Diet And Exercise Strategies For Apple And Pear Shapes

If you’re waging the battle of the bulge with diet and exercise, there are certain tactics you may do well to employ for maximum effectiveness, depending on your body type.

Many of us fall into two categories: the apple or pear shape. Pear shaped individuals tend to carry excess weight in their bottoms, hips and thighs, in the form of subcutaneous fat. While it is considered “healthier” than the alternative, it is also notoriously tough to get rid of because it contains less blood flow. It tends to run in families.

Apple shaped individuals harbor visceral fat, which collects around the vital organs in the abdomen and has been associated with metabolic syndrome (a precursor to type 2 diabetes), heart disease and cancer. On the upside, this type of fat is easier to shed than subcutaneous fat.

A lot of media coverage has focused on the “healthier” pear shape vs. the “unhealthy” apple shape when it comes to overweight, but an intriguing study published in the British medical journal The Lancet has cast some doubt on this conventional wisdom.

A study of 220,000 people published in May 2011 confirmed that being obese -- having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more -- is a major risk factor for heart disease, but it found the distribution of fat on the body has no impact on that risk. In other words: regardless if you’re a pear or an apple, if you’re obese, you’re at risk for health complications, period.

If you’re on a weight loss campaign, there are certain specific strategies you can employ to do it more efficiently depending on your body type. Here are some tips, courtesy of TV health expert Dr. Mehmet Oz:

PEAR SHAPE

Diet Plan: Eat a Low-fat Diet
Research shows that a low-fat diet actually helps break down stubborn fat cells in your bottom region.

Step 1: Cut Back on Saturated Fats
To get on track with a low-fat diet, begin by cutting down on saturated fats, including animal sources such as high-fat dairy and red meats. Eliminate hidden saturated fats such as hydrogenated oils found in processed foods.

Step 2: Include Low-fat Dairy in Every Meal
You don't have to cut out dairy entirely. Studies demonstrate that calcium helps to regulate the way fat cells store, build up and break down fat. Subsequently, low-fat dairy sources such as milk, yogurt and cottage cheese help promote weight loss. Choose low-fat (2%), not no-fat dairy.

Workout for a Pear Body Type: Curtsy Squats & Rows
To work this area, do resistance training and get a cardio workout at the same time by using something called "complexes." Complexes are a type of circuit training consisting of body sculpting moves, done back to back in a circuit format. Pears should combine curtsy squats and rows. You can do this routine with a resistance band or by holding milk cartons or cans. Start by doing a curtsy. Then, lean forward with your hips and go right into a rowing motion with your arms. Do as many as you can with good form in 30 seconds. Repeat this exercise 2-3 times. You'll increase lean body tissue, boost your metabolism, and reduce the appearance of cellulite.

APPLE SHAPE

Diet Plan: Avoid Refined Carbohydrates and Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Avoid refined carbs like white bread, pasta and rice that are low in fat and spike blood sugar, which can increase stress and make you hungrier. Replace simple carbs with anti-inflammatory foods such as barley, buckwheat and amaranth. These whole grains stabilize blood sugar and help control cortisol surges. Go for other healthy anti-inflammatory fats, too, like olive oil, avocado, sea bass and salmon. (Try Dr. Oz's anti-inflammatory toast: Toasted Ezekiel bread-sprouted 100% whole grain-topped with avocado, olive oil, lemon and chili flakes.)

Workout for an Apple Body Type: Metabolic Disturbance Training
To slim your middle, you'll want to practice interval training that involves sudden bursts of high-intensity movement alternated with lower intensity movement. Using an exercise stepper, begin by stepping up and down at a moderate pace for two to five minutes. Then crank up the pace for 30 seconds to one minute, until you can feel your heart rate has increased and you're slightly out of breath. Then go back to the more moderate pace. Repeat throughout the workout. This method boosts both your aerobic and anaerobic systems to speed metabolism and burn belly fat.

Sources:
Dr. Oz: Breakthroughs for Your Body Type
Mayo Clinic: Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms
Huffington Post: Is the Apple or Pear Shaped Body More Dangerous?

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