Clothes may maketh the man or woman, but eventually we all have to come clean and get the gear off. It may be your first naked fun run, sky dive, nude ski, nude protest or day at the clothes-optional beach -- it's not such a big deal these days to be seen without clothes . . . for some people anyway. And, naturally, there are the intimate and personal reasons to reveal the flesh. Nude, naked, starkers, buff . . . you want to look your best if you can.
Beauty, Culture and PeriodBeauty is not only in the eye of the beholder, it's also in the eye of the beholder in any particular culture and age. Those large-bodied women in the paintings of Rubens in the 17th century would perhaps not be seen as reflecting the ideal shape today. Yet some cultures beyond the west see no beauty in thin women, preferring the Rubens model. Male bodybuilders with competition-size muscles don't appeal to many women. The variables are great over culture, period and, of course, personal preference.
The Three Main Body Types and the Variants
Anatomists recognize three main human body types:
- Ectomorphs -- thin and lean, often tall, often with high metabolism
- Endomorphs -- shorter, thicker, stocky, heavy frame and bone and muscle
- Mesomorphs -- more or less in between the ectomorphs and endomorphs, a better balance of height, muscle and frame size
In addition to these anatomical types, other less strict categorizations of shape are sometimes used.
- Pear shape -- weight around the hips and legs, smaller in the upper body and waist
- Reverse pear -- larger in the upper body with narrower hips and butt and waist and bigger shoulders and arms; seen in some women as well
- Apple shaped -- fat carried around the mid-section with less stored in legs and arms; rounder like an apple
- Hour glass -- classic figure eight shape with narrow waist, broad shoulders and well-muscled butt and legs (men); and narrow waist, rounder hips and perhaps larger breasts in women; or in women bodybuilders, a similar set of features to hour-glass men.
The Body Shape That Makes Us Look GoodI'm not going to discuss body manipulations that fall outside the realm of weight training or fitness . . . things like body hair and cosmetic surgery. That's up to you. Genetics also plays a big part: You won't be able to work miracles if your underlying body shape is set by what you have inherited. However, you can optimize your body appearance for your inherited shape with training, especially with weight training.
Generally speaking, after acknowledging of the above factors, the features of a good-looking body are influenced by posture, fat distribution and muscle.
Posture. A straight body with square shoulders neither rounded or hunched forward nor back, in concert with a flat stomach and smooth walking gait are the foundations of attractive body image. Clothes can sometimes hide flaws in posture but there is no hiding poor posture without them.
Fat distribution. It's something we all know, but fat causes bumps where you don't want them, with or without clothes. The main body points at which fat destroys your naked nuances are the hips, the butt, the upper legs, upper arms, belly and even the chest, especially for men! But hey . . . you didn't need me to tell you that.
Muscle size and distribution. While additional fat has that bland, excessive look, extra muscle, particularly with minimal fat over the top of it, tends to trap the light in sinewy crevices to provide that slightly 3D-look that many people seek and admire.
For the men it's a no-brainer, and it also works for women with less muscle and a little more body fat. Yet the voluptuous female figures of the past are not quite dead. And to be fair, the "skinny female model" look has garnered considerable favor in recent decades even though bone health may be at risk with this low percentage of body fat and muscle.
10 Exercises to Buff that Butt (And Everything Else)Here we go. Try these 10 exercises to maximize the nude and rude body bits that really matter.
- Butt and front thighs - squats and weighted lunges
- Rear thighs (hamstrings) - deadlifts, good mornings
- Abdominals and 6-pack - crunches and deadlift
- The back muscles - bent over rows and lat pulldowns
- Arms (biceps) - curls
- Arms (triceps) - extensions and pushdowns
- Arms (forearms) - reverse curls
- Chest - bench press, incline press
- Shoulders - Incline press and dumbbell front raises
- Calves - squats and calf raises
Get ready to look in that mirror once more!
If you haven't already signed up for my email weight training course, you might like to try it; details here: A Beginner's Guide to Weight Training.