While there are variations and hybrids, your body type (or somatotype) will fall into one of three broad categories.

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Whether you have a body like Kate Moss or Venus Williams, we show you how to perfect the body you were born with.

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Find your body type
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1. Ectomorph

FIGURE TWIN: Kate Moss

  • Low muscle and low fat
  • Tends to be underweight, lanky, and skinny
  • You will tend to be able to eat like a horse and never put on weight (fast metabolism)
  • Can tolerate carbohydrates well
  • Young appearance
  • Small bone structure and fine features
  • Tall and can present a hunched upper posture
  • Slow to grow muscle and keep it
  • Great at endurance, long distance events (marathons)

2. Mesomorph

FIGURE TWIN: Venus Williams

  • High percentage of muscle to fat
  • Sporty and athletic body shape (metabolism generally functions efficiently)
  • Does better on a protein, fat and vegies diet
  • Good posture, upright
  • Easily gains weight or loses weight
  • Broad shoulders and thick legs (males)
  • Hourglass shape (females)
  • Strong lifter and efficient at sprinting events
  • Athletes generally possess this body type

3. Endomorph

FIGURE TWIN: Dita Von Teese

  • High fat to muscle ratio
  • Round (especially in the stomach region)
  • Has a hard time losing weight and body fat (slower metabolism)
  • Solid frame
  • Would do well as a power lifter or rugby (as long as they can move their weight around effectively)
  • Generally should avoid grains in their diet (to lose excess fat)
  • Gains muscle easily

You will generally exhibit most of the qualities in one particular category. However, you may be a mixture of two or three types. For example, meso-endo, which is stocky with a higher body fat percentage than the average. An ME would be advised to maintain both cardio and weight training to burn body fat and maintain valuable muscle mass, and adhere to a healthy diet.

By training in a way that is tailored to your body type, you maximise efficiency and get the best results for your body – not bewilderment when you don’t look like the ‘thinspo’ pic on the fridge.

 

1. Workouts for Ectomorph

We are striving for muscle gain here. It’s important to keep sets/reps at three3 x 12 with a long rest in between (at least one minute) to build muscle. If you are experienced in lifting, also try to lift heavy with lower reps (3-4 sets of 6-8 reps). Cardio is kept to a minimum.

  • Monday: Full body
  • Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday: Full body
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Full body
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Rest
Diet: Your diet strategy should aim to increase your overall food intake. Do this by increasing protein and fat, plus wholegrain carbs (brown rice, quinoa, amaranth). Don’t scoff junk food just because it doesn’t show up on your body – you need decent fuel and muscle-building protein.

 

2. Workouts for Mesomorphs

With a mesomorph body shape, once you are happy with the overall size of muscle, proceed to a maintenance training plan so that you don’t become overly bulky. While the theory that bulk takes a ton of the right type of calories, and male hormone testosterone, remains true for mesomorphs, you are more likely than other body types to brawn up.

 

  • Monday: Legs (4-5 exercises in general) and HIIT (20 min)
  • Tuesday: Arms (shoulders, back, chest, triceps –  1 exercise for each with 3 sets x 8-12 reps) + abs
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Legs and abs
  • Friday: Arms and HIIT (20 min)
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Boxing class

Diet: Keep your diet clean. When you are happy with your body fat, adding grains in occasionally will keep your muscles fuelled and ready to smash through your workouts.

 

3. Workouts for Endomorph

The goal here is to primarily decrease body fat. To do this we need to focus on a mixture of high-intensity cardio and steady-state cardio. Try keeping your rest between sets to a minimum. The goal is to keep moving, hence circuit training

  • Monday: HIIT (30 min)
  • Tuesday: Circuit training (45 min)
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: SSC (45 min)
  • Friday: Circuit training (45 min)
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Spin class

Diet: An endomorph body type would need to adopt a strict eating regime, whereby they remove the bulk of their carbohydrates (especially the white, processed ones) and enjoy more plant-based vegies, two low-sugar fruits per day, healthy fats (at least 60g per day) and plenty of lean proteins. Eat regular, small meals.

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