Hi Hayley!
First, I'm starting your walk to run program and I'm super psyched about it. I'm in desperate need of some physical exercise in my life besides my every day walk to work routine. The problem is that my body is not proportional at all. I'm an apple shape or as my boyfriend lovingly puts it "built like a sparrow." I'm 32, 5'3 and weight about 110. I have super thin legs and arms but fairly big breasts (36 C) and a tummy. I've always had breasts and belly even when I was much younger and doing gymnastics 5 days a week. I hate carrying weight where my organs are positioned but I'm not sure what exercises can level me out. None of my friends are built this way so I'm not sure who to ask and googling only brings me to sites on "how to dress for my body type." What would you suggest?


I would have to agree with the websites you are coming across that are telling you to dress for your body – what I would not give to have some boobs! (Even if that meant it came with a tummy. I guess the grass is always greener.) But I do understand your frustrations and your desire to change your apple shaped physique.

One thing that is known to deposit weight around the mid-section is an increase in your cortisol levels, so I want you to take a serious look at your current stress levels in your life. Stress can come from many areas in your life, not just physically or emotionally, and if you run into adrenal fatigue it will be nearly impossible to shed the belly flab.

Start by making some simple lifestyle changes. You need to increase your sleep patterns to ensure you are getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Cut your coffee intake way back, consume as little sugar as possible and cut out alcohol completely. All of these things (sleep deprivation, alcohol and sugar consumption) stimulate your adrenals to secrete cortisol, keeping your body in its fight or flight response.

Add things into your diet that will combat cortisol, such as Vitamin B and Omegas. I am a big fan of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts in my daily smoothies, as well as I eat 2 eggs a day and I take a Vitamin B complex. Because I am so active and my busy work days can keep up later than I would like, I need to combat stressors in my life as much as I can.

To address your skinny legs and arms, start incorporating more strength training into your weekly workout regime. You do not need to hit a gym necessarily, but getting outside and doing squats and lunges will help. It is as easy as finding a park bench somewhere and doing 3 sets of 20 step ups, mixed in with body weight squats, lunges, some push ups and tricep dips. You can even use the bench for planking exercise (such as front and side planks) to target your core. Cardiovascular activity is also important to help your body burn some of your unwanted fat, so make sure to get in at least 45 minutes, 4-5 days a week.

Try to change up what you are currently doing for fitness. Get in the pool and swim, which is a fantastic way to building your arm and abdominal muscles, and spend some time with a kick board to tone your legs. Or join a strength training class at a local studio in your neighbourhood. Most of these classes will target your entire body as well as keep your heart rate high. I notice major changes in the girls that come to my class consistently and it does not take long for their tummies to shrink and their arms and legs to gain muscle.

Our bodies like to store fat in certain areas, most of which is genetic, so understand it will take longer for you to see a noticeable difference in the areas you are concerned with. But keep pushing and making daily changes and you will soon start to see changes.