Friday, 15 July 2011

What’s your body type? Hit the gym after finding out

What's your body type?

EACH one of us has different size, body shape and metabolic make up. So there can never be a diet which fits us all. Or if there is one, don’t trust it.

Our diets have to be tailored to our individual body types too. In fact, the best way to maximise the body’s potential is to customise your diet as well as fitness plan to your body type. Some of us fall into three basic types: endomorph, mesomorph, or ectomorph.

And, the rest of us are a mix of two body types. There are no tests to tell you about your body type. Your trainer is the best person to ask.

Each body type has its own unique characteristics that respond best to a certain diet and workout. We tell you how to go about devising your own plan.


WE ALL have friends who seem to be perpetually fit. They visit the gym less often than you and also eat more liberally, yet manage to maintain that hourglass figure or the bulky muscles. Most likely they fall into the category of people called mesomorphs.

EAT THIS: The metabolism of this group is moderate. They put on weight if they remain inactive for a few weeks and lose weight if they workout a little more. Such people should maintain a balanced diet as they can look overweight if they eat too much. A mesomorph diet should contain 30 per cent protein, 40 per cent carbohydrates and 30 per cent healthy fats.

“Eat good amount of protein to build and sustain strong muscles such as tuna, turkey, eggs, salmon, chicken, and whey protein,” says Sandhya Gugnani, nutritionist, Ozone – Fitness ‘ n’ Spa.

DO THIS: If you are a mesomorph, you will respond best to weight training and cardio workouts since they will increase your metabolic rate and lead to quicker muscle gain. Do three to five cardio workouts a week at a moderate to fast pace for 30- 45 mins to keep in shape. If you're not interested in getting too muscular, combine yoga and pilates with weights and cardio. Movements, posture and breath control of yoga and pilates provide muscular conditioning in a routine less likely to create a bulky look. Lightto- moderate weight training done 2 to 3 times a week will help enhance tone, not size.


ENDOMORPHS have round and soft bodies, and their arms and legs are short in length. They find it very easy to gain weight, but a lot of the mass is fat and not muscle. While endomorphs have a harder time than other body types in losing fat, this can be done with some extra effort.

EAT THIS : Your metabolism is sluggish and you put on weight easily. You are sensitive to insulin too. Ideally a diet higher in lean protein than in carbohydrates would suit you the best. Go for lean meats, poultry and fish which are good sources of protein. Eggs, seeds, nuts and legumes are also healthy sources of protein. Go for whole, complex and fibrous carbs such as vegetables, beans, brown rice and oatmeal. Divide your daily diet into 25 per cent carbohydrates, 35 per cent protein and 40 per cent healthy fats. Most importantly, eat healthy fats like olive oil, foods rich in Omega 3 and avocados.

Also, add Conjugated Linoleic Acid or CLA, which reduces body fat and increases lean body mass, to your diet. CLA is available in pill and tablet.

Natural food sources of CLA are dairy foods such as yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese and eggs.

DO THIS: Since this group of people usually carries extra fat around the lower abdomen, hips and thighs, they need to get onto a programme that burns calories instead of a lot of strength training. Go for low impact cardio workouts like walking or biking every day for at least 45 minutes. Your cardio workouts should generally be done at a moderately intense level. You can include total body weight training routine three times a week to emphasise those glorious curves by adding muscle tone. Perform two sets of weight training per body part with 10- 15 repetitions per set using a moderate to light weight.


LEAN, lightly muscled and small-shouldered people are called ectomorphs.

They have delicately built bodies and flat chests. Their bones are light and the joints are small, and they find it difficult to gain weight because of a high metabolic rate that burns up calories quickly.

EAT THIS: If you fall into this group, you have a high metabolic rate and use up carbs quickly. So the first diet rule is to have more calories than you burn. So, 55 per cent of your diet should come from carbohydrates, 25 per cent from protein and 20 percent from fat. Try to have smaller and frequent meals every 2 to 3 hours, to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Ectomorphs have difficulty gaining muscle mass and the chances of muscle breakdown are also higher. So eat a high protein diet with plenty of dairy foods and soya. It’s a good idea to eat before and after a workout as this helps in muscle recovery. Lastly, ectomorphs should be careful not to eat junk food just because they won’t gain weight.

Also, take multivitamin supplements as they would help in protein absorption and overall functioning of the body.

DO THIS: The goal for a thin body person is to gain tone or muscle mass. Focus on muscle growth through heavy weight training with fewer repetitions ( 4- 6). It will be ideal for ectomorphs to do short heavy workouts to tear down the muscle while preserving as many calories as possible for growth and repair. The weight training session should not exceed 45 minutes and they can do away with the cardio workout to begin with.

Ectos looking for more curves should take up swimming because the water provides resistance and the body will often provide extra fat insulation for skinny bodies that do regular pool workouts.

Resistance training can also help build both muscle tone and bone density, which is important for ecto women, who often have small fragile bones prone to osteoporosis.

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