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Last Updated on December 16, 2020

The Best Fitness Plan for You Based on Your Body Type

The Best Fitness Plan for You Based on Your Body Type

Have you exhausted your body with multiple workouts, this or that fitness plan, and trendy diets in order to get the results you want? Perhaps you’re tired, can’t manage to find time to workout, or maybe your job has you bogged down and stressed out?

The problem may be that you are expending unnecessary energy doing exercises that contradict what your body needs in order to get the results you want. Once you understand your body type, you will begin to understand why less is more, and maximize your workout time.

Everything you need to know about the best fitness plan for your body type is right here.

The 3 Different Body Types

First of all, there are three body types:

  1. The thin ectomorph
  2. The thick endomorph
  3. The muscular mesomorph

The 3 Body Types

    If you aren’t aware of these categories, you have probably been training your body in a way that doesn’t support your body type and, therefore, you’re lethargic, you can’t gain muscle mass, and you can’t lose weight to save your life[1]. It is likely that you are over-working your body instead of allowing it to do the work it was intended to do.

    While the three body types are a good guide to pinpointing the type of workout you need, keep in mind that there are variables. In some cases, it may be necessary to train your body differently for your upper body and your lower body. That is, to perform a combination body-type workout.

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    The Fitness Plan for Endomorphs

    If you have the body of an endomorph, watch out! Your body likely stores more fat than the other two body types.

    The trick is to head the fat off at the pass. In other words, regularly do cardio to get your heart rate up, and perform weight-training exercises that burn fat.

    Exercises, such as high reps and low weight speed up your metabolism, especially if you’re female. For weight-training, concentrate on the larger muscle groups, such as thighs, glutes, and back. The bigger the muscle group, the more calories you will burn.

    In addition, multi-joint exercises for the lower body work best. For example, a squat involves the knees and hip flexors, while a leg extension only involves the knees:

    If you’re not a gym rat, cycling and hiking are also multi-joint movements that burn calories.

    If you stay consistent, you will see the pounds melt away.

    The Fitness Plan for Ectomorphs

    So what if you’re tall, skinny, and have little muscle mass? Well, that would make you an ectomorph. You likely have a fast metabolism, a lot of energy, and eat whatever you want, which in many ways is a blessing, but in other ways a curse.

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    Weight loss is likely no problem for you, but If gaining mass is your goal, you’ll have to work just as hard to maintain it as a person whose metabolism is slow and wants to lose weight.

    So what’s the solution for an ectomorph? Less cardio, more weight-lifting, and more food!

    Nutrition is extremely important for the skinny ectomorph. You must eat within one hour of your workout with a meal consisting of complex carbohydrates, like brown rice, protein—such as chicken or fish—and green leafy vegetables, preferably kale or spinach, which are full of potassium. Your body needs potassium, especially after a workout, to replenish electrolytes.

    Because the ectomorph has a speedy metabolism, you will need to lift heavy weights, do low reps, and take long rest breaks, about three to five minutes, between sets of no more than five, with four different exercises, which are also referred to as “giant sets.”[2] 

    If you are performing the exercises correctly, using slow, controlled form, your body begins to heat up due to the energy used throughout the exercises. When your body needs energy, it begins to look for stored resources, like muscle, which we don’t want. Therefore, three to five sets is key.

    Begin with light weight to warm up your muscles, with 15 reps. Rest for one minute. In your first “giant set,” perform 12 reps with a weight load in which you can (only) perform 12 reps. Rest for five minutes.

    In your next set, perform 10 reps with a weight load in which you can (only) perform 10 reps. Rest for five minutes. Perform another two sets with the previous instructions, dropping down to eight and then six reps.

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    With the combination of proper nutrition and weight-training, you should see results within a month.

    The Fitness Plan for Mesomorphs

    The mesomorph is the physique that everyone wants. With a well-balanced, symmetrical body, the mesomorph doesn’t need to work hard to retain or build muscle with the right workout plan.

