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Your Ideal Body: What it REALLY takes

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If you have embarked on a new health regimen…you may have conjured up images of yourself as you hope to appear within a few months…or better yet…a few weeks.  Maybe you envision yourself with rock-hard abs, long-lean legs or a round and bootylicious butt – free of cellulite.  All great goals, but are they realistic?

When working with individuals, the first thing I like to understand is what their goals are.  The next thing: How motivated they are.  Why?  Because one’s idea of their ideal body and what they are really willing to do to get that ideal body are often not aligned…or for that matter, realistic.   To think you are going to look like Heidi Klum after a few workouts is in no way, shape or form, realistic.  If you think you’ll look like Jennifer Garner with a few bicep curls…that too…is unrealistic.  In short, if you want hard-rock abs, it will take a lot more than a few crunches, and if you want to be extra skinny, it will take a lot more than cutting back on a few calories.

All of that said, it is important to remember that each person is different and each comes with his or her own set of genetics, metabolisms and body types…all of which weigh into the “how hard do I have to work” equation to get to your ideal body.  Lastly, I’d like to mention that vying to look like a model or actress is often unrealistic just in that it is their JOB to look the way they do…and they often have the time, the staff and trainers and the support they need to be as tight and hard-bodied as they are.  To get a better understanding of what it really takes to have some more of the stereotypical ideal bodies, I’ve put together the chart below.  Please note that these are GENERALIZATIONS and requirements do NOT factor in metabolism, age, genetics or the uber-ridiculous one in a million individual who doesn’t have to work hard to look the way they do:

Your Image of Ideal Body Type & Physical Traits that are Helpful /
How to Achieve
Nutrition Requirements Exercise Requirements

Healthy Weight / Curvy

Think: Women featured in Dove Campaigns

Average body frame (Endomorph)
Generally need to eat healthy and remain active.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet of carbohydrates (40-60%), lean protein (20-30%) and healthy fat (20-30%)
  • Focus on an 80%/20% rule of healthy foods / indulgences
  • Calories aren’t overly restrictive.
  • Cardio 3x a week at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes each session
  • Strength training 2x a week for 20 – 30 minutes each session.

Healthy Weight / Toned

Think: Woman found in Dove Campaigns

Average body frame (Endo/Meso/Ectomorph)
Generally need to eat healthy, remain active and incorporate a basic strength training program.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet of carbohydrates (40-50%), lean protein (20-30%) and healthy fat (20-30%)
  • Focus on an 80%/20% rule of healthy foods / indulgences
  • Calories should be moderately watched, but there is wiggle room.
  • Cardio 3x a week at a high intensity for 30 minutes each session
  • Strength training 2 – 3x a week for 30 minutes each session.

Athletic / Muscular

Think: Fitness Models / Stunt Women

Normal to Muscular body frame (Mesomorph)
Pay close attention to the balance of nutrients you consume and incorporate a solid fitness regimen that emphasizes strength training.
  • Eat a more meticulously balanced diet of carbohydrates (40-50%), lean protein (30-40%) and healthy fat (20-30%)
  • Focus on an 85%/15% to 90%/10% ratio of healthy foods / indulgences
  • Calories need to be watched more carefully.
  • Cardio 3 – 4x a week at high intensity for 30 minutes each session
  • Strength training/circuit training 3 – 5x a week for 30 – 40 minutes each session

Extremely Cut / Competitive Athlete

Think: Miss Fitness USA

Muscular body frame (Mesomorph)
The balance of nutrients you consume is very important.  Exercise regimens are very intense and are heavily focused on strength training.
  • Eat an extremely meticulously balanced diet of carbohydrates (30-40%), lean protein (40-50%) and healthy fat (20%)
  • Focus on an 90%/10% to 100%/0% ratio of healthy foods / indulgences
  • Calories are highly restricted to ensure you don’t eat too many and that all of your calories are appropriately allocated to specific nutrients
  • Cardio 4 – 6x a week at high intensity for 20 – 30 minutes each session
  • Strength training/circuit training 6x a week for 30 – 40 minutes each session

“Very Skinny”

Think: Runway Model

Tall, thin body frame with a very high metabolism (Ectomorph)
Food intake is more important than exercise
  • Eat a diet that is restrictive in general. However, ratio of nutrients can fluctuate
  • Focus on an 90% / 10% rule of healthy foods / indulgences
  • Calories are very restrictive
  • Cardio 3 – 4x a week at a moderate to high intensity for 30 minutes each session
  • Strength training 2x a week for 20 – 30 minutes each session

Note that the endo, meso and ectomorph categorization is a generalization and that people can fall in-between these types.  Personally, I prefer to be in the Healthy Weight – Toned to Athletic/Muscular categories. Where do you fall on this chart? Do you think your “ideal body” is a realistic goal?

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Fitness, Mind-Body Tagged with: , , ,
  • http://www.woman-incorporated.com Consolata

    I liked this post it was really an eye opener. I hope I can get off my lazy ass and loose some extra weight. I now fall between 14 and 16[UK] but I would like to go back to my curvy size 12 [before bearing 2 kids and growing a bulge]
    Any tips on how I can really get up and get moving. I take try to take the stairs daily up to my office and up to our flat, but I know it is not enough. I have lost some weight but I guess it is because I am observing lent.
    I almost have no me time at all; between work, hours of traffic mothering and wifehood. But I know I have to find time and this is a direct push saying there is no time like the present. Wish me luck!

    • Brett

      Good luck! Your health is what you make it. Time is always hard for many of us, but, making it a priority is something you have to…well…prioritize! Take small steps and don’t try to do it all at once.