Why Any Body can be a Pilates Body!

At our Pilates studio in Manhattan, we often overhear one client wishing she had another client’s legs, while that same client is wishing that she had the other client’s flat abs!  It seems that we women are rarely satisfied with our body type and the “grass is always greener” idea applies to bodies as well.

But guess what!  Both body type (the way our metabolism works and the way we gain muscle) and body shape (where our extra weight naturally falls) are determined almost entirely by genetics!  Alas, we have no control over our own genetics!  Some things can be changed – but other things can’t!  For instance, you can shed a few pounds off your legs, but you can’t make your legs grow a few inches!

Think of it this way:  would an English bulldog EVER look like a greyhound, even if dieted and exercised?  Would it even try?   Or would a Great Dane ever look like a Chihuahua?  That’s ludicrous, right?  Then why do so many of us (present company included J J)  aspire to achieve a body that genetics has determined we have no chance of getting?  We should learn from our pets! Dogs and cats from Persians to terriers are proud of who they are and the way they are made – and we should be too!

So in case you’re wondering about your own body type now, body types are generally categorized into 3 major types (click here for a more detailed breakdown or here):

     *Endomorph:  Bigger bones, higher fat content, more curvaceous, may have trouble losing weight

     *Mesomorph:  Medium, athletic build, may have an easier time losing fat and gaining muscle

     *Ectomorph:  Long, lean, and may have trouble building muscle and gaining weight

And if you’re wondering about your body shape, 4 different body shapes are considered common (click here for a great article):

     *Spoon:  Lower body emphasized:  hips and thighs significantly bigger than upper body

     *Cone:  Upper body emphasized:  weight gained in arms, chest, back and middle with relatively lean legs

     *Hourglass:  Weight gained in both upper and lower body, with waistline remaining relatively small

     *Ruler:  Not much definition between the circumference of the chest, waist or hips

Note!  All of these shapes are even more extreme when extra weight gain is involved!

THUS, when it comes to exercising for your body type and choosing exercises for your body type, all of the above information can be informative – but quite overwhelming!!!!  The good news is that Pilates can make your strong and lean within your body type.  Superior core strength will behoove ANY body type.  Certain exercises may be more challenging for certain body shapes more than others, but because Pilates focuses on symmetry, balance and a total body workout, it re-balances the body overall.  And because Pilates by definition does not create bulk, the endo/meso/ecto morphs don’t need to worry about de-railing their well-strategized workout routine!  Once again, Pilates emerges as the ultimate cross training system!

So no more looking in the mirror longing for a “Pilates Body” that is different from your own.  Your body can be the perfect Pilates body if it is balanced, aligned, agile and strong.  (And remember – you want to be balanced, aligned, agile and strong according to the goals YOU set for yourself, not someone else’s goals or standards!)  Embrace the body you have, treat it well and be the best that YOU can be!!


September 29, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates Posts.

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