What's your body type?
The human body can be said to come in variations of three basic types: the endomorph, the ectomorph, and the mesomorph. Whilst it’s possible to classify pretty much everybody as one of these types, they are not set. We all also cross boundaries between them, with different traits of different ones, and through lifestyle factors like diet and training history you can change how you look. A BMI calculator will help you to work out whether you are a healthy size.
However, we all do indeed veer more towards one type than the others.
Each one is typified by specific characteristics.
The three body types
Ectomorphs tend to be long and thin. They will struggle to put weight on, both in terms of muscles and body fat. No matter their caloric intake or training regime at gyms in Dubai, they will always tend to be skinny- they will be what is called a ‘hard gainer’ in fitness circles.
Ectomorphs are typically long limbed and slim framed, with a lean build and little muscle around the chest or stomach. Even when they do manage to put weight on, this natural build will often make them still appear skinny.
However, there is a difference between being skinny and being weak: being an ectomorph doesn’t stop you from excelling athletically if you don’t want it to. You can still train for strength- which is as much as a skill as it is a state of muscularity- and will be able to get as fit as anyone else. You just won’t ever look huge.
Endomorphs are in many ways the opposite of ectomorphs. They will typically have wider builds with broader hips and chests, thicker ribcages and shorter limbs. They will find it easy to put weight on and will likely be naturally strong; a BMI calculator will often show them as being ‘overweight’ when they are not. However, they may also find it easy to put body fat on and hard to keep body fat levels down.
Being an endomorph needn’t mean that you are destined to be overweight, though. You will need to be more careful with your diet, making sure that you keep caloric surpluses modest when looking to put muscle on, and keeping calories slightly lower than a BMR calculation might suggest for weight maintenance.
Plus, you get to enjoy being strong and muscular with little effort, which is always nice.
Mesomorphs are often thought of as possessing the best of both worlds: they will find it easy to keep bodyfat levels low, like an ectomorph, and will find it easy to put on muscle, like an endomorph (though rarely as efficiently at either respectively). They will tend to have broad shoulders, narrow waists and slim joints.
Mesomorphs therefore tend to have naturally athletic looking physiques and will generally make progress towards their fitness goals quite easily. This isn’t a free pass by any stretch of the imagination- even if you’re a classic mesomorph, poor diet will still see you put on weight or struggle to put on muscle, as will poor training. However, you will do tend to have a bit of a natural advantage.
Training for body types
This section needs to begin with a caveat: though there will be more efficient ways to train and eat for your body type (and less efficient, conversely), this should take second place to your training goals. If you want to put on muscle, but you’re an ectomorph, you will still need to follow a bodybuilder’s regime to the letter. If you want to be skinny and you’re an endomorph, you will still need to maintain a caloric deficit through diet and exercise until you get there.
However, the following advice should inform you on the most efficient training and dietary style to fit your body type:
Ectomorphs should eat lots of protein and carbs, with a higher caloric intake than a BMR or BMI calculation might suggest. Steer clear of aerobic activity if you want to build muscle, or at least eat extra to compensate for the energy burn. Lift heavy, often, and with good form.
On the other hand, endomorphs will benefit the most from lifting moderate weights and keeping aerobic activity high, with fast paced gym performance a must. HIIT, sprints and circuits will be best for building muscle and keeping fat levels down, as will full body training days and lots of super- and giant- sets. Keep calories slightly lower than a BMR calculator might suggest for any given goal and go easy on the carbs.
It may be tempting to say that mesomorphs can do what they want and expect to look buff. There is some truth to this, but that’s no cause for complacency. They should look to lift moderate to heavy loads on a regular basis, with a bit of aerobic activity. They will need to keep protein levels high, alongside a raised caloric intake more generally, but beware fat gains (they may just creep up on them!)
There are always in-betweeners, too. There are some people who gain muscle as poorly as an ectomorph but who gain fat as easily as an endomorph. There are those who gain muscle as easily as a mesomorph but have long, skinny frames like ectomorphs. There may be some who are classical ectomorphs but who randomly seem to gain well in their arms and shoulders and nowhere else.
We are all different, quite breathtakingly so.
Try to figure out which body type best represents you. Work out what you got from which body type and use this to work out how to treat your training. If you gain hard but put weight on easily, you will need to be very strict with your diet, take in plenty of protein, and lift heavy and often. If you overbulk in one muscle section with others lagging, work the others harder to make up the difference.
Bear the above advice in mind and play it by ear for a bit- see what works for you. Whatever happens, two fundamental rules don’t change:
- Train and eat with your goals in mind
- Keep consistent with exercise and diet