Though every body is built differently, we all tend to fit into one of three specific body types, or somatotypes, knowns as endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph. Knowing and understanding your body type will help you to determine the best ways in which to fuel and train your body so that you can stay in the best shape possible.
Ectomorph - Ectomorphs are the naturally slim built people who tend to be able to eat and eat without putting on much weight. They are generally more resistant to weight gain and this is because the have naturally fast metabolisms. In appearance, ectomorphs are often tall and slim and find it difficult to gain muscle mass.
Diet: Because an ectomorph metabolism burns calories quickly, they tend to work best on a slightly higher carb ratio than the other two body types. For example around 55% complex carbs, 25% lean protein and 20% good fats.
- Exercise: Because ectomorphs have naturally higher metabolisms and struggle to gain muscle mass, it is best to focus more or resistance training. Slowing down a resistance training session by using heavier weights for fewer reps, then utilising longer resting periods, will help build strength and muscle definition.
Endomorph - Endomorphs, on the other hand, tend to be slightly heavier set and store fat quite easily, due to their naturally sluggish metabolisms. Often endomorphs are curvier and tend to have to put more effort into staying in shape. This does not mean that someone with an ectomorph body type is destined to be overweight, it simply means you will need to be more aware of your diet and regular exercise plan to help you stay in shape.
Diet: Endomorphs tend to work best on a higher protein and fats to carbs ratio, for example, 25% complex carbs, 40% lean protein and 35% good fats. This is because the calories in carbohydrates are more likely to be stored as fat if not burnt up through exercise.
- Exercise: Because endomorphs tend to store weight more easily, focusing on endurance training, and balancing this with resistance training that fits more into less time (less rests, so that your heart rate remains elevated throughout the workout), will help boost your metabolic rate. HIIT sessions, interval sprints and cycling are good options.
Mesomorph - Mesomorphs are generally more muscular and though they can store body fat, they tend to be able to burn it off and gain muscle mass quite quickly. This has a lot to do with their higher percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibres, giving them a muscle building advantage over both endomorph and ectomorphs.
Diet: Mesomorphs work best with a balanced diet between the three main macronutrients, for example, 40% complex carbs, 30% lean protein sources and 30% good fats.
- Exercise: Mesomorphs tend to be genetically blessed when it comes to fitness and sculpting their body. For this reason, mesomorphs should aim for a balance between both resistance and endurance training, focusing on one more than another only when they are trying to achieve more specific goals. So, more resistance training for strength and muscle gain, more endurance training for increased fitness levels and fat burning.
The important thing to point out here is that all body types are beautiful. Whether you are slimmer, more defined or boast extra curves, it is all about working with your own body so that you can be as healthy, happy and confident as possible!