Are you overwhelmed by the number of different training programs, bodybuilding supplements, nutrition plans and additional advice that is out there?
Have you tried and failed to gain any muscle whatsoever after trying these plans? Do you feel that some of the advice is actually ‘dead rubber’ and a waste of time? Well, you are not alone on these training/nutrition issues but don’t throw the towel in, as we may have the missing links for you.
The missing key piece of the jigsaw to you gaining some serious muscle is that you are training, eating and supplementing for the wrong body type. Yes that is right – knowing your body type is absolutely vital for you to have any success in the gym.
Now let’s explain how your body type plays a vital role in the process of packing on some serious muscle mass.
What are the 3 main body types?
The three main basic body types or somatotypes were introduced by William Sheldon in the 1940’s. These are as follows:
Not every human being fits exactly into one of these categories and they will have some characteristics of each of the body shapes. However there will be a category that everybody has predominately more characteristics related to them than the others.
So you do want to know what the three body shapes really are and which one applies to you? The next step is to explain in detail each somatotype along with its own strengths and weaknesses.
It is then up to you to use this ‘pocket coach style’ information and apply it to your training regime.
The Ectomorph Body Type
Ectomorphs are typically skinny guys and ‘hard gainers’ in terms of building muscle. They have a light frame with long limbs, small joints and ‘stringy’ muscles.
They also have the following characteristics:
- Narrow shoulders and hips with thin arms and legs
- A high forehead with a receding chin
- A flat chest
- A low % body fat along with a low lean muscle mass
- They find it difficult to put on bodyweight and muscle
- They have a very fast metabolism
Training advice for ectomorphs
- Use a split training model and target 1-2 body parts each session
- Train each body part once per week
- Use heavy compound movements such as deadlifts, presses and squats etc.
- Work at an intensity of around 85% 1RM
- Avoid isolated exercise such as curls, flies and extensions etc.
- Use a rep range of 6-8 and focus on 6-8 sets per muscle group
- Have at least 3 minutes rest after each set
- Ensure that you have at 2 proper rest days per week
- Keep cardio to minimum and use brisk walking intensity for a maximum of 20 minutes-twice a week
Nutritional advice for ectomorphs
- Eat 6-8 small meals per day and eat every 2 hours if possible
- Boost your protein intake to 1.2-1.5g per pound of bodyweight
- In terms of the macros ratios consumed 30% should be from protein, 20% from healthy fats and 30% from carbs
- In terms of proteins eat foods such as lean grass fed beef and oily fish.
- Have a casein protein shake 45 minutes before you go to bed and whey protein 45 minutes before you wake up- as this will stop your muscles from cannibalizing itself
- Increase the amount of slower burning carbs such as brown rice, rolled oats and whole grain foods
- Don’t fill your stomach with low dense calorie foods as salad but concentrate on eating higher calorie foods that you won’t feel full on when training
A mesomorph has a large bone structure, a high muscle mass and a naturally athletic looking physique.
This body type is regarded as ‘genetically gifted’ and it is undoubtedly the best physique for packing on some serious body mass. They find it very easy to put on and/or lose body weight and they share the following characteristics:
- Triangular shaped torso with wide shoulders and narrow hips
- They have a high lean body mass with a low % fat mass
- They are muscular with a square jaw line
- They have well defined muscles
- They are strong and gain muscle a lot quicker than ectomorphs
- They gain fat quicker than ectomorphs
Training advice for mesomorphs
- Use a combination of heavy compound exercises and isolated exercises
- Use the heavy weight compound movements before the isolated movements in your regime
- Use a large variety of training models e.g. split training, pyramid training etc. to stimulate muscle growth
- Vary the training intensities of the exercise, sets, rep tempos, weights used and rest intervals
- Mix up your light, moderate and heavy training days
- Ensure that you have adequate rest days and if you feel that the muscle group trained is not fully recovered then don’t train it. This strategy can help to prevent overtraining
- Mix in 2-3 cardio HIIT sessions per week as this will keep you lean and shredded
Nutritional advice for mesomorphs
- Keep your protein intake to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight
- Eat protein in the form of lean red and white meats along with oily fish
- 15% of your marcos should be derived from healthy fats such as nuts, seeds and extra virgin olive oil
- 60% of your macros should come from carbs such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta and whole grains
- Supplement with both whey and casein proteins to aid muscle growth and recovery
The endomorph’s body shape is the total opposite to ectomorph’s physique. They typically have a round appearance with a high % body fat and a low muscle mass.
Many have tried diets and training plans with limited success and they have the following characteristics:
- Pear shaped with wide hips and shoulders combined with a round face
- A higher % body fat combined with a lower lean body mass
- Poor muscle definition due to high levels of adipose tissue
- Often fatigue easily
- They have an insatiable appetite and tend to over eat
- They find it difficult to lose the body weight
Training advice for endomorphs
- Perform a higher frequency of work outs per week along with some aerobic conditioning
- Try to use whole body work outs to recruit more muscle fibres and this strategy will boost your metabolism
- In terms of resistance training use a higher range of between10-15, with a moderate weight and minimal rest in between sets
- Try to use 8 sets per body part and try to leave 48 hours between training each body part
- Use low impact equipment such as the stair climber or exercise bike at a high intensity at least 3 times per week
Nutritional advice for endomorphs
- Keep fat intake low
- Reduce the total number of calories to around 1600 per day
- Increase your protein intake to around 30% and eat foods such as lean white meats and fish
- Eat smaller and more frequent meals as this stop the dips in your blood sugars
- Don’t eat late at night
- Eliminate processed and sugary junks
- Add some colour to your plate and include salads and green vegetables
- Cut out the soft fizzy drinks and alcohol