Body Type Matters! Here’s What You Need To Know Before Going To The Gym

people at the gym

Do you want to build-up muscles but have not achieved your goal despite spending lots of time at the gym? Do you want to gain weight and bulk up but not seeing results even after some time pigging on calories? Fitness goals may be hard to reach but can be worked out if you consider one thing that most fitness programs and ads did not talk about–body type.

Determining your body type is as significant as the amount of exercise and dietary restrictions you put in regularly. Your body type will determine your body’s limitations, appropriate exercises, and suitable food groups to help you achieve your goals.

The concept of body type, or somatotype, dates back to the early 1940s. Its proponent, Dr. W.H. Sheldon, identified three types of somatotypes: endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph. Sheldon generalizes endomorphs as people with rounded and soft bodies. Mesomorphs have a square and muscular bone structure, while ectomorphs are thin and fine-boned.

Sheldon took a conservative standpoint saying that this body type will not change considering the person’s pre-birth preferential development. At this stage, the body will start to develop either the endodermal, mesodermal, or ectodermal embryonic layers, which will set the basis for development later on in life.

Also, he used this theory to determine certain physiological and psychological traits of a person. These ideas, however, changed through time. Fitness experts currently believe that we can enhance our bodies to the goals that we set for ourselves–as long as we do the appropriate practices that are well-suited for our body type. So before completing any fitness registration or starting a diet regimen, read this article and be guided on the right course of action to take.

Heath-Carter system

In recent years, experts developed the Heath-Carter system to revolutionize Sheldon’s rather rigid classification of body types. Experts believe that those categories are merely guideposts and are not set in stone. Professor Lars McNaughton from Edge Hill University said that everyone has some aspects of endomorphy, mesomorphy and ectomorphy.

Fitness experts now view body type in a spectrum. Everyone is a mixture of the three somatotypes. With this, experts are proposing that workouts and diets should consist of routines or habits that are appropriate for all the somatotypes that an individual possess.

two woman exercising

Training Appropriately for Your Body Type

Ectomorphs

Ectomorphs are naturally skinny and may want to build muscles. To achieve this, they need to increase calorie intake, eat healthily, and be on a protein diet regularly. Experts recommend that they take in protein-enriched foods every three to four hours. When training at the gym, they should drink a glass of protein shake before strength training or bedtime. Yogurt is also a good alternative.

Hypertrophy strength training is the routine appropriate for ectomorphs. This exercise usually consists of 8-12 reps of an exercise in multiple sets to encourage muscle growth.

Endomorphs

Endomorphs should select exercise routines and diet plans that can effectively shed off fats, such as the calorie deficit diet, depending on the expert’s advice. In some situations, endomorphs may have to reduce or increase their calorie intake or the mixture of both practices. Even if the goal is to lose fat, endomorphs should not forget to include an ample amount of protein in their diet to help develop and maintain muscle mass.

In terms of exercise, experts suggest that endomorphs should explore a broad spectrum of routines. Performing cardio at a lower to moderate intensity is effective in burning fats. A heart-pumping HIIT or circuit training usually follows this. HIIT exercises will help the body to keep burning calories even after the workout session. Strength training also increases metabolism and increases muscle mass at the same time. When not exercising, endomorphs may try the Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), a concept that discourages sedentary activities such as sitting for a long time.

Mesomorphs

Mesomorphs are people who are gifted with a highly-coveted, muscular body type. They also do not store fat very easily. However, this is not fool-proof. Aging and lifestyle may decrease muscle mass, replacing more fat in the body. This phenomenon usually starts when one reaches their 30s. To prevent losing muscles, one should maintain strength training.

Again, it depends on personal decisions in an individual. If a mesomorph wants to develop bigger muscles, then s/he should include other hypertrophy range training exercises. If the goal is to maintain one’s body type, then a more balanced diet with not much protein is a good idea.

Strength training is the way to maintain muscle mass twice, thrice, or four times a week. To add more muscles, experts advise mesomorphs to include more hypertrophy range training in a routine.

Determining one’s body type is crucial in realizing fitness goals. Fitness is not just about burning calories and spending lots of hours at the gym. It is the clear and well-thought execution of exercise and diet programs that suits you best. Again, if in doubt, consider talking to a nutritionist or expert who can scientifically evaluate your body type, lifestyle, and diet.

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