The ideal female body shape has changed throughout history. It influenced how a woman perceived herself, and how others perceived her. It played a role in a woman’s social status, her health, and the clothes she wears.
The ever-changing ideals were dictated by the fashion industry, the entertainment as well as the fitness industry. There were times when fuller figures were all the rage. And there were times when the waif body type was considered picture-perfect. The constant, most sought-after shape is the perfect hourglass figure, however. Women of all shapes and sizes desperately tried to mimic this ideal. But the perfect hourglass figure is not common for most females. Corsets, waist trimmers, slimming devices were used, sometimes even to the extreme.
Nowadays, we’ve started to embrace the diversity of female body shapes. The industries that dictated the ideals have now accepted the fact that women come in all different shapes and sizes. And they’ve come to understand how women should take care of themselves through health and exercise, and how to dress according to their body types.
Here are the most common female body shapes and how to look your best in it:
1. The Pear Shape
As the name suggests, you are shaped like a pear. You carry most of your weight in your lower body most particularly your hips, buttocks, and legs. You have a smaller upper body, usually with narrow shoulders.
Exercise: Your main goal is to add some size to your shoulders and upper body to balance out your lower body. You can do this by doing weight training for your shoulders, arms, chest, and back. High-intensity interval cardio and plyometrics will help trim and shape your hips, butt, thighs, and legs.
Diet: Most pear-shaped women tend to store fat more easily than other body types so it’s best not to consume too many carbohydrates like bread, pasta, and rice. Focus more on fibrous carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats such as avocados and nuts.
2. The Apple Shape
If you carry most of your weight in your torso, you are considered apple-shaped. You have a large bust, small hips, and slim arms and legs.
Exercise: Low-intensity cardio like jogging can target the excess weight in your midsection, as well as abs exercises. Weight training to add some girth for your arms and lower body can help you look more balanced. Compound exercises like squats and deadlifts for your lower body can help build your hips and butt to add some curves in that area as well.
Diet: Since it’s been studied that those who tend to store fat in their midsection are more prone to cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, women with this body type should focus on eating a balanced diet of complex carbohydrates like brown rice and sweet potatoes, fruits and vegetables, and nuts. It’s best to avoid salty food and food high in cholesterol like those that are deep-fried and rich in dairy. Choose vegetables and fruits over chicken, red meat and pork.
3. The Banana Shape
The banana shape is also known as the rectangular shape. Women with this body shape tend to look athletic and overall slim. Your shoulders are usually proportioned to your hips but your waist isn’t very defined.
Exercise: Most women with this body type have fast metabolisms. A moderate amount of cardio and weight training for the entire body is advised, being careful not to overdo any exercise. Compound exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, squats, and deadlifts will help build some curves.
Diet: Faster metabolisms mean you can eat all types of food in moderation, even indulge in an occasional treat. Keep in mind that it’s still important to eat nutritious, balanced meals the majority of the time.
4. The Inverted Triangle Shape
Just as the name suggests, you will look like an inverted triangle. You tend to carry most of your weight in the upper body, typically having broad shoulders and small hips. You also have slim arms and legs.
Exercise: Adding mass to your lower body by weight training will help balance out your figure. Compound exercises like squats, leg presses, and deadlifts for your lower body is good along with more isolated movements for your buttocks like leg kickbacks can help build your hips and butt to add some curves in that area as well. Avoid heavy weight training in your upper body.
Diet: A balanced diet of complex carbohydrates like quinoa and oatmeal, nuts, fruits and vegetables, and lean meat is advised. Like the apple shape, you are also prone to cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure so avoid food that has saturated fat and salty food.
5. The Hourglass Shape
The most coveted shape! You are an hourglass if you have a small waist, with your shoulders proportioned to your hips. You have a nice-sized bust and curvy hips. You tend to carry weight evenly throughout your body.
Exercise: A balance of cardio and weight training for your entire body will enhance your curves even more. Your goal is to tone and tighten all over, not to significantly change your shape.
Diet: Since you tend to carry your weight evenly throughout your body, you will still retain your hourglass shape even if you gain weight. A nutritious, balanced diet is key. Complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and quinoa, nuts, fruits and vegetables will help keep you trim. Make sure to eat moderately and not overindulge.