This article is a touch taboo. That’s because I explore how to sculpt your physique when the focus should be on how it makes you feel. And I believe that fitness should be dedicated to our “higher power,” not vanity.
The good news is that I took a fashion course and have done many different physical fitness activities. So, I have some good fitness “vanity” advice, due to the process of synthesis. Since taking a fitness fashion course, I can guess which physical activities will balance the body to look more like an hourglass, which is a goal for both men and women. But be warned, my suggestions are the opposite exercises you would need to be highly successful at each sport. That’s because if you have massive shoulders, you’d have an advantage with swimming. So, big shoulders will give you an edge with the sport but won’t balance out your figure. That’s because swimming will make your shoulders even bigger. So, to balance out your figure to be an hourglass, you might consider a sport that primarily uses legs, buttocks, and no shoulders.
So, I’ll take four typical physiques and let you know which ones will enhance your figure but not necessarily give you an advantage with the sport.
Inverted triangle body. This is where your shoulders are wider than your hips. Sprinting and cycling will build lower body muscles, balancing out the figure. When I lift weights, I become an inverted triangle. That means my shoulders get wider than my hips. So, when I used to cycle (which builds a muscular lower body) while lifting weights, I’d balance my appearance with more of an hourglass physique. Now I’m swimming instead of cycling, so my shoulders are getting more prominent. However, swimming is cardio, so my core is getting lean. So, there are still benefits.
Pear-shaped body. This is where the lower body is bigger than the upper, making for a pear look. Rock climbing, rowing, swimming, and boxing are great ways to build upper-body muscles. So, develop a more muscular upper body. Couple a stronger upper body with the naturally endowed gorgeous lean tummies and bigger buttocks of pear shapes. This combined will give an hourglass figure.
Rectangle shape. If you are straight with no curves on your sides, try a combo of upper and lower body exercises: I did cycling and boxing in the past—a great, fun upper and lower body combo. This combo builds shoulder and lower body muscles, giving the appearance of an hourglass.
Apple shape. Apple shapes hold most of their weight on the belly. Pilates is excellent for this body type. And cardio, too, is a must for reducing midsection weight. Cycle to build up those lean, gorgeous legs that most apple shapes possess and to shed weight around the waist. Add in boxing for some upper body balance to get the hourglass look.
Interestingly, fashion courses and articles indicate that men, too, should strive for an hourglass figure (with full pecs). So whatever exercise you do, add weightlifting four to six days a week. Your bones and muscles will thank me later. I like to get at least six hours of exercise a week. As I write, I’m sitting in the bleachers at the swimming pool because I’m down with the tail end of a cold. But tonight, I’ll do pecs, shoulders, and triceps in my home gym.
Try any exercise you feel comfortable with, even for 15 to 30 minutes every second day. And gradually build up from there. Be sure to include weights and cardio. Build up to five or six hours of exercise a week, more if your goal is to do competitive fitness. By the end of two years, you could be ready to try out for a varsity team.
If we could only convince AU to find a way to host varsity teams, what fun we’d have!