How Your Body Type Should Affect Your Training Plan
Each of us have differing bodies, and what works for one person may not necessarily work for another.
As a Body Transformation Expert one of my biggest goals is to determine what is holding the client back from achieving the body and lifestyle they desire.
By looking at ‘body type’ it allows me to customise your training plan to better fit you.
A lot of people don’t realise that there are three main body types for men and women, each with their own physical characteristics.
This is relevant to our health and fitness goals.
Below are the three main ‘body type’ classifications.
These refer not only to how we look, but also provide valuable information about what foods we should be eating, how our CNS functions, and what sorts of training we should participate in to get the best results.
Gaining a deep understanding of your body type will be of great benefit to you when formulating a personal strength and diet plan.
However, it should be noted that life is never quite as simple as that.
Only a handful of people are what you would consider a pure mesomorph, ectomorph or endomorph.
Most people are a varied mix of all three body types.
The characteristics of this body type is:
- Little frame and bone structure
- Finds it difficult to put weight on
- Flat chest
- Small shoulders
- Muscle mass is lean
- Very fast metabolism
The ectomorph is a ‘skinny’ body type and is considered the complete opposite of the endomorph. They carry very little in the way of body fat or excess weight.
How Ectomorphs Should Be Training:
Most ectomorphs would benefit from bodybuilding style split training, where each workout is focused on only one or two specific body parts or muscle groups (think Chest, Shoulders, Biceps etc).
Ideally they want to train each muscle group just once per week.
It’s vital that ectomorphs get plenty of rest between their workout sessions.
This type of body responds best to frequent changes in routine and progressive increases in intensity, whether that means heavier weight, extra reps, or more sets.
The exercises should be compound (think squats, bench press etc) rather than isolation exercises.
As they want to be challenging themselves with the weight I’d suggest 6-10 reps to be optimal.
The aim should also be to progressively lift heavier as time go by, not cut rest time.
Rest time should be at least 60 seconds between sets.
For most Ectomorphs the goal is to build muscle.
Therefore, cardio is not a big need – keep cardio activities to a minimum whenever possible.
When you do cardio keep your heart rate relatively low, for no more than 20 minutes at a time.
To calculate your target heart rate; subtract your age by 220 and multiply by 0.6 and 0.8.
Rest For An Ectomorph:
As they have naturally high metabolisms, 8 hours of sleep a night is a must for muscle growth.
Recovery is key for this group so do not train when you are feeling tired or still exhausted from previous training.
Best Diet For An Ectomorph:
Large mass gain is not natural for an ectomorph body, which makes a dialled-in nutritional plan an absolute necessity.
Quite small but frequent meals should be used, as appetite is not likely to be huge.
Protein intake should be around 1-1.7g. per pound of lean bodyweight.
This should make up around ~25-30% of your daily calories, with carbohydrates making up the majority at ~50% and fats at ~20-25%.
The characteristics of this body type is:
- Defined muscles
- Athletic appearance
- Strong – Hard / tight body
- Gains muscle very easily
- Gains fat easier than an ectomorph In the body-type scale the mesomorph fits somewhere in the middle.
The true mesomorph is not fat or thin, and is generally muscular and well-proportioned.
In modern day culture this would be the ‘favoured’ body of most people.
They are characterised by a favourable shoulder-to-waist ratio, strong arms and thighs, limited body fat and a defined chest.
Of all the body types, this is the one that has the most bodybuilding and aesthetic potential.
How Mesomorphs Should Be Training:
The mesomorph has no problems gaining muscle.
The perfect training would include heavy compound movements and more isolation-based assistance exercises.
Generally, the more variety the better the results.
Cycles of high-intensity training (3-4 weeks), followed by a period of lower intensity (1-2 weeks) tends to work best, allowing for the most progression while preventing plateau or burnout.
The structure of a training program aimed at mesomorphs should prioritise heavy compound movements primarily, while the body is fresh.
Afterwards, specific muscles can be hit with isolation exercises for extra effect.
As the mesomorph has the most natural bodybuilding potential reps should be kept within the ‘traditional’ range of 8-12, with lower and higher reps (up to 25) utilised for the upper legs and calves.
Muscle-building comes easy to the mesomorph so do not be fooled into thinking more exercise means more muscle – listen to your body and rest up when it is telling you to do so.
In order to shock new growth, surprise the body with a variety of exercises, reps, sets, weights, and rest.
