Do You Know Your Body Shape?
THE DESIRE TO defy age is as ancient as human history, and scientists and corporates have invested time and trillions of pounds looking into how to create the perfect body shape.
As I age, I see the signs: loose or crepey skin, especially on the chest and abdomen, brittle nails and so on, that equally affect men and women. These changes are inevitable. Yet, compared to most of my counterparts, I'm in the shape of my life. At the same time, the majority struggle to keep it at bay.
FIVE BODY SHAPES
1. The Rectangle – four out of ten men (42 per cent) are this shape. The torso is pretty square and flat, and there is no tapering as you reach the hips. Think David Beckham.
2. The Oval – over a quarter of British men (26 per cent) are ovals – overweight and with the excess fat evenly distributed over the upper frame. Think Boris Johnson.
3. The Triangle is the third most popular shape – where the man is a little larger around the middle. Just under one in seven men (14 per cent) fall into this category. Think David Walliams.
4. The Rhomboid Triangle – 13 per cent of British men have this shape. They are thin and have a solid upper torso slightly wider around the ribs than the waist. Think James Bond star, Daniel Craig.
5. The Inverted Triangle is the most desirable shape, and just 5 per cent of men have this shape. The body noticeably tapers from the shoulders down to the waist so that the upper body is a perfect inverted triangle. Think Usain Bolt.
I believe in the theory that we all have a predetermined weight set point: a built-in weight regulating mechanism, largely genetically determined. Unless you abuse your body with bad habits, it keeps your weight in a physiologically established comfortable range.
From my own experience, my set point took years to overcome because there is only so much you can do to change the basic framework you are born with. But when you adopt an intrinsic motivation toward fitness – in other words, when you make fitness like brushing your teeth – you can do many things to improve your body shape. You will be able to transition from a rectangle to a rhomboid if you believe it can happen, and you will conquer your set point.
There is no need for you to bring out the tape measure. Just look in the mirror to see which body parts need improving the most. A good start is getting yourself down to around 10 to 12 per cent body fat – lean enough to showcase your physique without looking visibly unhealthy.
Applying the inverted triangle to the body's proportions sets a clear and identifiable goal. But be mindful that your set point will have a say in how close you can get to achieving that objective.
If the current rise in obesity levels continues, ovals will become the most popular body shape among British men in the next 25 years.
We've all wanted to change something about ourselves: less stress, less weight, better body, etc. When you want to change but don't, the failure likely results from not being completely ready. The underlying problem for people who say they want to change but don't is that they are not sufficiently motivated. You will only achieve it if you want it; it's as simple as that.
Already in your forties and noticing physical changes that indicate your age? The truth is that no matter how old you are, you don't have to look your age, and 'Botox' won't keep you from showing signs of ageing.
There's no specific time to revamp your lifestyle, the same way you don't have to wait for signs to appear to begin a Super-A regimen. It doesn't matter whether you are in your 40s or 20s. The earlier you become aware, the better results you'll get.
For me, size is irrelevant if you want to build the perfect physique. Look at Carmelo Anthony (above pic), 38 years old and, after nearly two decades in the NBA, now wants to be as athletic as he was when he was a rookie.
It would help if you aimed for proportion and symmetry – to develop your muscles and body shape aesthetically systematically. With discipline and resilience, everyone can get close enough to having the body type they want.