How to exercise and eat right for your body type: The apple

Apple shaped body feature image

We’re all different. Some of us are in a constant fight to put muscle onto our frames, while others find it hard to shed that extra unwanted fat.

Although you cannot redesign the genetic code you were given by your parents, that does not mean you cannot work with what you have. If you know your body type, you can implement strategies to reach your physique goals.

In this instalment of our body-type series, clinical nutritionist, speaker and wellness expert, Desi Horsman explains how those with an apple shape should eat and train.

The apple’s massive middle

Apples carry fat around their midsection, but generally have a slim lower body. If you’re an apple, you’ll find it easier to drop pounds than a pear does because abdominal fat breaks down more quickly than fat stored in the butt and thigh area – perhaps because abdominal fat is mobile and enters the blood stream.

Unfortunately, though, your rounded middle tends to signify that fat is accumulating around your organs.

This is very unhealthy as it affects their ability to function properly and increases your risk of various diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.

When this visceral fat surrounds your kidneys, pancreas and liver, it causes blood sugar to spike while at the same time creating insulin resistance and inflammation. In other words, your body has an excess amount of sugar floating around, and it’s no longer able to process it all.

The propensity to store fat around the middle may be related to the hormone cortisol, which is our stress hormone. Trying to lose weight with drastic calorie cutting diets may actually cause you to add kilos since this is also a stress to the body.

The apple diet: What to eat and avoid

It is also noteworthy that apples tend to crave fatty and salty foods because they provide the most stimulation to the adrenal glands, which further increase cortisol, which ultimately slows down metabolism and leads to belly fat and increased weight size.

To combat this, apples should consume foods that are low in salt and only contain healthy fats, like nuts, avos, olive oil and coconut oil, as these can help to decrease inflammation.

Cortisol also floods the body with sugar. When your body does not use it for energy, it gets stored as fat. It is, therefore, vital to focus on low glycaemic load foods to keep weight gain at bay. And only eat natural complex carbs in combination with proteins to avoid sugar spikes.

Cruciferous foods and legumes may cause bloating and digestive discomfort, so it can be valuable to avoid these. It may also suit the apple body type to have a few smaller meals throughout the day instead of big meals, but they should be fibre rich.

The apple workout to work out the fat

Apple-shaped women tend to carry more weight around their waistline, so it’s important to perform core strengthening exercises like planks and yoga and Pilates, which also help tone the midsection.

Include high intensity cardio routines to burn fat, along with exercises that target the lower body, like squats, lunges and deadlifts to increase muscle mass.

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

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