Body Type Training

bodytypeSomebody asked me a question recently that prompted me to ask you the same question. And the question is? Have you always looked the way you do? The funny thing is that there’s only one answer to that question. Whether you look like a Greek God, or if you’re the most out of shape guy in the world, the answer is the same for all of us: of course not.

Some of the questions I’ve been asked have been related to this. I’ve been asked if I played football in high school or college, if it’s always been easy for me to stay in shape, and if I’m naturally muscular and lean. People just assume it because of my size and athletic look. And it took me by surprise the first dozen or so times because that’s not how I saw myself. Now I just sort of grin and explain that I’ve had to work my ass off to look the way I do, even though it’s much easier to stay this way than to get this way in the first place.

Even though there are a few guys here and there who are gifted enough to look like Greek Gods from the time they’re born until the time they’re 50, the vast majority of us are not. We all have individual body-type characteristics that cause us to look a certain way. But we can drastically change the way we look, countering our body’s attempt to keep us looking like the normal us.

In my case, I was a very late bloomer. If that wasn’t bad enough, I also have a body type that likes to keep things small, lean, and mobile. I don’t mind the mobile part, but I’ve cursed the rest. However, I have a propensity to stay lean, so that’s one thing I don’t have to worry much about. But my body really resists putting on muscle. And so I adopted a lifestyle to counter my body’s natural state.

I started weight training in order to put as much muscle on my bones as possible. And I’m still going like the Energizer Bunny, working out, eating right, lifting heavy, getting enough rest, and so on, for life. For some reason I don’t get bored with it. I guess it’s because I’m always setting some kind of goal. And I hate being small and scrawny.

So what’s your body-type? And do you care enough to overcome it’s short-comings? If so, I’ve got a few tips for your body-type in order to get you on the right track. There are three general body types that each of us fall into. You’re either an ectomorph (naturally skinny), mesomorph (naturally muscular and athletic), or an endomorph (naturally fat).

I’ll start with my body-type, the ectomorph. Reiterating, if you’re naturally lean, small, thin, bony, etc. you need to eat, sleep, and train your body for muscle growth. And you don’t need to worry that much about getting fat, so you can get away with eating hamburgers, pizza, and other tasty stuff mixed in with the healthy foods that you need for growth and repair.

Protein intake for a naturally ectomorphic body should be a little higher than normal if you want to grow. Training style should be heavy most of the time. Basic exercises like bench press, squats, deadlifts, and other power movements are the exercises of choice for any bodybuilder, but especially for an ectomorph. And rest, everyone should get adequate sleep, but rest days to allow the body to recover is essential for adaptation and health. Ectomorphs should take more rest days than anyone else due to our body’s “desire” to use muscle tissue for energy whenever there’s any stress.

Next up is the mesomorph, who’s body is naturally muscular and athletic, poor mesomorphs. These guys need to make sure they don’t pig out, because they can get fat if they try, and that’s about it! If they look at weights they grow, and they can usually get very lean if they try with a modest effort. Like I said, poor mesomorphs!

And then there’s the endomorph. A body-type that takes effort to overcome, but it can be done. Nutritionally, the endo needs to keep fat and carbohydrates both at a “requirement” level, and protein intake should be high. Training needs to be light to medium, with weights and cardio. But don’t overdo the cardio. The trick for an endo is to get your body composition shifted around in your favor so that it works for you instead of against you.

The endo needs to put on as much muscle as possible also, while keeping all activity in an “aerobic” state. That is, train at a quick pace, train with medium to light weights with high repetition and set scheme (15-25 reps/set for 4-6 sets of each exercise, and 4 exercises per muscle group). Weight training should be 4-6 days each week, with an hour of cardio each morning before breakfast for 6 days each week.

Well, that sums up the basics for each body-type. Which one do you fit into? We don’t all fit into nice, neat, packaged descriptions like I described, however, and that’s why I haven’t waved goodbye yet. You see, most of us are some combination of the ecto, meso, and endo body-types. Part of your body may accumulate fat easily, and you may have a muscular part or parts that stay muscular and lean no matter what, and you may have skinny something or others, too.

The strategy is to identify your natural characteristics for each part of your body, and train so that you can “mold” yourself into the perfect “you”. If you’ve got naturally muscular legs, a sunken-in chest with whimpy shoulders, and have a tendency to grow too easily around the midsection, then you should split the body into areas and train with a strategy for each. The upper body would get heavier weights, and more often. The lower body would get cardio and high rep weights with light weights, and the mid-section would get abdominal exercise along with a nutritional plan for getting lean

No matter what your body type, it usually boils down to getting lean and muscular. And then figuring out how to train so that your body looks balanced. A flowing, balanced, and healthy body that makes you feel like you’re ready for anything at a moment’s notice.

And now I wave goodbye! Until next time,


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