Or if like me pre my course I had never heard of these let alone knew what they meant.
Ectomorph: Lean and long, with difficulty building muscle
Endomorph: Big, high body fat, often pear-shaped, with a high tendency to store body fat
Mesomorph: Muscular and well-built, with a high metabolism and responsive muscle cells
But what do these three terms mean in reality? In short, ectomorphs stay lean despite hours in the gym, endomorphs struggle to shift their gut, and mesomorphs pack on muscle with ease. Learning which body shape you were born with, and understanding what that means for your training and diet plans, will help you train smarter to maximise your potential and get closer to building the body that you’ve always wanted.
An ectomorph is a typical skinny guy. Ectos have a light build with small joints and lean muscle. Usually ectomorphs have long thin limbs with stringy muscles. Shoulders tend to be thin with little width.
Typical traits of an ectomorph:
Small “delicate” frame and bone structure
Lean muscle mass
Finds it hard to gain weight
Ectomorphs find it very hard to gain weight. They have a fast metabolism which burns up calories very quickly. Ectos need a huge amount of calories in order to gain weight. Workouts should be short and intense focusing on big muscle groups. Supplements are definitely recommended. Ectomorphs should eat before bed to prevent muscle catabolism during the night. Generally, ectomorphs can lose fat very easily which makes cutting back to lean
A mesomorph has a large bone structure, large muscles and a naturally athletic physique. Mesomorphs are the best body type for bodybuilding. They find it quite easy to gain and lose weight. They are naturally strong which is the perfect platform for building muscle.
Typical traits of a Mesomorph:
Generally hard body
Well defined muscles
Rectangular shaped body
Gains muscle easily
Gains fat more easily than ectomorphs
The mesomorph body type responds the best to weight training. Gains are usually seen very quickly, especially for beginners. The downside to mesomorphs is they gain fat more easily than ectomorphs. This means they must watch their calorie intake. Usually a combination of weight training and cardio works best for mesomorphs.
The endomorph body type is solid and generally soft. Endomorphs gain fat very easily. Endos are usually of a shorter build with thick arms and legs. Muscles are strong, especially the upper legs. Endomorphs find they are naturally strong in leg exercises like the squat.
Typical traits of an Endomorph:
Soft and round body
Gains muscle and fat very easily
Is generally short
Finds it hard to lose fat
Muscles not so well defined
When it comes to training endomorphs find it very easy to gain weight. Unfortunately, a large portion of this weight is fat not muscle. To keep fat gain to a minimum, endomorphs must always train cardio as well as weights. Usually supplements may not be needed as long as the person has a high protein intake in their diet.
DETERMINE BODY TYPE
Perhaps it was immediately obvious which body group you fell into. But, if it wasn’t think about how you react to food and exercise.
Do you gain weight quickly if you eat the wrong foods or after going on a lazy holiday? If you lose this weight rapidly after a change in diet or some exercise, you are probably a mesomorph. If you struggle to lose these extra pounds, then you exhibit endomorphic features. If you don’t put on any weight, you most likely are an ectomorph.
Compare your eating habits with your appearance. If you consume a large amount of calories and are still thin, you are probably an ectomorph. If you eat a small number of calories and still appear thin and healthy you are probably a mesomorph. If you consume few calories and still appears heavy you are probably an endomorph.
SIZE OF JOINTS/ BONES
To determine whether you are small, medium or larger boned/ jointed, encircle your wrist with your thumb and middle finger. If your middle finger overlaps your thumb, then you are small boned/ jointed (ectomorph). If your middle finger and thumb just touch, you have medium sized bones/ joints (mesomorph). If your finger and thumb do not touch then you are larger boned/ jointed (endomorph).
To help determine your body type, think back to your adolescence, a time before age (metabolism slows as you get older, making you more prone to weight gain) and lifestyle transformed your body into what it is today.
Sometimes, you’re a little bit of this and a little bit of that. As with most training programs, the right program for in-betweeners might be a mix, so it’s important to know who you are.
An ectomorph might have naturally huge arms and self-identify as a mesomorph but be a hard gainer everywhere else.
In this case, the basic rules of training for ectomorphs should still be followed, with a de-emphasis on upper arm isolation, in favor of compound exercises, if balance is one of the goals.
Likewise, a mesomorph with naturally skinny arms might accidentally, in service to bulking-up those arms, pack on extra torso weight where it’s not wanted.
Even endomorphs might have slightly thinner legs and tighter glutes than usual for their body type, viewing themselves as mesomorphs and gobbling down carbs without worry, with a dietary intake more fitting to the slimmer athlete.
The curse of the in-betweeners is to see themselves a little less clearly, favoring the body type they’d want to be, and following the wrong program.
Your body type was determined by genetics, but it’s absolutely nothing to stress about. It’s all about embracing your own unique body type and making daily decisions to keep yourself in top health.
It helps to be aware of this stuff if you’re looking to achieve peak fitness condition. If you just want more energy, longevity, and health, the recipe is simple for everyone: eat well, be active, sleep, and manage your stress. Don’t sweat the details too much.
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