Here's What the Ideal 'Fit' Body Type Looks Like in 15 Different Countries


One quick scroll through the over 50 million Instagram posts that are hashtagged with #fitspo and often showcase smoothie bowls and lithe folks in workout gear proves that there seems to be one type of image associated with being fit and healthy. Fitness equipment company FitRated decided to put this idea to the test by asking designers from 15 different countries to Photoshop one woman into their cultural perception of "fit." The results, as you can imagine, literally illustrate the standards that women are held up to if they want to be defined as "fit."

  • Let's meet the woman going under the graphic designers' virtual surgical knife: a 28-year-old athlete and PhD student.

    She runs about 30 miles per week and plays softball, ice hockey, and ultimate frisbee. She's also completed a marathon and several half-marathons.

    "My fitness goals are more mental and social than anything," she told FitRated. "I like being able to run fast, but primarily I want to give myself a mental break from science and the rest of my life. Side note: Of course, I want a six-pack like everyone else."

    Continue below to see how the designers changed the woman, and why they did so.

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  • First up was Argentina, where women are pressured to be slim.

    "The media promotes fitness and wellness using models with really tiny waists who seem not to have any fat on their bodies," the designer told FitRated. "The market promotes the heavy consumption of food that has the advantage of being zero fat, zero sugar, zero calories, etc. This is perceived as healthy and better than eating foods with natural nutrients. The way of exercising is no better: Cardio routines are taken to an extreme and all weight training is avoided since women are against getting too 'bulky.'"

  • Next up is Chile, which follows European standards of beauty, although the woman was made more muscular.

    "Chileans try to copy all North American or European standards of beauty, even though we don't have the height, skin color, or body type," the designer told FitRated.

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  • For China, women are also expected to be slim.

    "China's standard of fitness is inclined [toward] building up strength but staying slim in appearance," the designer said. "It shows a particular interest in toned abdominal muscles and shapely long legs."

  • For Italians, women are expected to have "natural curves," all while staying slim.

    "An Italian fit woman likes to stay slim and enhance the musculature," the designer said.

  • In Mexico, a Mexican woman has an "athletic body" with big hips.

    "This woman needs to have an athletic body and strong legs, a butt, and breasts," the designer said. "We also think that women with big hips are the sexiest ones, so I made all these changes to the model."

  • In the Netherlands, a "fit" woman has a thin waist but a "thickened" legs and booty.

    "The things that I've done to make the woman in the image look 'fit' are: thickened the legs a bit as well as her butt, made the waist a bit thinner, and made her have wider shoulders," the designer told FitRated.
  • For Nigerian women, being fit means having larger hips and thighs.

    "Our ideal perception of fitness: a little larger in the hips and thigh region, trim, and slightly athletic," the designer said.

  • Next up is Peru, where women are expected to have toned bodies.

    "In their daily routines, they emphasize the lower part of the hip and abdomen," the designer said. FitRated noted that Peru was the only country to have significantly increased the size of the woman's glutes.

  • In the Philippines, women are considered fit if they are slimmer and not "bulky."

    "The changes I made are to the shoulder shape, as I removed the bulky shape from the original. I made the hair a little darker, the skin a little darker, and the arms, legs, and belly slimmer," the designer said.

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  • In Romania, women strive to be tan and focus on their butt, abs, and chest.

    "Romanian ladies who are fit take very good care of their bodies and try looking perfect from head to toe," the designer told FitRated. "They usually are tanned and wear makeup all the time, also. Being a beautiful fit woman means working out the butt, abs, and chest a lot."

  • For Serbian women, being fit means having toned muscles but they can't be *too* defined.

    "A nice-looking girl in Serbia has a good proportion of the body, without exaggerating in any segment," the designer told FitRated. "It's nice when she's tight but when the muscles are not clearly outlined."

  • In South Africa, being fit means being "lean" with a "slight definition of muscle."

    "Also, a big attraction is a firm, round, perky butt and average-to-small breasts to keep that lean shape," the designer continued.
  • For the Spanish designer, the model was altered to have pretty defined muscles.

    According to the designer, fit people work out up to five times a week. "This standard of exercise is what every woman would like to be able to fulfill in Spain," the designer said. 

  • For Ukraine, being fit is all about having a "slender waist and wide hips."

    "Athletic and not so much a 'skinny girl,'" the designer said.

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  • Over in the United States, being "fit" means showing "muscle bulk and definition."

    "In addition, the facial shape was altered to match the expectation of a firmer facial structure to match the athletic look of the body," the designer said.

  • But no matter where you are, being fit should solely be dictated by how *you* feel.

    "The ideal body has changed numerous times over the years and continues to differ between countries to this day," Carla Soto from FitRated tells CafeMom. "As society shifts focus, the ideal body will change as well. Whether the ideal fit body has curves or a petite frame, getting fit isn’t about living up to your country’s version of an ideal body -- it’s about being healthy and feeling comfortable in your own skin."

    That's the real #fitspo to us.

body positivity body image self esteem