Guys and girls, everywhere you look there is some magazine or person telling you that there is a ‘blueprint’ for fat loss or muscular development but can you and your mate really follow the same plan and expect to get the same results?!
When choosing a programme to suit your goals the structure of both the training and the nutrition plan needs to address your body type.
Our bodies can be categorised into three different types called somatotypes. Depending on where you fall on that scale will give you a different protocols that will work better for you.
Are you a skinny guy or girl with; a smaller frame, narrow shoulders and hips and don’t gain weight too easily?
If so then it’s likely you are an Ectomorph and you should be mindful of these points:
• You will have a FAST METABOLISM.
• A hormonal profile that isn’t set to help you build muscle and size – lower testosterone.
• You should concentrate on COMPOUND LIFTS using large muscle groups – to increase testosterone production.
• Keep your workouts shorter but go HEAVY and EAT BIG.
• Your biggest problem will be trying to prevent muscle wastage so if you are looking to GAIN muscle and size then you need to EAT MORE FREQUENTLY and much more starchy carbohydrates throughout the whole day and don't be afraid of eating later in the evening.
For you going heavy is the way forward but if you are new to weight training then throwing yourself in to a 4-8 rep range isn’t wise. You will need to spend some time sorting out your technique and getting strong else you are will be setting yourself up for an injury.
Have you got; a broader frame, big shoulders, short and stocky, strong but with ‘soft’ muscles, a tendency to gain fat quickly?
If so then it’s likely you are an Endomorph:
• You will have a SLOW METABOLISM.
• You build muscle quickly but also STORE FAT quickly too.
• Keep your training INTENSE with shorter rest periods – no more than 60 seconds.
• Weight training should be HEAVY but aim for a HIGHER REP RANGE to deplete glycogen – this will help your body mobilise fat and burn more calories during and after the training session.
• Reduce CARBOHYDRATES and you need to be STRICTER with your diet – sorry, sad but true.
Your body is basically to efficient, it is working just fine but at a slower speed to that of an Ectomorph so you simply don’t need so much food. Carbohydrates are not necessarily your friend – if you want to get leaner then reduce them right down but increase fibre and omega 3’s (healthy fats).
Don’t be disheartened though! You may have to work more intensely and diet harder than the Ectomorph but you have the mass there to sculpt into a great physique – just stay focused.
Are you the walking talking genetic gold mine? ..don’t be modest, you’ll know it if you are and it is estimated that only 1-2% of the population are true mesomorphs – so you’ll stand out.
If you have; a rectangular frame, are muscular, athletic, can gain muscle and loose fat easily then you are likely to be a mesomorph and although your structure can be more flexible than the endo and ecto’s these points are a good guide to follow:
• Good metabolism with high levels of testosterone and growth hormone.
• Weight train using COMPOUND lifts with moderately heavy loads in the 6-12 REP ranges.
• Focus on GETTING STRONGER and utilise periodization methods.
• Keep some moderate intensity CARDIO in.
• Eating ‘clean’ non processed foods will likely be enough to keep you in good shape.
You are not untouchable when it comes to fat storage and you will still have to be more careful than the Ectomorph but far less strict than the Endomorph. Stay consistent and focus on one goal at a time i.e. either be building muscle or loosing fat, not both at the same time.
There are a couple of important things to bear in mind on top of this information:
1 – If you are overweight it may be hard to make an accurate assessment of your actual genetic body type in your current physical condition, so think back to when you were a kid or a teenager (look at pictures) that will help you identify what you are - before lifestyle got in the way!
2 – Although there are three Somatotypes we can have crossovers where someone is a little bit of a mix up of Ectomorph and mesomorph or mesomorph and Endomorph. In these instances go with the diet and training structure best suited to the percentage majority. Then, as with any programme, monitor the progress and make adjustments as and when necessary.
3 - Your training and eating behaviours and habits over the years will have some influence here too which is why it is all the more important to make progressive changes going for long term sustainable results rather than quick fixes which will undoubtedly add to any future hormonal and metabolic (i.e. fat loss) problems.
4 – If you are overweight and have large amounts of excess body fat the priority is loose body fat, so do that first. Create a moderate calorie deficit and bust your ass in your training sessions, get a good nights sleep and stay consistent. Then you can start to worry about the nitty gritty.
Oh and as an added bonus: everyone should drink more water! :)