Ask a guy to describe the physically ideal woman, and he’ll likely trace an hourglass figure in the air with both hands. After all, the hourglass frame is considered the perfect body shape by most people. This is because hourglass shapes are naturally proportionate, characterized by a larger chest and hips with a slender waistline in between.
Despite — or because of — their balanced appearance, women with hourglass figures tend to carry more weight than those with other body types. So an hourglass who is 5’7″, has a larger frame, and is well-toned will look more slender at 155 lbs. than a pear shape or an apple shape of the same weight. She’ll also lose weight faster, and everywhere at once. And because hourglass figures tend to have slim middles, they are at lower risk than other body types for heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
The downside for hourglass body types is that it can be easy not to notice weight gain right away. So how do you keep your body looking slim and well-toned? My first suggestion is to throw away the scale and use your pants size as a gauge instead.
Nutrition Is #1
Nutrition for hourglass shapes is very important, as this body type responds very quickly to what one eats and when one eats it. Sugars and refined carbohydrates should be limited to special occasions — these types of foods immediately add bulk to the hips, legs, backs and upper arms of hourglass figures. Instead, replace these foods with fruit and Greek yogurt. You will find yourself as satisfied as if you had eaten sweets with the added bonus of a slimmer waistline.
Your primary carbohydrate sources should be fruits and vegetables, along with unprocessed foods and only limited rice and pastas. Also avoid naturally sugary foods such as bananas and corn; focus instead on green beans, asparagus, kale and other nutrient-filled vegetables. Instead of mashed potatoes, try mashed cauliflower. With this simple change you will start seeing results right away.
Protein is very important for hourglass figures. Lean proteins like egg whites, chicken, fish and pork will help keep your energy levels high and keep you satisfied for longer periods of time. Make sure at every meal you have a protein source with your carbohydrate. Also, after a workout, get some protein in; this will add lean muscle mass as well as stave off hunger.
The last key to the nutrition puzzle is the type of fat you eat. Hourglass shapes need to limit their fats and aim for only heart-healthy fats like olive oil, almonds and avocados. Again, with this body type, too much will end up in almost instant weight gain. If hunger strikes, grab only a handful of almonds to keep you full until your next meal.
Additional Nutrition Tips:
• When ordering a salad, ask for dressing on the side. If the salad contains cheese or avocados, ask for no dressing.
• When cooking vegetables, try sautéing them in a tablespoon of olive oil; this will help your body absorb the nutrients while keeping you satisfied.
• Avoid trans fats at all costs.
If you follow these nutrition guidelines you will start to see your curves slim down and your muscle definition pop out.
Workout Routine for Hourglass Figures
Hourglass figures are very lucky because they tend to have more athletic builds. This allows them to enjoy a variety of activities and keep boredom levels low. They also tend to have strong bones and good muscle definition. However, hourglass shapes do tend to bulk up when they lift heavy, so high repetitions are a must.
If you are an hourglass shape and trying to slim down, then cardio is going to become your best friend. Cardio will help you burn added fat and slim down your legs and arms. Here are some examples:
• Running – Running is great cardio activity for hourglass shapes. Build up your endurance to 60 minutes; this will really help to slim down your hips and tone your arms.
• Tennis – The side-to-side motion of tennis will do wonders for your outer thighs. Plan to play singles and to volley instead of playing games. This will help keep your heart rate up and your body moving for longer periods of time.
• Elliptical – Now, the trick with this piece of cardio equipment is to set it at a decent resistance and to keep your pace fast. Use both the forward and backward motions. Aim to stay on the machine for 45 minutes; this will really help tone and slim your upper thighs and butt area.
Cardio should be done 5 to 6 days a week and for 45 to 60 minutes. Keeping this routine will help hourglass shapes lose added fat around the upper thighs and hip area. Make sure you stay hydrated and eat some protein within 30 minutes of exercise.
Strength-Training for Hourglass Shapes
Hourglass shapes need to focus on training hard, but for short periods of time. Their strength-training sessions should be 30 to 45 minutes, three times a week. There should be little rest and the weight should be low.
Hourglass figures tend to bulk, mostly in their upper arms and legs. They need to focus on toeing these areas with higher reps and lower resistance. Here are some sample exercises:
• Kettlebell Swings – Stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold the kettlebell with both hands. Make sure you keep your abs tight and your back straight. Swing the kettlebell between your legs with a slight squat, and then thrust from the hips and swing it upward. Then let the kettlebell come down between your legs as your knees bend, and repeat right away. Repeat for 30 swings.
• Side Lunges with Medicine Ball Hop – Hold a medicine ball like a basketball, with elbows bent by your sides. Do a side lunge to your right, then come back to center, squat and throw the medicine ball toward the ceiling. Catch and lunge left. Keep repeating with a medicine ball toss every time you come back to center. Repeat 26 times. (Make sure you do an even number on each side, or you’ll come out lopsided!)
• Burpees with Jump on BOSU – Start standing on a BOSU ball. Jump back to the ground, place your hands on the BOSU, and jump your legs back into plank position. Immediately jump your legs back toward the BOSU, and then jump on the ball and repeat the entire exercise 15 times.
• Push-Ups on Bosu – These will help tone your arms as well as your midsection. Grab each side of the BOSU and get in a plank position; keep your arms straight with your shoulders over your hands. Bend at the elbow and lower yourself down, then push yourself up away from the BOSU. Repeat 12 to 15 times.
• Squat with Side Leg Raise – Position one foot on the middle of the BOSU and the other foot slightly away from it. Squat down. As you stand up, lift the leg that is on the ground straight up off the ground, so you are squeezing with your outer thigh. Then return to a squat. Repeat 15 times on this side, then switch. If you need more of a challenge, use a medicine ball for added weight with your arms straightforward. This will work your arms and shoulders.
Getting the Shape You Want
Hourglass figures are often envied for having everything in the right places. Just remember that hourglass figures tend to carry more scale weight than other body shapes. You should use pants sizes as a measure of where you are and where you would like to be.
Also, bulking occurs when hourglass figures lift too much weight or eat too much, especially refined sugars and carbohydrates. Remember to eat five meals per day and make cardio a priority. As always, consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Next up, Ruler Shapes!