If you’ve ever taken a group class like yoga, barre, or Pilates. you’ve likely come across an instructor that is long, lean, and impossibly toned. While you are struggling to master your downward dog or plié, and listening to her claims that doing these exercises will give you a lithe body like hers, you may be starting to wonder if that is even possible. Are we fated to have the same body shape no matter what exercise we do?

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The truth is, you cannot change the size of your frame, bone structure or the places where you store body fat or muscle. According to  exercise physiologist Michelle Olson, Ph.D, these factors are determined by both your DNA and your diet. (Want to clean up your diet? Let us help with the 30-day BodyRock Meal Plan).

But don’t get too bummed out by this news just yet. There are certain workouts — especially ones involving heavy weights — that can help you improve your muscle tone and definition. It takes longer for barre or running to give you these results because you are mostly using your body weight, or lightweight hand weights, as resistance, says Olson.  “So you’re not going to develop muscles as fast as you would using  heavier weights.” This doesn’t mean that workouts like barre, Pilates and yoga are not beneficial when it comes to building muscle, they just do it differently than traditional strength training. (Want to add more weight to your workouts, try our weighted vest!)

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Can You Change Your Body Type By Doing Certain Exercises? Click To Tweet

It is important to note that if you are muscular or curvy, workouts like barre, yoga and running will keep you looking leaner because you are  NOT  putting on fast muscle. You need to train for your goals, however. If your goal is bigger muscles, it is time to hit the weight room because these workouts won’t do it on their own.

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When it comes to changing your actual body shape, you are limited by genetics. “If you tend to carry more weight in your thighs, doing Pilates or running isn’t going to change that,” says Jacque Crockford, C.S.C.S., an exercise physiologist at the American Council on Exercise.

So, if you are killing yourself in yoga class trying to look less pear shaped and more like a ballerina, you aren’t going to get there. But don’t give up your workouts! Exercise is about so much more than changing the physical appearance of your body. The most important thing for you to remember is that no matter your shape — apple, pear, athletic, curvy, or straight — you are incredible! Just keep moving and eating right and your body will take care of the rest (For over 80 hours of real time, on demand workouts, have a look at SweatFlix℠ ).

Source: Women’s Health

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