Know thyself.jpg

Know thyself

THIS WEEK’S article will help you to discover the positive aspects of your figure and help you to take an honest look at who you are and what you can gain from your fitness programme.

“Know thyself“ is engraved in the temple of Apollo at Delphi. This is such a defining statement because you cannot begin to change yourself if you do not know yourself! Apollo and Aphrodite were considered to be the embodiment of beauty and, though we all aspire towards perfection, just like beauty, it is found in the eyes of the beholder.

Marilyn Monroe was one of the most beautiful woman to ever grace the silver screen and her voluptuousness captivated Presidents. So how does voluptuousness relate to a column dedicated to toning the body? The answer is clear – Marilyn captivated men because she knew and carried herself with confidence.

How do you feel when you walk into the gym? Does seeing all those Apollos and Aphrodites strutting their stuff make you feel confident and poised, or apprehensive? By discovering your body’s strengths and weaknesses, you can feel that same confidence that they feel. If you are honest, you will realise that there will be limitations to what you can achieve in the beginning, so set yourself realistic and achievable goals. As your body begins to adapt, you will be able to reassess and reset those goals – this way your progress will be steady yet assured.

So what body type are you? According to research by American psychologist William Sheldon, there are three basic body types.

The Ectomorph – defined by light bones, small joints and a lean muscular structure, women are normally flat-chested. They have a fast metabolism, lose weight easily and, in order for them to gain weight, they will have to rely on their diet. Ectomorphs respond well to CV (cardiovascular) training, at least three times a week – any more than this may cause unhealthily low levels of body fat. If you are an ectomorph, your ideal training scenario would be to participate in weight-style, medium to high impact aerobic classes.

The Mesomorph – women have that hourglass shape, while the men are more athletic and rectangular, with well defined muscles and cheekbones. Mesomorphs have fairly fast metabolisms, therefore, most CV and resistance training is effective. However, they can over train, so a balanced programme with both easy and rest days will have successful results.

The Endomorph – is round in physique, with underdeveloped muscles and a soft body, their upper arms and thighs are often more developed than their lower parts. Because of their slow metabolism, natural strength and energy stores, they respond well to power and resistance training. Endomorphs burn fat well, thus low impact, weight-based aerobic classes are best for their success.

Be aware that none of these body types are superior to another – they all have advantageous as well as disadvantageous properties. Know what genes you have and you will maximise your fitness returns. So find a mirror, get naked and begin your journey …

• If you have any questions you’d like me to answer, send me an e-mail at [email protected] or call me on 961 847 575.