Hello, I am Mike Matthews and this is Muscle for Life. Thank you for joining me today for a new episode on the topic of body type, and this is a topic that I’ve been asked about many, many times over the years. People will ask me, what is my body type? How should I be eating and exercising according to my body type?
How much will my body type dictate my bottom line results? Like how fit will I be able to get? Given my body type and so forth. Now, the reason people have been asking me about this for a long time, and probably will always ask me about this, is there is a theory that everyone has an innate body type, and that that body type informs your ability to build muscle and lose fat, and it’s written into your D n A.
You can’t change it. For example, some people think they just have a skinny body type. Many guys will say they’re hard gainers and they are just genetically predisposed to being scrawny. Uh, this is often called the ectomorph body type. Now, on the other hand, many people think that they have a thick or a fluffy kind of body type.
The endomorph is, I. The term, and these people have found that they can gain muscle and strength fairly easily. They respond well to training, but it seems very hard for them to lose body fat. They often think that their body is programmed to. Gain fat easily to hold on to body fat. And they often have resigned themselves to higher body fat levels than they would like to have because they think that their body type more or less precludes them from maintaining a a significantly lower body fat percentage.
And as you’ll learn in this podcast, there is truth in these categorizations. You can categorize people based on their. Current body type. And as you’ll learn, there are some inherent differences between these body types, but fortunately, you can have the body you want. Just ’cause you have a certain type of body does not mean that it can’t look differently.
In the future, you might have to work a little bit harder than someone else. And I, we’ll talk about this, but there is no such thing as a forever frail body type or a forever fat body type. Okay, let’s start this discussion with answering a question. What is a body type? Well, a body type, or technically speaking, a somatotype is a way of classifying a person’s body based on different physical characteristics like their skeleton and the distribution and the proportion of muscle and body fat.
And the three main body types are ectomorph, mesomorph, and. Endomorph and this theory of body types was first introduced by a psychologist named Dr. William Sheldon in 1940, and he believed that everyone was born with an unchangeable body type that determined not just physical aspects, but also aspects of their personality and their temperament.
Now subsequent research discredited Sheldon’s claims, however, the categories lived on and in the health and fitness realm, people continue to use those body types, ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph. And oftentimes people believe that in order to maximize their results in their fitness, in their health, they need to eat and exercise in specific ways according to their body type.
They often believe, and you’ll find. Influencers and experts saying the same thing as well, that an ectomorph should not be eating and exercising the same way as a mesomorph and a mesomorph should not be eating and exercising the same way as an endomorph and so on. And furthermore, many people believe that their body composition is heavily influenced by their body type, or even determined by their body type, that because they have a certain body type, they simply cannot accomplish a certain body composition.
I’ll be addressing those claims and others in the podcast. But for now, what you should know is that there are different types of bodies and Dr. Sheldon’s three categories are useful for determining what type of body you have. Ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph, and we’ll get into the details of those body types and then you’ll immediately see.
See, just having seen a lot of people over your years that they do generally fall into one of those three categories. So yes, it’s definitely true that there are different types of bodies, and it also is true that different types of bodies are more suited. To gaining muscle, to gaining strength, to losing fat, and staying lean.
But ectomorphs can gain a lot of muscle and strength. They can also gain a lot of body fat. And endomorphs can get lean. They can lose a lot of body fat and retain their muscle and strength and keep the body fat off. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. So why don’t we first just talk about.
These body types. So the ectomorph body type, what is that? Well, people commonly think of this body type as just the lean body type or the slim body type. These are people who tend to have narrow hips, narrow shoulders, thin wrists, thin ankles, long limbs. They’ve usually been relatively lean most of their lives, so they always have just had low levels of body fat, but they also usually have had lower amounts of muscle as well.
And if left to their own devices, they often say that they can’t gain much muscle. They also can’t gain much fat. They can lose muscle easily. They can lose fat easily. That’s usually the experience. That an ectomorph will share, especially if they’re new to fitness and they haven’t quite figured out some of the things that I’m gonna be sharing with you in this podcast.
And then we have the mesomorph body type. So this is often referred to just as kind of like the athletic body type. So this would be in between the ectomorph and the endomorph, which I’ll get to. So in this middle body type with a mesomorph, this is somebody who usually has broader shoulders. They’ll have a narrower waist.
They usually will have. Well-formed muscles, they tend to have a bit more muscle than most people. They tend to respond well to training, so they can gain muscle fairly well. They also tend to respond well to dieting. They don’t struggle to lose fat usually. And that’s the mesomorph. Now we have the endomorph.
So this is the body type that people commonly think of as the stocky or the thick kind of body type. So these are people who have broad shoulders. They have a big rib cage, they have a big waist giving their upper body a kind of blocky appearance. They have big bones, they have thick. Joints, they tend to have shorter limbs and they tend to have higher amounts of muscle and fat.
Just generally. They just tend to be bigger, stronger people, and that’s been the case usually most of their lives before they ever got into working out, for example. And when they do get into working out, what they find is they respond well to training. They gain a lot of muscle, they gain a lot of strength, but they also tend to struggle to lose fat and to keep that fat off.