Incorporate heavy, light and moderate training days to aid recuperation and use a mixture of slow reps (full range of motion) and explosive movements.
Advanced training principles are the mesomorphs’ best friend and, once a basic level of competency has been reached with regards to training, techniques such as forced reps, partial reps, rest-pause and pre-exhaustion should be used regularly.
The advantage that nature has given you will never truly show itself unless you take rest and recuperation seriously.
At least 7.5-9 hours of sleep should be attempted every night and special care should be taken not to train a muscle that has not yet fully recovered.
Pay attention to your energy levels and mood and, if lacking, take an extra day away from training to allow your motivation to return.
As the mesomorph is already lean, cardio can be done infrequently with little to no adverse effects.
When cardio is performed, 15-20 minutes in your target ‘fat burning’ heart range should be adequate to maintain health.
One exception is the use of explosive cardio, such as sprint training, which can be used to build your muscles and train your cardiovascular system simultaneously.
Best Diet For A Mesomorph:
With nature on your side, the mesomorph diet is perhaps not as strict as the other body types.
However, ensure to keep your daily protein intake at least 1 gram per pound of bodyweight for muscle-building purposes.
Consume moderate amounts of carbohydrates and keep fats relatively low (15-20%).
A combination of lean protein and whole grains will give you the most consistent results.
The key for the mesomorph is to slow things down and take a moment to listen to the body.
Because they have such inherent genetic ability they are liable to rush things, risking injury and overtraining in the hunt for fast gains.
Instead, take a patient approach and focus on consistency.
Remember to stay hydrated, too.
An intake of 3 litres of water a day will help with physical performance, recovery, mood and cognitive function.
The characteristics of this body type is:
- Short and stocky
- Body is round
- Body is soft
- Gains both fat and muscle very easily
- Finds it hard to lose fat
- Slow metabolism
- Muscles are not defined
Endomorphs generally have a high level of body fat.
Their hips are wide and shoulders narrow – a sort of ‘pear-shape’.
They have high levels of fat on their upper arms and thighs which, when compared with their thin ankles and wrists, is only exaggerated.
Their wide bone structure means they are normally larger than other people and they find weight gain easy.
Unfortunately, due to the physical components of this type of body, consistent fat loss can be a real struggle.
How Endomorphs Should Be Training:
A high frequency of training is necessary for the endomorph to get the most out of their gym time.
Cardio and aerobic conditioning is particularly essential if you are looking to lose body weight.
If you are a beginner to weight training begin with whole-body workouts for the first month, only later progressing to a split-type routine when you have a base level of fitness and strength.
The priority of endomorph training should be to lose body fat and speed up the metabolism.
Frequency change is key here and you should be switching things up every four to five weeks, for maximum variety.
In contrast to the ectomorph training principles, the focus should now be on high-intensity and small rest periods between sets.
Do not worry about lifting ‘heavy’ and ensure overall training volume doesn’t exceed eight reps per body part.
Moderate weights and higher reps (in the 9-12 range for upper-body, 10-20 reps for lower-body) will serve you better than heavier weights and low reps.
Always ensure intensity is high and rest for no longer than a minute.
Advanced techniques such as isometrics, time-under-tension, supersets and giant sets can all help to burn fat and reveal muscle definition.
Frequency is key to results for endomorphs but there must be at least two days rest before training the same body part.
Around 7-8 hours sleep is optimal for recovery.
Best Diet For An Endomorph:
Eating frequent, smaller meals will help keep the blood sugar stable, increasing metabolism and help you control your appetite.
A variety of lean proteins and low-fat foods are the best sources of fuel for this body type, as is the decision to get rid of all sugary soft drinks and alcohol.
Make a point of counting your calories and walk away from each meal still feeling slightly hungry.
Constant movement and frequent aerobic activities should be undertaken to keep your metabolism high and fat gain to a minimum.
Social exercises such as hiking, walking, biking, swimming, team and racquet sports are perfect for optimal health and wellbeing.
Make it a habit to exercise daily and drink lots of water – 3 litres minimum.
My Final Thought:
Knowing your body type can help you structure the best diet and exercise routine for you.
The ideal body type is the one you are right now!
The above however will help you make the most of it and be happy!
Ian David Worthington
Creator, Owner and Coach at GymWolfPT.com
And How Can I Help?
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I specialise in helping and guiding people become healthier, more efficient/productive and have extra energy.
I coach both ‘in person’ and online fitness programs which are tailored perfectly to even the busiest and time challenged business people.
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