Shape Up: Apple

Identify your body ‘shape’ and then plan your workout attack!
Shape Up: Apple

Identify Your Body ‘Shape’
As an apple shape, you store your excess fat predominantly on your mid section, and bust.
Unfortunately for you, this type of fat known as ‘android obesity’ is the most dangerous of all body shapes, putting you at higher risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease and premature death compared to individuals with a pear shape or ‘gynoid’ obesity where fat is deposited on the hip area.

An interesting, and often shocking fact is that a waist measurement of over 35 inches for a woman puts her at high risk of all of the above diseases – so get your tape measure out! (You might want to check out any men in your life too – the waist measurement for men should be 40 inches or less).

The good news is that apple shapes normally respond well to training and can very quickly see results.

Apple Pear Celery Hourglass
Tend to hold weight around abdomen. Weight stored on hips, bottom and thighs Shoulders, waist and hips are similar width. Shoulders and hips are similar width.
Bottom small and flat. Often have slim waist and flat stomach. Tend to have ‘straight up and down’ appearance, with narrow hips. Curvy figure with full chest but in proportion.
Can have quite delicate wrists and ankles. Typically narrow shoulders. Can be perceived as boyish, due to lack of curves. Tends to lose and gain weight evenly.
Best feature: slimmer hips and good legs. Best feature: nicely defined back and slim arms. Best feature: sexy, often with long lean legs. Best feature: shapely waist.
Generous chest, can be out of proportion. Tend to lose weight from face and upper body. Tend to lose weight evenly. Bottom and hips may appear wide.
Large chest and stomach can give ‘barrel’ appearance. Often has appearance of rounded shoulders. Chest tends to be relatively flat. Upper arms may become fleshy.

Shaping Tips For Apples
Cardiovascular training work is crucial for apples: I would recommend that the apple shape focuses on cardiovascular work at the onset of a new programme, gradually building in some weight training, initially as pre-conditioning, and then to build lean muscle tissue.

The apples amongst us need to take care to protect our (often delicate) ankles and knees, particularly if very overweight. For those heavier apples, rowing and cycling are a great place to begin cardiovascular training, as bodyweight is supported reducing impact. These two machines use multiple muscles, creating potential for a high calorie burn. Swimming is another option which is perfect for all apples and fitness levels.

Cardiovascular exercise is crucial for apples’ heart health, and in order to reduce fat around the internal organs. For a beginner, walking is an excellent low to medium intensity form of exercise that can usually be tolerated well even by overweight apples. From experience, I highly recommend getting some new trainers to cushion your joints, and pre-conditioning the legs with calf raises and stretches. The lighter, fitter apple shape should have no problem adding running into their routine.

Calorie Burning And Walking
Walking speed 100lb/45kg female 150lb/68 female 200lb/kg female
2 mph or
3.2 km/hr
160 cal. 240 cal. 312 cal.
3 mph or
4.8 km/hr
210 cal. 320 cal. 416 cal.
4.5 mph or
7.2 km/hr
295 cal. 440 cal. 572 cal.

Sample Resistance Programme For Apples
Apples need to maximise their calorie burning potential and build lean muscle tissue to help fire up their metabolism, so exercises that move more than one joint at a time are a must. For the following exercises, build up to 3 sets of 12 -15 repetitions with a light weight and progress to a medium weight after 6-8 weeks. Train twice per week.

Sample 1 Sample 2
  • Warm up
  • Walking lunges
  • Exercise ball squats
  • Chest press
  • Plie squat with lateral raise
  • Triceps dips
  • Back extension
  • Ab curls
  • Reverse curls
  • Warm up
  • Squat with shoulder press
  • Exercise ball glute raise
  • Upright row
  • Reverse flye
  • Oblique curls
  • Press-ups
  • Biceps curls
  • Exercise ball ab curls

Example Cardiovascular Programmes For Fat Loss
Before attempting these exercises, ensure you are suitably pre-conditioned and have developed basic cardiovascular fitness. Always warm up and cool down after your workout and drink water throughout your sessions to ensure optimum hydration.

All body shapes aiming for weight loss should aim for a minimum of three sessions per week. Try to vary your cardiovascular work and mix up the modes.

Body shape Training level Suggested Cardiovascular workout
Apple Beginner or overweight 1. 30 - 40 minute walk
2. 30 minute cross trainer
3. 30 minute swim – all moderate intensity
Apple Intermediate
(have been CV training 2 – 3 times per week for at least 6 months)
1. 45 minute row/x trainer – slightly higher intensity
2. 40 minute cycle
3. 40 minute hill walk (or 2 x 20 mins)
(use treadmill for gradient)
Apple Intermediate – advanced
(have been consistently CV training for at least 12 months)
1. 60 minute steady pace run – moderate intensity
2. 30 minute interval cycle (hill 4 min. with recovery 2 min.)
3. 50 minute gym CV mix: X trainer, treadmill on incline, rower moderate to high intensity, straight from one machine to the next

The above information is taken from ‘Shape up! Tailor made training for female body shapes’ by Caroline Sandry and John Shepherd. For more information and greater detail about shaping your body the book is available from or most high street book shops.

Next Steps

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