Now, what is your body type? Well, you might. No immediately because you clearly fall into one of those three categories, but it might not be so clear. You might seem to be somewhere in between ectomorph and mesomorph, or mesomorph and endomorph. Well, the good news is it’s not all that important to determine exactly what type of body.
Are you 70% ectomorph and 30% mesomorph, or is it more like 50 50 or some other ratio, or are you some other combination? Well, fortunately you don’t have to worry too much about it. You don’t have to take a quiz. You don’t have to plug measurements into a body type calculator. Chances are you have a dominant body type.
If you just look in the mirror. And you just be objective. You can see that your shoulders are narrower than, or the same width of your hips. And if you check out your, your ankles and your wrists and you see, yeah, they’re pretty small, they’re pretty thin, and if you’re into working out and you’ve always found it difficult to gain weight, to gain strength, You probably are mostly an ectomorph, but if you have broader shoulders, if you have a slimmer waist, if you are relatively muscular, relatively lean and you’ve responded well to training and you’ve never really found it that difficult to lose body fat and to keep it off, you probably are at least mostly a mesomorph.
And if you have a, a bigger kind of block, your upper body, if you have shorter limbs, if you’ve always found that. You can gain muscle and strength, but you also tend to gain fat easily, then you’re probably mostly an endomorph. Now the big question is, does it matter? Does your body type matter? Should you be accounting for it in your nutrition, in your exercise, in your lifestyle?
Well, I. Yes, it does matter in the sense that it does influence your, your genes. They do influence various aspects of your appearance. There are certain things that are not going to change. Like me, for example, I am something probably around a mesomorph, but leaning more toward the ectomorph than the endomorph.
And so I have small wrists and I have small ankles. I don’t have a very big skeleton. That’s something that I can’t change. And research shows that one of the most powerful predictors of total muscle and strength gain is the size of our skeleton. Research shows that people with big bones tend to also be the people who can gain the most muscle and strength, because one of the reasons is the skeleton is of course what the muscles attach to.
So, The skeleton is the scaffolding that we put the muscle on. And so if we have more skeleton, we can gain more muscle because it has more space to attach to, and the more muscle we have, the stronger we can get. And so, yes, there are certain things that can’t change. My skeleton is what it is, and the total amount of muscle and strength that I can gain is limited.
By that. And similarly, our genetics influence how well we respond to training. And some people, they are going to gain muscle and strength faster than others. Some people are not going to need to work as hard as others to gain the same amount of muscle and strength. I. Similarly, genetics influence our appetite, which of course is going to influence our body composition because if you naturally have a large appetite, it is going to be harder for you to sustain a calorie deficit to lose fat and possibly going to be harder for you to.
Then regulate your caloric intake to maintain lower levels of body fat. If you just eat according to your appetite without thinking too much about the types of foods that you’re eating, and when you’re eating without taking any deliberate actions to better control your appetite, your body’s quote unquote settling point.
So the body composition, the range of body fatness in particular, it’s not really about muscle. It’s more about body fat is going to be higher. Then somebody who hadn’t, who just naturally has a much smaller appetite. Many ectomorphs, for example, many hard gainer guys I’ve spoken to over the years would eat one or two meals per day.
And usually one of those meals was a proper meal, like a larger meal, and the other one was something smaller and then maybe they would have a couple smaller snacks. Oh, like a protein shake and an apple talking about one or two actual sit down meals with a couple of. Relatively low calorie snacks and that’s it.
And of course, those types of people have always found it easy to lose body fat, to stay lean because they already naturally don’t eat that much food. But then they have also found it hard to gain muscle and strength because. They find it hard to sustain even a slight, even like a five to 10% calorie surplus, which is often needed for them to gain significant amounts of muscle and strength because they also genetically don’t respond as well to training as, let’s say, an endomorph.
And so anyway, yes, your body type does matter, but you know what matters a lot more. How you eat, how you exercise, how consistent you are with your eating and your exercising, your body composition, your fitness, your health. Those things are primarily determined by your behaviors, not by your genetics. Yes, losing fat.
Building muscle. It’s easier for some people than others, but everyone can lose a lot of fat, can build a lot of muscle. Everyone can get a great, healthy, fit body that they are proud of. You should also know that not all ectomorphs are the way that I describe the typical ectomorphs. Some people have ectomorphic traits, so they have thin wrists, they have thin ankles, they have long limbs, narrow shoulders, but they also kind of look like an endomorph because they just have.
High body fat levels. They have a a skinny fat type of body. You also have people with endomorphic traits. So they have shorter limbs. They have thick joints. They have wide shoulders, but they’re also very skinny, which is an ectomorphic trait. And similarly, you can change the. Appearance of bodies in ways that make them appear to be a different body type.
You can take a classic ectomorph and you can add enough muscle in the right places of their body to make them look like a mesomorph, and you can take a classic endomorph and just strip away enough body fat to make them look like a classic. Mesomorph, a classic athlete, and so. These are some of the reasons why I just don’t put much stock in this emphasis on body types.
