PHYSICAL FEATURE THESAURUS

ATHLETIC BUILD



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HELPFUL TIP:

One trick to writing fresh emotional responses is to focus on different parts of the body. Think carefully about the character’s exact emotions in the scene and how the body might shift or move in response. Vividly describing the colors, shapes, or textures in the character's environment can also bring the scene to life for readers.
DESCRIPTORS AND KEY ELEMENTS:
Fit
Healthy
Lean
Sporty
Toned
SIMILE AND METAPHOR EXAMPLES:
Andy stuffed stack after stack of pancakes into his mouth, the muscles bulging in his perfectly-proportioned body like boulders pushed around by tectonic activity.

Growling, she held the tennis racket like a club and hopped from foot to foot—a lion, scenting weaker prey and biding its time.

CLICHÉS TO AVOID:
The athletic body being compared to a machine

TWISTING THE STEREOTYPE:
  • Athletic bodies are almost always tanned, dark-skinned, or some other enviable shade. How about an athletic body that’s a little less appealing, like jaundiced, veined, or acned?
  • This body type is usually well-proportioned according to society’s standards. What about an extremely short or tall person with an athlete’s body?
  • Athletic bodies typically take a lot of deliberate work to get into the desired condition. A character with a naturally athletic build who doesn’t have to work for it can cause for some interesting conflict among jealous or petty friends.

PEOPLE LIKELY TO HAVE THIS BUILD:
Professional and amateur athletes
Health-conscious individuals
Physical trainers
Firefighters
Police officers

FAMOUS EXAMPLES:
Bruce Lee
Usain Bolt
Lolo Jones
Michael Jordan
Ronda Rousey

OTHER THOUGHTS ON THIS BODY TYPE:
The athletic build falls somewhere between slender and muscular. The body is lean with a low percentage of body fat, but there are also obvious muscles. The muscles aren't huge and bulging but are well-defined and in proportion to the rest of the body.