• Glenn Wood

What's your body type & how to manage it

Have you ever wondered how one person and eat anything they like and the next person piles on the weight with every mouthful?

In the 1940's US psychologist Dr. William H. Sheldon classified the human bodies into three body types. Depending on which one you are goes a long way to determine what sort of diet you should follow and what type of exercise regime works best fro you too. It is now generally accepted that most people fall into one of these three body types.

Ectomorph: Lean and long, with difficulty building muscle. Their characteristics include a small slight frame and bone construction, hyperactivity, small appetite, flat chest, youthful appearance, speedy metabolism and lean muscle mass.They have trouble in putting on weight and are usually tall with low body fat. Muscle growth takes time.These are the people who seem to eat a lot and never gain any weight. It is because they have an exceptionally fast metabolism that helps them burn major amounts of calories even when they are asleep. Ectomorphs are highly tolerant of carbohydrates.

Diet for Ectomorphs - A carbohydrate rich diet typically works best for this group. Since they need to bulk up, eating about 2 to 2.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight seems a good place to start.Also, complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, yams, sweet potatoes, bagels and brown pasta are to be preferred.

Proteins, on the other hand, are indisputably the most important macronutrient for ectomorphs. Consider a protein shake after a workout to get more benefit from your session. Since the objective is to create lean muscle, they must stick to lean sources of protein such as fish, chicken, turkey, lean steak, and eggs. While the overall fat intake for ectomorphs is lower, keep in mind that not all fats are bad. Fats like omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 are quite good for the body. Avocado, oily fish, nuts, and eggs are excellent sources of these fats.

The ratio of macronutrients that the Ectomorphs typically need to hit is 50 % carbohydrates, 30 % protein, and 20 % fat.

Exercise for Ectomorphs - Cardio should include HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) or circuit training, according to personal preference. Exercises such as squats, deadlifts and bench presses that target multiple body parts at a time are recommended. Ectomorphs have to work harder on the weights in order to gain a toned physique.

Endomorph: Big, high body fat, often pear-shaped, with a high tendency to store body fat. Endomorphs are adept at storing fuel, with muscle and fat concentrated in the lower body. The endomorph is the hardest body type to have in terms of managing your weight and overall fitness, but to get a more balanced physique, It's not all bad news though, evolutionarily speaking natural selection favoured humans with fat storing metabolisms.

Diet for Endomorphs - Since Endomorphs need to burn huge amounts of fats, they need to take more of fiber rich foods that are low in calories. It means that when it comes to carbohydrates, grains, oatmeal, brown rice and fruits are the way to go. Again, contrary to the popular belief, eating healthy fats help in burning away the undesirable fats in the body. Endomorphs are strongly advised to have at least one serving of fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, etc. with each meal. A number of carbs needs to be minimized.

The macronutrient ratio that these people need to hit is 25 % carbs, 35 % protein, and 40 % fat. Processed and fast foods should be avoided at all costs. Flash dieting is to be avoided. Fruits and vegetables will drive away the constant hunger.To enhance the genetically slow metabolism of the Endomorphs, they need to divide their day’s caloric intake into 5-6 smaller meals rather than 2-3 heavy meals. Drinking plenty of water helps in feeling full.

Exercise for Endomorphs - The trick for Endomorphs is to burn fat and preserve lean muscle. They need to lift heavy weight because lifting small weights is not going to do the trick for them. 15+ repetitions are recommended and 30-45 second rest between sets. Compound lifts help in burning more calories. Working on cardio fetches the maximum benefits as the main objective is to burn calories, HIIT is the best way to do that. high-intensity cardio twice a week for 20 minutes.

Mesomorph: Muscular and well-built, with a high metabolism and responsive muscle cells. Mesomorphs are marked by greater than average muscular development.They have a narrow waist and low-fat levels. A mesomorph has a large bone structure, strong muscles, and a naturally lithe physique. They have a tendency of gaining muscle but not of storing fat. They also tend to lose or gain weight relatively quickly. A mesomorph may be considered to be midway between ectomorphs and endomorphs and hence, display qualities from both the categories. They have a larger frame than an endomorph combined with the low body fat percentage of an ectomorph. They gain muscle quickly, burn fat without difficulty and eat in moderation. They also have low body fat.

Diet For Mesomorphs - While Mesomorphs do have a genetic advantage, following the wrong diet can ruin their robust metabolism and have an adverse effect on their shapely bodies. A Mesomorph’s diet can be high in calories if they are physically active. As their metabolism is not lightning fast like the Ectomorphs, they need not consume as many calories as the Ectomorphs. The macronutrient ratio that these people need to hit is 40 % carbs, 30 % protein, and 30 % fat.

Mesomorphs looking to gain lean muscle mass must be careful to eat enough calories and a sufficient amount of protein on all days, including ones on which they do not exercise. They must, however, be cautious while consuming carbohydrates. Carbs that the body absorbs slowly, such as vegetables are recommended. More carbs may be obtained from dried fruits, potatoes, oatmeal and other foods. Healthy fats are an essential part of every diet and hence there is no harm in increasing the intake of nuts, olive oil, flaxseed oil and avocados, etc. The frequency of meals should also be increased to six per day, with small meals being eaten every two hours or so.

Exercise For Mesomorphs - Achieving a lean physique for a mesomorph requires consistent cardio sessions to avoid putting on too much fat. Incorporating 30 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three to five times a week should become a regular part of the exercise routine. Mesomorphs are naturally strong because their muscles are thick and dense. Lifting moderate-to-heavy weights, with limited rest in between sets, five days a week is ideal to stimulate muscle growth.Perform eight to 12 reps of three to four exercises for each muscle group. Complete at least three sets of each exercise and rest 30 to 90 seconds after each set. Adding in body-weight exercises and techniques such as super sets and circuit training, can encourage strength and stamina without building muscle mass.

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