It can be useful for understanding genetic strengths and weaknesses. It can be useful for understanding ceilings of muscularity of strength, and we all have an absolute limit of muscle and strength that we can gain. No matter what we do in the kitchen, what we do in the gym, so long as we don’t get into abusing anabolic drugs, we are only gonna be able to get so big and strong.
And if you wanna learn more about that, actually head over to legion athletics.com, search for naturally, and you’ll find an article that I wrote, a title along the lines of, how much muscle can you gain or how much muscle can you build naturally? And it goes into the science of it. There are some calculators in there to help you understand.
Your body’s limits, and those limits do ultimately come down to genetics. It’s not just body type. There are some other factors, but our genes do determine how big and strong we can get ultimately. Now, fortunately, unless you want to be a professional bodybuilder, I promise you, you can get the body you want.
Your genetics are just fine for gaining a lot of muscle, a lot of strength, staying lean. For the rest of your life, you may not be able to get up on a stage in a speedo and flex for plastic trophies, but you can get into fantastic shape and stay that way. That said, I do have some tips to share for each of the body types to help them make the process of gaining muscle and strength and losing fat as straightforward and as productive as possible.
So first, let’s talk about the ectomorph. So typically an ectomorph, whether it’s a a guy or a girl, they would say that they are a hard gainer. They struggle to gain muscle and strength. They struggle to retain muscle. They generally do not struggle to lose fat and keep it off. And usually the number one priority for these people, at least the ones I’ve spoken to over the years, is gaining muscle, is gaining strength.
They’re not so concerned with body fatness because again, they don’t gain body fat easily. I’m gonna talk a little bit about why in a minute. So the most common reason why these people struggle to gain muscle and strength is they don’t eat enough food. And if you consistently don’t eat enough calories, if you consistently don’t eat enough protein, you are going to struggle to gain muscle and strength if you also have an ectomorph or if your body’s mostly ectomorphic, because it also certainly will respond to training, but it probably will not respond to training as well as, let’s say an endomorph.
So the ectomorphic body does benefit greatly from the, let’s say, anabolic stimulus that comes from a calorie surplus. And as I mentioned earlier in this podcast, many ectomorphs I’ve spoken to over the years have struggled with this because they don’t have large appetites. They struggle to eat enough food just to maintain their body weight, let alone gain body weight.
And so the goal. Is 110% of total daily energy expenditure per day. So about a 10% calorie surplus, uh, eating about 10% more calories than you burn every day. And if you don’t know how many calories you burn every day, head over to legion athletics.com. Go to the learn section of the menu, go to tools and look for the.
T d e e calculator, the total daily energy expenditure calculator, and you can, uh, calculate your approximate total daily energy expenditure and learn a bit about that and why it matters. Now, in addition to just eating enough calories, you also want to eat enough protein. And if you are an ectomorph, that’s gonna be probably something around one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.
I would not recommend lower than probably 0.8 grams of protein per pound of, of body weight per day. And then you want to eat plenty of carbs upward of. Two grams of carbs per pound of body weight per day. If you really want to follow a lower carb diet, you can, but as an ectomorph, the additional anabolic stimulus that comes from eating a lot of carbs is going to help you.
So I would recommend a higher carb diet rather than a lower carb diet. And then the remaining calories are gonna go into fat. Probably gonna be anywhere from zero point. Two to 0.4 grams of fat per pound of body weight per day. And if you combine that diet, if you can do that, if you can figure out how to eat that much food, which often means making some changes to the foods that you’re eating, many ectomorphs have spoken to over the years.
We’re not eating enough calorically dense foods and had to start eating things that they don’t normally eat, but that are great for getting in calories and it’s healthy calories. For example, it could be pasta, like whole wheat pasta. It could be whole wheat bread. It could be peanut butter or almond butter, some sort of nut butter.
It can be drinking calories. Drinking milk, for example, can help a lot. Just a couple of cups of milk per day. Hey, that’s three to 400 calories, and it is not as filling as. Food, which is good in this case because again, many, many ectomorphs get very full, very quickly and staple. They just don’t have big appetites.
So if you can combine those dietary recommendations with some training recommendations I’m going to share with you, you should be able to gain anywhere from 0.5 to one pound per week. And that’s not gonna be all muscle, but it will be a, a fair amount of muscle. Now, another reason. Ectomorphs tend to lose fat easily, stay lean easily.
Certainly more so than an endomorph is they tend to move more without realizing it than your average endomorph. This has been shown in research that non-exercise activity thermogenesis as it is referred to N E A T or NEAT can. Add up to a lot of calories and some people, it’s hundreds and hundreds of calories burned every day just through subconscious movement.
They just tend to move. They tend to fidget, they tend to pace around when they’re on the phone. They’re just not sedentary by nature. And so those additional calories burned, of course, are great for. Losing fat and staying lean, but not great for gaining muscle and strength, especially if you are trying to maintain a calorie surplus because your average ectomorph just getting into this stuff won’t probably won’t account for those additional calories burned in their energy expenditure.
They won’t realize that it’s not just their resting metabolic rate, the amount of calories that your body burns at rest if you’re just kind of sit around and do nothing Plus, Exercise calories burned, but there are hundreds and hundreds of additional calories that they’re burning just through moving around throughout the day.
