From tall to short, muscular to thin, we each possess different traits that make up how we’re built. Does this mean one build is better than another? Absolutely not. The only thing it means is one person may build muscle easily while another has to work harder to get the same results.
Why do some people see results quicker than others? The answer really comes down to your genetics. The body type you have will determine the rate at which you lose fat and gain muscle.
Each person has the ability to change their body type. Someone with a higher body fat percentage can decrease the amount of their body fat and replace it with muscle mass by catering their diet and workouts to their specific build. Intrigued? It’s time to figure out your body type.
Muscle Vs Fat
If you want the best results possible, you need to understand how your body uses the food you eat. Does your body hold on to any unused energy – low metabolism? Or does it exhaust it – high metabolism?
Additionally, when considering your results, it’s also important NOT to focus on your weight! Do you ever feel deflated when you step on the scales, even after you’ve been giving your workout 100%? This could be because fat takes up more space in your body than muscle, even though it weighs the same. As your inches decrease, your fat percentage is dropping while muscle is building, which is why your weight is staying consistent, or even going up! When you start to replace fat with muscle mass through a wholesome diet and regular exercise, you may not see any change on the scale even though your composition is subtly changing. So, it’s time to ditch the scales and start measuring yourself instead!
Your fat to muscle ratio is dependent on your body type. Which is yours?
This is the lucky friend who can eat whatever they want and not gain fat. Ectos usually have lean and long limbs and are “delicate” in stature.
You can usually spot this person based on their small joints, narrow frame, small stomachs, and low body fat. Because your metabolism is so high, you have trouble putting on muscle mass.
Famous ectos are the iconic actress Audrey Hepburn and Edward Norton.
- Perform exercises with a higher weight and lower repetitions; about 5-10 each set.
- Breaks in between sets should be a little bit longer since you’re using heavier weights.
- You will benefit most from performing compound exercises – like squats, push-ups, incline chest press, etc.
- You should avoid steady state cardio, but should rather do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – like sprinting, or cycling.
- Eat high density foods rich in calories – like almonds, avocado, and peanut butter.
- Eat foods rich in complex carbs – like brown rice, quinoa, sweet poatatoes.
The meso is the person who can easily cut fat and put on muscle, but can just as easily lose it. This body type is muscular and lean.
They have a high metabolism and put on muscle with very little effort. They usually have wide shoulders and a small waist.
Famous mesos: Serena Williams
- Sets of about 8-12 reps. The weight should be heavy enough that you can barely finish your set.
- 30-60 second breaks in between sets.
- You will benefit from either steady state or HIIT cardio sessions.
- Portion sizes should follow the fist size rule to maintain your results.
- Eat about 5-6 smaller meals composed of 40% complex carbs, 30% lean protein, and 30% essential fats.
The endo is the complete opposite of the ecto in that they have a higher body fat percentage. They are often pear-shaped, have a larger frame, and little muscle definition. Endos have a difficult time losing weight.
If you find it difficult to lose fat and put on muscle, you eat large meals or eat frequently throughout the day and still find you have an insatiable appetite, you have an endo body type.
The glamorous Marilyn Monroe and Jonah Hill are both examples of endo body types.
- Strength train using a lower weight with higher repetitions; about 15-18 per set.
- Breaks between sets should be small bouts of about 30-45 seconds. Keep your heart rate up!
- Cardio will count, so do as much as you can.
- You will benefit from alternating steady state and HIIT to burn fat and build lean muscle mass. Aim for 20-30 minutes of cardio a day on top of your strength training.
- Diet is key, so be diligent with what you put into your body. Moderate refined sugar.
- Watch your portions and go with the fist size rule.
- Eat 5-6 small meals a day.
- Drink approximately a gallon of water daily.
- Eat plenty of vegetables.
The Best Exercises for Your Body Type
As a fighter, I try to incorporate many different fitness styles to keep my body limber and strong. The four main styles I follow are:
These are exercises like yoga and pilates where the focus is using only your body-weight to meet your fitness goals. These types of exercises emphasize flexibility as just as important as building strength. Flexibility training is good for anyone to do and is great when combined with other forms of strength training to increase range of motion and prevent or even heal injuries.
Dynamic Strength Training
These are exercises like weightlifting and calisthenics. Weightlifting allows you to shape your own build, because you can control your weight and reps to determine your ideal body size. Calisthenics, like squats and push-ups lean the body without the use of weights. Ecto’s and meso’s bodies develop well using dynamic strength training
This would be running, cycling, swimming, etc. These exercises are best for endos to burn calories when combined with a form of strength training to build muscle.
Combines strength training with aerobic exercises. A great example of a circuit is doing a full-body strength training exercise – like a set of burpees, followed by an aerobic exercise – like jump roping. Circuit training is great for any body type.
Does Protein Really Matter?
In a word, yes! Protein contains the essential building blocks to for growth and respair of muscle. It’s essential for bone health as well as healthy hair, skin and nails. If you want to achieve a lean, strong physique, it’s so important to ensure you’re consuming enough protein. If you’re not, you’ll soon start to feel tired and fatigued and your results will suffer.
If you find it difficult to get enough protein from food alone, you may find it helpful to take a protein supplement as a cheap, tasty and convenient alternative.
IdealLean protein contains 23g protein as well as an added vitamin B blend which will help to release energy from your food!
The Shape Shifter
If I want to maintain my muscle mass and keep my fat percentage low for fight day weigh-in, I need to make sure I’m eating my body-weight in grams of protein every day. That’s a lot! I use IdealFit’s IdealLean protein powder to help me continue to smash my goals. It’s not only delicious, it has everything I need to keep me healthy and strong – with essential vitamins like calcium, vitamin D, and folic acid.
With the right tools, you have the ability to be who you want to be. No matter your body type, with enough perseverance you can make a huge difference to your results. Rise to the occasion and become the best version of yourself. Earn your ideal, ladies!