Francesca Pardini is the UK’s only Body Typing Practitioner, here she tells us how it transformed her life before she was a practitioner and how she has used it to overhauled the health and fitness of Chris Carr.
At the age of 27 I reached a standstill with my health and knew deep down that something just wasn’t right. On some level I knew something had to change but I didn’t know what. I was like the millions of other women who felt like they were doing all of the ‘right’ things, like doing cardio in the gym and eating ‘healthy’, yet I wasn’t happy with the image the mirror was reflecting back at me.
It was more than just wanting a physical change however, I didn’t feel very strong mentally either. My energy levels were up and down constantly and my temperament would change at the drop of a hat. Something just wasn’t right. Then a meeting with my doctor happened and this was the first step to changing everything…RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
“This concept was called, ‘The Body Type System’. It went deeper than just nutrition as it also distinguished different training approaches for different Body Types.”
I was Body Typed by my American Doctor at the time and in the process was introduced to a completely new concept on nutrition and its affect on health. This concept was called, ‘The Body Type System’.
It went deeper than just nutrition as it also distinguished different training approaches for different Body Types. With an open mind, the previous belief of the ‘one-size fits all’ approach to nutrition and exercise completely melted away.
A Body Type is a type of metabolism. Your Body Type can be recognised based on your shape because each Body Type has its own different look. But your Body Type has a more important reality. In fact, your shape is a signal of the type of metabolism you have. Your Body Type comes from which of your four major endocrine glands is strongest in your metabolism.
The body has four major endocrine glands: the thyroid gland, the adrenal glands, the pituitary gland and gonads (sex glands). The Body Type System is based on the powerful influence that diet and physical fitness has over the hormones produced by our endocrine glands. One of the most important realisations of The Body Type System is that individuals process foods differently.
Most of us have recognised that some people can eat much more than others and not gain any weight. Some people need more of different kinds of foods whether they are protein carbs or fat. And some people are negatively affected by foods that others seem to tolerate very well. It is very much a reality that the one size fits all approach just isn’t working when it comes to weight loss.
Once you know your Body Type you will know first, what type of metabolism you have – that is how quickly or slowly, efficiently or inefficiently your body processes food. Second, you will know how your body reacts to each of the three classes of food: protein, carbohydrates and fats.
Third, you will know which foods within the three classes are most useful to your metabolism. Finally, you will know the characteristic weaknesses of your metabolism that must be offset by diet. Fat responds to the hormones circulating in your body so it is important to gain an understanding of how hormones affect your body.
An important thing to remember is that your Body Type Diet is not a crash diet – it is a lifetime nutrition programme designed for improved health, energy and vitality at your best weight.
One of the greatest ‘a-ha’ experiences of the whole Body Type concept is when you learn what foods ‘over-stimulate’ your dominant gland and this is incredibly important because it explains why you have cravings and why they are so hard to control.
In each Body Type, there exists a natural attraction for foods that stimulate our dominant gland. Because we derive energy most easily from the dominant gland that is strongest in our metabolism, we are naturally attracted to the foods that stimulate that gland giving it the most effective energy ‘lift’.
However, this is not sustainable or conducive to an efficient metabolism. In order to really benefit from the Body Type System and sustain the results of your fat loss, you really need to work through your cravings that is, eat the foods that stimulate your other less active glands and you must do this long enough so that your dominant gland become less active and no longer craves those foods that are detrimental to your metabolism like it once did.
Adrenal gland stimulators are fats and salt, the Pituitary gland stimulator is dairy, the Thyroid gland stimulators are starches, sweets and caffeine and the Gonadal gland stimulators are spices, fats and oils. The more of an understanding you have of how certain foods affect your metabolism, the more control you have over your weight and health.
So what about exercise and your Body Type?
The abilities your body has naturally come form the character of your dominant gland. To explain this more scientifically, at birth and during the developmental period, your dominant gland gave you your natural, inborn characteristics. For example, Pituitary Types who have an abundance of pituitary hormones have excellent cardiovascular systems as well as a natural quickness.
If you are a Thyroid Type, you are also rewarded with a healthy heart paired with a flexible and naturally coordinated body. If you are an Adrenal type, the abundance of adrenal hormones provides you with natural strength. And if you are a Gonadal woman, you have great endurance and a very strong connection to your body.
“Depending on our Body Type, we also tend to lack certain characteristics by nature, and this is where the right type of exercise programme plays an important part in how our bodies need to optimally look and feel.”
Like the wrong diet, the wrong exercise programme can induce strain, fatigue, cravings and imbalance. Depending on our Body Type, we also tend to lack certain characteristics by nature, and this is where the ‘right’ type of exercise programme plays an important part in how our bodies need to optimally look and feel. When it comes to programme design, we need to play upon our body type strengths and weaknesses in order to reach our potential.
For instance, Adrenal Types need to base their exercise programmes on cardiovascular conditioning focusing more on getting their hearts healthier. This is done perfectly through higher rep training (as ‘A’ Types are naturally more muscular and strong) and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) training protocols (thyroid hormone boosting exercise).
The worst type of training for adrenal types to do is very low reps (3-5) as this puts massive strain on the adrenal glands and is not supportive in achieving that ideal athletic and lean adrenal look. The Thyroid Body Type exercise programme, however, needs to revolve around strength training (adrenal stimulating exercise.)
Thyroid types, who are not as naturally muscular as their Adrenal counterparts, really need to encourage muscle growth, as this is what their bodies naturally lack. Low reps such as 6-8 work very well for Thyroid types, as they need their adrenal glands stimulated to create that streamline, tight and defined look.