    The mesomorph is not without its challenges, however. Because this body type gains weight quickly, it is prone to becoming bloated when too many carbohydrates are consumed. The mesomorph must consume protein and vegetables to maintain their muscular physique.

    As long as the mesomorph hits the weight room a few times per week, watches his/her diet, and stretches in order to lengthen bulky muscles, they need not kill themselves with a lot of cardiovascular activity. Explosive, anaerobic cardio, such as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), for up to 20 minutes is ideal.

    Super-setting is the mesomorph’s friend. Because the mesomorph is able to retain muscle mass, it only needs to chisel its physique to expose muscle. For example, rapid workouts of 15 reps per body part, with no rest in between, will sharpen the mesomorph frame.

    Stay away from heavy weight-training, cut down your cardio sessions, and you will see a chiseled physique in no time.

    Essential Advice for Your Diet

    Body-type exercises and a great fitness plan alone will not work. Nutrition is a key component in getting your body to run like a well-oiled machine. In the following, you will see that the three body types have their own formula consisting of exercise and proper food to maximize results. Your diet must be low in sugar. Sugar turns to fat and slows down the fat-burning process.

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    So, stay away from simple carbs, like candy, and “bad” complex carbs like white rice, white pasta, white flour, and white bread. These are refined carbohydrates that cause a spike in your blood sugar levels, causing our body to crave more of the same.

    Even some fruits are better for you than others. For example, pears and apples are lower in sugar than papaya and pineapple. Instead, eat “good” carbs like fibrous whole grains, vegetables, and beans that slowly digest into your bloodstream. The slower the digestion of these “good” carbs, the less hungry you’ll be throughout your day.

    Final Thoughts

    Now that you know what it takes to achieve results, you can begin to take your body’s appearance to the next fitness level with a great workout program.

    It is not necessary to spend up to two hours on a workout. Simply pinpoint your body type and implement a nutrition and exercise plan that reflects an endomorph, ectomorph, mesomorph, or any combination of the three.

    In addition, consider getting a BMI test (Body Mass Index) so that you know the amount of fat your body has.[3]

    Knowing which fitness plan is best for your body type will save you from frustration and get your body to where you’ve always wanted it to be.

    More on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Gades Photography via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Precision Nutrition: The truth about “body type dieting“ for ectomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs
    [2] Fitness Health 101: Giant Sets Routine
    [3] American Heart Association: Body Mass Index (BMI) In Adults

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    Terri West

    Certified Fitness Trainer & Nutrition Specialist

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    Last Updated on April 19, 2021

    15 Static Stretches to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

    15 Static Stretches to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

    Stretching is one of those aspects of fitness that many people conveniently forget about. Perhaps you’re one of those who consider stretching nothing but a mere chore meant for ballerinas and gymnasts. While they are great for both, static stretches can offer a boost to any workout routine for people of all fitness levels.

    Irrespective of your reasons for working out, be it for sports or personal fitness, one thing is certain: stretching can help you. Static stretches come with myriads of benefits, such as improvement in flexibility and reduction in muscle tightness, which ultimately allow you to go through your workout routines with greater efficiency.

    For the purpose of this article, we’ll zero in on several great static stretches and take a look at the benefits and when they should be done.

    Benefits of Static Stretches

    Static stretches come with tons of benefits that can help you make the most of your workout routine. Some of them include:

    Improved Flexibility

    If you want to perform better, flexibility is of tremendous importance, irrespective of the specific workouts you do. Luckily enough, static stretches are all you need to get all the flexibility you desire.

    Flexibility, also known as the range of motion (ROM) around a joint, has been shown by several studies to be improved by static stretching.[1]

    Although the specific mechanism through which this occurs is still unclear, static stretches have been shown to greatly increase muscle and joint flexibility[2] and tissue length[3], which work in tandem to make your workout more effective.

