Body Shapes & Types

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Understanding your clients body Shape and Type

Understanding your body shape could help you find the most effective treatment for your clients. You will also better be able to understand their problem areas as well as how their genetics may impact their shape.

Body Type

There are three standard body types; Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph. Bear in mind you do not have to fall exclusively under one body-type, most women are actually a combination of two.

Your body type will affect your body shape in terms of proportions and fitness.

Body Shape

First, it needs to be said, everybody type is different. These are four generic shapes that bodies tend to fall under and can help you understand how your proportions are distributed.

Understanding Body Shapes

There are so many factors that can determine our body shape: genetics, lifestyle, sex, and age. Some people can eat fried foods and junk every day but never gain weight. Some people tend to accumulate weight around the hip, others on the belly. Better understanding body types will allow you to offer a more professional service to your clients.

We will even give you examples of celebrities for each body type so your clients can feel good about how they look.

Based on the overall fat distribution in your body, most people can fall into these body shape categories:

  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Hourglass
  • Inverted Triangle
  • Rectangle

Apple/Round Shape

If you have an “apple-shaped” body, your weight accumulates around your hips and abdomen. You are wide on the top but small on the bottom. Sometimes you may feel like your limbs look like they belong to a slenderer person.

The apple shape is more likely to develop with age and men are more likely to be apples, giving them that “beer-belly”.

For both genders, this body shape indicates lifestyle imbalances such as high levels of stress, poor diet, and very little physical activity. In men particularly, excessive consumption of alcohol has been linked to the development of the apple-shaped figure.

Health Risks

Abdominal obesity is probably the most dangerous of all, and apple body shape is considered at the highest risk for health issues compared to the other body types. Larger waists can mean a higher risk of heart disease. It can also mean a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes. If you are apple-shaped but not overweight –– meaning your body mass index (BMI) is under 25 — you are still at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes than people with smaller waists.

Why can fat around your waist create so much trouble? Unlike the fat in other body parts, fat in the abdominal area is like an iceberg.

Here’s why belly fat causes so many problems:

  • It grows deep within your abdominal cavity and fills the space between organs.
  • Belly fat has stronger influence on your metabolism. It releases fatty acids and substances into the blood through the nearby vein that relates to liver.
  • This can cause metabolic syndrome that can reduce production from the pancreas.
  • The result is your blood sugar stays high and you’re at risk for diabetes.

In addition, the fatty cells can trigger an inflammatory response that releases a substance called cytokines. This substance is a cause of heart disease.

Healthy Living

Trim your waistline by following a healthy diet and intensive exercise. Foods like sugar, pizza, bread, bagels, rice, white potatoes, and corn can spike your blood sugar level and produce more fat. Try eating more fruits and vegetables, and less fatty protein, such as salmon. Exercise at least 30 minutes per day to lose weight, and you can combine abdominal strengthening exercises to tighten the muscle.

Celebrity Apple Shapes

Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Hudson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tyra Banks

How to tell if you’re an apple

Your shoulders and hips are around the same size. Apple-shaped ladies have little difference between the measurements of their chest, waist and hips. You as an apple-shaped girl have chest and waist measurements that are fairly close, but your hips are about six inches smaller than your chest.

Apple body shape traits:

  • Hips and shoulders have the same width; waistline has the same width or is wider.?
  • You gain weight mainly around the waist, at least in proportion to the other parts of your body.?
  • You probably have slender lower legs and arms.?
  • Your high hip is wider than your lower hip.
  • Your bust and/or midriff are larger than your hips.
  • You might be short-waisted.?
  • Your thighs or hips are probably the narrowest part of your body.?

Pear Shape

If you are a pear type, you have a figure that is opposite from apple-shaped people. Instead of being top-heavy, if you’re pear-shaped, your hip section is likely to be wider than your upper body, with most of the fat deposited around your thighs, hips, and buttocks region.

Curvy hips, thick thighs, and a full bottom are the key characteristics of the pear-shaped body type.  Pear-shaped bodies have a smaller frame on top and a relatively small waist with larger hips and bottom.  In regards to sizes, one example would be a woman who wears a size 6 on top, but a 10 or even 12 on the bottom.

