A guide to body types
What form does your body take? Whilst it’s true that we are all fundamentally similar, there will also be some quite important individual differences at play in our physiognomy, and these will have some profound impacts on the style of exercise and the diet plan that may be best for you. The same exercise and diets at the same gyms in Dubai may yield different results for people with different body types.
The three body types
Most of us fall largely into one of three main groups with regards the shapes of our bodies. These are:
- Ectomorph: Lean and long, with difficulty building muscle
- Endomorph: Big, high body fat, often pear-shaped, with a high tendency to store body fat
- Mesomorph: Muscular and well-built, with a high metabolism and responsive muscle cells
This is nothing new: these have been fairly standard definitions since the mid-20th century. But what do they mean, and where do you fall?
Basically, we can sum it up as follows. Ectomorphs will generally stay lean no matter how many hours they spend at gyms in Dubai. Endomorphs will be a little sturdy, struggling to shift their belly fat. Weight loss will be hard for them, no matter how much exercise they do. Mesomorphs are often well-muscled and will hit hypertrophy pack with ease.
Therefore, if you’re getting frustrated with your lack of gains, but are an ectomorph, you are likely doing the right things in the gym for most people. The same is true for exercise and diet if you’re an endomorph struggling to tone up. You may be a lucky soul who never, ever trains or eats right, yet who manages to stay lean and muscular anyway. In these cases, it really is a case of genetics trumping anything else.
If you don’t know whether you’re at a healthy weight, it’s always a good idea to consult a BMI calculator- this will give you a rough, though very workable, gauge.
Of course, there are ways to manage your genetics. If you’re an ectomorph and you think a 2,500-calorie diet will work for you, think again. Add another 1,000 calories and you will likely see much better results. If you’re an endomorph wondering why you can’t recomp, or why maintenance calories are making you put on fat, realise the case is different for you: you will need harsher deficits to cut weight, so much so that recomp is really unlikely to be achievable.
You will probably find that you fall between categories. The categories themselves are painted with such broad brushstrokes that this is inevitable. Even with exercising, you might find it easy to put on muscle, but hard to keep fat off: you’re a good mix of endomorph and mesomorph. Equally, you might find it easy to stay incredibly lean, but with a tendency to be shredded and quite powerfully built, showing that you are on the ectomorph/mesomorph cusp. Really unlucky individuals will find muscle hard to come by, but that they stay fat almost no matter what: they are between ecto- and endomorph, and will need to be incredibly strict to make their dietary and training protocols work for them.
The main takeaway should be the old platitude that everybody is different. This is why cookie-cutter workout and diet plans often don’t work. Take heed of your body type, and your body’s requirements, before you embark on any plan. If you have always been skinny, maintenance calories are not going to change you. You’re an ectomorph and will need to eat plenty to build any muscle. If you are heavy set, but cannot lose weight, you will likely periodically have to hit hard caloric deficits and will have to stay on top of your diet, keeping it perfect, almost constantly, in order to maintain the physique you want.