Customization. We live in society where, more and more every day, people expect a higher and higher level of customization in everything they see and encounter. Many restaurants have the digital soda machine, offering a thousand drink varieties at the touch of a screen. Surfing the web, we expect to be able to see any site on any device, vivid and clear. At restaurants, we are shocked when a gluten-free or otherwise customized menu option is not available. In a world full of services with plenty of global competition, ours is a society where the consumer demands and expects a high level of customization in every product and service they use.
Going to the gym, the same rules apply. We expect to be able to walk into any gym, and to be presented with a wide variety of training options to meet our needs.Heavy barbells and squat racks should be open, should we feel like training with some compound movements. Machines should be available, as we will want to isolate and target our individual muscle groups.And of course, cardio equipment should range from treadmills to elliptical machines to Jacob’s Ladder. Anything less than this level of customization, and we are probably on Yelp!, complaining about the lack of customization the gym offered.
Your body, well, it is just like you. Your frame and your muscles enjoy a high level of customization as well. Your body type has a huge influence upon the style of training, amount of recovery time, and type of diet you should be using in order to make the best gains in terms of muscle mass, strength increases, and fat loss. There are three body types. Nobody falls perfectly into any of these groups, but we all sort of lean to one of these types or another. Ready to dive in, and learn about your body type, and how to train to hit it most effectively?
Has gaining weight of any kind always been a struggle for you? If you’re naturally skinny, then you are mostly likely in possession of an ectomorphic body type. Also frequently classified as a ‘hardgainer’, an ectomorph often looks more like a basketball player than a bodybuilder, ever after years of training. Long arms, narrow shoulders, narrow hips, and long legs make any new muscle display in a less than flattering manner. And don’t forget about your super high metabolism! Gaining weight of any kind is difficult for you… fat and muscle gains seem to both prove elusive!
If you are an ectomorph, you don’t want to overtrain. Your body cannot recover as quickly as those of mesomorphs. Training for 2 hours a day, 5-6 days a week, would leave you weak and stringy. You should instead focus on finding more intense ways to train, and keeping the workouts to the 45 minute range, about 4 times per week. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday training is ideal for skinny ectomorphs.
If you’ve always been naturally heavy, quick to gain muscle and fat alike, then you are most likely in possession of an endomorphic body type. Muscle gains aren’t impossible, but it always seems like you gains as much fat as you do muscle. You’ve always been bulky and strong, but have never achieved the level of leanness that you desire. Your metabolism is slow, but you can make reasonably good muscle gains.
The emphasis when training for this body type shouldn’t be going heavy for low reps. Rather, your goal should be to hit the muscle groups with very high repetitions, and lots of sets. High volume training works great, but you will need to complete more cardio than the other two body types. A set range of 12 to 20 on most of your sets will give you the best overall results in terms of muscle gains and far loss.
If you’re into building muscle, then mesomorph is the body type you’d likely desire. Some of the most outstanding physiques of all time fall into this category, including athletes such as Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates, and Serio Oliva. People with this body type tend to have wide shoulders/clavicles, narrow hips, and possess a natural V-taper shape to their body. Small joints with big muscle mass, these are the folks who look like they carry a great build before they even touch a weight for the first time. And once they start training, their dense muscle grows quickly and impressively.
Mesomorphs benefit from training which can best be described as high volume with plenty of intensity. They recover quickly, so long workouts with lots of sets won’t wreck their central nervous system. Moderate cardio is all that is required for people with this body type, as the weight they gain tends to be more muscle than fat, and they lean up fairly quickly when they do choose to diet down. Rep ranges of 5-8 as well as 12-20 will prove effective for people with this body type. You may even be able to get away with hitting the muscle groups twice each week, as your recovery abilities and muscle fiber density will let you recover faster than people with the other body types. You have the ideal physique for building muscle – get to it!