Have you ever wondered why your best friend seems to be able to eat whatever she likes but still has a beautiful slender body with legs that go on forever? Ever wondered why she finds it so easy to maintain that slim physique, while you only need to look at a cheesecake and it goes straight to your hips? Ever noticed that your friend has awesome abs and toned thighs but hardly ever seems to exercise, while you slog your guts out just to keep from gaining weight? Its just not fair! Well, there are a number of reasons why this might be. Contributing factors include everything from diet to exercise and muscle mass. However, it all starts with your body type.
There are three basic body types; ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph. These are traits that we are born with, and some find it easier to lose weight and gain muscle than others.
An ectomorph is a typically thin, slender women (or man). Ectomorphs have a light build with small joints and lean muscle. Usually, ectomorphs have long, thin limbs with stringy muscles. Shoulders tend to be thin, with very little width, as are the waste and hips. Ectomorphs are able to wear all those fabulous skinny jeans with flat shoes, and short mini dresses, but they usually lack curves. Think of Twiggy and Kate Moss.
Typical Traits of an Ectomorph:
- Small “delicate” frame and bone structure
- Classic “hardgainer”
- Flat chest
- Small shoulders
- Lean muscle mass
- Finds it hard to gain weight
- Fast metabolism
Ectomorphs find it very difficult to gain weight. They have a fast metabolism which burns up calories very quickly. Ectomorphs need a huge amount of calories in order to gain weight. Workouts for ectomorphs should be short and intense, focusing on big muscle groups. Supplements are definitely recommended. Ectomorphs should eat before bed to prevent muscle catabolism during the night. Generally, ectomorphs can lose fat very easily. This makes cutting back to lean muscle much easier for them.
A mesomorph has a large bone structure, large muscles and a naturally athletic physique. Mesomorphs are the best body type for body-building as they find it easy to gain muscle. They also find it relatively easy to gain and lose weight. Mesomorphs are naturally strong, which is the perfect platform for building muscle
Typical Traits of a Mesomorph:
- Hard body with well defined muscles
- Rectangular-shaped body
- Gains muscle easily
- Gains fat more easily than ectomorphs
The mesomorph responds to weight training much better than other body types do. Gains are usually seen very quickly, especially for beginners. The downside to being a mesomorph is that they find it difficult to lose weight compared to ectomorphs because their metabolisms are slower. This means they must watch their calorie intake. A combination of weight training and cardio usually works best for mesomorphs.
The endomorph body type is solid and generally soft. Endomorphs gain fat very easily and find it difficult to lose weight. Endomorphs are usually of a shorter build, with thick arms and legs. Muscles are strong, especially the upper legs. Endomorphs find they are naturally strong in leg exercises like the squat. They have what is commonly known as a “curvy” figure.
Typical Traits of an Endomorph:
- Soft and “curvy” body
- Gains muscle and fat very easily
- Is generally short and “stocky”
- Round physique
- Finds it hard to lose fat
- Slow metabolism
When it comes to training, endomorphs find it very difficult to lose weight. Unfortunately, a large portion of this weight is fat rather than muscle. To keep fat gain to a minimum, endomorphs must always train cardio as well as weights. Supplements will usually not be needed, so long as the person has a high protein intake in their diet.
A Combination of Body Types.
These body types aren’t set in stone. In fact, most guys have a combination of two body types. These combinations are either ectomorph/mesomorph or mesomorph/endomorph. It is not uncommon to find a pure mesomorph that gains weight like an endomorph, for example.
Which Body Type Are You?
Given the information above, you’ve probably already identified your body type. You may also want to use the information above to optimize your diet and training, altering it to suit your body type. So, for the endomorphs; more cardio and lots of weight training (including circuit training) with lower weights and higher reps. Ectomorphs; less intense cardio, lots of weight training (including low reps and heavier weight), with rest stops between. Mesomorphs can enjoy a real mixture of training, with high intensity, heavy weight training and circuit type training too.
In future articles, I am going to discuss these body types in greater detail. I’ll provide nutrition plans and exercise plans that suit each body type, and I’ll help you understand exactly what you need to do, and why you need to do it. So, stay tuned.