Sample Image Don't you hate it? You've been slogging it out at the gym for years to get your body into shape. You do every exercise under the sun, you experiment with all sorts of sets and rep ranges and yet your results are coming slowly - if at all. Yet a newcomer comes along and it seems they've only been training a couple of weeks and they've got muscle sprouting out from everywhere. 
It's just not fair is it? Why is it that some people can make progress in an instant and others just takes so long? The answer is simple. Pure genetics. Some of us are born to build good muscle tone while others have to work a little harder (and longer) to get the body we desire.

However, don't despair. We all have the potential to build muscle it's just a matter of recognising
our own genetic makeup and making the most of what we have. Not everybody responds to
the same way of training so what works for one won't necessary work for another.

Before you decide which programme is best for you it's best to identify which body type
you have so you can make the most of your natural genetics.

 Sample Image Ectomorph: Usually have short upper body, long arms and legs, long narrow feet and hands, very little fat storage. Narrow chest and narrow shoulders and long, thin muscles.
Ectomorphs are characterized by their high metabolic rates which makes it difficult for them to gain both muscle and strength.
 Sample Image Endomorph: Generally they will have large bone structure, round face, short neck, wide hips and high fat storage. They have a soft body and general gains weight easily due to
their slow metabolism.
 Sample Image Mesomorph: This kind of physique makes natural bodybuilders. They are usually naturally fit and strong and have large chest, long torso and solid muscle structure.
So which structure can you relate to?
Ofcourse no one is exactly one body type, more a mixture of two.
 Sample Image Ecto/Endomorph
(pear shape)
This structure tends to have a thinner upper body with a higher fat percentage in the lower body.
 Sample Image Endo/Ectomorph
(apple shape)
This structure has a higher fat percentage in the upper body with thinner legs.

Training for your Body Type

If you can identify most with the ectomorph you probably have a hard time building muscle. To build on your structure you should stay with basic exercises which should be fairly heavy as these build maximum mass. You should have longer rest period between sets as this will help you with recovery so you can lift more. Nutritionally, your diet should be higher in calories and should eat more than you're used to and more often. Supplementing with protein or weight gain formula is ideal to help increase your nutritional needs if you find it hard to eat a lot. You should also consider decreasing your cardio and save your energy to concentrate on muscle building
to no more than 3 x 20 minute sessions per week.

Endomorph: Endomorphs can build muscle easily so they should concentrate on fat loss. They should participate in an active lifestyle which helps raise metabolism and enhance their fat loss needs. Although they are quite naturally strong, they should use moderate to heavy weights in the gym instead of lifting too heavy. Work within the 12-15 rep range with short rest intervals will ensure maximum fat burning. You should do at least 4x 30 minute cardiovascular exercise per week keeping your heart rate between 65-75% maximum. You should lower your calorie intake by eliminating junk food and foods high in sugar and concentrate on eating smaller more frequent meals with good protein, carbohydrate and fat ratios.

Mesomorph: Although Mesomorphs have a genetic advantage they should still be careful with their diet and training regime. Because they have the ability to recover quickly from exercise they should also be careful not to overtrain. They make best gains working within the 4 sets x 10 rep range, working 3-4 exercises per body part using variety of compound and single joint isolation exercises. Although they don't need to watch their weight as much as the ecto and endo bodytypes they should still do 4 x 30 minute cardio sessions per week to prevent any fat gains.

In summary, we are all unique individuals and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
No bodytype is particularly better than another, just different and we should be proud of our invidual characteristics. However if we feel we would like to improve on our structure, we should take into consideration our bodytype and metabolism so that we can make the most of our exercise regime.

Once you have decifered what bodytype you are (or mixes you are) you will be able to diet and exercise correctly so that your progress is accelerated. The key is to making gains is to keep concise records in your training diary so you can work out what works for you. And if you're not seeing results using a certain training regime despite your hard efforts you shouldn't be afraid to try another. Or ask your instructor or personal trainer to work out another plan for you.

We all have the potential to look like a mesomorph but for some of us it will just take longer. But that shouldn't be the only reason you're working out, instead, concentrate on enjoying your workouts and be happy with the gains that you are making - rather than what you're not.
As Rachael Hunter says "it won't happen over night but it will happen"


Lisa, Go Figure
20 January 11

Go on facebook!

Follow us on facebook
and keep up to date
with latest news
and activities

You are now being logged in using your Facebook credentials