As fitness instructors, we see a plethora of body types. We get to check out your booty when you’re squatting like a boss; see your guns when you’re bicep curling and check out those rippling back muscles when you perform an overhead press with the barbells. Now come on, I know you check out others in the class too – why wouldn’t you? Its human nature! BUT why do we get so caught up on wanting to ‘be like her/him’? I can tell you I will never look like my twin and we shared a womb! She’s taller, has a waist (I have none, just no shape at all…. ) and she rocks a booty (whereas I have what my mum refers as a ‘pancake arse’). You get the drift, same DNA different body types. So why is this?
We are pre-dispositioned through genetics to have certain body types. They can be categorised into 3 different types:
Ectomorph – The person who struggles to gain weight irrespective of what they eat. (insert angry, jealous emoji….). They tend to have a lean build, long limbs and small muscle bellies, consequently struggle to gain muscle.
Mesomorph – the ‘middle of the road’ build who tends to have the best of both worlds. They have wide shoulders, narrow waist and have a natural tendency to be fit and muscular. They don’t have the same ability to eat whatever they like without weight gain, however they do have the capacity to ‘bounce’ back reasonably quickly when they have a ‘blow out.’ Hmmmmm I must admit, this sounds a little like me….
Endomorph- The person who gains weight and tends to keep it on. Their build is a little wider with thick hips and shorter limbs. They may have more muscle than the other types however struggle to gain muscle alone without also gaining body fat (the type who feels like they gain a couple of kilos by walking past a bakery..)
OK, so you get the point, different strokes for different folks. Whilst you may not intrinsically fit into one specific category, most people show dominant signs of one particular type. Each body type will have different outcomes through training and nutrition which is why I HATE diets!! The diet that for example a mesomorph uses will be fundamentally different if you’re an endomorph. You know those people who say “you should do this, I lost like 5kg.” You try it without success and then you want to punch said person in the face…..I know you have all experienced this, just look at social media! (Ok don’t get me started on that train wreck….)
So what can you do to best train your body type? (source: bodybuilding.com)
Ectomorph: Eat a lot of protein and carbs, regularly lift heavy with good form, and don't overdo aerobic activities. Just because you're thin doesn't mean you're healthy, so still take your diet and fitness seriously!
Mesomorph: Lift moderate weight on a regular basis, and engage in aerobic activities regularly. Don't worry about getting "bulky," but watch out for creeping fat gains. You're not invincible to them!
Endomorph: You may benefit from using moderate weights and maintaining a relatively fast training pace. Getting your heart pumping daily with some form of activity is a good idea for both health and calorie burn. If you find yourself doing lots of work and still gaining weight, the answer is probably in the kitchen......
So what category best describes you? Can you work out a training and lifestyle regime that best complements your body type?
Just remember though, above all else- be an individual! Embrace your body type, don’t compare yourself to others, own your booty- rock it, flaunt it, shake it (you get the drift.. )