If you are not seeing the results you would like in the gym, it could be because you are not training for your particular body type. Upon learning this, many people ask “What is my body type, and how should I train for it?” Here is some information about the different body types that will help you make that decision.
Different Body Types Explained
There are three basic body types: endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph. Psychologist Dr. William Sheldon is credited with first identifying the three basic types during the 1940s. Also known as somatypes, they vary according to the distribution of fat and muscle in the body, bone structure, metabolism, and a number of other factors.
Some of the characteristics often displayed by endomorphs include a slow metabolism, medium-to-large size bones and joints, and higher levels of fat. Endomorphs also tend to have a smooth, round body that is characterized by an apple or pear shape. If you are an endomorph, keep these things in mind when coming up with a diet and exercise program:
- Consume smaller portions of food at each sitting.
- Perform weight training at least four days a week.
- Focus on compound movements and full body orientated workouts (i.e. push/pull splits).
- After each lifting session consider 20 minutes of HIIT.
- Ensure that carbohydrates make up between 30-40% of your daily caloric intake.
- Perform 30-40 minute cardio sessions a couple of times a week – which should include intervals.
Ectomorphs are often considered the opposite of endomorphs, as they have a higher-than-average metabolism and skinny frame. As such, ectomorphs often complain that they have difficulty gaining weight or building muscle. The fact that they often tend to have a small chest and buttocks only makes this fact more obvious. To enjoy some good gains in the gym, ectomorphs should:
- Keep workout sessions as short as possible (ideally 45 minutes+-).
- Stick to moderate paced cardio no more than 20-30 minutes two or three times per week.
- Focus on compound movements with heavier weights and lower repetitions.
- Take longer rest breaks between sets.
- Consume 50-60% carbohydrates each day.
- Tip: Focusing on “Eating big and lifting big”.
The mesomorph is identified as someone who has a symmetrical build, low body fat, and an ability to put on muscle easily. Mesomorphs are naturally lean, and have body fat distributed evenly across all areas. While mesomorphs typically need less help in the gym, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Focus on moderate to heavy weights (medium to low rep ranges) and limited rest between sets.
- For good results, train five days a week – using splits to avoid overtraining.
- Eat enough calories to maintain your body weight, not gain or lose pounds.
- Perform regular 30-45 minute cardio sessions three to five times a week. If losing fat is a goal, factor in interval training.
- Maintain carbs at between 40-50%.
Many people ask “What body type am I”? only after struggling to meet their fitness goals. We recommend asking this question before starting a diet and exercise program to ensure the best possible results. Read more about how to train for your body type here.