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Training for your body type


You may be surprised to know that we are all individuals. This means, that although the fitness cynics would argue it’s all irrelevant and it’s just about calories in vs calories out, there are some subtle differences we must pay attention to to maximize our progress.

There is a reason that sumo wrestlers are sumo wrestlers and are not long distance runners. That being said, we can all make improvements to our physique.

Firstly, you must decide what phenotype (body shape) you are. At one end of the spectrum you have an Endomorph. An Endomorph body type is typically large boned, broad shoulders,wide hips, thick joints, stocky and be heavily muscled. Your classic power lifter would usually fall into this category. Your blessing of the ability to add muscle mass is also your curse as it usually means that you are very quick to gain fat.

At the other end of the spectrum are Ectomorphs. An Ectomorph would have a slighter build, long limbs, narrow shoulders and sparsely muscled. You would also have a relatively low body fat. Great if you want to be lean but irritating if you want to be more muscular.

Lastly, slap in the middle you get the Mesomorph. A Mesomorph has the best of both worlds. They can gain muscle reasonably quickly and are usually reasonably lean. It is not a surprise that most athletes (unless long distance athletes) are Mesomorphs.

Chances are you’re one of the first two if you’re reading this because you either want to be slimmer or more muscular. So how does your approach change? It still comes back to your original goal, do you want to add muscle or lose fat. The principles of controlling food are the same whatever body type i.e. control your food intake for a calorie surplus or deficit, and train regularly either weights, CV or a combination of the two.

The differences come in about the approach. If you’re an Endomorph, chances are it’s because your body is a little more carb sensitive. Therefore I’d approach a diet with a higher ratio of fats and proteins. More like 33% carb 33% fat and 33% protein. This will hopefully reduce the likelihood of adding fat and allow you to control weight better. Even if you’re trying to add muscle I’d do the same split just increase calories. I’d opt for longer weight training sessions with regular high intensity interval CV. Most importantly watch the food intake. The mere sniff of a biscuit could have the waist line expanding!

If you’re an Ectomorph, you’re thin because your body is constantly breaking itself down, therefore its hard to retain the weight. You must eat, a lot, all the time, if you’re to add muscle. Training should be short and intense using weights with minimal to no CV. I would recommend a split of 20-25% protein, 60-65% carbs and 10-20% fat. This will keep insulin high and keep you burning sugars instead of breaking your muscle down. Eating regularly is the key to muscle retention. This may even mean forcing yourself to eat when you don’t want to.

If you’re lucky enough to be a Mesomorph then you’re free to train for whatever goal, be it fitness or mass. Your calorie intake and weights/CV ratio will denote whether you’re bigger or smaller. It’s your choice. If you manage food you will stay reasonably lean. If you over eat you will get fatter but usually in a very even way. Your diet would be more like 20-30% protein, 40-60% carb and 20-30% fats. Depending on whether you’re in a fat loss or muscle adding phase, you may raise or lower carbs and fats respectively.

So there you have it. If you know what you are you can manipulate your diet and training to elicit the best result for you. Remember, do not try to be something you’re not. If you have the body of sparrow you will not be worlds strongest man, and likewise, if your shoulders are wider than most doorways it’s unlikely you’ll be winning the London marathon.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me at Ali@FatAlsGym.co.uk

Keep on liftin’

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