In general, there are three different body types. Most of us don’t fit into any of these categories perfectly. Instead, we might fall somewhere in between – and none of it is set in stone. However, you can use these general guidelines to eat and train for better results.
This is the skinny, twink-type guy. For some of these individuals, a supercharged metabolism means a very lean build. Of course, not all skinny people have fast metabolisms – and fast metabolisms aren’t exclusive to thin individuals. Also called “hard-gainers,” it takes a lot of energy, time, effort and calories for ectomorphs to gain muscle. These individuals are characterized by narrow skeletal structures, small shoulders and a flat chest.
When it comes to training, ectomorphs should use very heavy weights to increase their strength. Once a foundation is built, training for increased muscle size (called hypertrophy) is recommended with about 8 repetitions of each exercise. To build muscle, ectomorphs really need to push their bodies. Though it’s important for everyone to do cardio, short and less frequent cardio sessions are recommended for this group.
Because these individuals can have fast metabolisms or difficulty gaining weight, consuming an adequate calorie intake is important. It’s not an excuse to eat unhealthy food; instead, stick to complex carbs and proteins. Include large quantities of foods like peanut butter, chicken, fish, protein shakes, eggs, beans, fruits and vegetables.
Mesomorphs are the genetically gifted among us. It’s much easier for these individuals to build muscle. Their bodies are naturally strong, hard and athletic – and it’s the best body type for bodybuilding.
When it comes to training, typical power-lifting or bodybuilding workouts are effective at increasing size and strength. Cardio is more important for this group, and high intensity interval training should be mandatory.
In terms of diet, a well balanced and healthy diet is ideal. Because mesomorphs can gain fat much easier than ectomorphs, be mindful of calorie intake.
Endomorphs are larger boned individuals that are solid but softer. Don’t be fooled; endomorphs can be very strong, especially in their upper leg muscles. Though they have a hard time losing fat, endomorphs can trim down with an effective workout routine and diet.
Though strength training is important for endomorphs (as it has some great metabolic benefits), cardio takes center stage. High intensity interval training is great, as is sprinting, kickboxing, stair climbing, jumping rope and other heart-pumping activities. It’s very important to get moving!
When it comes to diet, a calorie deficit will be required to lose excess fat. An emphasis on eating healthy and lean foods, complex carbs, protein and high fibers foods is necessary. Since high fiber foods are filling and curb hunger, they’re a great choice. Be especially mindful of portion sizes.
Your body type isn’t a life sentence. In fact, identifying your body type can help you develop an effective diet and exercise strategy that changes the way your body looks, feels and functions. It’s yet another variable to consider when putting together a plan that works for you.