And so the solution though, is pretty simple. If you’re an ectomorph and you work out your T D E E, and that will account for some neat, but you may be a very high, neat individual and that might wipe out the calorie surplus that we’re trying to create. So if you set up your diet and you are not gaining any weight, which.
Means you’re not really gaining any muscle to speak of. It’s been weeks. You’re training hard. You just need to eat more. So I would recommend bumping your protein up to one gram per pound of body weight per day if you’re not there already. And if you already are there already, that might be enough. If you go from 0.7, 0.8 up to one, that might be enough.
That might be enough extra calories to. Get you gaining weight, gaining muscle. But if that’s not enough, then you can just increase your carbon intake. So you can increase your carbs by anywhere from probably 20 to 40 grams per day, something like that. If you do that once and then wait and see over the next week or two.
If that doesn’t work, do it again. A week or two, do it again and so forth. And if you are eating as many carbs as you can, you just can’t force yourself to eat more carbs. Then lastly, you can add calories in the way of fat. But the reason I save that for last is dietary fat is most easily. Converted into body fat.
Uh, that is one of the primary reasons we have to eat dietary fat. It’s to replenish our body’s fat stores, which is fine that that’s not a bad thing per se, especially if you’re an ectomorph. But the dietary fat is not going to benefit your training and therefore your body composition in the same way that the carbs will, generally speaking, more carbs means better athletic performance.
There is a ceiling of course, but it’s, it’s not. Two grams per pound of body weight per day, or three grams even. It’s gonna be much higher than that for most people. And so you just repeat those steps. You just have to increase your calories by really what we’re saying is a hundred to 150 calories.
You’re increasing your daily intake by about a hundred to 150, waiting seven to 10 days. Seeing then if you now are gaining. Uh, weight and gaining strength and gaining muscle. And then if you are, you keep your calories there until you plateau again, and you will plateau. It’s going to happen. Just as you can hit weight loss plateaus, you are going to hit weight gain plateaus, and you break through the weight gain plateaus.
Usually by just eating more food. Assuming your training is set up at least decently, you’re just gonna have to eat more food. I’ve worked with tens of thousands of people over the years, and the biggest thing I see with the people I have helped the most is they’re often missing just one crucial piece of the puzzle.
And if you are having trouble reaching your fitness goals as quickly as you’d like, I’m gonna guess it is the same thing with you. You are probably doing a lot of things right, but dollars to donuts, there’s something you’re not doing right, and that is what is giving you most of the grief. Maybe it’s your calories, maybe it’s your macros.
Maybe it’s your exercise selection. Maybe it’s food choices. Maybe you are not progressively overloading your muscles and whatever it is. Here’s what’s important. Once you identify that one thing. Once you figure it out, that’s when everything finally clicks. That’s when you start making serious progress.
It’s kind of like typing in your password to log into your computer. You can have all the letters, numbers, and symbols write except just one. And what happens? You can’t log in, right? But as soon as you get that last remaining character, right, voila, you’re in business. And I bet the same can be said about the body you really want.
You are probably just one major shift, one important insight, one powerful new behavior away from re and that’s why I offer v i p one-on-one coaching where my team and I can help you do exactly that. This is high level coaching where we look at everything you’re doing and we help you figure out that one thing that is missing for you.
And it can be a couple of things too. That’s fine. There’s no extra charge for that. But once we figure it out, that’s when you start making real progress. That’s when you start looking better and feeling better. I. So if you’re ready to make more progress in the next three months than maybe you did in the last three years, and yes, that has happened for many of our clients.
Head on over to Muscle For Life Show slash vip, that’s Muscle FO Life Show slash vip, and schedule your free consultation call, which by the way is not a high pressure sales call. It’s just a friendly chat where we get to learn about you. And your goals and your lifestyle, and then determine whether our program is right for you.
Because sometimes we do speak with people who just aren’t a good fit for our service, but we almost always have other experts and other resources to refer those people to. So if you are still listening to me and you are even slightly interested, go schedule your free consultation. Call now at Muscle for Life Show slash vip.
So let’s now talk about training, ectomorph training. Fortunately, it is really what I’ve been preaching for all of these years, focusing on your compound exercises, focus on gaining strength on progressive overload, and there are different ways to achieve progressive overload, but the most effective one is, Adding weight to the bar, adding weight to the dumbbells, adding weight to the machine.
So you wanna follow a program that emphasizes that there may be other forms of progressive overload built into the program, but they lead up to the most important one, the most important event, which is getting a. Stronger now, the amount of volume that you do is important, the amount of weekly hard sets and a hard set as a set taken close to muscular failure for each major muscle group.
I mentioned earlier in this podcast that ectomorphs often need to do a bit more training to get the same effect as, let’s say, an endomorph, and the primary variable here is volume. Often ectomorphs just have to do more hard sets for each major muscle group. Per week to get the same results as, let’s say, an endomorph.