Francesca’s Body Type
When I was Body Typed as a Thyroid Type, my whole background of food and exercise choices just made sense. I understood why I was absolutely addicted to pasta and cereal and why, without fail, I would need something sweet to eat at about 3-4pm every afternoon.
It explained my dramatically fluctuating energy levels, my erratic moods and my flabby appearance. It also explained why I was naturally attracted to cardio machines in the gym instead of weights. I was a completely unbalanced Thyroid Type but before I was Body Typed I really just didn’t understand WHY.
Getting Body Typed is an empowering experience, to say the least. It opens you up to a level of understanding about yourself that is profound, intimate and extremely important if you are to function at your best. And at the end of the day, it just makes sense.
Body Typing Case Study – Chris Carr
I had always carried extra weight through my life and could never control my eating habits and this caused my fluctuating weight levels. My eating habits, looking back on it now were poor with no breakfast or lunch eaten. I’d just eat large evening meals followed by beer or wine. (Little did I know back then that these food habits were to do with my Adrenal Body Type Metabolism).
I would also pick throughout the evening period prior to going to bed. This continued for years, until the doctor diagnosed me with Type 2 diabetes in 2010. I then went on a calorie-reduced diet and lost 3 stone, as I was then, weighing in at around 24 stone. With the reduction in weight, I was able to reduce the diabetes medication down from three tablets a day to only one.
However, over a couple of years, complacency set in and the weight came back on and it increased to just under 25 stone. At this point the doctor asked if I wanted surgery to drop the weight, as my blood sugars and pressure were going through the roof and my cholesterol was dangerously high as well.
“It was at this low point in my life, I thought enough is enough, and before I left the Doctor’s surgery, I had made a commitment to myself to sort things out, before my body did that for me.”
It was at this low point in my life, I thought enough is enough, and before I left the Doctor’s surgery, I had made a commitment to myself to sort things out, before my body did that for me. I considered a few gyms and liked the look of Gambaru Fitness so I sent an email to Jonathan to ask if he could help with the situation I was in.
He responded very positively and said of course they could help and introduced me to Francesca and Body Typing UK. I think I was at my lowest point prior to visiting the gym for the first time and felt really self-conscious about the way I looked and my obvious lack of fitness. When I met Francesca for the first time she was brilliant with me, as she has been ever since.
She explained the principles of Body Typing and how being overweight was connected to hormonal imbalance and how my food choices and health issues had everything to do with my Adrenal Body Type and its metabolism and from that day forward, my perspective on food and how it affected my body completely changed.
It was so enlightening finding out that my past food choices actually had an explanation and had everything to do with my Body Type and I could actually balance my metabolism with different food choices. So I continued to embark with my new healthy eating habits but now with more of a tailored focus to my Adrenal metabolism.
At that point, I was really gaining an understanding of how certain foods were really detrimental to my Adrenal metabolism and which foods enhanced the efficiency of my metabolism and over a few weeks we started to see the weight coming off.
The weight loss carried on and after around 6 months I had lost approximately 6 stone and was able to start exercising at the gym, to build my fitness and self-esteem up. Francesca put me on a fitness programme that suited my strong Adrenal frame and I felt like I could do it – like I was capable and that was an amazing feeling.
This has massively increased my confidence and self-belief and my awareness of my body is increasing continuously and in turn, my blood sugars, pressure and cholesterol all reduced to normal and I was taken off of all medication by the doctor. I finally reached the target I set out to lose, mid-way through July last year, which was 10 stone.
This, using Body typing, took me 9.5 months to achieve and has changed my life for good. I don’t view myself being on a diet, it’s now just what I eat and do. Going to the gym, or going riding with my son on our bikes isn’t a chore, it’s a pleasure, and something I would never of had the strength, ability or desire to do a year ago.
Body Typing, is all about the balance in your system and you cannot gain this without a true understanding of how food affects the hormones in your body. Because I have worked through my Adrenal Type cravings, I am able to have some adrenal stimulating foods every now and then such as beer, or some salted nuts, but maybe only once a month, rather than daily.
Can I eat anything I like? Yes, but I don’t want to anymore and in any case I am not attracted to those foods in the way I was once in the past.
So that’s it really, I continue going to the gym 2-3 times a week, I have PT with Francesca and have also introduced my son (who is a Thyroid Body Type, by the way!) to Francesca to work on his diet and training plans, so all I can say honestly, is thanks Francesca
I couldn’t believe I won Miss Bikini at Mr and Ms Harrogate Fitness this year! All I know is that I could not have achieved this without Body Typing UK and Francesca’s amazing support and knowledge. I love, love, love this way of life and there is no other way for me now!
-Ellie Strike, Harrogate
I have found the The Body Type Fat Loss Programme a fantastic method of normalizing my eating habits. It is not a diet, it’s an eating plan to let you take back control of your eating habits, rather than your body dictating what it wants. I have lost 100 lbs with this programme and, it has allowed me to achieve sustainable weight loss and outstanding health benefits!
-Chris Carr, Harrogate
The Body Type Fat Loss Programme has changed my life, and I know that no matter who has this done will feel and see a difference both physically and mentally. Francesca is one of the most inspirational and motivating people I have ever met, and I am so pleased that we can share this journey together. With her invaluable support, and belief in her clients, it soon rubs off and you start to believe in yourself.
-Stuart Forster, Harrogate