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Ester Marsh: What body type are you?

As the world is slowly opening up a little bit more, people are coming back and starting or continuing their workouts, but now inside. As many of you have experienced yourself, the COVID-19 weight gain has affected many lives.

Being sedentary, bored, depressed, eating and drinking more than usual and not burning the calories is a recipe for weight gain. But not the same workouts and eating habits work for everyone. Your genetic body type has a lot to do with how your workouts should look and how you should eat. The following are three body types of someone’s general genetic makeup:

• Ectomorph: light build with small joints and lean muscle. Usually ectomorphs have long limbs with stringy muscles. Their shoulders tend to be thin with little width.

• Mesomorph: large bone structure with large muscles and a naturally athletic body. It is quite easy to gain muscle and they are naturally strong.

• Endomorph: generally soft build and usually of shorter build with thick arms and legs. Endomorphs gain fat very easily and are naturally strong in leg exercises.

You will get more out of your workouts if you focus on the genetic makeup of your body type. Typically, an endomorph thinks he or she needs to be doing cardio, cardio and more cardio. But this has proven to not be the best workout for them to show progress.

Below are general exercises for the different body types. If you are not sure what body type you are, ask a certified personal trainer and he or she might be able to steer you in the right direction. The real key is your progress in workouts. If they have not been working for you, it might be time to change to something your body will respond to. Sometimes people fit perfectly in these categories, but other times there can be a combination of body types.

Ectomorph: (hard gainer) needs lots of calories because your metabolism is super-fast. That does not mean you eat whatever you want. Even if you’re “skinny,” you can clog up arteries with a high fat unhealthy diet, or as I like to call it “skinny fat.” Typically, an ectomorph is looking to gain weight/muscle. The workout for that can be a bodybuilding workout with heavy weight, low reps and full recovery in between sets. Of course, that is after you have a good base of general weightlifting. Core can be worked in every day or whenever it fits in your routine. Cardio is a must for a healthy heart, but make sure you don’t go overboard. About 75% of your workout can be weights and 25% cardio, preferably 5-6 days a week.

Mesomorph: (muscular and athletic) has a natural muscle build but if not paying attention to calories can gain fat too. Find out what your goal is so you can select your workout. For muscle building, follow the same as above with 70% weights and 30% cardio. The percentages are purely my opinion after many years training different body types. This is what I have found successful. For muscle definition, interval training works very well. Full body workout with cardio added into the routine. Very little rest and keep your calories in check and make sure they are nurturing calories not empty ones, preferably 5-6 days a week.

Endomorph: (soft and round body) gains muscle and fat easily. Calories are not kind to you, so be very aware what you eat. You need fewer calories than the other two body types. Metabolism is typically slow, so your workout needs to consist of high intensity interval training with full body strength mixed with cardio. Your strength workout will be with low weights and high reps. Core can be worked in any or every day with two sets 15 to 25 reps and 80% high intensity interval (cardio and strength mixed) workout and 20% weights, preferably 6 days a week.

If there is any help you need to set up a workout program for your body type, don’t hesitate to ask. And remember, no body type can out exercise a bad diet.

Ester H. Marsh is Health and Fitness Director of the JF Hurley family YMCA.

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