Ever noticed how some dudes can simply glance in the direction of a dumbbell and gain 10 pounds of muscle, while you’re stuck training a million hours per week, eating your weight in chicken breasts and brown rice and struggling to gain a measly pound of muscle after years of training? Some people are more genetically gifted than others, but if you stop and look closely, you’ll see that different people have different body shapes.
Some people are tall and wiry, while others are short and bulky. Then there are those that are tall, muscular, but lean, with a waist that even a Victoria’s Secret model would be envious of. The different body types we just described are: Ectomorphs, Endomorphs, and Mesomorphs, and it’s important to understand what you are so that you can adjust your diet and training accordingly.
That’s right, once you understand what specific body type you are, if you do alter your training, eating, and lifestyle habits in general, you’ll make some very impressive gains. Want to understand what specific body type you are and why some people build muscle easier than others? Great, you’ve come to the right place.
First up, we’re going to get the ball rolling by looking at ectomorphs. Do you find yourself struggling to gain weight, either fat or muscle, despite you having the appetite of a hundred starving animals? If so, you could be an ectomorph. If it doesn’t apply to you, there’s a good chance that it instead applies to somebody that you know.
Everybody knows somebody that can eat copious amounts of junk food, and drink as much sugary beverages as they like, and not gain a single pound, and again, these are typical traits of ectomorphs. To some people, this sounds appealing, but what about if you’re trying to bulk up? Sure, struggling to gain fat is appealing, but if you’re trying to build muscle, life can get pretty stressful because adding muscle mass to the frame of an ecto is notoriously difficult.
Ectomorphs are sometimes known as “hard gainers” because they find it so hard to gain muscle. A few typical physical and biological characteristics of an ectomorphs include:
- Narrow shoulders
- Thin wrists and ankles
- A very fast metabolism
- A ‘skinny-fat’ physique
- Flat and small chest
- Tall and wiry appearance
- Lean muscle mass
- Narrow glutes and hips
- Low levels of body fat
- High energy levels
Ectomorph bulking tips for muscle growth
As you now know, building muscle as an ectomorph is extremely difficult, though it’s certainly not impossible. If you’re sick and tired of having a flat pigeon chest and spaghetti arms and want to bulk up, here are some ectomorph bulking tips for muscle growth:
– Reduce your training frequency
Naturally, you’d think that somebody looking to bulk up and build muscle would need to increase the amount of time and days they spend in the gym, but that’s not the case. You see, one of the main reasons why hard-gainers find it so difficult to build muscle is because of the fact that they are overtraining in the gym. They’re so obsessed with building muscle that they spend hours training, and will workout six, even seven days per week in the hopes of building muscle. In truth, all they’re doing is breaking their muscles down and not giving them enough time to recover. Experts recommend that ectos train no more than 4 days per week in the gym, and that they limit training times to around one hour at a time. Remember, muscle isn’t built in the gym at all. Muscle is built in bed, when we rest and recover.
– Increase your calorie consumption
Ectomorphs, depending on your outlook on life, have either been blessed or cursed with super-fast metabolisms. This means that they are able to burn through calories like they’re going out of fashion and they’ll barely gain weight. As you’re looking to bulk up and build muscle, you need to make sure that you’re eating enough to bulk up. To bulk up as an ectomorph, you need to create a significant caloric surplus. This basically means that you should eat a lot.
– Prioritize healthy foods
Now that you know you need to eat more, this doesn’t give you an excuse to eat junk food. To bulk up, you need to ensure that you’re getting the right foods and nutrients so that you build muscle mass whilst keeping fat gain to a minimum. Building muscle while bulking means that a little fat gain is inevitable, but if you eat too much junk, you’ll gain fat rather than muscle, which is the last thing you’ll want to happen. When you bulk up, consume foods rich in healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. You can treat yourself now and then, but for much of the time, make sure you’re eating healthy and nutritious meals.
– Use a mass gainer
Hard gainers are referred to as such because they find it very difficult to build muscle. Their metabolisms burn through calories like there is no tomorrow and they often find themselves still losing weight, even when trying to bulk up. This is often because of the fact that they simply cannot eat the amount of whole foods required to meet their macro targets. This is where mass gaining supplements prove useful. Mass gainers are packed full of proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, carbs, and healthy fats. They’re high in protein and high in calories. Basically, they’re like an all-in-one meal in sweet and delicious shake form. If you really want to increase your caloric intakes, mix your mass gainer with milk rather than water.
– Perform heavy compound lifts
When it comes to building muscle, compound lifts are considered to be the best of the best. Compound exercises are basically exercises that recruit multiple muscle groups simultaneously when the exercise is being performed. For building muscle, there are no comparisons. To bulk up, prioritize heavy compound lifts like barbell bench presses, squats, deadlifts, and pull ups. Isolation exercises are still useful but try to perform those towards the end of your workout, once you’ve done the necessary heavy compounds.
Next up we have endomorphs. Now, to some people, being an endomorph is a curse, yet to others it’s a blessing. Endomorphs are basically the exact polar-opposites of ectomorphs. Endomorphs are typically much wider and bulkier than ectomorphs. Whereas ectomorphs are typically tall and thin, endomorphs are often short and bulky.
