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Understanding your body type is the first step towards fitness improvement


What body type do you resemble?

 Before you begin working out, it is important to have a good understanding of what kind of body type you have in order to fulfill your fitness goal; after all, you would not ask your tailor to alter a garment without first giving him the measurements, which is the first step in a good fit. In fitness, there is a progression as well. The first step is to assess your body composition to give you a better understanding on what exercises and foods are right for you.

Basically, there are three different body types - ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph. It is important to understand that most people are a combination of these types, but the dominant traits are what you should be looking for in your assessment. Let's look at the different body types:

  1. Ectomorph: This person has a light bone structure, long limbs, flat chest, and small shoulders. The ectomorph has a tough time gaining weight and building strength. Example: marathon runners.
  2. Mesomorph: The ideal body type for athletics and show. This person has a large bone structure, good symmetry, and the capacity for quick gains in muscle. The pure mesomorph can be a top grade bodybuilder. Example: Mr. Olympia.
  3. Endomorph: A stocky individual with a thick bone structure. This body type has a tendency to hold more fat, to remain blocky without meaningful definition. Strength and size come easily for this body type. Example: NFL offensive linemen.

Although there are some people who are purely one particular body type, most people have a combination of the traits. For example, someone may have a slight bone structure (ectomorph) but can grow muscle to the extent of becoming a fine athlete (mesomorph). On the other side of the body type continuum, the stockier, heavy-set person (endomorph) may have outstanding athleticism and great symmetry (mesomorph).

As Clint Eastwood said, "A man's got to know his limitations."

Regardless of your predominant body type, even as a mesomorph, work has to be done.

If you're leaning on the ectomorphic side of the continuum, train with structural lifts (bench, squat, deadlift) to develop a stronger foundation. And substantially increase the calories in your diet. If you need to eat six meals a day, space your meals three hours apart for better digestion. And drink lots of water to flush out wastes, transport body nutrients, and regulate body temperature.

For the endomorph, you may want to add higher repetitions to your weightlifting regimen, and add more aerobic activities such as bicycle riding, interval sprinting, and swimming to streamline your physique. In your diet, you will have to be more calorie conscious. Limit, or do without, fatty red meat; instead, add fish, turkey, and skinless chicken as your major protein source; for energy, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables as your major carbohydrate source, and drink lots of water.

If you're lucky enough to be on the mesomorphic side of the continuum, you will have an easier time choosing how you work out and what you can eat; however, even the genetically gifted are not exempt from sliding into a physique rut; for many, it's easy to become complacent with laziness and eating binges.

Once you have diagnosed what your body type is, you can now modify your workout and diet accordingly. And by all means, stay hungry - in a fit way.