Now, if you are new to weightlifting and you are an ectomorph, you probably don’t need to do more than 10 to 12 hard sets for any major muscle group per week to gain more or less all of the muscle and strength that you can gain for your first year or so. And an endomorph might be able to get the same results with eight hard sets.
Per major muscle group per week. For example, you may also find as an ectomorph that that 10 to 12 hard sets per major muscle group per week works for a year, maybe two years, and then progress stalls. At which point, one of the primary changes you’re gonna have to make is more volume. And to learn all about that transition, check out my book Beyond Bigger, leaner, stronger.
If you wanna learn, if you’re new, the place to start is bigger, leaner, stronger. If you’re a man, that’s my book. If you wanna read my book and follow my programs. Bigger, lean or stronger if you’re a woman, thinner, leaner, stronger, and if you are an intermediate or an advanced weightlifter and you have made those newbie gains and now you’re stuck, you wanna check out beyond bigger, leaner, stronger if you’re a man or a woman.
Unfortunately it, it’s obviously written for men, but the principles apply equally to women and the programming is. Going to work for women, but you probably will wanna change it a bit. You probably are gonna want to reduce the upper body volume and increase the lower body volume, but the principles are going to work equally well for you.
So anyway, what we’re talking about with the training is, is kind of hybrid between strength training and pure bodybuilding is a very effective approach for Ectomorphs and for anybody really, but. Particularly for Ectomorphs who need to focus on getting strong on those big compound exercises. And as far as cardio goes, you don’t have to forego it.
You don’t have to do no cardio. As many ectomorphs believe, many of them think that their body. Is particularly sensitive to cardio, to the so-called interference effect where cardio can interfere with weightlifting, with strength training, the adaptations that occur when you do a lot of cardio. That’s really the, the key takeaway is that’s true, but it’s not an issue practically speaking, unless you are doing many.
Many hours of cardio per week, and especially if you’re doing many, many hours of running per week, yes, that can get in the way of the adaptations that you want from your strength training. But if you are doing, let’s say, an hour or two of zone two, just kinda moderate intensity cardio per week, even as an ectomorph, that is not going to get in the way of anything.
And there are reasons to do that for your health. It also may improve your performance in your strength training in a couple of ways. However, you do have to be cognizant of the energy expenditure and if you are already struggling to eat enough food without the cardio, adding cardio is probably only gonna make that harder.
Many people. Find that cardio stimulates their appetite, but many people find that it turns off their appetite, particularly higher intensity cardio. So it depends how your body responds to cardio. And again, that zone two more moderate intensity cardio. If you find that that stimulates your appetite and it makes it.
Easier for you to eat quite a bit more, and it has to be quite a bit more because you have to eat the calories now that you’re burning in those workouts minimally. That’s just a to get to a wash and if it’s gonna help you eat more on top of that, then again, the effect has to be fairly significant. But if that is how your body responds to cardio, then it may help in that regard as well.
However, in my. Experience. Many ectomorphs do not respond to cardio that way. It often turns their appetite off even moderate intensity cardio. Now, as far as supplements go, there are no magic bullet supplements. There are no pills and powders that are going to add 20 pounds of muscle to your frame. But there are a couple of supplements that can help you gain muscle and strength.
One is gonna be. A protein powder because it’s convenient and you have to eat a lot of protein. And if you don’t naturally have a large appetite, protein is probably quite filling the protein, especially the protein you have to eat like meat and other forms of protein. Whereas a whey protein powder, if you wanna check mine out, it’s called Whey plus.
You can find it over at buy legion.com/whey. B legion.com/w Wave protein isolate is. Probably the least filling form of protein, that high quality protein that you can eat. You can have a, a scoop of whey and feel almost like you haven’t eaten anything. Whereas casein is more filling. My plant protein is more filling because it’s pea and rice protein, and so a protein powder’s worth considering.
Creatine is worth considering just three to five grams of creatine monohydrate per day. A lot of research on creatine. It will boost muscle and strength gain. It will improve anaerobic endurance, it will reduce muscle damage and soreness. And it also, there’s more and more research coming out about how it can improve cognitive health and other aspects of our health and wellbeing in addition to our body composition and performance.
So much so that it’s starting to become, uh, I think just. Must consider, at least for everybody, people who aren’t into weightlifting, even now, everybody should be doing some form of exercise. Maybe they don’t do weightlifting. They, they mostly just do cardiovascular exercise. They should be taking creatine for their health, for their wellbeing.
And I have a creatine supplement of course, as well. It’s called Recharge by legion.com/recharge if you wanna check it out. Lastly, I think you should consider a vitamin D and Omega three supplement because those are very important nutrients. Vitamin D is really a hormone actually for the body that influences health and performance in many different ways.
Can also influence body composition. Fish oil for example, can, which is an Omega three supplement, can influence the rate at which you gain muscle and strength and you can find vitamin D. As just a standalone supplement, if you want to go that route or if you want it as part of a more all-inclusive multivitamin, I have.
A multiplying called triumph bi legion.com/triumph, and then I have a fish oil as well called tritton bi legion.com/triton. And supplements are supplementary. Of course, you don’t have to take any of those supplements. Most important is eating right, training, right. Sleeping and so forth. But if you have the budget, if you have the inclination, the right supplements can make a difference, especially when you take enough of the right ones, because individually they may not make a big difference.
