If you’ve ever picked up a Cosmo magazine you know the importance of knowing your body shape to find the perfect date night outfit. But did you know that there are different body types? Not body shapes, but body types.
Knowing which type you are can help you decide which fitness and nutritional regimen would be best for you and your specific goals.
The three basic body types are Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph.
And although it’s a common mindset to think “the more the better,” when it comes to fitness, not every body is the same.
The Ectomorph Body Type
Categorized by small joints, lean muscles and long limbs, Ectomorphs tend to have smaller frames, fast metabolisms and small shoulders.
These body types tend to be your “magazine cover women.”
Stereotypical occupations that fall under this group tend to be ballerinas, models, basketball players and long-distance runners. If you are classified in this category, you know that gaining weight can be a difficult feat. Since your metabolism is great at processing carbs into energy, you burn calories quicker than other body types.
Many women with this body type complain that they are too flat-chested and lack body shaping curves. Gaining muscle goes hand-in-hand with gaining weight, Ecto’s struggle with them both. The reason being is that your fast-twitch fibers tend to be underdeveloped. These are the fibers responsible for increasing muscle mass and improving overall strength.
In fact, it’s very common of those with this body type to be over-fat but underweight, also known as the term skinny fat. For anyone looking to tone up and add shape to their body, they must increase overall muscle mass. This is also how they earned the term “hard-gainers,” in the gym world.
Workout principles for Ectomorph
Workout routines for Ecto’s should be short and intense, with the primary focus being on the larger muscle groups.
This means you will want to keep your cardio sessions minimal but ramp up your weight training. By incorporating compound exercises, you can help with maximizing the release of growth hormones, leading to more muscle gain. Compound exercises are movements that engage at least two different joints and stimulate various muscle groups.
Examples include the bench press, deadlifts, pull ups, squats and cable pull-downs.
When it comes to cardio, as mentioned, you will want to keep it to a minimum. But this doesn’t mean your cardiovascular health is at risk. By following a moderately paced cardio session 2 – 3x a week, you are doing more than enough to keep your heart healthy without being detrimental to your weight gaining goals.
Another substitution for traditional cardio would be high-intensity interval training (HIIT). You could easily substitute your 30-minute moderate cardio for 15 minutes of HIIT. If you are an ectomorph, you will benefit from weight training more than the other types since your bones and muscles tend to be naturally weaker than others.
To get the most out of your routines, you should take longer breaks between your exercises but keep the difficulty up during your sets. Strength and endurance will improve as muscle mass develops.
What to Eat as an Ectomorph
It’s obvious that good nutrition is vital for anyone trying to get healthy and build lean body mass, but it’s particularly significant for ectomorphs. If you’re an informed ectomorph, you already know how essential it is to consume the correct number of calories.
“But you have to be sure the calories you’re consuming are QUALITY ones.”
Even though you don’t put on weight/fat easily, try your best to overlook the sugar-filled treats and simple carbs. Choose more carbs that come from whole food sources and are rich in fiber. Combining them with high-quality protein from natural sources like chicken, turkey and fish along with a variety of fruits and vegetables is a great guideline.
Make sure to also include calorie dense vegetables like avocados, sweet potatoes and beans. High carb, moderate protein, moderate fat tends to be the recipe for success for Ectomorphs.
Yes, you read that correctly.
BUT, as mentioned earlier, this is not an approval to go binge-eat whatever your heart desires, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. You want to make sure all the food you put into your body is adding nutritional value to your diet. Here are some hacks to gain healthy weight.
Eat frequent meals throughout the day
Aim for 5 – 7 meals spread out over the course of your day.
Don’t skip meals
Keep your metabolism revving and the fuel pumping. You should be eating every 2 – 3 hours.
Consume slow-digesting protein before bed
Catabolism (the process of muscle tissue breakdown) is very common for ectomorphs, especially overnight.
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