The best way to find a training style that will work for you is to first, identify your body type. The three main body types are Ectomorph, Endomorph, and Mesomorph. Knowing what body type you are will influence the way you respond to diet and exercise. Here are the different types…and you can definitely be a combination of multiple.
Ectomorph- Long and lean, may have difficulty building muscle or gaining fat, fast metabolism, low body fat percentage.
Endomorph- Bigger build, shorter, curvy high body fat, usually round or pear-shaped, stores body fat easily, slow metabolism, high body fat percentage.
Mesomorph- Athletic build, muscular, strong, tends to build and retain muscle easily, gains fat easier than ectomorphs but harder than endomorphs.
Ectomorphs have a very fast metabolism and trouble storing fat. This makes building muscle very difficult for this body type. Cardio is usually limited to the minimal healthy limit because burning calories through high-intensity cardiovascular training is not required. Ectomorphs need a lot of calories in order to gain muscle or body fat, so basically, you can eat like a horse! This type of person can usually consume more carbohydrates than other body types because ectomorphs need a high carb diet to sustain energy since their metabolism is very fast. Now, remember that not all carbohydrates are created the same. White bread, sugar, white rice are quickly processed by your body and turned into sugar, which will not provide sustainable energy. Complex carbs are the best way to get sustained energy, i.e. whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, lentils, and beans. Ectomorphs should also eat a good amount of protein and healthy fat in order to build and retain lean muscle mass. If an ectomorph is trying to gain weight or build muscle, I recommend eating protein and complex carbs frequently throughout the day and right before you go to bed.
The recommended training regimen for Ectomorphs is a strength training program that focuses on big muscle groups, perhaps a 3-day split of moderate to high volume of total body functional movements. The rep scheme for endomorphs is 4-6 sets of 8-12 reps and you will need to use heavy weights. This keeps your muscles under tension longer, so you will build more. Rest between sets is usually 1-3 minutes since the lifting is more intense. You can even implement supersets or a pyramid rep scheme to build more strength.
Overall, a solid strength training program is prioritized over cardio for this body type. Men, make sure to strength training your bigger muscle groups, like your legs and core, it will actually pump more testosterone to your body so that you will build more muscle overall! So don’t skip leg day!
Endomorphs have a slower metabolism and tend to store fat more easily. A strict diet is more important for this body type, limiting carbs, alcohol and sugary foods while replacing it with vegetables, healthy fats, complex carbs and lean protein. Leafy greens, protein and healthy fats like avocados will help the body burn fat to keep you lean. Overall this person needs a very nutrient dense diet in order to help store less body fat. Sorry endomorphs, but your diet is the most strict, but the good news is, if you get your diet on point, you will respond relatively quickly to a training program.
Beginner endomorphs should start on a low impact exercise plan to avoid injury and overtraining, but eventually, work up to daily moderate to high-intensity cardio and total body circuit style training. The typical strength training rep scheme to lose weight and lean out is 15-30 repetitions, 2-3 sets. Intermediate to advanced endomorphs can implement moderate to intense circuit style training into their regimen to lose more weight. 30/30 interval training (30 seconds intense work, 30 seconds rest) is a great way to keep you moving during your workouts and keep them entertaining. You can play around with interval training using a combination of total body exercises, plyometrics or just hop on a treadmill and run uphill. Tabata, (20/10 interval training) for four minutes is a really challenging one. It’s a miserable workout, but you’ll feel on top of the world at the end.
Overall Endomorphs should prioritize fat burning through circuit-style/interval training into their routines, and for best results, really hone in on perfecting your diet.
Mesomorphs naturally have a stronger, more athletic and muscular build. Mesomorphs gain fat easier than ectomorphs but harder than endomorphs. A high protein diet is preferred, with a sufficient amount of complex carbs for sustained energy. Obviously, you can’t go wrong with a nutrient dense diet, so eat your leafy greens! However, with this body type, if you have a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, you will become overweight. Cardiovascular strength is usually not as strong in this body type, so endurance training is recommended. Yes, I know long intensity cardio can be boring, but if it’s great for the heart than why not! If you are trying to lose weight and lean out with this body type, moderate to high-intensity cardiovascular training, similar to what endomorphs do is very effective. If you want to build muscle, you're in luck because you already have the genetic makeup to respond relatively quickly to a strength training program. Typically a total body strength training program of 2-3 times per week of moderate to heavy weights with a rep scheme of 6-12 reps, 3-5 sets will do the trick.
So overall, depending on your goals, mesomorphs can focus on endurance training and total body strength training. Oh, and did I forget to mention? Don’t skip leg day!