BODY TYPE 101
WHY IT MATTERS AND WHY YOUR FUTURE GAINS DEPEND ON IT
The Three Body Types
Mesomorphic body types appear muscular and athletic. They have efficient metabolisms compared to the other two types. Mesomorphs add muscle easily while minimizing fat mass storage. With relatively high metabolisms, mesomorphs burn fat and carbohydrates for energy preferentially while showing a preference for storing ingested proteins as muscle tissue. This allows them to easily get and stay big and lean. Compared to the other two types, mesomorphs also have ideal hormone profiles, with higher testosterone and growth hormone levels and lower estrogen and insulin levels. This helps explain the ease with which mesomorphs shed fat, add muscle and stay lean long term.
Endomorphic body types appear overweight or even fat and often suffer from water retention. They have slower metabolisms than the other two types. Endomorphs easily add both muscle and fat, but the preference is toward fat storage. With relatively slow metabolisms, endomorphs are inefficient fat burners and tend to convert ingested carbohydrates into fat for storage by insulin. They rapidly store excess carbohydrates and fats while making relatively poor use of ingested proteins for muscle growth.
Ectomorphs preferentially burn carbohydrates and fats as fuel and are relatively lean in terms of both mass and fat, putting them at risk for muscle loss. Ectomorphs don’t tend to store any nutrients to any preferential degree and can therefore have hormonal fluctuations caused by nutrient shortages and deficiencies. Ectomorphs have relatively normal testosterone/estrogen hormone profiles, but typically have higher adrenaline levels and slightly higher cortisol levels than the other two body types.
Mesomorphs burn both carbohydrates and fats, with a slight preference for burning carbohydrates over fatty acids. Mesomorphs tend to store ingested protein as muscle tissue. As a result, mesomorphs have relatively stable and high testosterone levels, low levels of cortisol and other stress hormones, and selectively low levels of insulin – made higher after workouts only by ingesting simple carbohydrates and proteins.
Endomorphs tend to store both carbohydrates and fats, with a slight preference for burning carbohydrates. Endomorphs tend to store protein, but in relatively lower amounts than the other body types. Consequently, their hormone profile is characterized by lower testosterone levels and higher estrogen, cortisol and insulin levels.
Ectomorphs have weakly testosterone-dominated hormone profiles with an uneasy balance between anabolism and catabolism. Ectomorphs should therefore avoid relatively high-volume training that can dramatically increase oxidant production while decreasing androgen levels, leading to higher inflammation rates and greater muscle loss. Ectomorphs should focus on low (4–8) repetition compound movements such as squats, bench press and deadlifts that work fast-twitch white muscle fibers responsible for overall muscle volume and density. This helps increase intensity and decrease workout duration, allowing for greater recovery periods, leading to muscle growth and a hormonal shift toward mesomorphic tendencies.
Mesomorphs have testosterone-dominated hormone profiles characterized by anabolism. Mesomorphs can therefore engage in higher volume training that engages both the muscular and cardiovascular systems for optimal muscle stimulation and growth and optimal fat burning. Mesomorphs should focus on a relatively high (8–10) repetition range that somewhat evenly stimulates both fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers. This helps increase muscle mass, enhance endurance and fat burning and maintain tight anabolic control over the overall hormone profile.
Endomorphs have weakly testosterone-dominated hormone profiles with high estrogen and insulin levels. Endomorphs also tend to have high cortisol and insulin levels with relatively lower levels of thyroid hormone. Volume training should be relatively high, but not too high. While higher volume can lead to increased oxidation, fat burning, anabolism, musculature and metabolism, overtraining for this body type can lead to muscle loss, inflammation and increased endomorphic tendencies. Moderate volume training with a focus on beginning workouts with compound movements such as heavy squats helps increase muscle mass while enhancing endurance and hormone profile, helping shift the metabolic profile toward mesomorphic characteristics.
The Bottom Line
Identifying your body type must be the fundamental starting point of your bodybuilding endeavors. It’s critical because it allows you to know how your body uses and burns food, it tells you about your testosterone/estrogen balance and levels of insulin and thyroid hormones, and it tells you everything you need to know about the constitution of your muscle fiber types to train for results.
The bottom line is that knowing your body type allows you to train smart to make the best gains of your life.
– Team FBB.