Understanding your genetic body type
When it comes to burning fat or sculpting muscle, no two people will ever be equal. Some people can eat whatever they want and stay lean; others may lift heavy weights for years and still not gain any muscle size. We all have unique genetic makeups that mean we respond to exercise and diet programs differently. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your goals or get to where you want to be, however, as you can always improve on your genetic makeup.
Our bodies can be classified according to three different categories concerning genetic makeup: endomorphs, ectomorphs and mesomorphs. Nobody is entirely one type, but a mix of at least two or three, although we all tend to gravitate towards one more than the others. Learning more about which type you are can help you to make the most of what nature has given you.
Who are they? People in this category gain weight quickly, tend to store more body fat than others, and have large joints and slow metabolisms. Endomorphs have a hard time losing weight, and consequently they have to rely heavily on exercise to get lean. Endomorphs often have slow thyroids, lack energy and are carb intolerant. They tend to be overweight.
Make the most of it: since endomorphs are intolerant to carbohydrates, make sure you follow a medium to low carb diet and eat lots of protein and healthy fats. Eat the right carbs, including natural and unprocessed whole grains, and avoid white sugar and flour. Eating lots of processed food will only increase your appetite and promote fat storage. People in this category will also need to maximize physical exercise, as relying on a good diet alone might not yield any results. Some endomorphs may find they need to do up to five or six sessions of cardio a week before they see any fat coming off at all. If you are an endomorph, make sure you’re following an impeccable diet and incorporate a weight training program with cardio to give your metabolism a real boost. Do a minimum of 45 minutes of cardio at least five days a week when aiming to reach a fat loss goal. If you find it difficult to set aside the time for long cardio sessions, do shorter intervals of 20 – 30 minutes of high-intensity cardio. Avoid oversleeping and try to keep as active as you can throughout the day, in addition to your gym workouts. Walk as often as you can, rather than kicking back in public transport, and get out and have fun on the weekends. Limit your junk food intake to once a week and only indulge if you have worked hard throughout the week and have truly earned it. It also pays to be consistent and disciplined, as ectomorphs achieve results at a very slow pace. Finally, remember that you WILL achieve your full potential just like anyone else, but it might take a little longer and require more work. Keep in mind that working harder than others will only create inner strength and increased willpower that others won’t have. Staying disciplined will help you to achieve your goals in all arenas of your life.
Who are they? These body types have small joints and waists and are naturally lean. Ectomorphs seem to eat whatever they want and never gain weight, but they also have a really tough time building muscle. They have skinny body frames, fast metabolisms and high energy levels. Most long distance runners and athletes are ectomorphs.
Make the most of it: many ectomorphs complain that they are too thin, and males often find it difficult to gain muscle mass. When it comes to training, the ectomorph will benefit most from brief and heavy weight training programs, leaving a rest period in between each burst to allow muscles to recuperate. Those looking to gain weight or increase muscle size should perform cardio merely for health and fitness reasons, and it should be kept to a minimum. Moderate sessions of 20 or 30 minutes two to three times a week are ideal. To gain size, ectomorphs should also follow a high-carb diet, ensuring at least 50% carb intake a day and including lots high-calorie health foods, such as seeds, nuts and avocadoes.
Who are they? Mesomorphs have the tendency to build muscle and burn fat easily and are naturally in shape. They have broad shoulders, medium sized joints and function best on high-carb diets. They see quick results almost as soon as they start following a diet and training program. They often fail to reach their full physical potential because they are naturally lean and muscular.
Make the most of it: although mesomorphs have superior genes when it comes to staying in shape, this doesn’t mean they should skip workouts and eat lots of junk food. Since mesomorph body types are often already in good shape without needing to follow a training and nutrition program, imagine what these individuals would look like if they did! Follow the recommended course of action to reach your full capability, eat lots of quality food to fuel workouts, and stay as healthy as possible.
Do not classify yourself according to physical appearances
It is important to stress that you may not be able to classify yourself based solely on physical appearances. For example, an ectomorph that has been training for years may look like a mesomorph, but have to work twice as hard. Judge your characteristics based on how your body responds to your diet and training, which will be a clear indicator of your genetic makeup.