FORT JACKSON, S.C. - In exercise, like in many things, one size does not fit all. Some of us need more of this and less of that. When you go to a gym and you see all this equipment, how do you know which pieces will help you reach the goals you want for your body?

As discussed in last month's column, in the 1940s Dr. William H. Sheldon created a system for classifying body types. He came up with three major divisions (types) -- ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph.

Typically our bodies are a combination of all three with one dominating and dictating the largest exercise needs for our body type. This article focuses on to the I-Frame of the body.

I will describe the frame, give exercises for that frame type and include healthy eating options. My hopes are that these body specific segments will provide information, suggestions and approaches to help bring our weight and exercise habits into a healthier alignment. Please check previous installments of 'The Weigh it is' to read about the A-Frame and the H-Frame. The I-Frame

The I-frame is the envy of many women. People who have an I-frame can eat pretty much whatever they want and not gain a pound. As hard as it might be to believe, many naturally thin women want a little curve and want definition. Yet they struggle to put on lean muscle tissue.

This can be a downer to the person who is exercising faithfully and still cannot make any real noticeable changes. This proves that we all struggle with getting our bodies to transform and the process can be just as frustrating for the smaller person as for someone not so small.

Not only does adding definition and curve improve appearance, it can have positive health benefits, as well as improve athletic performance. Since adding curve means gaining some extra weight, you have to make sure those new pounds are the right kind -- lean, attractive muscle tissue, not extra body fat.

Most I-frames are generally small-boned with a smaller allocation of muscle cells. Many I-frames also have a fast metabolism, which makes weight gain challenging.


When you exercise, greater focus needs to be on the intensity, repetitions and the rest between sets. First, the intensity should be greater so you need to lift heavier weight than you are accustomed to. Next, your repetitions should be lower. If you are used to doing 15 repetitions, start doing six or seven. Finally, rest between sets should be about one to two minutes. This type of rest can really come in handy, especially if you are lifting heavier weights.

Focus on lifting that challenging weight, then recover for one to two minutes between sets to really make a definition difference. Aim for doing weight training three days a week.

During your training, make sure the following exercises are used to target multiple muscle groups.

 Barbell squats: This will target the entire lower body. It is recommended to perform barbell squats at the Swiss machine located in the weight area of most gyms. This machine will help with body alignment and weight support. Remember to stand with legs hip distance apart or wider. Remember to keep your toes facing straight ahead. Try to squat down and back, not down and forward.

 Dead lifts: Dead lifts are great for the lower body and your back to develop multiple muscles. You will need a barbell for this move as well. Remember to bend forward holding the bar and bring bar almost to end of your shin. Remember to keep your knees soft. Remember to keep your arms elongated the entire time. Your arms do not change position as you go down or come back up.

 Bent over barbell row: This move will work your back and arms. Again, the barbell is your choice of equipment. With barbell in hands; bend forward with knees bent. Hold that bent positioning of the body and use your arms only to row the barbell up toward your chest, then back down toward your shins. Remember to remain bent over throughout the entire time. Your arms are the only thing that moves during this exercise.

 Barbell bench press: This exercise will bring definition to the chest (pectoral) muscles as well as the shoulders and the triceps. The bench press is one exercise that quickly and effectively builds attractive upper body shape. You need to lie on a step bench or work bench for this exercise. Keep your back down by placing your feet on the bench as well. Arms should be no more than shoulder distance apart to get a great triceps workout. Pull the barbell down, almost touching below the breast area then push back up.

 Shoulder press: Use the barbell again to create greater definition in the entire shoulder -- front, middle and rear

 Abdominal maintenance: aim for crunches that are precise. When performed correctly, crunches are lower to the ground, elbows are at 10 and 2 o'clock positions, legs are together, the chin does not rest on the chest, hands are stacked, never laced. Exhale as you lift and inhale as you go down. When you crunch up, never go all the way back down. Stay mindful and keep your shoulders shrugged down at all times. Perform a pelvic tilt with every crunch. This means you curl in your lower tummy, but you do not use your buttocks muscles to make this happen. That way you must concentrate on the move, not just on lifting your hips off the ground.

Check out the "How to" clip at This month's featured exercise is the dead lift.


No workout routine is complete without nutrition.

Results are 75 percent more visible when healthy and clean eating is practiced. Make a habit of including the following practices in your nutrition lifestyle:

 Drink plenty of water, at least eight glasses a day.

 Eat often, at least five small meals a day.

 Make fresh vegetables the star on your plate. Eat low fat, low calorie food items to help keep calorie intake under control.

 Use a serving size of fruit as a way to satisfy your sweet tooth instead of reaching for sugary, refined flour snacks.

 Include a serving of lean protein with every meal to keep your metabolism balanced and hunger under control. Protein is very satisfying unlike carbohydrates, which raise blood sugar then make it dive. Protein is steadier on the glucose level.

 Reach for whole grains for your carbohydrate choice. They are a great source of fiber, which also keeps you fuller and focused because it keeps blood glucose steady as well.

Begin practicing with these lifestyle changes and continue to take control of your health. For questions, visit me at the Thomas Lee Hall Library at noon Fridays.

Next month, I will discuss the O-Frame physique.

Page last updated Mon December 10th, 2012 at 09:03