Shapes of fitness

My friends call me toothpick. Yes, those 2-inch wooden sticks you use to pick your teeth with after a meal. Without a doubt, they are making a reference to my body shape; like a toothpick, my only obvious ‘curves’ are at the top and at the foot. I can squeeze through a crowded MRT train without a fuss, all thanks to my ruler-straight body shape. Genetics may have determined your body type and shape, but you can be the best sculptor for your body by working it through exercises right for you. Therefore, to manage your body’s real estate, you must first understand your body’s dynamics.

Body Type

There are 3 body types - Endomorph, Mesomorph and Ectomorph. Few people fall distinctively into one category; it is more likely that you are a combination of the types.


You are an endomorph if you tend to have larger bones and shorter limbs. Endomorphs struggle to lose weight as their bodies have higher capacity to store fat cells, but if you are an endomorph, take comfort that you also build muscle mass easily.


You are a mesomorph if you tend to have broad shoulders and a narrow waist. Mesomorphs have a high metabolism rate and gain muscle easily. They are often described as having an athlete’s body.


You are an ectomorph if you tend to have a delicate frame. You lose weight easily and your shoulder and waist are narrow and roughly of the same width. Ectomorphs have a linear appearance, often the result of a lower fat and muscle ratio.

Body shape

While men are generally cone or rectangular-shaped, women have 4 different shapes. Besides knowing your body type, your body shape also determines the type of exercise to tone your body.


A well-proportioned upper and lower body, with a characteristically narrow waist describes women with an hourglass body shape, who are often considered to have the perfect figure. Most hourglasses tend to be endomorphs and mesomorphs too. If you are one of the lucky ones, you can focus on both cardio and resistance exercises. Cardio exercises help to maintain your weight while resistance exercises are used to preserve the balance of your upper and lower body. Do vary your repetitions and keep resistance weights light to avoid building too much muscle mass.

Some cardio exercises which you can try:
  • Slow jogging
  • Swimming
  • Jumping jacks
  • Cycling on a stationary bike with low resistance

  • Ruler

    With little difference between the shoulders and waist, women with the ruler body shape tend to be slim, and are mostly likely to be ectomorphs. However, there is a tendency for weight gain at the buttocks and stomach.

    Cardio exercises can therefore aid in the building up of your muscle mass, which will help you to become shapelier and more proportionate. Work out routinely with exercises like,

  • Sit-ups
  • Squats
  • Walking or jogging on an incline
  • Apple

    This group of women has a bigger top half than bottom half. Weight gain is evident above the waist or along the backside. They tend to have big breasts and stomach but slim hips. Also, most of them are mesomorphs or endomorphs. If you are an apple, it is recommended that you focus on aerobic training to lose body fats. Try performing exercises that are less repetitive and are of low resistance such as,

  • Stair climbing
  • Running
  • Leg squats
  • Pear

    If you are pear-shaped, you will probably have a large lower body and a smaller upper body. Your hips are usually slightly wider than your shoulder and weight gain usually occurs below your waist. That results in a smaller chest and flat stomach. So, pears are likely to be mesomorphs.

    Do focus on exercises that will slim down your lower half in order to balance out the top half of your body. Make use of lightweights and carry out exercises that are repetitive,

  • Jumping Rope
  • Push ups
  • Leg lifts and dips
  • For effective toning and weight loss, you should try out exercises with consideration to your body type and shape. So, while you may never get the “perfect” body or shape, toning will help make the most of your body characteristics, no matter what shape you are.