There’s a lot of talk on the topic of “body types.” Some people, it seems, are naturally blessed with good genetics while others struggle to stay in shape. Everyone is different but most people fit into three main body type categories, or somewhere in between two.
The three categories are: ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs, and each one will take a different approach to training and nutrition.
Ectomorph: These are naturally thin individuals who are also known as "hardgainers." These types usually have lean frames and find it difficult to put on muscle mass.
Mesomorph: The “envy” of the body types; these people are naturally athletic looking. A typical mesomorph has a decent amount of muscle mass. They are relatively lean and are able to gain muscle fairly easily.
Endomorph: A typical endomorph has a shorter and rounder appearance. Endomorphs typically have slower metabolisms and generally have a difficult time shedding fat. They also tend to gain weight and muscle easily.
If you fall into this category and you want to add lean muscle to your frame, don’t spend countless hours in the cardio section. Focus on weight lifting routines that emphasize large muscle groups to help you build overall strength. These include the squat, deadlift, bench press and shoulder press. Instead of following a fast paced workout full of supersets, take it slow and opt for longer rest periods between sets. This will allow you to lift more throughout your routine. As an ectomorph you have the fastest metabolism of the body types, so you should aim to eat every few hours to keep fueled. This is not an excuse to eat poorly though. Eat quality, nutrient dense foods such as lean meats, fish, potatoes, brown rice, fruits and veggies. Don't shy away from carbs!
If you’re a mesomorph you’re naturally muscular, and you benefit from a variety of training styles and exercises. In terms of strength training, isolation moves are good for you, as they allow you to dial into your already muscular frame and help you bring lagging muscles up to par. Split your workouts to focus on one body part per day and perform cardio or interval training regularly to help improve your results and highlight your muscular frame. Your nutrition should include a balance of lean protein, whole grain carbs and healthy fats at each meal. You may have it a little easier than the other body types, but that doesn’t mean you should eat poorly.
If you are part of the endomorph club, you may be a bit stockier in appearance than the other body types. You gain muscle more easily than an ectomorph, but you also put on fat very easily. To help minimize fat gain, you should do 3-5 cardio sessions each week, alternating between steady state and HIIT. You should also follow a strength training program that is fast paced to help keep the intensity high. When it comes to nutrition, select meals that are full of lean protein, complex carbs and heart healthy fats. You’ll have to watch food intake a bit more than other body types, so if you’re trying to shed excess body fat that means a few less cheat meals.
Jen Jewell is the bubbly meets badass fitness personality who takes a versatile “fun with fitness” approach to training. Although she is a fitness pro, she isn’t overly restrictive with her nutrition and workouts. She loves yoga, hiking, and outdoor workouts. She actively coaches people around the world who want to get healthy and fit. Follow Jen on her journey.
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