How to choose the right workout and diet plan for your body type
by Monique Farrugia
When choosing a workout or diet plan, it's not a one-size-fits-all approach and what has worked for me, will not necessarily work for you. Therefore, prior to choosing your plan, you need to identify what type of body you have. There are three distinct body types: ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph.
This article will help you understand these three main body types and will also help you to identify where you best fit in. Knowing which body type you are closest to will help you tailor your diet and workout plan in a way which meets your specific needs. It will also help you set realistic goals in order to pave the way to your success.
An overview of the 3 different body types
'Ectomorph', 'Mesomorph', and 'Endomorph', are words which you've probably never really heard before in your life. So, let us dive right into what these mean.
- Ectomorph: Tall and thin, with difficulty building muscle
- Mesomorph: Fit and muscular, with a high metabolism and responsive muscle cells
- Endomorph: Big and round, with a high tendency to store body fat
An ectomorph is generally thin and struggles to gain weight, both in terms of fat and muscle. Their bodies look like a marathon runner's and have a fast metabolism which means that they burn off fat easily. Their bodies look long and narrow, while they can eat lots of food and still look the same (everyone's dream right?). However, an ectomorph's biggest battle is gaining muscle. In fact, they are often known as 'hardgainers' in the fitness world, due to their struggle to bulk up. Yet, being an ectomorph who finds it difficult to build muscle does not mean that you are weak. You can still get strong and be as fit and healthy as someone who looks more muscular. Having said that, if an ectomorph wants to gain weight, they need to eat - A LOT!
What ectomorphs should be eating
Good news - you can enjoy a high-calorie diet! A diet that is rich in carbs, fat and protein will help you gain muscle. However, a high-calorie diet does not mean that you can eat whatever junk food you like. This essentially means that you need to eat larger portions of what is good and healthy. You also do not need to stay clear of carbohydrates because ectomorphs respond well to carbohydrates, which will spike blood sugar and drive protein to their muscles. I would also recommend an ectomorph to consume a good protein drink immediately after a workout, in addition to their meal.
How ectomorphs should be training
Weight exercises are a must! You should lift heavy weights with a good form, while aerobic exercises should be kept to a minimum. Remember though to seek professional help prior to lifting heavy weights. You should mainly focus on compound movements, which are exercises that stimulate multiple muscles, such as deadlifts and squats, as well as isolation movements, in other words, exercises that focus on one specific muscle like bicep curls and triceps extensions. For instance, these latter exercises could be done towards the end of your workout. You should aim at doing 8-12 reps with heavy weights and work out 3-4 times a week.
This is the middle body type that consists of a naturally athletic physique and generally speaking, these individuals tend to find it easier to gain and lose weight than any other body type. Mesomorphs are naturally strong, making this body type the most ideal for muscle building. Even though a mesomorph has a natural tendency to be fit and muscular this does not necessarily mean that they are healthier than others. However, it may be easier and faster for them to get back into shape after the countless figolli and chocolate they ate during the Easter holidays. Due to a mesomorph's ease to add muscle and the fact that their bodies do not store much body fat, they tend to take their bodies for granted, resulting in poor nutrition and workout plans.
What mesomorphs should be eating
Mesomorphs gain fat easier than ectomorphs, therefore their calorie intake should be less than ectomorphs. If you're a mesomorph, your diet plan should include a moderate amount of carbs, and an equal amount of healthy fats and lean protein. So for example, a plate of grilled chicken with a small drizzle of olive oil, some broccoli and spinach and a side of sweet potatoes, is a good dish for a mesomorph. Alternatively, have a look at these healthier versions of traditional Maltese recipes.
How mesomorphs should be training
A mesomorph does not need to go insanely heavy with weights to see results. They can lift moderately and still see progress. How much you lift depends on your specific goals. For a mesomorph to maintain a muscular body whilst losing body fat, I would suggest lifting some moderate weights, but also engaging in aerobic exercises regularly. Cardio exercises are important for mesomorphs because they are still at risk of gaining fat over a number of years, if not careful. They should aim to train 3-5 times a week.
Finally, we come to the endomorph. Endomorphs have higher levels of body fat and are generally rounder and softer. Endomorphs also find trouble shifting weight, have a large bone structure and their build is wider than an ectomorph and mesomorph. This body type is the hardest to manage weight and overall fitness, however, this does not mean that an endomorph is unhealthy. They can be as strong and healthy as any other individual under the other two groups. If an endomorph decides to get lean though, it will require hard work!
What Endomorphs should be eating
Endomorphs need to abide by a stricter diet plan than the others. Unlike ectomorphs, endomorphs should follow a low-carb diet while increasing their protein and fibre intake. They should eat more complex carbs such as sweet potatoes and avoid simple carbs like white bread. And don't forget these top superfoods you should be eating.
How endomorphs should be training
Ditch the treadmill workouts and stop doing 100 crunches a day. There's no point in spending hours walking on a treadmill to shed fat and if you're doing 100 crunches a day to try and remove fat from your stomach, ditch them! Spot reduction does not work. A more effective workout than the treadmill or crunches is through interval training like box jumps and burpees. This way you would be working your whole body while shedding fat. An endomorph may also make use of moderate weights. The key here is to get your heart pumping daily with some form of physical activity. Whether it's walking the dog, jogging, a home workout or a gym workout, it is important to keep active daily. If you find yourself doing lots of work but still gaining weight, then it is probably a sign that you need to adjust your diet plan.
With this article, you should be able to briefly identify what type of body you have, allowing you to optimize your diet plan and workout plan accordingly, but you may find yourself in between two body types. If that's the case don't worry! This is very common. In fact, most people seem to have a combination of two body types. These are generally the ectomorph-mesomorph or mesomorph-endomorph. The problem with these so-called 'in-betweeners' is that they see themselves less clearly. They may favour the body type they'd want to be and as a result, follow the wrong diet and workout programs. As a result, it is very important to be true to yourself when identifying your body type/s and to make sure that you train and eat accordingly.
Do you need some further help to achieve your ideal body with the right nutrition and exercise? Then how about getting in touch with one of these nutritionists?