Health risks

Studies results are not consistent with the health risks of a pear-shaped body. Previous studies say the fat in the hips, thighs and buttocks can lower the risk for heart disease. However, a new study shows the opposite –– a leaner lower body can do better to your heart. If you are overweight, weight loss in any part –– abdomen, leg, or buttocks –– is good for bringing down cholesterol.


The good news is that weight carried around your bottom and thighs is due to subcutaneous fat rather than the more dangerous visceral variety. Pear-shaped people are significantly healthier than those with apple-shaped bodies. Fat deposited on the hips is less likely to travel around the body, reducing the risk of heart disease. Further, the risk of stroke and diabetes is not elevated by a pear-shaped body.

However, carrying extra weight on the hips can lead to an increased risk of osteoarthritis, and fat is more likely to appear as cellulite.

The following factors will determine the fat distribution throughout the body:

  • ¾ genetic background
  • ¾ gender
  • Extreme weight gain or erratic weight changes

Healthy Living

Fat accumulated in the lower body can be stubborn. You may have seen progress in your abdomen, but not so much. The formula for successful weight loss is simple: diet and exercise. It’s the same for a pear-shaped body. That starts with eating smaller portions and including more vegetables, fruits, and low-fat protein.

Celebrity Pear Shapes

Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Kelly Clarkson

How to tell if you’re a pear

Your hips are wider than your shoulders. They are also wider than your bust, making them the widest area of your body. In numbers, your hip measurement is more than five percent bigger than your shoulder or bust measurements. With a pear figure, one of your best assets is your slim midriff, which many women envy you for. Make sure to show off your killer waist and balance your wider lower half. These basic items should be the foundation of a great wardrobe.

Pear body shape traits:

  • Your hips are wider than your shoulders.?
  • You have round, sloping shoulders.?
  • You have a well-defined waistline (and might even have killer abs).?
  • Your buttocks and thighs are full and round.?
  • Pear body shapes gain weight on their thighs.?

Hourglass Shape

One of the most common shapes of the female body is the hourglass. It is characterized by hip and bust measurements being of equal size, with a narrower waist measurement. Your shoulders are slightly round, and your legs are in proportion with your upper body. Because your waist is the smallest part of your body, it’s your best asset to show off.

The hourglass figure is the epitome of the female shape and will perfectly fill out your little black dress. A full bust, a small waist, a rounded bottom and rounded hips.

Health risks

Having this body shape means that when you gain weight, it is not concentrated in one area like apple-shaped or pear-shaped people. That means weight gain can be hard to spot if you’re not regularly checking the scale. If you become overweight, you are at higher risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease as well.

Healty Living

Full-body workout routines are good for hourglass-shaped people since you could gain fat in both your upper and lower body. You can also add more low-fat and high-fibre food to your diet to maintain a healthy weight.

Celebrity hourglass shapes

Kim Kardashian, Dita Von Teese, Eva Longoria

How to tell if you’re an hourglass

Your shoulders and hips are around the same size. Your waistline is significantly smaller. The rule of thumb here is about 75 percent: Your shoulder and hip measurements are within five percent of each other. Your waist is at least 25 percent smaller than your shoulder, hip and bust measurements. Your waist is eight to 12 inches smaller than your hip or bust measurement.

Hourglass body shape traits:

  • Your hips and shoulders have about the same width.?
  • You have round and sloping shoulders.?
  • You have a well-defined waistline.?
  • Did we mention cleavage?
  • You buttocks are rather round.?
  • Your lower hips are wider than your high hips.?
  • Your thighs are full but narrower than the lower hips.?
  • Hourglass body shapes gain weight through the hips and above the waist.?

Inverted Triangle Shape

Straight and squared shoulder line, the little definition between waist/hips, flat hips and bottom and a bottom half that seems smaller than your top half.

The Inverted Triangle shape has broad shoulders and narrow hips.

Health risks

If you are a woman with a larger bust, you may have worried that your breast size could leave you at a higher risk for breast cancer. In fact, this link is unproven. Instead, you should have a better understanding of your breast density –– dense breasts have more connective tissue than fatty tissue and can increase your risk for breast cancer. So, it’s not necessarily the size of the breast that puts you at risk for breast cancer. You can determine your breast density through regular mammograms.

