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Published on November 30, 2018

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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    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

    Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

    How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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    • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
    • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
    • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
    • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
    • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
    • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

    When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

    1. Realize You’re Not Alone

    Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

    2. Find What Inspires You

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    Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

    On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

    3. Give Yourself a Break

    When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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    Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

    4. Shake up Your Routines

    Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

    Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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    When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

    5. Start with a Small Step

    Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

    Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

    More to Help You Stay Motivated

    Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

    Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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