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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.

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    Featured photo credit: Gades Photography via unsplash.com

    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 March 3, 2021

    10 Workout Tips for Building Muscle the Right Way

    10 Workout Tips for Building Muscle the Right Way

    Building muscle is one of the best ways to help you feel better about your appearance, but it’s also a great way to improve your physical efficiency, stabilize your bones and joints, and reduce risk of injury in everyday life. However, most people aren’t sure how to go about building muscle in the best way.

    By carefully selecting the time of your workout, the combination of techniques, and the proper post-workout snacks, you can maximize your workout to build strength and muscle. Here are the essential tips you need to know.

    1. Work out at the Right Time of Day

    The time of day when you choose to work out can make all the difference when it comes to working out to your maximum potential. Anthony Hackney, a professor in the department of exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, says that working out in the morning is best for weight loss due to the body’s hormonal composition at that time. If you really want to lose fat, exercise on an empty stomach[1].

    Now, if your goal is to build muscle, you’ll want to eat something first. This means that an afternoon or evening workout can serve you better as your body will have the necessary nutrients to perform well during a workout.

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    Ultimately, the best time to work out is the time of day that fits into your schedule. Not everyone has the luxury of working out in the morning or right after work. If you’re able to stick to a schedule, it will help you on your journey to building muscle.

    If you need help just getting started and finding motivation to get to the gym, check out Lifehack’s Ultimate Worksheet for Instant Motivation Boost.

    2. Weights Before Cardio

    If your goal is to lose weight or build muscle mass, strength training should come first, according to researchers. Furthermore, studies have shown that “Moderate- to high-intensity endurance training decreases the efficacy of strength training.” Therefore, if you’re going to train for a marathon, do so after you lift weights.[2]

    3. Eat Often (and More)

    Keep your energy up and give your body plenty of fuel for building muscle by eating small meals every three hours or so. Make sure to eat plenty of protein, ideally the equivalent amount of protein in grams as your current body weight in pounds. For example, a 150-pound man would aim to take in 150 grams of protein per day.

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    When trying to build muscle, aim to eat 250 to 500 calories more than you normally would, but don’t go too far beyond that. Your body may store the extra calories as body fat if it doesn’t use them during or after the workout.

    4. Eat a Snack After You Work out

    After a workout, your body will need a good dose of protein and amino acids in order to aid in muscle growth and recovery. This is essential to building muscle, as without the recovery, you can open yourself up to muscle strain and injury.

    You should aim to eat this high-protein snack within about 60 minutes of ending your workout. This will help the muscles absorb the nutrients when they need them. Try yogurt, cottage cheese, chocolate milk, nuts, or a protein shake as a great post-workout snack.

    5. Stay Hydrated

    The last thing you need complicating your workout is a cramp or fatigue, so drinking water before, during, and after your workout for best results. This will also aid in the recovery process as the muscles will use water to heal.

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    6. Never Skip the Warm up or Cool Down

    Stretching prevents muscle strain, helps blood more easily reach the joints and muscles, and can help lower cholesterol when done as part of a yoga or Pilates routine. Muscles also need to realign themselves after an intense workout, which a few minutes of stretching can help to accomplish.

    7. Combine Compound and Isolate Movements

    While isolating certain muscles is important, you need to alternate compound motions as well, which will target multiple muscle groups at once. Compound workouts are good for beginners and for toning certain parts of the body. They’ll also burn more calories and increase your mobility.

    Compound movements include squats, deadlifts, and pull-ups. These target several muscles groups at once. If you find that one muscle group is weaker than the rest, you can incorporate isolate movements to build it up.

    8. Gradually Increase Your Weights

    Increase the weight you’re lifting on each exercise by about 5 percent each week. If you bench-pressed 100 pounds this week, for example, then next week you should try doing 105 pounds. This gradual increase will yield the best muscle building results without overly straining your body.

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    9. Budget the Correct Amount of Time for Your Workout

    Studies have found that working out a muscle group two times a week is the best way to start building muscle more quickly. You will certainly see some results by only working a muscle group once a week, but try twice to give yourself a boost.

    Also, you don’t need to spend two hours in the gym each time you go. 20 to 30 minutes of weight lifting and strength training will help you see results and increase your muscle mass. If you go to the gym for an hour, try varying your workout a bit in order to avoid overworking a certain muscle group.

    10. Look in the Mirror

    Try to do all of your weight lifting in front of a mirror. That way, you can correct your posture and make sure you are fully extending your muscles. Correct form means means maximized results.

    This will likely feel strange at first, especially if you feel self conscious at the gym. However, know that this is normal and what many seasoned weight lifters do to ensure proper form.

    The Bottom Line

    Building muscle is a worthy goal to have as it will ultimately improve your everyday life from the ground up. You’ll find that everyday tasks become easier and that you have more energy for both your workouts and personal life. Use the tips above to start building muscle today.

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    Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com

    Reference

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