How to Exercise & Diet Correctly For Your Body Type

By Joanna 22/05/2020 In
Knowledge
Fitness Tips

 

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Let’s talk about our bodies. So without any judgement, look into the mirror. What do you see? Do you see long, slim limbs? Wide hips and perhaps more fat accumulation around the belly area? Or a more sporty, muscular body? We know just how complex our body types can be. But knowing where you fit in, could help determine the best exercise and diet plan for you. 

We want to find your dominant body type and understand the exercises and diet that works best for your body and help you form more realistic goals. 

WHAT IS YOUR BODY TYPE?

We are all created different but just as beautiful. Typical, there are 3 dominant body types: ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph.

Your genetics predispose you towards one of the three body types. You can’t change that, however, with dedication to your training and also eating right, you can get closer to another body type.

However, do understand that your daily exercise, diet habits, lifestyle and even metabolic changes through pregnancy or menopause can skew your body type. So if you are uncertain where you fit, just think back about how you looked like in your late teens or early 20s.

So let’s first take a look at the 3 dominate body types:

 

Ectomorphs (Traits)

These are people who seem to eat whatever they want and never gain any weight, because they have a fast/high metabolism.They are usually thin and lanky. They have smaller bone structure with shoulders that tend to be narrower than their hips. Just think of the endurance athletes or a typical model.

Celebrities include Taylor Swift, Kendall Jenner, Kiera Knightley and Kate Middleton. Typically your goal is to Gain Weight. 

 

Mesomorphs (Traits)

You have a medium bone structure and an athletic body. You are considered to have the “good gene” because you have an efficient metabolism, which means it’s easier for you to gain muscle or lose fat. If you keep to an active and healthy lifestyle, it’s relatively easy for you to maintain your weight. Yes, you can gain weight, but once you get back into eating well and exercising, the excess weight comes off pretty easily too.

Celebrities include Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Rihanna and Scarlett Johansson. Typically your goal is to Lean Up. 

 

Endomorphs (Traits)

You have a soft, rounder body. You have a stockier bone structure with a larger midsection and hips. You find that you gain fat so easily just by eating one small chocolate bar. But you struggle to lose weight. Your metabolism is naturally slower, hence you have to pay more attention to what you eat in order to get fit. 

Celebrities include Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Hudson, Kim Kardashian and Mariah Carrey. Typically your goal is to Lose Weight.

 

These are the 3 dominant body types. You may fine that you don’t fit perfectly into 1 category but a mix of 2 body types. Hence you may be :

  1. Ecto-Mesomorphs This body type is lean and muscular.
  2. Meso-Endomorphs You are strong but the muscles aren’t well defined, like a rugby player.
  3. Ecto-Endomorphs The “skinny fat” person who is naturally thin but has gained weight due to lack of exercise and a poor diet.

Once you figured out which body type you fall under, let’s further understand the types of exercises and diet that best suit your goals and needs.

 

Ectomorphs (Training)

Let’s start with Ectomorphs. Since your goals is to gain weight and lean muscle mass, we want to focus on resistance training and limit cardio or endurance-type training. Your training should be focused on strength and hypertrophy, which is to build muscle. 

In order to gain strength and size, you want to be lifting heavy. The weights should be heavy enough for you to only be lifting between 6 - 10 reps, with longer rest times, 1 - 2 mins between sets, and go for 3 - 4 sets. Aim to strength train at least 3 - 4 times weekly or every alternate days.  

Follow a simple routine with heavy compound movements and minimal isolation movements per muscle group. Compound movements are basically exercises that work several muscles or muscle groups at once. Because compound movements recruit a large number of muscle fibers, it’s the most effective way to build most muscle mass and quickest to increase overall strength. Examples include, squats, lunges, bench press, push-ups, dead lift and pull-ups. 

Go for short cardio sessions, between 10 - 20 mins, twice weekly. You can treat it as your warm-up to avoid burning too much calories or muscle mass, but it’s still important to improve your stamina and heart health. 

 

Ectomorphs (Diet)

When it comes to your diet, you should eat a mass gain-focused diet. Because your body tends to burn off energy faster than other body types, your calorie intake needs to be higher. You should be consuming 750 - 1000 calories more than what you need to maintain your current body. 

The low carb, fat-loss diets are NOT for you! Aim for Higher Carb, Moderate Protein and Low Fat. Go for 50% Carbs, 30% Protein and 20% Fat.

Here’s an example of what your portion should look like: 

Ectomorph Men

  • 3 portions of carbs
  • 2 portions of protein
  • 2 fists of vegetables.
  • 1 thumb of fat dense food.

Ectomorph Women

  • 2 portions of carbs
  • 1 portion of protein
  • 1 - 2 fists of vegetables.
  • ½ thumb of fat dense food.

Since your metabolism rate is very high, you need to keep “fueling your engine”, try to eat more frequently, every 2-4 hours. For some who are extremely thin, incorporating “mass gainer” nutritional shakes into your diet can help too, as they are very high in calories. 

