You could be wasting your time with exercise and proper nutrition, if you don’t know how to train and eat based on your body type!
Everyone’s body is different, I am sure you will agree. All bodies look different, smell different, work different, move different, etc… Why would you train like someone who is genetically gifted to be a bodybuilder, if you are genetically gifted to be a Kenyan endurance runner? It doesn’t work. Let me explain how you can better target your daily routine to your body type.
A body type describes how easily it is for you to gain and lose, fat and muscle. Some people are just predisposed to being large, like Ronnie Coleman for instance. While others tend to stay skinny no matter what they do. Let us get into the details. There are three kinds of body types; ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.
Ectomorphs usually refer to themselves as hard-gainers, which means that in order for Ectomorphs to gain muscle, it takes significant hard work, dedication, and lots of food. These folks usually carry very low levels of bodyfat, tend to have smaller muscles, and often have a smaller skeletal structure.
Ectomorphs should be lifting heavy weights. That’s all there is to it. These guys need to build a strong core, a strong foundation, upon which to build the physique they desire. Compound exercises with a rep range from 3-5 should be used to facilitate strength gains. After a stable base is built, Ectomorphs will want to incorporate hypertrophy training, which is about 8-10 reps of slightly more isolationist exercises, like seated dumbbell shoulder press, or dumbbell bench press, single arm triceps extensions, perhaps single-leg extensions, and maybe a few curls. Since maximal intensity is needed during sets, and since stored ATP should be replenished as much as possible, rest periods between exercises should last about 2 minutes.
You skinny bastards have metabolisms faster than a bullet. If you are not eating, you should be. When you’re not hungry, eat. If you just ate and you’re full, eat some more or drink some milk or a protein shake. Pick the high calorie, high protein, healthier foods, and constantly be eating. Foods that are highest in healthy fats should provide the biggest bang for the buck since the Omega 3’s and calories will go a long way to putting on some bulk. Try 95% fat free beef, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and all-natural peanut better. Keep milk, yogurt, kidney beans, and fruit on hand for snacks. Protein bars are good too, if you can stomach them. I prefer Pure-Protein bars and Chef Jay’s Trioplex.
Mesomorph bodies are more inclined to gaining muscle mass quite easily. These folks are considered the ‘genetically gifted’ when it comes to bodybuilding. They are not necessarily easy gainers, but they are definitely not hardgainers either. Mesomorph body types are very athletic looking and are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. These are the guys that people refer to as jacked, ripped, and cut; and they usually walk with good posture. Mesomorphs can build muscle faster than Ectomorphs and can also lose fat much faster than Endomorphs, as long as they eat and train properly.
The best form of training for a Mesomorph would be heavy weight lifting utilizing maximal force. This would include the kind of explosive training found in powerlifting and Olympic lifting. Different exercises should be utilized in each and every training session targeting every muscle in the body with heavy weights to increase size and strength. Full body training probably works best for Mesomorphs since they can recover quickly and adapt to traditional training programs easily. Cardio should still be performed, but kept to a maximum of 2 sessions a week. This will keep the heart and lungs healthy, and the fat at bay, while not impeding muscle growth. 30-40 minutes for each cardio session is ideal. Intensity should be kept at a high intensity to focus more on the fat burning process rather than the chance of minimizing muscle mass. Interval sprints and other explosive exercises should be mandatory.
For the mesomorph, a balanced diet should be maintained. A 30/30/40 balance of protein/fat/carbs should be utilized. This will give the trainee a full supply of nutrients and enough diverse calories to facilitate muscle growth and to maintain a lean physique.
“Hey fatty, having trouble getting lean?” You don’t want to say this to an endomorph because most likely he is stronger than you and will either crush you with his fist or sit on you. This body type is more likely to gain fat but is also more likely to be big, strong, and large boned. Endomorphs usually have a soft and squashy appearance, and they have much tougher time losing fat than the other two body types. The most can be made of this body type with a dedicated workout routine, and a dedicated nutrition plan. It is not that bad to be a big fat guy, as long as you know how to turn it into a jacked, ripped, son of a bitch through diet and exercise.
Weight training should be kept to a higher rep range for most workouts. I recommend 1-2 complexes per week with several exercises strung together and little rest between sets. An example of a complex might be a deadlift into a hang clean into a push press into a back squat into a rear push press, and back to the floor. This will train for endurance, strength, and will keep the metabolism elevated. Endomorphs will still want to dedicate one day a week, one week a month, or two months a year, to serious strength training. The majority of the training though, should focus on the 8-12 rep range. Cardio is a big plus for endomorphs. 3-4 sessions of cardio per week is recommended, for 40-50 minutes at a time. At each cardio session, different types of cardio exercises should be utilized. Sprints, complexes, jumping rope, cycling, and kickboxing classes are all examples of decent cardio exercise.
It is best to eat about 7 or 8 small meals through the day. The key phrase here is SMALL MEALS. I am talking like 300-400 calorie meals. This type of eating increases your metabolism and your body burns additional calories when it is digesting food, so keeping your body in a constant state of digestion is a bonus. Concentrate more on protein and carbs, and keep fat to a bare minimum, especially saturated fats. Fats are the higher calorie nutrient and should be kept to only 20% of your overall diet.
Now that you know where you stand and have a better idea of how to train for your body type, I expect that you will examine your current diet and exercise plan. Make the changes that you need to make in order to maximize your efficiency, and get back in the gym! Be sure to contact me with any questions.