    Prevent Injuries

    If you’re looking to push yourself to your training limits without coming down with injuries, then stretching will do you a great service. Research has shown time and again that performing the right stretches pre- and post-workout greatly helps with injury prevention.[4]

    Think of it this way:

    When you stretch, you literally push your joints and muscle fibers to their limit. This increases the stretch tolerance in these muscles and joints over time, and the increased tolerance allows you to perform more rigorous exercises without negatively impacting your body or risking an injury.

    Increased Blood Flow to the Joints

    Another benefit of stretching is increased blood flow – and by extension, nutrient supply – to the joints and muscles of the target areas. This, in turn, improves the performance of these muscles and joints due to the availability of more nutrients, improved oxygenation, and removal of metabolites.

    For static stretching, though, the mechanism of action isn’t as straightforward. When stretching statically, blood flow (capillary oxygenation) temporarily reduces due to vascular compression.

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    However, immediately after releasing the stretch, the blood flow to these areas nearly doubles the pre-stretching levels.[5]

    Improvement in Recovery

    If you’ve been working out for some time, then you’ve probably discovered that a rigorous workout session can leave you battling sore muscles for days.

    Recovery essentially means getting rid of this soreness and returning your muscle fibers back to their tip-top condition.

    Research has shown that practicing static stretches after your workout session helps to reduce muscle soreness. And while some may argue that this effect is minimal, the fact still remains that stretching does help shorten your recovery time.

    Stretching allows tissues to be better hydrated after the induced tension is released, and this encourages reduced inflammation and faster repair of such tissues.

    Other reasons why you really should incorporate stretching into your workout include:

    • Improved relaxation
    • Increased movement efficiency
    • Reduction in the risk of lower back pain
    • Reduction in muscle tension
    • Improvement in neuromuscular coordination
    • Improvement in balance and postural awareness
    • Relief from cramping

    15 Static Stretches to Enhance Your Workouts

    Here are some amazing exercises that will keep your body in tip-top condition and take your workout routine to the next level.

    1. Neck Stretch

      While sitting tall or standing, place your right arm gently on the right side of your head, and place the other arm out to your side. Slowly pull your head towards your right shoulder until you can feel the stretch on the left side of your neck. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing, and repeat for the opposite side.

      Many people tend to hold stress and tension in their neck and shoulders. If you find this is the case, this is one of the best static stretches to use for a muscle release in this area.

      2. Chest Stretch

        Stand upright, with your fingers interlocked behind your back, near your buttocks. While keeping your shoulder blades together and your back straight, push your arms up behind you until you feel the stretch in your chest. Hold for about 20-30 seconds before releasing.

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        3. Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

        Shoulder Cross-Arm Stretch « CASS FITNESS

          Stand upright or sit up tall on a chair or mat, and extend one arm out in front to shoulder height. Grab the extended arm with your other arm, and pull it towards your chest while keeping the extended arm straight. Continue the pull until you feel the stretch in your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat for the other arm.

          4. Triceps Static Stretch

            Lift your arms overhead, with both arms slightly behind your head and bent at the elbow. Use your right hand to pull your left elbow until you feel a stretch in your triceps. Hold for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the other arm.

            Many know this stretch from gym class, but it really is one of the best static stretches for the arms.

            5. Biceps Stretch

            Arm Exercises | Seated Bent-Knee Biceps Stretch

              Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. With your fingers pointing away from your body, place your two palms flat on the floor behind you. While your hands are steadily in place, slowly slide your butt downward toward your feet until you can feel the stretch in your biceps, shoulders, and chest. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing.

              6. Wrist Stretch

              11 Best Tennis Elbow Exercises For Pain Free Mobility [PDF]

                While standing up straight or sitting tall, extend your right arm forward to shoulder height with your fingers pointing toward the ceiling. Grab your right fingers with your left hand, and pull your right hand to bend the wrist until you can feel the stretch. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the opposite arm.

                7. Side Stretch

                  Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Take your right arm and reach over your head towards your left side while bending your side. Keep bending your side slowly until you can feel a stretch on your right side. Maintain this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the opposite side.

