Did you know that not everybody has the same body type? We often look at other ladies and compare the size of their hips, legs and tummies to ours. We look at them, thinking they look so beautiful (which is probably true) compared to us (which is probably not true). What is also true is that there actually different body types. These, broadly speaking, are ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph; though there will be many people who fall into more than one body type and this is also common. These various categories take into account metabolism and how the body functions in different exercise states. Understanding these body types and which one you fit into can be helpful in interpreting your results from your exercise program and reaching your weight loss goals.
What makes up the body type framework? The body type is a combination of muscle and bone density/ structure – all of which are genetically determined. So, yes – there are parts of you that you will not be able to change because they are a part of your genetic makeup (that beautiful gift from Allah!). However, the interesting thing about understanding body types and how they may react to different diets/exercises is that it will help you be realistic with your goals. If you are an ectomorph, developing into a mesomorph overnight is not likely; it demonstrates that a lot of work will be needed. You may be disheartened in thinking being a endomorph means you will appear “fat” – this is not the case because knowing your body reacts to eating certain foods will help keep your nutrition and mind on track.
Here is the basic low-down on the three main body types:
The Ectomorph – the naturally skinny body
Typical characteristics of the ectomorph are the ability to get full very quickly, eating large amounts and not putting on weight and having a narrow frame. These people find it hard to put on weight or build muscle. While the fast metabolism may seem attractive to some, this makes it really difficult to put on weight and bulk up.
This group of people would respond well to having a high carb and protein diet and reducing the amount of cardio sessions, replacing them with compound exercise based resistance training. Deadlifts, squats and pull ups – exercises that recruit a number of muscles in one go drive your body to develop, build and create more muscle. This is the recipe for those ectomorphs who want to see their body become more curvy and round.
The Endomorph – the naturally bigger body.
The endomorph is somewhat the opposite of the ectomorph. These people will find they put on weight quickly, find it difficult to lose and have little muscular definition. This is through the process of storing up the fuel – perfect for those who hibernate away in the winter! The days of food being scarce are far behind us in the West and this has led to many Endomorph body types to become obese and overweight. These ladies will find their fat and muscle is concentrated to their lower body.
Spot reducing, i.e. trying to lose weight in one area, is something many people try – a typical mistake of the endomorph – as is spending hours running on the treadmill. Endomorph respond well to resistance training because the muscle continues to burn calories long after the session has ended. Importantly, the calories you ingest in the recovery period will be powered towards building your muscle rather than becoming fat gremlins.Lower carb diets are more useful with higher protein and fat intake.
The Mesomorph – the naturally athletic body.
The mesmorph is that person who has a natural lean appearance, can burn fat easily and, equally, put on weight easily. This group of people can get away with a moderate amount of carbohydrates in their diet. Picking up weights and seeing the response in their body is something that happens without a sweat. Maintaining an athletic type of exercise in the form of sprints, box jumps and other pylometrics is beneficial and effective for this group.
This by no means that mesomorphs can take their body for granted; eating high carb diets and fueling their body with the incorrect type of nutrition can lead to disastrous consequences (e.g. diabetes) in the long run.
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