Updated: Nov 14, 2019
Comparison of Body Types and Body Image
When a client says they want to reach a certain weight or look a certain way, we wonder why?
Who are they comparing themselves to, perhaps a friend or a celebrity?
Sometimes we may ask the client to send us a photo of the person.
More often than not it is not achievable based on the persons genetic make up to physically look like the person they are comparing themselves to. This is based on things like ethnicity, height, shoulder width, waist, hips, limb length, muscle mass and fat mass.
More often than not the client also isn't willing to do what it takes to reach the body type they idolise.
It's not impossible to achieve an incredible physique however this takes 100% commitment and dedication.
We need to take a more realistic view when we are comparing ourselves to a body type we want to achieve, otherwise we will never be happy and set ourselves up for failure.
When I first started out with a PT as a client he said to me, pick someone who has your ideal body? so at the time for me this was Nicole Scherzinger from the pussy cat dolls or Halle Berry. My PT said to me, Jaime your not overly tall and weighed at the time around 60-65kgs, Nicole is fairly tall, slender and weighs around 54kgs, her limbs are a lot longer than mine etc.
He said, think about someone who is a similar build to you, and also about the way they train, at the time I was struggling to cut back on my addiction to running and under eating.
I picked other people like Beyoncé, Andreia Brazier and Camille LeBlanc - Bazinet who were closer to my height, build and shape, they did a combination of weights training and HIIT, definitely not a lot of running and they ate a lot of food to fuel their bodies especially Andreia being a top cross fit athlete. I also looked up to athletes who worked hard or had a positive mindset like Lori Harder who were trying to do more for the world.
Can you see how much more realistic this was for me and how it gave me motivation to train hard and to look after my health?
Over time those who we aspire to be like changes too, I use to aspire to be skinny and a small slender frame who likes running and HIIT training who didn't know much about food so under ate, where as now I aspire to hold as much muscle as I can and to eat more food to train hard and heavy. My training has also changed over the years towards more body building, cross fit and strength training with less cardio.
There's no point in me comparing myself to a run way model who is 6ft tall, a size 0 and weights 40kgs, that's never going to be me!
Comparison has it's place but can also be deflating and 'the thief of joy' so I wouldn't tell clients to fixate on this.
There is another type of comparison we see often in clients and that is comparison of where they use to be, say 5 or 10 years ago when the circumstances of their lives were a lot different to now.
Perhaps puberty hadn't hit, they could under eat at the time and didn't have a damaged metabolism, they were more active, they didn't hate their job, they hadn't had a baby yet, they weren't at an age where it's harder to shift body fat and build lean muscle, you cannot compare where you are now to where you use to be because the body changes over time and there are so many other external factors which we cannot control.
Look at your current life and your goals, look at your body type, your genetics, your strengths in things like training, what challenges you, your current journey and work from there.
Consider the body types below, you can learn a lot from this chart:
Some people may have body dysmorphia where they may already look great or have lost a significant amount of weight. Also clients who may have a case of 'Fat Head Skinny Body' who have lost 10, 20, 30 and 40kgs, their body has transformed but their mind hasn't therefore until they work on their mindset they will never be happy with their bodies and show us why it's unhealthy to just focus on the scales.
Know that it does all start on the inside, and yes we can use tools like comparison and looking at body types, however this can be damaging at the same time and it's healthier to focus on self love and respecting the body.
Challenge yourself to look deeper into your goals and the reasons why you want to look a certain way or weigh a certain amount.
See below a comparisons of Olympic athletes, some of the most talented people in the world with such different bodies and a number of which that aren't like the bodies you see in magazines that we think we should look like.
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