The Truth About Your Shape

by in Fit Tip Newsletter, Health & Fitness, Musings April 29, 2014

In my newsletter, I frequently talk about nutrition and exercise as a way to reduce the body fat you may be carrying around, improve your health and increase your stamina, energy, and endurance to do all the things you want to do.

With close attention to your nutrition and training, it is also possible to really transform your body and sculpt a physique that is magazine or stage-worthy!  I have shown you several pictures in past newsletters of clients who have done just that.

When we start out with a plan to improve our physique, we often look for “models” of what we want…like a dream board, where you clip out pictures of the house or the boat that you want…we often (maybe unconsciously) have pictures in our mind about how we want our bodies to look – our goal.  I usually encourage this kind of “shopping” for such images with my clients because it gives us both a better perspective of what they would like to achieve.

However, as you are looking through those magazines and envisioning a new-and-improved you, please keep one important thing to keep in mind:  You cannot morph your DNA.

While genetic predisposition toward obesity or a particular body type is not something I ever suggest people use as an excuse, it is important to be considered when setting physique goals.  Our genetics will determine where we gain weight first, where it comes off last, and the parts of our bodies that “respond” to training faster or slower than others.


Each of us has a unique composition, genetic blueprint and body type.  So when you are envisioning what you want to achieve with your physique, you need to keep your unique traits in mind.  After all, someone who has short, round, full muscle bellies will never achieve the long & lanky look of Cameron Diaz, regardless of how many hours they log in Pilates class.  It’s just not in their genetic makeup!

This is also the reason that two people with different body types – and who weigh exactly the same – can train the same and eat the same and yet will have vastly differing body composition as a result.  Muscle helps us to shape our bodies, but the shape of your muscles is very much predetermined by your genetics…and that is okay!

We all get caught up in the body type comparisons…to this day, even me. My entire family is short (my brother is the tallest at 5’9”)…so I will never have long legs.  I am short-waisted (meaning there is only about an inch between the top of my hips and the bottom of my ribcage), and I will never have a long, lean torso – no matter how much time I spend in the gym.  Any additional weight that I gain goes right to my stubby little mid-section and has nowhere to hide.  I also have “flat-butt” genetics…my family just wasn’t blessed with great backsides…so I have to work *really* hard to lift and tighten my tush, and progress comes very slowly!  Not so for some of my friends, whose rear-ends seem to respond almost overnight to their training and nutrition and develop nice, round, lifted glutes.

Does this mean we are all doomed?  Of course not.  It just means we need to keep things in perspective.  It IS possible to re-shape your body with hard work and attention to good nutrition.  But we have to accept our genetic predisposition and factor that into our progress as well.  Regardless of how much basketball I may play, my legs won’t grow any longer.  Despite all of my time in the yoga studio, I will never have a long and lanky physique.  It is futile to work toward physical goals that are simply unrealistic, or defeating.  We really need to focus only on creating the very best version of ourselves.

It is so important also to be grateful for what we DO have.  Being thankful for our health is overlooked if we put all of our energy into trying to be something—or someone—else.  Be appreciative of the amazing body you DO have.  Be thankful you CAN move, and dance, and run, and lift heavy weights…because there are many people who have lost the ability to do so.

Take a minute to think about your goals.  Are they focused on becoming a better, healthier version of YOU?  Without comparison to anyone else?  If not, spend the time to re-focus and re-frame your thinking.  Work with the body you have and the genetics you are predisposed to.  Don’t let them be excuses to progress, but rather make sure that your expectations and goals are aligned with the body type you have been given.

If you are ready to set some new goals, to drop some fat, and/or to improve your health…contact me today.  I will work with you to develop exactly the right nutrition and training protocol to meet your goals and create a better version of YOU.