Getting healthy—and staying healthy—is hard. And it can be frustrating if you’re going to spin class four times a week, putting in tons of effort and not really noticing a change. Turns out, your body type could have something to do with this, and is one of the reasons why someone who follows virtually the same workout regimen as you can have results that are totally different than your own.
And, no, we’re not talking about pear or apple or whatever other fruit people try and compare to body shapes. We’re going to talk about endomorphs, ectomorphs and mesomorphs—three body types that build muscle and lose fat differently.
We caught up with Jen Widerstrom, a trainer on a little show you may have heard of called The Biggest Loser, ahead of the Shape Magazine Body Pop-Up Fitness Event (a boutique workout pop-up featuring top trainers) happening in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 17, to chat about working out for your body type.
What's Your Type?
"An ectomorph traditionally has a lighter build with very lean muscle. They have an excellent metabolism and it's difficult for them to gain weight," says Jen. "In terms of workouts, I typically will see ectomorph's training very hard in the gym to gain mass. However I see them falling short in three areas. First of all, they don't do enough repetitions per set. Second, the weight they choose is not high enough. Third, they do not consume enough calories that would allow the muscle bellies to recover and rebuild so they can grow."
"Endomorph's are the opposite of this [ectomorphs]. They instead are much more compact in stature and naturally strong however gain fat as easily as they gain muscle," explains Jen. "I see endomorph's trying to lean up by doing a higher volume of steady state cardio in hopes of getting leaner. However, what would be more optimal for them is to do short intense bursts of work which honor their muscularity and power and will get them to burn a higher yield of calories. Therefore this will get them leaner sooner and in a way their body will love."
"Finally, there are mesomorphs, who are natural athletes and very responsive to weight training, so they are excellent at gaining muscle but also losing excess fat," she says.
Basically, if this is you (#blessed), keep doing what you're doing.
Wherever you land on this "morph" spectrum, remember this: "When it comes to working out for your body type, I want to make sure you're also considering your headspace," advises Jen. "No matter what works for your body or doesn't work, if you don't enjoy it or don't want to be there, the workout won't happen at all. Dig?"