by Martyn Ford April 26, 2018

I cannot express just how important this is. Understanding body types is key and so many people fail to see just how important it is to work with and not against, your body type. We are all made very differently, not one of us is the same. If its limb length, metabolism, strength or height, in some way or form we are different. So why do so many of us follow a standard diet and training plan?  Laziness and ignorance normally. Also, the lack of GOOD, quality information. Sit back and open your eyes to this short article and maybe some of your past frustrations towards training will slowly start to seem clear. 

The 3 body types

  1. Ectomorph: Lean and long, with difficulty building muscle
  2. Endomorph: Big, high body fat, often pear-shaped, with a high tendency to store body fat
  3. Mesomorph: Muscular and well-built, with a high metabolism and responsive muscle cells

Now, it is very common that you may be a mix of 2 body types, but you will always tend to favour one. The first job is to identify which body type you are. Now that you have a clear perspective of body types, here is a how-to guide for you to help you achieve maximum results. 

Ectomorph Body Type

When looking at building muscle as an Ectomorph, you are going to be in a constant battle with food and eating enough to fuel those gains. Your body is tremendous at processing carbohydrates as an energy source, which means you will burn calories in your sleep. The downside is, that your fast twitch muscle fibres are under developed, which means you will struggle and work hard to build every last pound of muscle. 

This doesn’t mean it is not possible to do so, it simply means you need to work with your body type. To add muscle, you need to keep cardio to a minimal, focus on intense resistance workouts, use big compound lifts, and avoid isolation movements. By doing so, you will maximise growth hormone release and minimise waste of energy with smaller lifts, which tone over build. 

Food is key. You want to make sure that you consume plenty of good carbohydrates in rice, pasta, potatoes, oats, and recovery carb drinks post training. The more calories you burn, the greater the demand for them to recover and grow. 

As an Ectomorph you should:

  • Use compound movements
  • Hit 8-12 repetitions per set
  • Do not live in a gym OR over train
  • Limit sessions to 45 minutes
  • 3 sessions per week is plenty. 4 and you risk over training

Endomorph Body Type

Endomorphs are very talented when it comes to storing energy, especially in the lower body, making a strong, muscular and lean physique somewhat of a daily battle. To create that perfect physique, they should really focus on building broad shoulders and reducing lower abdominal body fat as much as possible. Gentle cardio and a low calorie diet high in fibre will massively help this.   

What Endomorphs might be doing wrong

First, the good bit. There’s no point in spending hours plodding away on a treadmill. “The first thing I tell people trying to lose weight is to ditch the long, slow, steady-state cardiovascular work,” says Purdue. “Then I get them doing more interval-based conditioning to strip away fat. Sprints and box jumps are great, but if you’re heavy to the point of being worried about your joints, then moves like the sled push are slower but just as intense.”

And if you’re doing hundreds of crunches to try and shift your gut, ditch them now. “Spot-reducing fat just doesn’t work,” says Hughes. “You need to lose it from everywhere to see results around your waistline.”

Thinking outside of the box is key. Many would do endless hours of cardio to combat the stored energy and body fat. This is a dangerous circle that could very easily end up with you over training and burning out. Instead, aim to have 4 good hypertrophy sessions a week, focusing on building solid muscle that becomes more metabolic and burns calories even at rest. Cardio is still needed, but do not prioritise or overdo cardio. Start with 20-30 minutes post session or fasted to begin with, slowly increasing time if fat is being stubborn, but really aim at building quality, lean muscle for maximum gains. 

Nutrition

A low carb diet is key to keeping a lean and muscular physique focusing on oats, brown rice and sweet potatoes in a balanced amount. Try to consume plenty of carbs form greens, healthy fats and clean proteins. Keep a high fibre diet and consume plenty of spinach and green tea to help with fat loss. 

 If you are 16% or lower, your macro target should be the following per kg of body weight:

  • 5 g carbs
  • 5 g protein
  • 3 g fat

That is the plan for training days. On non training days, reduce carbs to 2g.

Mesomorph Body Type

When it comes to bodybuilding and aesthetics, this body type is king. They build muscle very easily and naturally carry low body fat. However, this ease can lead to the individual getting lazy and never achieving full potential due to the fact that results come so easy to them. 

The aim for you guys should be to maximise your potential. You should aim at using a progressive plan that increases your power and muscle size without getting to bulky. Food is still king and to maximise results, try consuming plenty of whole grains and limit daily fat intake.

How to train

A mesomorph will respond extremely well to high intensity, short and explosive work such as sprints, box jumps and plyometrics due to their high fast twitch fibre ratio, while also responding well to low volume reps and power work. 

Nutrition

This group of individuals are not only hated in but out of the gym, and food can be much more relaxed as the body utilises what they eat so well. As a rule of thumb, a good macro balance to follow should be:

  • 40% Complex Carbs
  • 30% Lean Protein
  • 30% Healthy Fats

Try consuming the following per kg of body weight:

  • 6 g Carbs
  • 4 g Protein
  • 2 g Fat
Martyn Ford
Martyn Ford



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