But cumulatively, when you are taking three or five of the right supplements, the cumulative effect can be fairly significant. Okay. Now let’s talk about the mesomorph eating and exercising as a mesomorph and the mesomorph. This body type is, is really ideal in the context of this discussion, the context of just general fitness and body composition, because the mesomorph, this body type typically comes with a bit more muscle than average, a bit less body fat than average.
This type of body, if we fast forward to like. College age is fairly close already to the type of body that most people want. And so most mesomorphs then find that they don’t have to work as long and as hard to get to that type of body that most people want. And so what that means then practically is many.
Mesomorphs don’t have to be as rigorous with their diet. For example, as an ectomorph or an endomorph, they find that they have a well calibrated appetite naturally, and their body responds pretty well to training. So a calorie surplus still is a good idea if you’re a mesomorph. Or if you’re mostly a mesomorph and you really want to prioritize gaining muscle and strength as quickly as possible, you do also want to be in a calorie surplus.
You wanna do exactly what I explained for the ectomorph, but you’re gonna find it easier than the ectomorph because your appetite is naturally bigger. You also are probably going to respond a little bit better in your training, and so the results are gonna be a little bit better, so that’s a little bit more motivating.
However, what you will find compared to the ectomorph is that you’re gaining body fat faster. You’re gaining muscle faster, but you’re also gaining body fat faster because you’re just gaining weight faster. And so over the course of four to six months, for example, an ectomorph can lean bulk and gain quite a bit of muscle.
They can gain a bit of fat. There may also be some genetic components in play regarding how much muscle versus. Fat is gained or just how much fat is gained in an absolute sense. And so the bottom line is the ectomorph over that, let’s say six month period of lean bulking, they may gain less muscle than you, but they also gained quite a bit less fat than you.
So they still have their abs, for example. And they’ve clearly gained some muscle. You’ve gained more muscle, but your abs are gone now. And so then there is a point where you’re gonna have to stop lean bulking because your body fat percentage as a guy, let’s. Say it’s pushing 20%, or as a gal it’s pushing 30%.
You don’t wanna go too far beyond that for reasons of health and aesthetics and the sheer inconvenience of having to try to get your body fat back down to an athletic level from 25 or 30% as a man or. 35 or 40%. As a woman, that takes a long time. It’s just not a fun process. And so I genuinely recommend that guys stop lean bulking, somewhere between 17 and 20% body fat, women, 27 and 30, something in between there, percent body fat, and now it’s time to cut.
It’s time to restrict calories, to consistently eat fewer calories than you burn every day. To bring your body fat level back into that athletic range in men, 10 to 15% in women, 20 to 25%, at which point you can start lean bulking again. And so as a mesomorph, again, what you’ll find is that you probably are going to have to start cutting.
If you were to start this process with your ectomorph friend, you’re probably gonna have to start cutting before they will. They probably will be able to continue lean bulking for a longer period of time before they ever reach the. Ceiling the cutoff. And if you wanna learn about cutting how to do that correctly, head over to legion athletics.com, search for lose weight fast.
Check out an article I wrote called The Complete Guide to Safely and Healthily Losing Weight Fast. And of course you’re talking about losing fat and fast is, is a relative term. Uh, but I explained these things in that article. And one final dietary comment that I will make as someone who has a body type, something in between, probably ectomorph and mesomorph.
Hard to say which way it really leans, but as a mesomorph, certainly will be able to stay lean and it’s gonna be easier for you to stay lean than an endomorph, but you are probably not going to be able to stay as lean as easily as an ectomorph guys and gals who are just naturally kind of shredded and they’re always just kind of shredded and that’s their body’s settling point.
Even when they get into working out, they gain muscle and they just. Are always kind of just shredded. That is an advantage of the ectomorphic body type, and so just know that, that you are not going to struggle with your body fat levels as much as an endomorph may, but you also are probably not going to find it.
As easy to get to very low levels of body fat and to stay there. Not that that’s even a great idea for health and wellbeing, but it can be fun. I understand. It can be fun to do it for a summer. Okay. Mesomorph training, what should you be doing? Well, like the ectomorph, I would recommend. Heavy compound lifting anywhere from, let’s say, four to maybe 10 reps per set, depending on various things that I go into a lot of detail in in my books.
Again, if you’re relatively new to this stuff, pick up bigger, leaner, stronger. If you’re a man, if you’re a woman, pick up thinner, leaner, stronger, even if you don’t want to get thinner. It also, of course, talks about gaining muscle and strength. It’s only called thinner, leaner, stronger because that title surveyed much better than the other titles that I had and that I was considering the one that I liked the most.
For example, fitter, leaner, stronger. I thought that was a better title for several reasons. Didn’t survey nearly as well with women who were representative of the people. The book is for those women. Much preferred. Thinner, leaner, stronger than fitter, leaner, stronger. So I went with what the market was telling me.
