Exercise and genetics


As you know we come in all shapes and sizes. And whether you're tall or short, fat or thin exercise can help you achieve your goals of weight loss, building muscle, increasing strength and improving fitness.

But what if I were to tell you that your body shape could dictate your overall workout plan?

Filling in the blanks
Let's start at the beginning. Over 50 years ago a chap called William Sheldon began to look into a system for classifying humans in terms of body shape, skeleton size and fat levels. The system he settled upon called for essentially three different body types - ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs.

Characterising of your own body type

 Type Ectomorph Endomorph Mesomorph
Tall and thin. Thin chest small hips. Strong bones, round appearance. Athletic appearance.
Fast metabolism. Slow muscle gains Slower metabolism. Likely to carry a little excess body fat. Can gain and lose weight easily.
Weight loss comes easy. Naturally fit. Naturally strong. Quick to gain muscle. Responds well to both resistance and aerobic training.
Slow to gain muscle. Exercise can cause weight loss Finds it difficult to lose weight.
Needs to work on fitness.
Can become overtrained quickly. Variety is the key.

Maximising your training potential
In order to be good, or even great, at a sport your body needs to function optimally. Ideally marathon runners should be thin, with a delicate build and be able to increase strength without adding much muscle mass, where as a power athlete needs a strong bone structure, be naturally very strong and respond very well to weight training.

The two characters described above are of course broadly speaking an ectomorph and endomorph respectively. However, what happens when an ectomorph wants to gain muscle mass or the endomorph wants to run a marathon? Are they fighting a physical battle they cannot win?

Training smarter
Not at all. It is possible to rise up against our genetics and add muscle to a skinny frame or lose fat from a heavy build. We just have to understand the best type of training for our particular body type.

Ectomorphic training principles
Ectomorphs find it hard to put on weight because they burn calories very easily. With this in mind ectomorphs shouldn't train too hard or long when it comes to aerobics. They should lift weights but keep the volume low - again too much activity will burn lots of calories.

Cardiovascular work - 3 times 20-30 min. of low intensity work each week.
Weight training - Train each body part every 4/5 days for 2/3 sets.

Endomorphic training principles
Endomorphs tend to be naturally strong, but they usually also have slower metabolisms. This means when it comes to weight loss the training emphasis should be on aerobic based activities - at least 4 training sessions a week.

Cardiovascular work - 4/5 times 30-60 min. each week
Weight training - 1/2 full body workouts each week. Reps low, volume moderate.

Mesomorphic training principles
Mesomorphs fall in between an ectomorph and endomorph. Mesomorphs tend to hold a little body fat and be pretty strong naturally. Their aerobic capacity is quite high so they don't need to work as long as the endomorph. Their results from weight training can be varied, so it is advised that this aspect of training is cycled so that the body doesn't become stale.

Cardiovascular work - 2/3 times 20-40 min. of mixed intensity exercise.
Weight training - Two sessions a week. Up to 6 exercises per body part.



Print Email Favourites    

© 2000-2014 thefitmap.com
All information on this website is for information only. Thefitmap.com offers no medical advice or information. Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise