I know that lots of you email me your questions so this week I’m going to answer a reader’s question that I received last week.
Jane Cooke from Bolton said: ‘Hi David, I have a pear-shaped figure but, despite doing a lot of exercise on my lower body to try to make it more proportional to my top half, nothing’s working. I thought that cycling might help to slim my thighs down but, if anything, they’re getting bigger. I’m not sure what to do. Can you help?’
Jane’s problem is not uncommon. Over 60% of women in the UK are pear-shaped, including celebrities such as Kate Winslet, Jennifer Lopez and Coleen Rooney. Now I bet you’re thinking… ‘I didn’t know they were pear-shaped?’ ‘…But their bodies look in proportion!’ Well, that’s because they know a few fitness secrets that you didn’t… until now!
The main aim of fitness, other than health reasons, is to make the most of your body. Notice the your. Not every body is the same. Some are hourglass, some are apple, some are triangle and some are pear-shaped. The trick to making the most of your body is first knowing your body type and adapting your fitness regime to include exercises that work with it.
Are you pear-shaped?
People with pear-shaped figures tend to have a smaller upper body, slim waist and lean arms. Most of their weight is distributed from the waist down, mainly around their lower stomach, hips, thighs, waist and bum.
What happens when pear-shapes gain weight?
When pear-shapes gain weight, it goes straight to their hips, bums and thighs. The downside to this is that it can make them more prone to cellulite than other body-types but, don’t worry, the plus side is that, if you follow the correct training program, you have the potential to make bigger changes to your figure than any other body-type.
What type of exercise should pear-shapes do?
Most pear-shaped women have well-defined waistlines and enviably flat stomachs, so most of their training program should focus on their bum and legs.
Include: You should do a combination of cardio and toning exercises. Cardio is important as it will help you to get rid of excess body fat. However, the focus should be on toning as this is what will help you to fit comfortably in your skinny jeans. Try pilates, yoga or kick-boxing, they’ll work great for you
Choosing the RIGHT cardio workout FOR YOU: I know that Jane said she’s been doing a lot of cycling to reduce the size of her bum/thighs but that this hasn’t made them smaller. The reason for this is that, although cardio is important and will make her fitter she’s chosen the wrong type of cardio for her body shape. By choosing cycling (which focuses on the legs), it’s causing her to bulk up in the very area that she’s trying to slim down. In future, try to choose cardio exercises that involve the whole body (e.g. swimming or cross-trainer), rather than legs only. This will help to prevent your legs from bulking up and give more even results.
Breaking the myth…. If you’re pear-shaped and looking to re-proportion your body with exercise, DON’T neglect your upper body. Many people fall into this trap but, to add overall definition and proportion, you need to continue to condition your upper body, especially your chest, shoulders and back. (A good ratio to follow is: 75% lower body; 25% upper body.)
I know that many people long to have an hourglass figure but being pear-shaped can be fantastic too so don’t knock it. Bigger bums are not only seen as sexy and a sign of fertility but being pear-shaped has healthy benefits too. E.g. The distribution of your body fat means that you have a lower risk of developing medical problems such as heart disease. This is because hip fat contains an anti-inflammatory called which Adiponectin and prevents arteries from swelling up and becoming blocked.
So for all you bootilicious pears, be confident and rock your pear-shape with pride.
I hope this helps Jane. It’s always nice to hear your feedback and questions so keep getting in touch and I’ll do my best to get back to you all. David x