One of the biggest mistakes people make in their fitness journey is assuming that everyone has the same workout and diet needs. If we all follow the same fitness routines, then we’ll see the same results…right?
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Everyone really is different, and that means we need to cater to our unique needs.
Body Build Types
There are three main body types that dictate how your body changes through diet and training: endomorph, ectomorph, and mesomorph. Your body type isn’t an indicator of your health — it’s just something to keep in mind as you pursue your fitness goals. Being able to identify your body type can help you create a lifestyle that’ll help you reach your goals.
What differentiates these three body build types is how they hold onto fat and build muscle. Because of variations in metabolism (the process through which your body turns calories from food into energy), some types find it easier to drop fat and build muscle than others.
Endomorph Body Type
Endomorph is the first of the three body types. The good news is that people of this type can gain muscle fairly easily. The catch is that this muscle gain is often accompanied by fat gain as well.
Endomorphs tend to generally have bigger builds and a higher body fat percentage. This may have been a very handy evolutionary trait in the past, when food was scarce. However, nowadays, having this body type can be more difficult to navigate. So what’s an endomorph to do?
Workouts for Endomorphs
Forget long hours on the treadmill. Endomorphs respond well to HIIT (high intensity interval training). This means that you can work out for shorter lengths of time and get better results. It’s a win-win situation!
Interval training will make your heart rate rise and ensure that you get a good sweat going. If you need an extra boost to get through your training, try a pre-workout supplement. It’ll give you the energy to push through your workout, and it can even help you burn more fat.
But don’t neglect your weight training. In fact, that should be your main focus when it comes to fitness. Lifting weights means that you’ll build more muscle, which can help you burn more calories even after you’ve finished your workout. Plus, with the extra muscle, you’ve definitely got a strength advantage over the other body types!
Diet for Endomorphs
As with all body types, focusing on the three macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats) is important. However, endomorphs are carb sensitive. Ever feel yourself gain a few pounds just by looking at bread?
Choose to get most of your carbs from vegetables and other high-fiber sources. Also, be careful about liquids like juice, which contain more carbs than you might think.
Protein is a definite must at every meal, especially with all the weight training you’re going to be doing — it’ll assist with your muscle building. Fat is also super important, as it’ll keep you fuller for longer so you’ll feel the need to snack less.
Here are some of the best foods to eat as an endomorph:
- Veggies — lots and lots of veggies
- High-fiber carb sources such as quinoa and oats
- Healthy fats such as nuts and avocados
Ectomorph Body Type
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the ectomorphs. Ectomorphs are typically lean individuals who have a fast metabolism. While that may seem lucky to some people, it can become a problem for those who want to gain weight and muscle. It isn’t impossible to do so as an ectomorph, but it can be challenging.
Workouts for Ectomorphs
When it comes to workouts, you can skip the extensive cardio sessions and focus instead on weightlifting. You’ll see the results you’re looking for by picking up the dumbbells and barbells.
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t do cardio at all. In fact, you definitely should do some — it’s important for your cardiovascular health. But bear in mind that doing a lot of cardio will make it harder for you to gain mass.
Weightlifting should be your main priority. Focus on compound movements, which are exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time. We’re talking about movements like squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses, which give you more bang for your buck.
Diet for Ectomorphs
Ectomorphs, remember to eat, eat, eat! If your goal is to build size and muscle, you need to have a calorie surplus — that is, eating more calories than you burn. The excess energy will be used to build that muscle you’re looking for.
Make sure you load up on your carbs, protein, and healthy fats. A recommended calorie surplus is approximately 500 calories above your maintenance calories.
Here are some foods to eat if you’re in the ectomorph body type group:
- Sweet potato
- Fish such as salmon or tuna
- Cottage cheese
If you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to eat more food, consider a post-workout supplement to get the nutrients you need to bulk up.
Mesomorph Body Type
The final body type is mesomorph. Mesomorphs are the lucky ones who have a naturally athletic build and can pack on the muscle without the extra fat. But because their genetics make their fitness path easier than their endomorph and ectomorph counterparts, it’s very easy for them to develop poor habits that won’t do them any favors when they get older.
Workouts for Mesomorphs
Mesomorphs typically don’t struggle when it comes to training. As long as you’re consistent with your workouts and are taking enough recovery time, then you’ll be okay.
Just as with other body types, weight training is important. It’ll build your muscles and promote calorie burning long after your workout is done. Go for moderate to heavy weights so you can really stimulate that growth. A tip to keep up the intensity of your training — time your rest breaks.
Add in cardio to balance out your exercise regime. HIIT is a great way to keep your training timed and make sure that you’re really working hard in the gym.
Diet for Mesomorphs
Lucky mesomorphs. There’s not really any specific food groups that you need to stay away from. But as with your training, your diet should be balanced.
Aim for a moderate amount of carbs and healthy fats. You should eat more protein than you might expect due to the high intensity training you do. That extra protein will fuel muscle repair and growth. If you have trouble eating enough protein in real food (and many people do) consider a high quality protein supplement.
As a mesomorph, here are the main foods you should incorporate into your diet:
- Whole grains
- Lean meat
While these body types aren’t indicators of health, they can guide you in identifying the most efficient way to reach your goals. Whether you want to lose fat or gain muscle or both, knowing your body type will help you adjust your diet and training to suit your genetics and metabolism.