What’s your body type? Training and nutrition for your unique shape
People come in all shapes and sizes, but have you ever thought about the natural characteristics of your own body type? If not, then this post will help you in your mission to achieve your desired figure.
It’s true that none of our bodies are exactly the same. In 1940, psychologist W.H. Sheldon identified 3 body types that many of our bodily characteristics may fall into. These were named Ectomorph, Endomorph and Mesomorph body types. In order to gain an athletic and healthy look, the types of training required for each of these body types differs slightly .
So let’s focus on each body type individually…
- Naturally very lean
- Longer limbs
- Low muscle mass
- Harder to build muscle mass
- Narrow shoulders and hips
- High metabolism
The first of the three body types were going to focus on are Ectomorphs. Ectomorphs are traditionally excellent at converting carbohydrates into the energy your body needs to function. This means that less carbs gets stored as fat. As a result, Ectomorphs often have lean, long figures. In some cases they can find it very difficult to built significant size. We all know someone that never seems to gain any additional size regardless of what they eat, well that’s a classic Ectomorph.
If you too find it difficult to build muscle mass, there are a number of things that you can try. In order to build size, Ectomorphs must ensure that cardio sessions are kept to a minimum. Instead focus should be put on more strength and mass building exercises. So, why not try to incorporate some compound exercises into your work out. Dead-lifts, Squats, Pull-ups, Press-ups and Bench Press are all examples of compound exercises. Compound exercises build all round size because a variety of muscles are forced to work in tandem.
Another tip that Ectomorphs can utilise, may require you to alter your dietary habits slightly. Due to having the ability to burn carbs rapidly, eating plenty of starchy carbs alongside some whey protein can help Ectomorphs when trying to build size. The recommend daily intake for a male is 2500cal and 2000cal for women. So, if you have a tendency to burn calories easily, try to add 500cal to your daily intake and assess the changes after a few weeks.
Finally, the common assumption is that the more you train the better your results. However for an Ectomorph , if you are training 5 days a week but your results do not reflect this, try having a couple more rest days and avoid overdoing it.
- Stocky build
- Heavier bone structure
- Square torso
- Wide waisted and large hips
- Slow metabolism
The second body type that I would like to discuss are Endomorphs. Endomorphs are on the other end of the scale when compared to the Ectomorph body types discussed earlier. Individuals with this body type are built to store fuel which therefore brings a tendency to have higher body fat level than the other two body types. They are also known to have heavier bone structure than Ectomorph and Mesomorphs as well. So yes, being boned is in fact a thing. These characteristics mean that Endomorphs are generally able to produce much more power than the other body types. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that many power lifters have this body type.
In order to gain lean athletic physiques, Endomorphs must incorporate a lot more cardio in their sessions and compliment this with weight exercises. This forces your body to operate outside of its comfort zone which in turn, burns more calories. Intensity in workouts is key for Endomorphs so if possible, reduce rest time between sets. Another tip that could be beneficial is the use of drop sets or super sets. This helps to get the balance between weight and volume of reps.
As an Endomorph, when focusing on calorie intake, you must ensure that you limit your carbohydrate and sugar intake. Instead, carbs should be replaced by lean meats, veg and foods with healthy fats such as nuts and avocado.
- Naturally athletic
- Wide Shoulders
- Narrow hips
- Natural V-shape torso
- Easily gains muscle mass
Mesomorphs, the final of the 3 body types that we will discuss, on the surface is the most desirable. Individuals with this body type tend to have the combination of a high metabolism, as well as highly responsive muscle cells. Therfore, Mesomorphs characteristically appear to be muscular and well built. This however is usually a Mesomorph’s downfall when it comes to maintaining a healthy figure as they can become complacent due to having a lot of natural advantages. It is often a case that mesomorphs take their bodies for granted, whether it be through lack of intense exercise or eating as much junk as you want. So, even if you have a Mesomorph body type, care still needs to be taken.
When focusing on ways Mesomorphs can improve their appearance and performance, a good way to keep intensity high, is timing your workouts. By doing this, you ensure that you get either the same or more muscle stimulation than your last session. In relation to the nutrition of a Mesomorph, individuals should aim to stay closer to the recommended calorie intake. This may be altered slightly depending on how you compare to the average sized man (slightly less if you are smaller than average and vice versa if you are bigger). Mesomorphs, similar to Ectomorphs, should aim to limit their fat intake but should also try to consume more wholegrain and fibre in addition to lean meats. A good basic guide when planning meals is to use the proportions 40% complex carbohydrate, 30% lean protein and 30% healthy fats.
As mentioned at the beginning no body is exactly the same, so with this in mind, there is a chance that your body shape will be a combination of two body types. If this is the case, try using some of the tips from each body type that is relevant and incorporate in your workout for best results.
Don’t forget the importance of sleep regardless of your body type. As we sleep, growth hormones are released and this stimulates muscle development. It can also help mentally because a rested brain is able to form much more efficiently.
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