Your Body Shape and Body Fat Distribution

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Have you ever heard your friends or family members say: “I have got mom’s thighs and butt”, or “I have got dad’s belly” etc? Genetics does play a part in body fat distribution but there are also other factors involved such as gender and race etc. I want to go through a few areas with you briefly to offer you a greater understanding of “fat, it’s distribution and the way it effects our health and fitness. One more thing – I need to warn you that I can’t draw for peanuts so please excuse my diagrams…

Fat Distribution

I told you I couldn’t draw…..but the above diagrams are fairly close to “accurate” when it comes to the type of body shape I am trying to describe for body fat distribution – this makes it easier for you to remember what each body shape represents.


Scroll down to manually measure your fat distribution.

Gender and Body Shape

The android shape or apple shape body is more common among men where the gynoid or pear shaped body is more common among women that are pre-menopausal. While watching the last Olympic Games, I noticed that the body shapes of the athletes differed from country to country. Normally I wouldn’t take much notice of this but with so many people from so many countries gathering in the one place I thought I might use this to do “some” research – that is in between yelling “Go Aussies!” I think it is truly amazing how the environment, genetics and various other factors can affect our body shapes.

What Each “Shape” Represents

The android or apple shape body tends to store body fat around the tummy and upper body. The gynoid, pear shaped body, shape is known for fat storage around the hips, bottom and upper thighs. The Ovoid or fruit box shape is more of a all-over general coverage of bodyfat. The andriod type storage of body fat is considered to be more harmfull.

Visceral Fat

This type of fat tends to store around the internal organs of the body. It is more common in people suffering from obesity than someone who has a low percentage of body fat, however genetics may also have some affect on it as well. As you can imagine, this type of fat storage is of great concern. Large amounts of body fat around the abdominal area is more commonly listed for visceral fat.

Manually Measure Your Body Fat Distribution

Now don’t go freaking out if you measure in the “definite risk”. This table is to give an idea of fat distribution and how it relates to health risks. However the best thing to do if you are concerned is to visit your doctor. The following measurements are in cms. Use a tape measure to record your waist circumference where your naval is located.

Women Women Men Men
Type of Measurement Possible Risk Definite Risk Possible Risk Definite Risk
Waist Circumference 85 cm 90cm 95cm 100cm

What influences Your Metabolism and Body Fat?

* More Muscle – the more lean muscle you have the higher your metabolic rate
* Age – resting metabolic rate decreases with age
* Gender – females often have a naturally slower metabolism than males
* Genetics – Genetic make-up of a person
* SNS (Sympathetic Nervous System) activity – This system speeds up the body’s processes and can be naturally slower for some folk.
* Ambient Environmental temperature – The body can burn more calories in colder weather.
* TEF – Thermal effect of food eg. spicy foods, caffeine
* Physical Activity – this varies substantially from person to person
* Pregnancy and Lactation – Will increase metabolic rate
* Crash Dieting – reduces metabolic rate

(Ref: Fat Loss Leader Training Program)

This doesn’t mean that you can sit back and “blame” having a high body fat distribution on “nature” but it does give you an indication of what influences your body fat.

© Mandy Gibbons
Virtual Fitness Trainer