Body Types: What is an Ectomorph, Mesomorph or Endomorph?
If you are looking to gain some mass, or lose some weight, then knowing your body type can help you plan your nutrition and fitness regime to improve results. Read on to find out what the body types are, and how they affect performance
Knowing your body type can change the way you approach your diet and training as it will have a profound effect on how your body responds to the food and nutrition you provide it. This will in turn change the way you look at your training program and could mean altering your exercise program completely. There are three body types - ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph, so let's take a look at these now:
Ectomorphs are people who have a fast metabolism so burn through food and calories quickly. They can look skinny or seem underweight for their height and will have trouble putting on weight - both fat and muscle! Typically you'll know your a ectomorph when you've been hitting the gym, stocking up on carbs and don't seem to gaining mass. You'll typically have a low body fat %, and under normal circumstances won't need to do much to avoid putting on weight as you will feel 'full' quicker than others when having meals. This lower body fat % means you can more easily get a defined look, but you may struggle to look big.
If you are a an ectomorph then you will want to try and break your meals down in to numerous smaller ones throughout the day. Breakfast, lunch and tea won't be a great plan as you will typically not finish a large meal meaning lost calories. Instead try to have smaller meals supplemented by healthy snacks throughout the day. High calorie foods will be good for you, but avoid junk food. If you try to add calories through sugary foods or takeaway your body will simply burn up these empty calories and you'll see no benefit.
As for you trying to put on weight or gaining muscle you'll really want to push your body that extra mile. A high metabolism means your body is constantly fuelled and ready to go, so you need to give it that extra push. Instead of standard cardio, instead try High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) as this will give your body the burst it needs. Do heavy weight in smaller sets to try and push your muscles. You'll likely find smaller weights with lots of reps quite easy, and you won't gain much from this. Try as much weight as you can for a 4-8 set rather than smaller weight for 10-15s.
Endomorphs are, unfortunately, the complete opposite of an ectomorph. Endomorphs are people who typically have a much larger body fat %, and struggle to shift it. This is because their bodies will normally store fat rather than burn it off as energy, and because of this the person may always feel hunger and could easily keep eating without really feeling full. An endomorph will normally tire quite easily too, meaning their training plans can be tricky to accomplish.
So the first thing you will need to try and do is control your portion sizes. This isn't a bad thing - your body is designed to tell you to stop eating when you are full and if you don't get this signal you can easily overeat without realising it. To combat this you need to consciously portion of your meals in smaller sizes to reduce your calorie intake. You may find yourself feeling a bit more hungry than usual - you can combat this by filling up on water and vegetables as these will satiate your hunger whilst keeping you healthy.
As for your training - you'll want to keep yourself moving as much as you can. Do large amounts of reps with smaller weight to try and burn off some of the fat and calories. Cardio is your friend - do as much as you can whenever you can. Walk to the shops instead of taking the car, do jogs and just general movement whenever you can.
Mesomorphs fall somewhere between the two above body types. You could say they have the ideal body type as they will be able to gain muscle quite easily and at the same time be able to keep away fat. They will often have a lean, well built physique if they train, but as they have qualities of both ectomorphs and endomorphs you could easily end up gaining too much fat or becoming underweight if you don't eat or train right.
As mesomorphs are somewhat of an average of body types, you can plan training and dieting much easier - eat good carbs and protein whilst keeping an eye on fat and sugar and you should find yourself easily putting on muscle whilst keeping fat at bay. Cardio should be done in moderation to keep lean but not lose too much weight, whilst weight training can be done with a higher number of reps and higher weight.
Combination body type
Having read through the body types you may be wondering which you fit in into. Well there is a very strong chance it will be none of them...or all of them! As with all human characteristics and traits you may find it hard to fit in to any one type, but could easily fall in to one or more type.