Body shapes: which one do you have ?

body shapes

Body shapes are different

People come in all shapes and sizes, but medical researchers have identified a number of common shapes for people which they say can help us understand important information about ourselves, especially relating to certain health risks, and body shape related strategies for dealing with/minimising these risks.

The four most basic body shapes identified are the Apple, Pear, Hourglass and Stick body shapes.

Body Shapes Explained

Here’s a brief description of each body type and how to tell which one you are. Keep in mind that you might not perfectly fit into a particular type, but may have traits of one or more of these body types.


Apple shaped people usually have slim hips and thin legs, but are thick around the tummy, back and chest.

Excess fat in the stomach and around vital organs (like the heart, liver and kidneys) can put apple shaped people at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other serious conditions.


Pear shaped people typically have wide hips. When they gain weight, they tend to gain it first in their hips, thighs and butt. From waist up, pears look very healthy and normal. When they lose weight, pears lose it quickly from their stomach which results in their midriff looking very toned and flat. Fat stored around the hips does not have the same disease profile as carrying it around the stomach, which is great, but this weight can also be more difficult to lose.


The hourglass body shape is said to be the most desirable and healthy. Hourglass shaped people have closely proportioned hips and shoulders, and have a narrow waist.

When hourglass shaped people put on weight, it tends to be evenly distributed over their body.


The stick body shape is characterized by hips, waist and shoulders that are all the same width. Stick shaped people are often tall, with long limbs and flat chests. Weight related diseases don’t typically affect stick shaped people because they are often under, rather than overweight, and carry little excess body fat.

What Shape Are You?

Apple, pear and stick shapes are often the easiest to identify. If you stand in front of a minor with only your underwear on, look for the parts of your body that are carrying the most excess body fat. If it’s around the stomach, back and chest, chances are you are apple shaped. If it’s around the hips, thighs and butt, you’re mostly pear shaped.

Most people who are stick shaped or hourglass shape typically know that without looking in the mirror, but some people have characteristics of more than one shape and aren’t exactly one or the other.

Another useful tool to help determine if your stored fat is likely to be a health risk, is a waist to hip ratio calculator. Ideally, women should have a waist to hip ratio of .8 or less, and men should have a waist to hip ratio of .95 or less.

Body Shape Tips

While it’s not really possible to change your body shape, even with exercise, it is possible to change your appearance considerably with weight loss achieved through a combination of diet and exercise (you can also choose clothes that best suit your body shape, but that’s outside the scope of our expertise).

Having said that, here are some basic tips for the different body shapes.


  • Concentrate on aerobic exercise will help you to shed excess body fat
  • Do compound exercises that work large muscle groups, like squats and push ups
  • Pilates, yoga and martial arts will help you strengthen your core


  • Focus strength exercise that help build upper body muscles
  • Stay away from the cardio exercises that may bulk your butt, like stair climbing
  • Do lots of low impact cardio like walking, swimming and bike riding
  • Yoga and Pilates are great exercise choices


  • The best exercise plan for pear shaped people is one that combines both cardio andstrength training and mixes the exercises performed as much as possible


  • Make sure you’re consuming plenty of protein and consider using a high protein shake as a dietary supplement in between meals
  • Don’t do too much cardio exercise, only enough for cardio health
  • Focus on strength building exercise and prioritise compound exercises like squats, bench press, chin ups and the like


The body shape that has the most serious risk for weight related diseases is the apple shape. If this is you, follow the tips above and try to reduce the amount of fat you are carrying around your stomach and vital organs. If you need help, consult with a personal trainer, your doctor, or consider joining a weight loss program.

For pears, hourglass and stick shaped people, your risks are much lower, but you still may want to follow the tips above to improve your general health, or improve your self-esteem and confidence.

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