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Body Talk: How to train effectively for your body type

By Marnie Bonn


CHARLOTTE, N.C.-- Every body is unique. Whether you're a fitness junkie or just starting out, learning about your body type can make a huge difference when exercising. The gist is that everyone falls, though not altogether neatly, into the three categories: ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph.


“Nobody perfectly fits into any bucket,” said John Lytton, President of Performance Unlimited. Everyone deserves to live a healthy and happy life, but before doing so, you need to know what you're wanting to achieve, said Lytton.


Lytton is also a sport and exercise scientist that specializes in helping create effective workouts for a specific body type. Before digging into what workouts are going to be the most beneficial for you, you need to learn which body category you fall under.


Mesomorph bodies have well-defined chests and shoulders that are both larger and broader than the waistline. Mesomorphs have taut abdomens, and their hips are generally the same width as their shoulders. Their buttocks, thighs, and calves are all toned and defined. Generally, mesomorphs have a ton of energy, but can also gain too much weight if they aren't conscious.


If you are not an athlete with specific training and are classified as a mesomorph then you're gonna need to know exactly what results you want. Generally, you want to spend three to four days doing any type of cardiovascular exercise while including one day for strength training. Taking classes that involve strength and cardio are also effective.


Ectomorphs are probably tall, slender individuals who have trouble gaining weight. Ectomorphs are relatively linear in shape with a delicate build, narrow hips and pelvis, and long arms and legs. They usually have less fat and muscle mass than people with other body types.


Ectomorphs should blend a mix of strength training and conditioning along with cardiovascular exercises. Generally women should do about three sets of each strength work, and men should do six to eight sets. Men should cut down the cardio and take four days each week to work on strength training for every muscle. Women can also include HIIT classes and long runs.


Last but not least is the endomorph. An endomorph body typically has the capacity for high fat storage, and puts fat on pretty easily. Although all body types are susceptible to excessive weight gain, endomorphs are more inclined to become obese. The majority of an endomorph's body weight is either centered in the middle of your body or in your hip and buttocks regions. Structurally, endomorphs have small to medium bones, limbs that are shorter in relation to their trunk, and musculature that is not well defined.


If you're an endomorph you want to be dominant in your cardiovascular exercises: don't focus on strength training. Spin classes are good, as are longer workouts on the treadmill, stairs or elliptical.


Remember, when starting the path to a healthier and happier you through fitness, there are levels of progress. It is not good to expect to immediately land on the perfect plan. Genuine progress is gradual.


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