Body Types

Training and Performance

This section will, firstly, allow you to discover which method of training is best suited for you, based on your genetic make-up (phenotype). If you are suffering from endless training without results (or have hit a training plateau), then we hope after reading this you will use the principle of body type training to give you more structure and purpose in your training regime. We believe that by adhering to the protocols set out for your body type (phenotype), coupled with a good diet plan and sufficient rest/recuperation period, you will make dramatic improvements to your physique in the quickest possible time. Also, after having read this section you will have been introduced to, or be more aware of, the different methods that are available for monitoring your weight and performance level. There is a lot of terminology and formula associated with weigh and performance evaluation, so we have done our best to present it for you here in a comprehensive, clear and understandable manner. We urge you to use these methods (where possible) and relevant formula to “self-assess” and therefore measure your own performance/progress rate. It is a lengthy section but if you read it thoroughly, we believe you will find it a powerful reference tool which will help you achieve your physique/fitness goals at the fastest possible rate.

People are born with inherent body characteristics, some are gender related, (men growing facial hair and women developing breasts are two examples), and some are ethnic characteristics (Orientals typically not being as tall as Caucasians for example). Within these inherent characteristics are yet more genetic differences, which for anyone interested in changing their physical appearance through exercise and diet, are crucially important and are the main reason there is not a perfect way for everyone to train and follow.

Ectomorphic, endomorphic and mesomorphic body types are all very different in their characteristics, the Ectomorph is naturally thin and slight of muscle and can usually eat as much as they want without gaining fat; think of a marathon runner and you have a picture of this body type. Endomorphs are the ones who tend to get fat very easily and struggle to diet. They can be healthy and relatively fit doing a lot of cardiovascular exercise but still never manage to fully attain that toned athletic look. However, one ability they often have is to be able to build muscle reasonably efficiently. It’s just sad you can’t really see it. Mesomorphs are the lucky ones, they often eat a poor diet and don’t really train hard in the gym, but still always look muscular and toned. They build muscle easily and when they diet the fat comes away without too much trouble whilst muscle is preserved. Let it be known that we are not saying that all mesomorphs are lazy junk eaters, they simply have an easier time of it than the rest of us. Body type training is very important to anyone going to a gym (or exercising) in an attempt to improve their body by building muscle, losing fat or both together. Not using the correct approach can slow your progress considerably, you must realise your type and know how to train for that type if any real progress is to be achieved.

Ectomorphs

Ectomorphs have a real battle to put on any weight never mind quality muscle. The “ecto” has a metabolism which does not retain much, if anything. They burn off carbohydrates and fat calories before they get a chance to be stored. As they burn carbohydrates so fast, protein calories tend to get converted to carbohydrates (gluconeogenesis), and they also then get burned.

A training program for an ecto looking to add muscle and shape to their body must involve minimal cardiovascular exercise (if any). An ecto program means heavy and intense but brief workouts, based on major compound movements. This particular body type wants to keep reps low in number but high in weight. They must aim to be working more than one muscle group at a time, so that they don’t have to incorporate many (if any) isolation movements, as these may tax the nervous system too much to allow sufficient recuperation before their next workout.

Another concern for the ecto is consuming enough food. This can feel like a full time job at times due to their ability to quickly burn up the food they eat. This group have their work cut out just as much as the endomorphs do at the opposite end of the spectrum. Ectos’ must regularly eat enough starchy carbohydrates to keep a steady supply of energy to the muscle cells at all times. This will stop their body cannibalising (eating) muscle stored amino acids. Remember ecto’s will do this so their body’s can convert them into carbohydrates to keep its calorie burning furnace fully fuelled.

Where simple carbs can easily add fat to the bodies of the other groups, they are useful to ectomorphs because they create an insulin release, insulin promotes nutrients storage so having simple carbs with breakfast and after training could be very beneficial. As for protein, the ectomorph would be best suited to steak, eggs, chicken and a quality blended slow release protein (probably micellar casein based) with a comprehensive amino acid profile. A slower absorbed protein gives the ecto a better chance to absorb the amino acids supplied by the digested protein.

A commonly overlooked nutrient when trying to add mass to an ectomorph is Essential Fatty Acids (EFA). Theory suggests that the ecto’s metabolism runs so fast due to a shortage of good fats in their system. Because their metabolism is running so fast, they end up burning off carbs and also protein as well. Another aid for an ecto to pack on mass is taking several multi mineral supplements throughout the day, or replacing protein drinks with Meal Replacement drinks because of all the additional nutrients not found in a protein powder.

Endomorphs

“Endos” have a natural predisposition to store fat and find getting lean a real battle. Cardio is essential to this group, as is restricting and monitoring carbohydrate intake in an attempt to keep fat levels down. Building muscle is easier for endomorphs than ectomorphs. The endomorphic body stores nutrients/calories very well and as protein is stored in the muscles it leads to greater muscle size.

Training for endos must consider their ability for nutrient storage, bodybuilding work should be done 3 or 4 times a week and cardio/fitness work should be done at least the same number of times. Their bodybuilding should incorporate 2 body parts per workout and should be combination workouts involving heavy weights and moderate/high reps. Where ectomorphs keep their work heavy and brief, endos’ can afford to workout a bit longer and include more reps per body part; where possible include drop sets to exhaust the muscles. Cardiovascular work is important as this will allow endo’s to burn more calories than bodybuilding can alone. Make friends with a comfortable stationery bike or treadmill and get used to spending time with it! Find an exercise which you can do without getting too bored. Alternatively do outdoor activities for cardio e.g. go for a cycle which involves changes in gradient i.e hills! These elevation (uphill) and relaxations (downhill) in work rate are better for burning calories than sitting on a stationery bike peddling away endlessly with no real goal.

Many endomorphs will do lots of cardio/fitness training but never really shift the fat, that is why resistance (weight) training is a must. The additional muscle that can be added boosts the ability to burn off fat and carbohydrates and also allows you to eat more than you previously did without gaining fat. Endomorphs are less likely to suffer from overtraining because they have a good supply of energy already stored waiting to assist with post workout recovery.

Again with this group, Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are essential. Theory states that EFA deficiency forces the endo body to store fat. Total opposite to the ecto, therein lies an example of the beauty (or not) of genetics.