Can You Change Your Body's Shape?

By Geralyn Coopersmith, MA, CSCS. Geralyn is an exercise physiologist and certified strength and conditioning specialist. She is the author of Fit + Female: The Perfect Fitness & Nutrition Game Plan for Your Unique Body Type (Wiley) and the National Director of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute.

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The grass always seems greener. Far too often, we want the exact opposite of what Mother Nature gave us. This is especially true when it comes to women and their satisfaction (or lack thereof) with their own body shape. Those of us who have skinnier legs and smaller backsides often want more curves. Conversely, the curvaceous among us typically long for more waif-like appearance. 

All of which begs the question: Is it possible to completely change your shape?” The short answer is “no,” not completely. But, fortunately, you can radically improve both your health and your appearance with the right exercise routine in combination with proper nutrition. 

Apple-shaped women tend to hold excess body fat in their waists, arms and breasts with very little body fat stored in their lower bodies. Pear-shaped women, on the other hand, tend to carry extra pounds in their lower bodies, rather than gaining in the waist or upper body. 

Not only do both body types look significantly different, each has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. For one thing, apple-shaped women typically have an easier time losing weight than their pear-shaped sisters. This is because fat stored in the midsection is more metabolically active.

What to Do if You’re an Apple


The biggest challenge of having an apple shape is that fat stored in the midsection is easily released into the blood stream where it can cause a whole host of health problems. 

The release of this visceral fat into the body is associated with higher triglycerides, lower HDL (“good” cholesterol), greater insensitivity to one’s own insulin, and higher blood pressure, to name just a few. These are often precursors for life-threatening issues such as heart attack, diabetes and stroke.

Cardiovascular training is especially important for the apple body shape, because it can help improve heart health while burning off toxic body fat. Any rhythmic, repetitive, low-impact activity that gets an Apple moving her whole body and breaking a sweat for at least 20 minutes can be beneficial. However, interval training is particularly effective for this body type. 

Article written by Geralyn Coopersmith, MA, CSCS
Geralyn is an exercise physiologist and certified strength and conditioning specialist. She is the author of Fit + Female: The...