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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 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]

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

    Photo credit: steemit.com

    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. It is likely that you are over-working your body instead of allowing it to do the work it was intended to do.

    Part of my preparation for this article was a long hike in Los Angeles’ highly populated hiking trail, Runyon Canyon. As I hiked, I assessed each person’s body that I came into contact with. Not surprisingly, the majority of hikers had a mixture of body types. For example, I saw a woman whose body was more muscular in her arms, shoulders, and back – a mesomorph – but her lower body stored more fat in her thighs, hips, and buttocks — That of of an endomorph. I also saw a man who was both lean and muscular which placed him in the ectomorph-mesomorph category.

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    So 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 than your lower body. That is, perform a combination body-type workout.

    The Fitness Plan for Endomorph Body Type

    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, almost daily, 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.

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    The Fitness Plan for Ectomorph Body Type

    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.

    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 weight, 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. And when your body needs energy, it begins to look for stored resources like, muscle. We don’t want that. 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.

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

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

    The Fitness Plan for Mesomorph Body Type

    Onto the mesomorph – The physique that everyone wants. A well-balanced, symmetrical body, the mesomorph doesn’t need to work hard to retain muscle.

    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.

    Supersetting is the mesomorph’s friend. Because the mesomorph is able to retain muscle mass, it need only chisel its physique to expose muscle. For example, rapid workouts comprised of 15 reps per body part, with no rest in between, will sharpen the mesomorph frame.[3]

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

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    Essential Advice for Your Diet

    Body-type exercises 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, comprised 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.

    So, stay away from simple carbs, like candy, and “bad” complex carbs like white rice, white pasta, white flour, and white bread.[4] 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 Words

    Now that you know what it takes to achieve results, you can begin to take your body’s appearance to the next level. No more time constraints due to a busy schedule and lack of energy because now you have the proper tools to transform your body and save time.

    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.[5]

    There you have it! 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.

    Featured photo credit: Gades Photography via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] International Sports Sciences Association, Fitness: The Complete Guide, Nutritional Coaching, Edition 9, pg. 608
    [2] FitnessHealth101.com: “Giant Sets Routine”
    [3] International Sports Sciences Association, Fitness: The Complete Guide, Edition 9, Body Composition, Page 361
    [4] International Sports Sciences Association, Nutrition: The Complete Guide, “The Macronutrients,” pg.156
    [5] Heart.org: “Healthy Living,” Body Mass Index (BMI) In Adults

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    Terri West

    Certified Fitness Trainer & Nutrition Specialist

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    Last Updated on March 30, 2020

    Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

    Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

    Feeling tired all the time?

    Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

    I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

    Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

    If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

    In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

    What Happens When You’re Too Tired

    If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

    Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

    • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
    • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
    • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
    • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
    • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
    • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
    • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

    Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

    Unfortunately, yes!

    Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

    Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

    Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

    Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

    Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

    Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

    1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
    2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
    3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

    The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

    It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

    Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

    Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

    If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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    Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

    Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

    But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

    Symptoms of fatigue include:

    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Low stamina
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Anxiety
    • Low motivation

    These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

    Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

    How Much Sleep Is Enough?

    The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

    Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

    So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

    The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

    Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

    Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

    If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

    And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

    It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

    4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

    Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

    1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
    2. Exercising regularly
    3. Using stressbusters
    4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

    So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

    After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

    In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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    I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

    Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

    • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
    • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
    • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
    • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

    The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

    And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

    But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

    L — Living Healthy

    Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

    So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

    In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

    As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

    Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

    1. Unplug

    Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

    So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

    2. Unwind

    Do something to relax.

    Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

    3. Get Comfortable

    Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

    Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

    Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

    Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

    If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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    Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

    This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

    E — Exercise

    Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

    That’s what happened in my case.

    But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

    As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

    My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

    That made sense to me.

    So, I decided to swim.

    I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

    Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

    Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

    So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

    If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

    A — Attitude

    Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

    When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

    Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

    Breathing.

    But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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    Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

    1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
    2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
    3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
    4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
    5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
    6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

    This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

    When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

    Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

    N — Nutrition

    Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

    If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

    Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

    For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

    Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

    Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

    1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
    2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
    3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
    4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
    5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
    6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
    7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
    8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
    9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

    Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

    That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

    Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

    The Bottom Line

    If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

    If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

    If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

    • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
    • Regular Exercise You Love
    • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
    • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

    Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

    More Tips to Help You Rest Better

    Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
    [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
    [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
    [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
    [5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
    [6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
    [7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
    [8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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