appearance. The opposite is true for the lower body. The lower body will need less weight and higher repetitions.
Pears tend to have bulky thighs, so pears need to do exercises that lean this area out, so that it is in a better proportion with their upper body. Here are some examples of exercises for upper and lower body strength training sessions.
Exercises for the Upper Body
Focus on working the arms, back, shoulders and chest. Aim for 8 to 12 repetitions. On your 3rd set you should be struggling to finish your repetitions. Pears should train upper body three times a week, with a break in-between days.
Here are a couple exercises:
1. Bicep Curls to Shoulder Press – Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Hold the dumbbell by your side, with palm facing forward. Bring your palm up to your shoulder, by bending at the elbow. When your palm is facing your shoulder turn it towards the wall and press up to the ceiling. Then bring it back down to your should, turn your palm inwards, and bicep curl down. Repeat and then switch hands.
2. Triceps Kick backs – Kneel with same arm and leg on bench and other leg on floor. Grasp dumbbell with free hand and position upper arm so it is parallel to floor. Extend lower arm until straight; making sure elbow stays tight by your side. Return and Repeat. Really feel your triceps tighten as you kick back.
3. Push Ups – Lie prone on floor with hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Raise body up off of the floor by extending the arms and keeping the body straight. Lower towards floor and repeat.
4. Cable Seated Rows – Sit on bench facing cable machine, grasp cable attachment. Place feet on vertical platforms and slide back until you have a slight bend in your knees. Keep your body at 90-degree angle with the bench throughout entire movement. Pull cable attachment towards center of body, really focusing on squeezing your shoulder blades together. Then return arms to extended position, then repeat.
5. Alternating Front Raise – Grasp dumbbells in both hands. Position dumbbells in front of upper legs with elbows straight or slightly bent. Raise one dumbbell with elbows relaxed until upper arm is parallel to floor. Continue with alternate arm. Raise one dumbbell forward and upward with until upper arm is above horizontal. Lower and repeat with opposite arm alternating between arms.
Lower Body Training
Pear shapes need to focus on high repetitions, with not a lot of rest, when training lower body. This will help fire up that metabolism to burn unwanted fat and tone your lower body. Also, these movements will help tighten your thigh and hip muscles to help your pants have a looser fit. Do these exercises for a minute with only a 30 sec break in between.
Here are some examples:
1. Lunges – Reverse lunges, diagonal lunges, front lunges, and walking lunges are fantastic!
2. Side-to-Side Squats with Bosu – Start with one foot on Bosu and other foot on the floor. Squat down and then jump up and jump over so your other foot is now on the Bosu. Land into a squat and then repeat at a fast pace.
3. One Leg Wall Squats – Grab a stability ball and put the ball in between the lull of your back and the wall. Take a couple small steps out away from the wall. Make sure your hips are back against the ball. Bring one knee up and squat down and up with standing leg. Repeat with other leg.
4. Step Ups With Knee Lift – Grab a box or bench that is at least over 2 feet high. Step up on the box with your left foot and bring your right knee up to a 90-degree angle without touching the box. Then bring the right foot back to the ground. Repeat. If you want a higher intensity add a hop after you put your left foot on the box.
5. Lying Single Leg Bridges – Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your right leg off the ground. Drive your hips up towards the ceiling, pushing through your heel and squeezing your glutes. Then lower until a couple inches above floor. Repeat and then switch legs.
These are all great exercises and can be done after a cardio session or on the days that you are doing upper body strength training. You should super set two of these exercises together to get maximum benefit. Remember Pear shapes have to train their legs differently because of their build, so stick with this plan and lay off heavy weights for the lower body.
Don’t Forget Nutrition
Nutrition is a key piece to shaping and toning your body. Pears need to stay away from refined sugars and white starches — these are your worst enemies. As we discussed earlier, Pear’s body types are already wired to distribute fat to the hips and thighs. By eliminating white sugars and starches you are already one step closer to attaining a leaner appearance.
Next, you need to focus on eating small meals throughout the day. Pears need to keep that metabolism fired up so it does not distribute more fat to those areas. Small meals made up of lean protein and complex carbs will keep you feel satisfied and lean.
Pears also must eat breakfast. When you are asleep your body goes into a hibernation mode and you need to wake it up and energize it. How do you do that? By drinking a large glass of water with a slice of lemon and eat a small meal. This will also keep you from binging or craving carbohydrates later in the day. Nutrition plays a large role in attaining your goals of slimming down.
Putting It All Together
Genetics might not be on your side, but with these tips you can achieve a lean and more toned you! Make even small changes in your diet that you can aim to stick with for the rest of your life. Target 45 to 60 minutes of cardio per session and alternate between interval and endurance training.
This mixture of strength training, cardio, and nutrition will help you lose the weight effectively and keep it off in the long term.
Apple body types are coming up next, with rulers and hourglasses soon to follow!