Anyway, so those are the books to check out if you’re a man, if you’re a woman. I also have a book called Muscle for Life that I should mention. If you are a man or woman over 40 years old and you are brand new to all of this stuff and you are not in good shape right now, muscle for Life is going to be the best book for you.
And finally, if you are an intermediate or advanced weightlifter, a man or a woman, check out beyond bigger, lean, or stronger. But to just summarize as a mesomorph, if you focus on the compound exercises, you do a bit of bodybuilding. Again, a hybrid approach. So you have your strength training, you have your bodybuilding, you have moderate volume.
If you’re new, probably around 10 hard sets per major muscle group per week is going to be plenty for you to gain a lot of muscle and strength, and that’s going to work for probably at least a year, if not two years before, you’re gonna have to make any significant change. Something else worth noting is that your body type is not as suited to bodybuilding or strength training, like pure strength training, power lifting as an endomorph, your ability to gain muscle and strength is going to be good, but not great, not outstanding.
Whereas that is an endomorph strength. They can gain a lot of muscle and a lot of strength, and so you should just know that getting into this, if you are. Thinking about maybe wanting to be a bodybuilder. That’s not to say you can’t be a bodybuilder, I’m just saying that it’s going to be harder for you to gain the amount of muscle that is needed to do well in bodybuilding compared to an endomorph.
Same thing would go for power lifting. That’s not to say that you can’t get into power lifting and you can’t do well enough in power lifting, but you are generally not going to do as well as an endomorph. So you also need to take those things into account in your training. If you were to train like a pure bodybuilder, unless you have.
A lot of time to spend in the gym so you can rack up all the volume that you need for every little major muscle group. You are simply not going to get the same results that you might see in an endomorph following the exact same program. And the same thing would go for power lifting, which again is why I generally recommend for Ectomorphs.
And for Mesomorphs, a hybrid style of training. And the ectomorphs, as I mentioned, just have to understand that they may have to do a bit more volume for each major, most group, they have to work a little bit harder at it, whereas the Mesomorphs will be able to get the same results, maybe even slightly better results with a bit less work.
Now, on the supplement side of things, there’s really nothing else to add. Protein powder, creatine, vitamin D, fish oil. I mean, there are other supplements that. You may want to take like a good pre-workout, for example, and you might want to take something for your joints or you might want to take something for your gut, like good probiotic and I sell all of these supplements, but they are supplementary by nature.
If you wanna learn about the supplements that I have, and if you want to get an idea of what supplements may make sense for you in addition to the essentials that I’ve mentioned, head over legion athletics.com and look. On the menu, and you’ll see that there’s a link for a quiz. It’s also right there on the homepage actually.
So take the quiz and it’s going to ask about your diet, about your training, about your lifestyle, and then make some recommendations and explain why. Okay, now let’s talk about the endomorph and let’s talk about eating. So endomorphs, they tend to have more muscle than the average person. They also tend to have a bit more.
Body fat than the average person. They often look stocky. And that often is why the endomorphs, I’ve spoken with many of them over the years, if they’re starting out in all of this, they have body fat to lose for their health and for their own preferences. Like they’re just a bit fatter than they want to be.
And so that’s usually where the fitness journey begins for endomorphs is with losing some fat. Not always. There are sometimes it’s usually men who are getting into power lifting. Who want to just lean into their strengths and gain strength and gain muscle, and they don’t really care about body fatness, and that can work.
It’s not great for health, especially as you get older. It’s not great for general health. It’s not great for joint health, so wouldn’t be my top recommendation unless that’s really what somebody wants to do. In which case I understand you can’t let your body composition dictate your life. I still though, would recommend doing it in the healthiest way possible, and that would entail a bit less body fat if we’re talking about power lifting than you generally see.
Anyway, to lose body fat, that of course requires cutting, consistently, eating fewer calories than you burn every day. This can be more difficult for an endomorph than a mesomorph or certainly than an ectomorph because of appetite. And so often endomorphs have to pay a bit more attention to what they’re eating when they’re eating.
How big their meals are. They have to find a method of meal planning that allows them to mitigate their appetite and mitigate cravings. And fortunately, pretty simple. Eat plenty of protein, eat plenty of whole foods. Eat several servings of vegetables every day. Eat a serving or two of food every day.
Don’t drink your calories. Avoid. Very calorically dense foods that are just easy to overeat. Avoid the pasta, avoid the bread, avoid the nut butters, not because there’s anything inherently wrong with them, but they just contain so many calories and they’re so easy to eat. So much of it. Doesn’t work well when you’re trying to cut.
Often, endomorphs can benefit from some sort of intermittent fasting protocol, like skipping breakfast for example. If somebody is endomorph or mostly an endomorph and they’re not very hungry in the morning, and then they get more hungry in the afternoon and maybe they’re very hungry at night, well, let’s use that to our advantage.
Let’s just skip breakfast, or let’s just make breakfast a protein shake at most, and maybe a piece of fruit maybe. Then let’s use a fair amount of our daily calories in our lunch, and then let’s use a, a large amount of them in our dinner. Maybe even have an after dinner snack as well. It can be something small.