                  The muscles down your side body are notoriously difficult to stretch out. This is one of the best static stretches to try on a consistent basis to get them loosened up.

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                  8. Abdominal Static Stretch

                    Lie down on your stomach with your face towards the ground and your palms facing the floor as though you’re about to do a push up. While keeping your pelvis firmly on the floor, gently push your upper body up from the ground. This should make your feel some stretch in your abs. Maintain this position for about 30 seconds before releasing.

                    9. Reclined Spinal Twist

                    Supta Matsyendrasana - Supine Spinal Twist - Yogaasan
                      Lie down, with your arms extended to the sides and placed on the floor. While keeping the right leg straight, pull up your left knee towards your chest, tilt it toward your right side, and then drop it slowly over your extended right leg.

                      Keep your shoulder blades flat on the ground, and you should feel the stretch around your back. Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the opposite side.

                      10. Knees to Chest

                      Knee-to-chest exercise from Physical Therapists' Advice to Manage Pain at Home - The Active Times

                        Lie on the ground facing the ceiling, with your knees bent. Hold your shins, and pull your knees toward your chest. This should make you feel some stretch in your lower back. Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing. If you’re looking to loosen up your back muscles, this is one of the static stretches you can do daily.

                        11. Hip Flexor Static Stretch

                        How to Do the Standing Lunge Stretch

                          Stand upright in a standard lunge position, and place your two hands on your hips. Step out on your right foot into mini-lunge position, without your knee going beyond your right toe. Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left side.

                          12. Figure 4 Stretch

                          How to Do a Figure 4 Stretch | Openfit

                            Sit tall on the ground with both knees bent and both feet on the floor. Lift your right leg and cross it over your left thigh, while your left knee remains bent. Pull both legs inwards toward your abdomen for a deep stretch of your glutes. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat with the other leg.

                            13. Standing Quad Stretch

                              Stand tall while maintaining a straight posture. With your left hand, grab a pole, wall, or anything durable for balance. With your right hand, grab your right foot and pull up your heels until they touch your buttocks.

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                              Keep your knees close together while doing this, push your hip forward, and you should feel the stretch in your quadriceps. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the other side. This is one of the best static stretches for the quads.

                              14. Hamstring Stretch

                                Sit on the floor with your right leg extended straight in front of you and your left leg bent. Reach forward with your right hand, and touch your right toes. This should cause a stretch in your right hamstring.

                                Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat for the left leg. If you’re unable to reach your toes, try holding your shin instead, but seek to go further every time you perform the stretch until you can touch your toes.

                                15. Calf Stretch

                                  Sit on the ground and extend your right foot straight in front of you. Gently pull your right toes backwards with your right hand. This should cause a noticeable stretch in your calf.

                                  Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left leg, if you’re unable to reach your toes, use a rope or towel to pull your toes inward.

                                  Bonus: Stretch With a Resistance Band

                                  Resistance bands offer a unique benefit from free weights and create tension throughout your movement. Get the free 30 Day Resistance Band Full Workout Challenge, and challenge yourself to stretch with a resistance band.

                                  When Should You Do Static Stretches?

                                  Static stretching is great when done correctly and at the right time. Over the years, research has shown that static stretching produces best results when done after working out or on rest days,[6] but not as a part of warm up routines before an explosive workout session.

                                  This is because static stretches have a cool-down effect on each muscle group and are more effective when done after the muscles are already warm.

                                  That doesn’t mean you must never ever perform static stretches before working out, but do it sparingly. Dynamic stretches, which involve more movement, are generally recommended for warming up as it helps the body prepare better for the work ahead.

                                  The Bottom Line

                                  Carving out the body of your dreams isn’t only about lifting weights and running. You need to keep your body “elastic” if you’re going to make the most of your training, and that’s the whole point of static stretches.

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                                  Starting today, be sure to incorporate these static stretching exercises into your routine, and in no time, you’ll find yourself recovering faster and performing better than ever before.

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                                  Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com

                                  Reference

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