Are you struggling more than you have in the gym? Can you blame your body type?
We have all wondered why some people have a hard time gaining weight and others have a harder time losing weight?
We asked trainer Mario for his take on the subject, and here is what he had to report:
Although there is no concrete scientific evidence that supports the theory around nutrition and somatotypes, I wanted to share with you how understanding body types has helped me be successful with my clients.
From many years of trial and error, I learned that there is no perfect approach to nutrition. Some of us respond better to carbohydrates, while others respond better to fats. Understanding body types, and how our body uses the energy we take in (calories), can be the key to helping us shed unwanted body fat, and add lean muscle.
There are generally three different body types: Ectomorphs, Endomorphs, and Mesomorphs. It is rare that we will fall into a single body type, therefore most of us will display a combination of multiple body type traits.
What is Your Body Type?
Click Here to take the quiz and then return to this article to read more about the best type of diet and exercise for your body type.
It is important to know that you may definitely be a mix of two body types.
If you happen to be a mix of two types, find your happy medium between the two below as far as your diet and exercise recommendations. For those that are Ectomorph and Mesomorph, you may hold a little more size and muscle, but still have a relatively quick metabolism. For those that are Mesomorph and Endomorph, you may be able to build muscle faster, but still hold slightly more body fat, so you may want to add a little more cardio.
Check out the descriptions on both types if you are a blend. You will be able to tell which parts of them apply to you. Keep reading for details.
Ectomorphs are usually thin, and linear with smaller joints. These are your friends that can eat a whole pizza and not gain a pound the following day. They are able to eat like a human garbage disposal, due to their greater ability to tolerate carbs, and faster metabolic rate.
How to Eat
Ectomorphs should keep their fat intake low, with moderate protein, and higher carbohydrates. Focus on lean proteins, and more complex carbohydrates. Shoot for a 45% carbs, 35% protein, 20% Fat ratio. Counting calories is not always necessary. You can use MyFitnessPal to track your macronutrients, and progress.
Minimize the amount of cardio that you do. Remember, you already burn calories at a higher rate than most people. Increasing your daily output, will only make it more difficult to build lean muscle mass.
Train heavier, with a repetition range of 8-10. Focus on compound movements (multi-joint), that will activate all other accessory muscles. Longer rest periods are ok, to keep your heart rate low, and spare burning muscle for energy.
Mesomorphs can be identified by their wider shoulders, and more narrow waist. They display a medium size bone structure, with a higher percentage of lean muscle mass. Mesomorphs are also more anabolic, which means they have a greater propensity for building muscle.
How to eat
A balanced diet, with a proportionate amount of carbohydrates to protein, and moderate fat will generally work best for this body type. A distribution of 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat is a good place to start.
Limit cardio to 3 times a week. This will ensure that you stay lean, while sparing muscle loss. Short bouts of higher intensity cardio, such as sprints, can work best for this demographic.
Maintain a repetition range of 10 – 12 reps per set, with 45-60 seconds rest in between. Keep your heart rate between a low to moderate range. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, use the talk test to gage intensity. If you are able to carry a conversation with a workout partner in between sets, then you are working out with the proper intensity to spare muscle as energy.
Endomorphs have the most difficult time losing weight. They often have a much higher percentage of body fat, with larger bones and joints. Their upper bodies are usually smaller, with the majority of body weight held in their lower extremities. Endomorphs have a more greater capacity for storing fat, and therefore do not tolerate carbs well.
How to eat
A diet that is low in carbs, with moderate protein, and higher fat, similar to John Kiefer’s carb night/carb backloading is what I have found to work best for my clients.
Your goal is to expend calories. Use a heart rate monitor if possible, and maintain a heart rate between moderate to low intensity. Try to perform a minimum of 4-5 days of aerobic activity. Activities that require you to use your legs are ideal. It is the largest muscle group on your body, and requires the most energy output.
Circuit training is ideal training style for this body type. Select four to five exercises, perform them in succession, with 12-15 repetitions for each exercise. Training in a giant set fashion, will ensure that you keep your heart rate elevated, while maximizing caloric output.
Understanding your body type can significantly help you reach your maximum ability in the gym and with your diet, as well as overall health. This quiz is meant to help determine what program may be best for you.
We all come in different shapes and sizes, and it can be helpful to know where we stand. Whatever shape, size, and type you may be, embrace it! Work toward being the best version of you. We can all get caught up in wishing we looked like someone else or had a different body type.
The truth is, we are all different. So aim to reach your full potential. It’s not about being an intangible image, it’s about being the best version of YOU!