Endomorphs generally find it easy to gain weight, which isn’t as beneficial as you might think. They build muscle quite easily, but they also gain fat easily too. Endomorphs usually have wide waists and thick bones and joints. If you imagine a typical powerlifting physique, that’s pretty-much what most endomorphs look like. A few typical biological and physical traits associated with endomorphs include:
- A shorter and bulkier build
- Thick arms and legs
- Wide waist
- Builds muscle easily
- Also gains fat easily
- Slower metabolism than ectomorphs
- Wide shoulders and neck
- A softer-looking build
- Less-defined muscles
- Shorter limbs
Endomorph diet and training tips
As an endomorph, when it comes to your diet and training you will be in a bit of a quandary. On the one hand, you’ll want to build lean muscle, because, hey who doesn’t want those juicy gains? On the other hand, however, you’ll want to get rid of some of that excess fat you’re carrying around your waist and trim down those love handles. This is where it pays to follow the right diet and training routine. Here are some simple and effective endomorph training and diet tips.
– Find the right caloric balance
Really, you need to decide whether you want to bulk up or trim down when it comes to your diet. Most endos are carrying a lot of muscle but too much fat, so are willing to sacrifice some muscle if it means getting lean and ripped. We recommend a very slight caloric deficit of around 200 calories below maintenance to begin with, and then assessing your progress. If you find you’re losing fat but too much muscle, you could consume a few more cals. If you’re not losing enough fat, you could create an even larger deficit. Find the right caloric balance that works for you.
– Keep workouts short and intense
As fat loss is likely a primary objective, alongside muscle growth and maintenance of course, experts recommend short and intense workouts. On lifting days, increase training frequency and volumes and perform more sets, reps, and exercises. You should also step up the training intensity and reduce resting periods between sets. This way, you’re burning calories while also stimulating the muscles. For cardio, focus on HIIT as interval training is more beneficial for fat loss and muscle maintenance that slow and steady-state cardio.
– Clean up your diet
If you want to burn fat and build muscle, you need to watch what you’re eating. As endomorph’s gain fat much easier than others, a healthy diet is essential. Get plenty of protein for muscle growth, eat complex carbs for slow-release energy, and don’t forget a little healthy fat for additional metabolic functions, hormone balance, and health in general. Bulk meals out with healthy vegetables for additional nutrients, and drink plenty of water.
Finally, and perhaps saving the best until last, we have mesomorphs. If you’re a mesomorph, you can shortly sit there with an arrogant-looking grin on your face because you’ll soon have a lot to be cocky about. If guys were given the choice between being born an endo, ecto, or mesomorph, 99.99% of the time they would almost certainly go with mesomorph. Mesomorphs clearly were at the front of the queue for the genetic gene pool.
Mesomorphs are typically tall, muscular, athletic, and naturally lean. Mesomorphs find it easy to build muscle and it even easier to burn fat at the same time. For bodybuilding, athletics, and shirtless gym selfies for Instagram, mesomorph body types are definitely the best of the bunch. Mesomorphs are also typically athletically gifted and naturally strong. Some guys for example, are just blessed with genetics.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a classic Mesomorph. In his prime, he was considered one of the best bodybuilders of all time. He’s tall, standing at 6ft 2, yet when he competed, he still weighed around 240 pounds of solid muscle, with a waist smaller than most female supermodels. He had an athletic, lean, and powerful physique as he had a classic mesomorph body type.
Some biological and physical traits of mesomorphs include:
- Narrow waist
- Low body fat
- Fast metabolism
- Finds it easy to burn fat
- Finds it easy to build muscle
- Toned and muscular body
- Large upper body
- Naturally strong
- Faster rates of recovery
Mesomorph diet and training tips
Even though mesomorphs pretty-much only need to glance at a dumbbell to build muscle, or think about a treadmill to burn fat, we’re still going to share a few quick and simple mesomorph diet and training tips with you, you know, because we’re nice like that.
– Find the right balance of cardio and resistance work
Even though mesomorphs find it easy to burn fat and build muscle, it’s still possible for a mesomorph to be obese, or underweight for that matter. To really get the most from your genetics, it’s important to find the right balance between cardio and resistance work. if you’re worried you’re gaining too much fat, step up the cardio. If you’re too lean, increase your weight training.
– Change your routine regularly
To continue building muscle and making gains, it’s important to avoid hitting a training plateau. For optimal results, experts recommend that you change your training routine every six weeks or so. Find a program you like, follow it for six weeks, and then try something different to shock the muscles and to continue building muscle and making progress. If you do the same routine for months on end, your body will get used to what you’re doing, and the gains will stop.
– Eat right
Just because you burn fat easily, that doesn’t mean that you can eat what you want. To look your best and to perform at your best, make sure you follow a healthy and balanced diet. The idea is to get plenty of nutrients for health, protein for muscle, and carbs and healthy fats for energy and organ health. Combine a healthy diet with bodybuilding supplements such as creatine, whey protein, and BCAAs, and you’ll be on your way to Gainsville in no time at all.