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The Best Fitness Plan for You Based on Your Body Type

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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 January 5, 2022

    7 Practical Stretching Tips to Enhance Your Next Workout

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    7 Practical Stretching Tips to Enhance Your Next Workout

    Stretching is one of the most essential aspects of a healthy fitness routine. It’s also one of the most overlooked. Instead of thinking of this activity as a separate entity, consider stretching as a continuation of your exercise routine. By making stretching tips a part of your workout, you won’t neglect the attention your muscles and joints require to perform effectively.

    Whether using stretching as a way to wake up, get your mind in the game, or recover from strenuous activity, your body will reap its short-term and long-term benefits. In the moment, stretching is a great way to warm up the body and prevent yourself from overextension and injury. In the long run, stretching daily can help loosen your tendons and muscles, and ultimately help you maintain a full range of motion later in life.

    Taking these ideas into consideration, follow these 7 simple tips for stretching to add stretches back into your workout vocabulary.

    1. Stretch and Stretch Often

    Ultimately, your body can benefit from stretching daily. Many of us experience a somewhat stationary lifestyle at work, so we naturally need to warm up our bodies after remaining immobile for long periods of time.

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    With only ten minutes of stretching, you can increase your strength, balance and flexibility. From working out to waking up in the morning, slow, easy movements can warm up the body. Just remember to be gentle; any jarring movements can cause injury and muscle tear.

    For the best results, hold each stretch for at least sixty seconds[1].

    2. Warm up Before a Workout

    Similar to establishing a daily stretching routine, warming up the body pre-workout is vital for having a successful session and one of the most important stretching tips. Just grabbing your foot to stretch your calf for a couple seconds could actually harm your body, so make sure you begin slowly and take your time.

    Attempting any exercise with “cold muscles” or without “waking up the body” will also hurt your body and cause muscle pulls and tendon tears. Try taking a short walk or elongating your stretches for optimal results.

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    3. Gauge Your Tension

    Stretching should never be painful. Monitor how your muscles feel as you stretch. Naturally, you should feel some mild tension, but don’t push yourself past the edge of discomfort.

    If you’re starting to experience sharp pain or sensations that gradually get more severe, you are doing something wrong. Try to focus on one area at a time so you are only pushing yourself so far. When you begin to feel comfortable stretching, deepen your stretch, but don’t over-exert yourself.

    4. Avoid Bouncing

    Stretching tips don’t often mention this, but bouncing can be one of the most detrimental things you can do to your body while stretching. When your body constantly shifts, your muscles can tighten, and you can increase the risk of pulling or tearing a tendon. Find your balance or focal point, and remain steady.

    When in doubt, try using a mirror to watch yourself stretch to improve your form. Don’t be afraid to consult your doctor or trainer for someone to monitor your posture and stance[2].

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    5. Just Breathe

    One of the main benefits of stretching is its ability to help the mind and body relax. Therefore, try to breathe normally and make sure you don’t hold your breath[3].

    As you deepen your stretch, make sure to inhale and exhale slowly. Any abrupt, fast breathing or lack of breathing can cause tension in your body and increase your risk of injury. Make sure you are comfortable so that your mind focuses on the task at hand.

    6. Vary Your Routine

    While stretching, don’t forget to work on opposing muscles and incorporate as many muscle groups as possible in your routine for a holistic workout. Also, one of the most important stretching tips I can offer is to change your routine often so you don’t get bored.

    Often, boredom can cause carelessness and a loss of focus, which, in turn, can cause injuries. Look to Yoga workouts[4] or Pilates classes, as they are great resources for finding new stretches.

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    7. Always Remember to Cool Down

    Stretching is also an excellent form of recovery to avoid muscle soreness. Don’t overlook this part of a workout, as it releases the tension in your body and increases blood flow to muscles that are warm and worked. Cooling down can prevent injury and decrease your heart rate after an intense workout. Do what you can to help your body quickly recover from your daily exercise routine.

    Final Thoughts

    Stretching tips are vital when participating in an active lifestyle. However, your body needs fuel to assist you through these daily routines. Therefore, don’t forget to eat the right foods and stay hydrated. Not only do you replenish your body with fluids and nutrients lost, but you can keep your muscles strong and ready for the next routine.

    If you struggle with stress and anxiety, stretching can help you move into a calmer headspace and find both mental and physical balance. Furthermore, stretching can help you and your body focus on something else, which will help you move past the stress.

    As you plan your next workout, incorporate time for pre and post-workout stretches to see how it improves your exercise experience.

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    More Stretching Tips

    Featured photo credit: Oksana Taran via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Harvard Health Publishing: The ideal stretching routine
    [2] Harvard Health Publishing: Six tips for safe stretches
    [3] Penn State: Balance, Breathing and Flexibility
    [4] Health: Best Yoga Poses for Your Trouble Spots

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