You already know that genes have a role to play in your body structure. But don’t let that excuse come in the way of looking and feeling the best you can.
In this post, we’ll talk about the three main body types: ectomorphs, endomorphs and mesomorphs, and how by understanding more about the characteristics of the three, you can customise your diet and fitness routine to get maximum results.
If you’re a woman, the friend you envy is probably an ectomorph: the one who eats all she wants but never gains weight. Ectomorphs are naturally thin and fine-boned. They have a small frame and a fast metabolism that burns calories easily. For this reason, they find it hard to put on weight or muscle.
Ectomorphs should focus on building strength and muscle. Because there’s little fat to burn, cardio should be kept to a minimum.
- Train heavier with repetitions in the 5-10 range
- Take longer breaks (due to higher weights used)
- Do only moderate cardio, not more than 2-3 times a week
A high-calorie diet that includes carbohydrates, protein and fat is ideal.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in protein
- Try high-density foods such as almonds, avocado and peanut butter
- Break calories up into several small meals if needed
- Eat at least 50-60% carbohydrates
- Drink lots of milk
In contrast to ectomorphs, endomorphs tend to be softer and rounder with little or no muscle definition. They put on weight easily, but find it hard to lose it because of a slower metabolism. They’re usually shorter and have a larger bone structure.
Staying in shape is usually harder for people of this body type. The focus of the workout here should be burning calories and building lean muscle.
- Train in the 15+ repetition range
- Take 45-second breaks between sets
- Do plenty of cardio
- Have enough protein and keep carbs to 30-40%
- Avoid processed foods and get whole grains
- Drink water and include lots of fibre to keep full
- Get your carbs from fruits and veggies
This body type is naturally athletic and is considered the best to have. Mesomorphs have the sturdy bone structure of the endomorph and the lankiness of the ectomorph, but with muscle definition. Mesomorphs looking to bulk up find it easier to do so compared with the other two types. They also gain or lose weight faster.
This is the most responsive body type while training. A little dedication can get some seriously good results.
- Do a combination of circuit training, high-intensity cardio, moderate weights, strength and core training
- Train in the 8-12 repetition rep range
- Take 30 secs-1 min breaks between sets
- Do moderate cardio
The diet-sensitive mesomorph needs a healthy combination of carbs, protein and fibre. Small, frequent, protein-rich meals to help sustain energy and muscle bulk is a good idea.
- Here’s a good ratio: 40% complex carbs, 30% lean protein, 30% healthy fats
- Try 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day
- Have enough calories to maintain muscle mass
Of course, not everyone fits into one of these three categories strictly. Many have a combination body type, say, a slim upper body of an ectomorph and a rounded lower body of an endomorph. Taking the time out to understand where you fit can save you a lot of effort. It’s also a good idea to consult a dietitian.