Healthy Living

To look less narrow in the below-the-bust area, you can focus on exercises that can build up your lower body, such as squats, lunges and leg raises. You may also want to be aware of your BMI, because becoming overweight or obese can increase your risk for many diseases such as breast cancer. It’s no surprise that to maintain a healthy weight, you need to follow a lower-fat, balanced diet and stay physically active.

Celebrity Inverted Triangles

Jennifer Garner, Jessica Alba, Hayden Panettiere

Rectangle (Column/Ruler) Shape

The rectangle body shape generally has a waist that measures less than 9 inches smaller than your hip or bust.  Your waist is not as well defined as an Hourglass Body Shape. However, your weight is evenly distributed throughout your body. This can also be referred to as the “Athletic” shape.

Narrow shoulders, flat chest or small bust, small and non-defined waist, narrow hips and a flat bottom. Straight shoulder line, straight hips and bottom, Very little waist definition, Straight ribcage.

Health risks

Many slender celebrities have this figure, but it doesn’t mean that all ruler-shaped people are skinny. If you are overweight, you are not exempt from a higher risk for heart disease and diabetes.

If you are a woman and underweight, you are at risk for certain health conditions, such as problems with menstruation, getting pregnant, malnutrition and depression.

Healthy Living

Even though it’s hard for you to gain weight, you should also watch your diet and exercise. Slender people may increase their health risk by thinking they may never look fat. The truth is your body fat percentage has risen without you noticing. This can give you the same chance of developing health conditions, like diabetes, as any other type of body shape.

Celebrity Rectangles

Nicole Richie, Keira Knightly, Gwenyth Paltrow, Eva Longoria, Olivia Palmero

Other Body Shapes

Round or oval

If your bust is larger than the rest of your body, your hips are narrow, and your midsection is fuller, you have what’s usually called a round or oval body type.

Stylists usually point people with this body type toward tops that flare at the top or that have vertical details.

Diamond

If you have broader hips than shoulders, a narrow bust, and a fuller waistline, you have what’s called a diamond body shape.

With this type, you may carry a little more weight in your upper legs. You may also have slender arms.

Flowy off-the-shoulder or boat-neck tops are usually recommended for this body type.

Athletic

If your body is muscular but isn’t particularly curvy, you might have an athletic body type.

Your shoulder and hip measurements are about the same.

Your waist is narrower than your shoulder and hips, but it isn’t overly defined and looks more straight up and down.

How to Know Your BodyType

There are three main body types. Daily exercise, diet habits, and even metabolic changes by way of pregnancy and menopause can skew your body type, so you might not recognize what yours is right away. Lifestyle factors could have also changed your body so that you now are more of a hybrid type.

If you’re unclear about where yours falls, one clue to your body’s more natural metabolic state is what your body looked like when you were a late teen or in your early twenties. Next, here are some clues, from Just Your Type, to identify where you fall:

Ectomorph

Thin, long, and lanky. You have a smaller bone structure with shoulders that tend to be narrower than your hips. Over the years, you may also notice you have trouble gaining weight. This type can typically handle more carbohydrates.

Mesomorph

You’re more muscle-dominant with an hourglass figure and medium frame.

Endomorph

You have more body fat. Women who are endomorphs may be described as curvaceous, while men may be called stocky. You tend to carry weight in your belly, hips, and thighs. An endomorph may be more prone to insulin resistance, and therefore need to watch its carbohydrate intake. Insulin resistance happens when cells can’t effectively take glucose from your blood and your pancreas compensates by ramping up insulin production, and it is the hallmark of type 2 diabetes. That said, many people misclassify their body type. Identify if you fit neatly into one of the three main types, above, or a hybrid type, described below.

Ecto-Mesomorphs

This body type is lean and muscular.

Meso-Endomorphs

This means strong but the muscles aren’t well defined, like a football player.

Ecto-Endomorphs

The “skinny fat” person who is naturally thin but has gained weight due to lack of exercise and a poor diet.