Do different body types affect our training needs?
We all have different body types which may respond differently to training regimes. In this blog we get to know the three classic body types and consider how they might influence the way in which we train.
What kind of morph are you: ectomorph, endomorph or mesomorph?
Identification of different body types is usually based on an assessment of your stature, muscle and fat mass. The approach was defined by an American psychologist, William Herbert Sheldon, in the 1940s who coined the terms we still use today: Ectomorph, Endomorph and Mesomorph. An Ectomorph will have a tall, light build, small joints and lean muscle. A typical Endomorph will have a shorter, squarer, build and can easily gain fat. The traits of the Mesomorph are a typically athletic shape and they respond quickly to training with visible differences soon apparent. Have a look in the mirror and see if you feel you fit into one of these shape definitions.
Make sure you know what is happening, on the inside
Looking at yourself will probably have reminded you that we are all different and our bodies are capable of incredible things. Whatever physical traits you might have, you don’t have to let it control your quest to be fitter and healthier and that journey should begin with you knowing what is going on, on the inside. Start with the science and use an accurate body composition monitor so that you have a clear understanding of your level of muscle and fat and importantly, their distribution around your body. You might look slim but have a low level of muscle and hence fall into the category of ‘skinny fat’; knowledge is power and you are in a better position if you know where you are starting from. Once you understand your body composition, you can then overlay that knowledge with the traits which might be influenced by your body shape and work on a fitness plan to suit you.
Tips for different body types
You might already be blessed with an ‘hourglass’ shape and you should also find it easier to gain muscle when you integrate resistance activity into your exercise plan. Circuit training should work well for you and make sure you include some cardio work in your fitness regime so that you maintain the right level of body fat.
You are lucky enough to be predisposed to a naturally athletic build and your body will typically respond well to weight training and you will see the changes fast. Try to include some multi joint workouts or sports like tennis which work your whole body. Also, watch your nutrition, because theory has it that mesomorphs will gain weight quickly if their eating plan contains too many calories from high-fat, high-sugar foods.
Naturally long and lean, you might find it hard to gain weight and increasing your exercise can mean you lose fat and end up skinnier than you want to be. To build strength, try to include compound exercises which use more than one joint or muscle group. Eating clean carbs (sweet potato mash rather than white bread!) will help to make sure you don’t lose weight as you work out more. Whatever your body type, remember that your body is an amazing machine, that with the right fuel and maintenance will work its best. The better you understand your body the healthier and happier you will be.