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Uncovering the Different Body Types: Which Category Do You Fall Into?

We now know a lot more about body-types for women than ever before. Weight loss and hormonal researchers increasingly recognize that alterations in the functions of glands or organs and certain hormones can contribute to fat deposition and fluid accumulation in different parts of the body.

Perimenopause and body types and fitness

 For women during menopause, the disruptions to hormone balance link to other aspects of her lifestyle, causing fat and fluid deposition in a variety of ‘trouble spots’ around the body. Body shapes may be linked to hormonal disruption in menopause:


·        Pituitary

·        Thyroid

·        Gonad

·        Adrenal/Android


For these body-types (somatotypes) there tend to be different features and health risks for each type, but of course, these are just ‘general’ characteristics, and many women may find that there is some overlap between two or three features.



• Like adrenal body-type but fat accumulates all over the body

• Prone to water retention and cellulite

• ‘Workaholics’ and this can lead to exhaustion which then implicates the adrenal glands and symptoms of adrenal fatigue

• Tend towards inflammation due to high levels of cortisol

• Typically, a ‘morning’ person with energy levels dropping in the evening

• Emotionally driven, prone to mood swings and angry outbursts



• Typically, the thyroid body type is long[1]limbed and ‘willowy’ but menopausal fat gain and thyroid hormonal dysregulation may cause overall fat gain from fat and fluid accumulating under the skin

• Sluggish metabolism and easily bloated with fluid retention

• Fat is deposited around the abdomen and upper thighs with the upper part of the body remaining slim.

• Either high or low energy but easily fatigued

• Find it difficult to lose body-fat, simulated by sweets, dairy foods, and caffeine



• ‘Pear-shaped’ figure with excess fat around hips, thighs and breasts

• When peri/menopause arrives, fat accumulates over the lower abdomen below the belly button

• The main concern being estrogen/estrogen dominance when women with this type of body shape become overweight in menopause, because fat cells store estrogen (fat cells have a seemingly unlimited capacity to store fat and excess unused glucose!). This then disrupts progesterone and prolactin balance.

• Typically crave sweet food and dairy products for comfort which places more stress on the liver and digestive tract

• Typically find it hard to lose fat, especially if they rely only on aerobic, cardio-type exercise



• Relatively straight up and down body shape appearance, strong looking

• Chest and neck relatively ‘thick’ with smaller hips and pelvis. Breasts typically larger than ‘pituitary’ body-type

• In peri/menopause, hormonal disruption can lead to an enlarged mid-section with fat rolling up under the diaphragm

• Tend to have powerful thighs, may have been good athletes in the past

• The popular name for fat distribution for an adrenal body-type is ‘apple-shaped’ obesity.

• The liver tends to become ‘fatty’ in adrenal types and cholesterol levels tend to rise in blood-work because the liver cannot break down cholesterol and the steroid hormones.

• If adrenal and women become overweight, they are at increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

• May have excess facial hair during the menopause transition


The good news is that you can manage your body-type characteristics through eating the right food and doing the right exercise suited to your body-type.

The Right Exercise for Your Body in Midlife



The exercise goal for the Pituitary body-type is like the adrenal type and that is to manage the high-risk fat deposited in the abdomen and above the diaphragm. Depending on your exercise history, your workout goals should be to:


·        Perform aerobic exercise in the morning on an empty stomach to burn fat either walking, running, cycling, or swimming. The deep breathing that continuous, aerobic exercise offers also helps to calm your adrenal system which is over-stimulated by your nervous system. You need to get aerobically fitter!

·        Add interval-training higher-intensity exercises once you are regularly exercising for at least 30-45 minutes and only after you have restored your energy levels and aren’t so exhausted.

·        Regularly perform deep-breathing exercises, stretching or Pilates to slow your heart rate and manage your nervous energy and over-stimulated adrenals.

·        Weights or resistance training should focus on higher reps (up to 20 – 25 repetitions) and circuit-type training and upper body-lower body exercise sequence.



The goal for you is to reduce your fluid retention and bloating and use exercise to regenerate your energy levels and not exhaust you further. You also need to regenerate fat into muscle through resistance training and build-up bone density.


·        Perform aerobic exercise in the morning on an empty stomach to burn fat either walking, running, cycling or swimming.

·        Stretching, Pilates and deep breathing exercises are important, so you manage your exhaustion.

·        Use light to moderate weights for resistance training or a resistance-band when beginning strength training.

·        When doing strength and resistance exercises, use a moderate weight or resistance band and do up to 12 repetitions of each exercise.



The goal for gonad body types is to reduce abdominal body-fat through the right type and amount of cardiovascular exercise (walking, jogging, swimming) and using upper-body strength training to sculpt and build shape into the chest, shoulders and back. This will balance up the lower-body heaviness, so this requires a ‘split’ weights program using moderate to heavier weights but less repetitions. (Get your own custom monthly program HERE). Flexibility exercises should include, stretching, Pilates and deep breathing/ balance exercises.



If you recognize yourself as adrenal type your goal is to use exercise to help lose intra-abdominal fat and balance up your need for ‘burning off energy’ against your need to relax and unwind and recuperate from always being ‘busy’.


·        Aerobic exercise needs to stimulate fat-burning as well as deep-breathing. Swimming lengths or walking are great aerobic activities for the adrenal body-type!

·        Fatty liver problems must also be managed with exercise and deep-breathing exercises and the right nutrition.

·        Moderate weights with a high repetition of movement are preferred as the adrenal or android woman is usually quite strong. (Get your own custom plan HERE).

·        As baseline fitness increases, interval training can be added in to the cardio workout.

·        Relaxation exercises such as balance, breathing, stretching, or Pilates are needed as is a massage every now and then to restore adrenal health.

Fitness - particularly managing stress through relaxation and stretching, while keeping your lean muscle is critical through the perimenopause process.

Different body types in perimenopause

I can help you with:

  • joining one of my next Women's Only Fitness Kickstarts HERE (all fitness levels)

  • online or in person 1:1 personal training HERE

  • your own CUSTOM designed plan month by month HERE


Yours in health. God bless,

Julie xo

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