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Why knowing your body type is important!

It seems like everywhere you look, there are images of perfect bodies. From the fit girl on the cover of a magazine to the slender VS models walking down the runaway on TV. It’s easy for us to become fixated on these ideal bodies and do anything in our power to achieve a similar look.  We all know that every BODY is different.  But are some people born with a perfect body or do they work really hard to enhance what they were given?  Knowing and understanding your body type is essential when embarking on any weight loss/fitness journey because it will help set realistic expectations.

I usually ask my clients to show me a picture of what they want their body to look like. This gives me an idea on the type of body they desire and what they may be expecting to look like at the end of their program. The last thing I want to do is set anyone up for failure or make them believe in something that is not maintainable. For this article, I discuss body types, loving the body they were born with and accepting what they can or can’t change through nutrition and exercise.

So how does one know their body type? There are three basic body types:  ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. You can have a mix of characteristics from each body type and most people do. Take a look at the chart below. Try and remember back to when you were a kid and now. Where does your body seem to fall under?

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ECTOMORPH MESOMORPH ENDOMORH
NARROW HIPS WIDE CALVES BLOCKY
SMALL JOINTS NARROW WAIST THICK RIB CAGE
THIN BUILD THINNER JOINTS WIDE/THICKER JOINTS
STRINGY MUSCLE BELLIES LONG AND ROUND MUSCLE BELLIES HIPS ARE WIDER THAN CALVES
LONG LIMBS LOSING FAT IS EASY SHORTER LIMBS
LOW BODY FAT (WITH EXCERCISING OR LOW CALORIES BROAD/SQUARE SHOULDERS GAINS WEIGHT EASILY
DIFFICULT GAINING WEIGHT BODY FAT EVENLY DISTRIBUTED DIFFICULT TO KEEP LOW BODY FAT
FAST METABLISM EFFECIENT METABOLISM SLOW METABOLISM (work on building metabolism)
HYPERACTIVE GAINING MUSCLE IS EASY ATTRACTS TIREDNESS/FATIGUE
DIFFICULT GAINING MUSCLE RESPONDS QUICKLY TO EXERCISE LOSE WEIGHT SLOWLY
TIPS: Will need to lift heavier, low reps and a longer rest time. Your carb ratio is much higher, while still keeping protein high. Limit fatty foods, aerobic exercises for overall wellness but should not be a main focus TIPS: Will need to change/mix-up workouts to help keep the body guessing (4 week reassess), responds well to alternate intensity techniques, cardio 2-3 times a week, protein high 1 gram per lb, and semi-high carbs, limit fatty foods TIPS: Will need to start with whole body workouts in the beginning and move up when ready. Incorporate a good cardio regiment (3-4x a week). Focus on increasing metabolism through exercise. Avoid low reps and minimize rest time. Stick within caloric intake, limit snacking, sugars, white carbs and alcohol. Higher protein ratio (lower carb intake)

Knowing your body type will help you understand the type of exercises and nutrition you’ll need to help shape or change your body composition (muscle over fat ratio). This is the evaluation I make before starting any client on a nutrition and exercise regiment. I also provided some tips for each body type to help you understand the types of training, and nutrition one may need.

Now, let me give you an example. If you have an ectomorph body type and are looking to gain muscle. This may not come as easy to someone who is a mesomorph. You’ll have to train and eat much differently than the other two body types. You’ll need a lot more protein, and will need to eat more slow digesting carbs while eating the right amount of each macronutrient (very important no matter what body type). Training is also different. Unlike the mesomorph or endomorph, you’ll need to train 2 body parts a day, and each body part a week with very little cardio. The reps are low, much heavier (work your way up) while the resting period is longer (60 seconds). For each body type remember change comes in time! Practice patience and being consistent. Your body did not get that way  over night and it wont change that fast either.

Now that you know which body type you fall under. Ask yourself if you’ve been reaching for an unrealistic or maintainable look? If so,  it’s time to start understanding your body a little more and set new goals so your working with your body and not against it. Remember to always follow healthy practices!

The most important part of any process (I will hammer it over and over) is to compare your body to yours only. If you’re aiming to have a body like Kate Moss but have a body like Jessica Biel, you’ll never be happy and will go through extremes for a body that isn’t realistic or healthy for you.  I tell my clients all the time, accept the body you were born with, stop obsessing or picking at your body and love yourself. In the end this is more important than anything else. We are all different and sexy in our own ways.  There is no one like you and that’s a good thing! You can get fit, lose weight and change your shape with the right exercise and nutrition! Be proud that you’re doing the best you can for your body type!

Over the next two weeks we will talk more about the types of cardio there are and which ones work best. We will also explore weight training and how much is really needed.

Next week article – Which type of cardio works best?

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