If you aren’t sure how to calculate your BMR, TDEE, macros or food portion, do watch my video on “How to Calculate Food Portions & Macros”. Watch the video HERE:

 

Mesomorphs (Training)

Well, count yourself lucky because you are naturally strong and respond quickly to exercise, making it easier for you to gain mass, lose weight and stay lean.

For this reason, you want to aim on a wide performance spectrum, focusing on strength, size and endurance. You can dedicate a block of exercises to strength, a block to hypertrophy and a block to endurance training. 

Mix it up and avoid focusing only on one type of training because you will lose muscle mass if you are too focused on endurance conditioning, and you may gain excess fat if you only perform heavy resistance training. 

So for example, incorporate moderate to heavy strength training 3 -4 times weekly and mix it up with HIIT workouts as your cardio 2 - 3 times weekly.

 

Mesomorphs (Diet)

Typically, your goal is to lean up. You want to maintain your bodyweight, but to lose fat and add muscle tone.

Mesomorphs fall somewhere in the middle, so your macros should be split pretty evenly between carbs, protein and fat. 35% carbs, 35% protein and 30% fat. 

Here’s an example of your food portion:

Mesomorph Men

  • 1.5 portions of carbs
  • 2 portions of protein
  • 2-3 fists of vegetables.
  • 2 thumb of fat dense food.

Mesomorph Women

  • 1 portion of carbs
  • 1 portion of protein
  • 1-2 fists of vegetables.
  • 1 thumb of fat dense food.

Your food intake can also be adjusted according to your training days. For instance, reduce on carbs and increase on protein on strength and conditioning days. Whereas on HIIT workout days, you can increase your carb intake post-workout to fuel your body. 

As for your total calorie intake, you want to eat enough to maintain your current body weight, but if your goal is to lose a little bit of weight, then consume slightly less.

 

Endomorphs (Training)

As an endomorph, you may feel like you are destined to be overweight. If you are thinking that right now, it is absolutely NOT TRUE! You can CHANGE your body by making changes to your LIFESTYLE! If your metabolism is sluggish, you need to eat the right food that will fire up your metabolism. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, get moving and make exercising part of your daily routine. You need to do what’s right for your body and not blame it on genetics. 

 

When it comes to exercising, resistance training is still key, but adding more endurance training will help to increase your metabolic rate and shed fat. A higher muscle mass will increase your BMR, hence making your body more efficient in burning fat. 

Aim for 3 - 4 days of strength training. Your aim is to complete more work in less time, that means shorter rest periods, because we want to keep your heart rate elevated throughout the majority of a session. Go for moderate weights, where you can perform between 8 - 15reps per set, and only rest between 30 - 60 seconds. Incorporate compound movements, because it helps you to burn more calories. Interval and circuit trainings also are very effective as well, which is what most of my workout videos are structured upon.

You should also know that your muscles are strong, especially your lower body, so you can really lift. Powerlifters or rugby players are often classified as endomorphs. 

As for the remaining days, go for endurance training. It can be 2 days of lower-intensity conditioning for 30 - 60 minutes such as inclined walk, light job, biking, hiking or swimming. And once a week, do a HIIT workout. Don’t forget to also dedicate at least one day to rest and recovery.

  

Endomorphs (Diet)

What’s even more important is your diet. You tend to be more insulin resistant and a have lower carbohydrate tolerance. Hence, you should limit your carb intake. You do better on higher protein and fat, with lower carbs. So 20% carbs, 45% protein and 35% fat. Hence, that is why most overweight people do well on a KETO diet. 

Because your body do not tolerate carbs very well, the best method is to AVOID high carb or starchy carb foods outside of the workout window. Only consume starchy foods such as rice, whole grain breads, quinoa,corn, barley, yams, potatoes AFTER exercising. That means, outside of the workout window, your diet should consist mainly of protein, healthy fats and vegetables. 

Here’s an example of your meal:

Endomorph Men

  • 2 portions of protein
  • 2-3 fists of vegetable
  • 2-3 thumbs of fat dense food

Endomorph Women

  • 1 portion of protein
  • 2 fist of vegetables
  • 1-2 thumbs of fat dense foods at each meal.

In order to lose weight, your total daily calorie intake should also be at least 500 - 700 calories less than your Total Daily Calorie Expenditure (TDEE), but still enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

DO NOT undereat, because that will damage your metabolism, workout performance and will only hinder your weight loss. 

 

IN ESSENCE

What’s your body type and what are your goals? Remember that there’s no one simple solution to achieving your health and fitness goal. 

If you’ve been eating well and exercising, but you are not getting the results you’re looking for, then perhaps you are not doing it right according to your body type. You have to keep trying different methods, see how your body respond and keep tweaking and progressing through the journey. 

And there’s no shortcuts. It’s all about being consistent with your workouts, eating a clean and well-balanced diet, managing your stress levels and just trusting the process. It’s not an overnight transformation, not even few weeks, it will take months and even years. Hence, I always believe that fitness is for life, there’s not deadline to it. 

 

 

 

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