If you have been good and kept up with your New Year resolutions to be slimmer and fitter by now you will probably be ready to show off your buff body to the world. If for some reason you haven’t then you are probably starting to feel the pressure as Summer is approaching fast and time seems to be slipping away.
Please don’t feel like giving up on the idea of rocking the beach with a nicely toned body and a flat belly. With the right strategies you can fast track your fat loss results and be ready for your bikini just as the school holidays start.
if you have been following me for a while you will be well acquainted with my opinion that “off-the-shelf-one-size-fits-all” weight loss programs don’t always work. They do work for some and, having purchased a substantial number of these programs for research purposes, I can tell you straight away that what most of them lack the guidelines to personalise the program so it works for you.
My intention with this blog post is to give you a few pointers on how you can take any weight loss and fitness program and adapt it so that it works for you based on your body type.
Now, if you want accurate information I would strongly recommend that you have a DNA test done. You could also look online for a tool to help you determine your somatotype. Or you can take the less scientific route and use observation of your body shape and size to estimate which category you fit in.
Having a good idea of this is important because it will allow you understand which style of exercise and nutrition are best for you. This will save you time on practices that are useless for you at best, counterproductive at worst.
What is my body type?
There are 3 different body types (somatotypes): Ectomorph (think of Twiggy), Mesomorph (think of Madonna) and Endomorph (think of Beyonce). Although most of us will show the predominant traits of one body type over another we mustn’t forget that we are a combination of all three body types and most likely fall somewhere in between two of the main somatotypes.
These are your mannequin types of gals and guys: skinny, with long limbs, light build with small joints and lean muscle. They are the people you know that are constantly eating all sorts of crap and never put on an ounce of weight whereas you gain 3 Kilos just by looking at a slice of cake.
The reason for this is that they have a fast metabolism which is actually inefficient as it tends to convert energy into heat that dissipates instead of being used as fuel for growth.
Ectomorphs find it hard to build lean muscle and need a huge amount of calories to gain weight. They would definitely benefit from taking supplements to ensure they don’t lose muscle when they exercise and in fact, support their growth.
They are not immune to weight gain and I have come across clients who belonged to this body type that started to gain fat around the middle from their peri-menopause years onwards. They found it easier than most to lose it though and return back to their original lean shape but with added muscle. In contrast, clients who wanted to gain weight had to deal with a lot of frustration and sometimes heavy supplements bills to support their efforts. Perseverance was the key to their success.
Because of their slight build they are naturally suited for endurance sports, gymnastics and some forms of athletics like pole vaulting. Although difficult for them, they can indeed build muscle. They have to work harder at it than most and they are better off focusing on compound exercises like squats, deadlifts and bench presses with shorter sets and heavy weights. These exercises recruit a large number of muscle fibres encouraging growth. Although naturally suited for endurance sports, for the purposes of changing their physique from slender to slightly more muscular to toned, they are better off keeping cardiovascular exercise to a minimum to prevent muscle loss.
These are your “natural born athletes” with a fairly large bone structure, big muscles and an athletic appearance. Usually strong, they have the best body type for bodybuilding purposes as they find it easy to gain and retain muscle but also to gain and lose fat.
Some would say they are genetically blessed because their combination of strength and agility means that with the right training they can be extremely successful at any sports. Their other unfair advantage over other body types is that almost any weight loss or exercise program will give them results.
Mesomorphs have to work at keeping their fat levels low but they can sustain their results over time without too much effort.
A combination of strength training with moderate to heavy weights plus cardio and a conscientious diet would suit them best. As far as their nutrition goes because they tend to gain fat easily they should keep their consumption of starchy carbohydrates to the bare minimum necessary to fuel their workouts and lifestyle. Any straying from this will result in unwanted weight gain.
Clients with this body type are perhaps the easiest ones to work with. Once we have discovered the best protocols for their Fitness Makeover projects it’s simply been a case of executing the instructions. They are the ones who can take liberties throughout their time working with me safe in the knowledge that their genetics will allow them to catch up fairly quickly.
They are also the easiest people to keep motivated because as soon as the changes start to happen their focus shifts on “what’s possible next?” and that’s when they start to explore sports and activities that perhaps they never considered before.
These are individuals who typically have a “short and stocky” appearance with a body that is solid and soft at the same time. They tend to gain weight very easily and, unfortunately, most of it is fat.
They have a slow metabolism and find it very hard to stay lean. This is a real shame because they also find it very easy to build muscle but they can’t always reveal it to the world.
They are best suited for activities like power lifting where they can make the most of their remarkable strength. In order to get the perfect beach body those with this body type must focus their training on cardiovascular exercise and mix that up with a combination of slow steady cardio and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) in conjunction with some resistance training.
As far as their nutrition goes they need to watch their calories and especially those coming from food that’s high in starch content. They must however eat enough to fuel their workouts and lifestyle but focus on good quality protein and plenty of water based, non starchy vegetables. If considering supplementation fat burners might be a good idea to help Endomorphs reveal the beautiful shape they have been working hard to create.
Clients who belong to this body type are those who have to be the strictest at following their protocols for their Fitness Makeover projects. Whenever they found it within themselves to follow the process wholeheartedly they achieved stellar results and underwent a complete transformation. It’s totally possible to go from round and soft to leaner and toned but it involves a complete overhaul in lifestyle with the prospect of long term adherence. Getting their mindset right is of paramount importance in this respect.
ECTO-MESOMORPH AND MESO-ENDOMORPHS BODY TYPES
These are individuals that fall in between the traits that distinguish the 3 main body types. In the case of Ecto-Mesomorphs we will find people who are naturally athletic but also skinnier than true Mesomorphs and more muscular than true Ectomorphs. Likewise, Meso-Endomorphs will show a combination of athletic build with a rounder shape. Their nutrition and exercise protocols should also be a combination of those for the true body types in accordance to what type they tend most towards.
How does this help you boost your fat loss efforts?
Once you have determined your body type you can take ANY weight loss and exercise program that you find on the internet or even at your local gym and you can adapt it to suit your genetics.
For example, if you are mostly an Endomorph you would be best suited to aerobics classes but also some resistance training: spinning, zumba, boxercise, etc. are all good choices. Likewise if you purchased a program off the internet that focuses on resistance training of some sort you can add some cardio to it to maximise your chances of success.
Along the same lines, if you are an Ectomorph and you want to get into shape you should only purchase programs that focus on weight training: big compound movements mostly, but also some isolation exercises for extra definition once you have built a good foundation. Skip the cardio or at least keep it to a minimum, unless of course you decide that you wish to train for an endurance event (but this is a different story altogether). Bootcamp classes may not be the best choice for you as they can be intense in the cardio department and would be best suited to your Mesomorph and Endomorph friends.
To make life easier I created a FREE report with a recap of the best nutrition and exercise strategies for each body type. I would love the opportunity to stay in touch with you via my (infrequent) newsletter, all you have to do is confirm that you wish you be subscribed by clicking the link in the email you will receive immediately after downloading the report. If you don’t wish to join my Community it’s fine, the report is still free and I hope it helps you with your fitness journey.
My body type is almost a pure Mesomorph: I have always been both strong and athletic. I will get fat if I eat cake but I will shrink back to my original size fairly quickly if I am meticulous in avoiding starches. What about you?