It should be something small, but it could be an hour or so before bed. You know, I like to have overnight oats, for example. I have. A couple hundred calories of overnight oats, about an hour and a half to two hours before bed, just because I don’t like going to bed feeling hungry at all, and I love overnight oats, and so that’s what I do.
Another practical tip for endomorphs cutting is do cardio. You are going to benefit more from cardio than an ectomorph, for example, because chances are naturally you’re just not going to be as active as that ectomorph. So if you can. Do cardio at least a couple of hours per week, let’s say anywhere between one and three hours of moderate intensity cardio per week.
That can help tremendously with just keeping that fat loss consistent and allowing you to eat more food, which is going to help you better regulate your diet and mitigate those cravings. And it just occurred to me that I didn’t talk about weekly volume or training frequency, which is a mistake. So I’m gonna.
Quickly comment on that for each of the body types. So if you’re an endomorph and you’re cutting, the best setup is probably gonna be three max four strength training workouts per week, an hour or so per workout. And then cardio, let’s say, 30 to 45 minutes per session. On the other days, if you want to do a bit more, if you want to double up on one or two or even three days and do strength training and cardio, that’s fine.
But if that’s not an option, I would say three strength training workouts. Let’s say push pull legs. That’s one of my favorite three day per week splits. You can learn about it [email protected]. Push pull legs, you’ll find an article on it. So three strengths. Let’s say it’s Monday, Wednesday, Friday, that’s our strength training.
And then on the other days, we’re doing 30 to 45 minutes of cardio. Anything that you enjoy doing, it just has to be a bit. More than walking, so it could be rucking. So you, you throw 20 or 30 pounds in your back and you go out and walk because that’s more cardiovascularly demanding. It’s more difficult than just walking.
But going out for a walk is great. You should also be going out for a walk or two every day outside, get some sun, look at the trees, touch grass as the kids say. But in addition to that, I’m talking about cardiovascular work, that zone two moderate intensity. So it could be four days of that. 30 or 45 minutes per session, three days of strength training, and do whatever kind of cardio you like.
It could be biking, it could be swimming, it could be running. That amount of running probably won’t be an issue, but I don’t like to run. I also don’t like how it feels on my joints when I do it too much on my knees. Uh, so what I do is I just, I have an upright bike in my house and I just hop on the upright bike and I do something that.
I would be doing anyway, if I have to make a phone call, I’ll make it on the bike, or maybe I’ll read because I read on my phone and it’s not as enjoyable to read a book on the bike as it is to sit down and read. I still can get pages done or maybe listen to a podcast or listen to an audio book. Or whatever, or watch a TV show, at least you’re making it more productive that way.
Now, if you look at workout split training frequency, weekly volume for the ectomorph, the ectomorph usually is trying to focus on gaining muscle and strength. And three days per week is probably a, a minimum effect. Effective dose. I would say certainly two days per week is going to be a minimum effective dose for an ectomorph.
Ideally, this person would be able to do four or five strength training workouts per week, and if they’re gonna do cardio, it could just be on the two or three days per week that they’re not doing strength training. That’s gonna be more ideal because that ectomorph is going to have to work a bit harder to gain that muscle and strength, and that just takes more time.
And then the mesomorph has a little bit more flexibility. A minimum effective dose for gaining a significant amount of muscle and strength for a mesomorph is. Probably three sessions per week, but that person is going to do better with four or five sessions per week. And when a mesomorph cuts, they usually don’t make any major changes to their strength training.
They keep going, let’s say it’s three or four or five days per week, and then they will restrict their calories and then at some point usually have to add cardio in to keep losing fat. Okay. Coming back to supplements for endomorphs, just to be thorough, same as what I said previously, I should probably add, uh, caffeine can be particularly helpful to an endomorph just for mitigating appetite because having caffeine every day or at least a few days per week, can, uh, reduce appetite.
And it also might be worth considering some fasted. Training. So training with an empty stomach that has been empty for many hours. It’s not just a, a stomach that feels empty, actually refers to if your body’s in a fasted state, uh, your insulin levels are at a low baseline level because your body has finished processing the food that you ate in the last meal, and now it is living off of its fat stores, off of its energy stores waiting for the next meal.
And many people will say that training in a fast. State speeds up fat loss. A number of studies have shown that to not be true. However, there’s a supplement called Yohimbine and you have to be in a fasted state for it to work. But a number of studies show that if you train in a fasted state and you take Yohimbine, and if you’re gonna take Yohimbine, I would recommend taking caffeine.
That little supplement stack combined with. Fasted exercise can greatly increase fat burning and specifically can greatly increase the, uh, reduction of stubborn fat stores. So for men, it’s usually the lower abdomen all the way around, kind of going around the side to the, to the muffin top area, to the lower back.
Those fat stores are particularly resistant to mobilization. In most men in women, it’s hips and thighs. And research shows that yohi being in particular through mechanisms that I won’t get into here. If you wanna learn about it, head over to legion athletics.com, search for Yohi being you can find some material that I’ve produced on it.
But Yohi being in particular can be effective for mobilizing those fat stores and, and just losing fat faster in general. And so as an endomorph who is going to probably have a bit harder of a time losing fat and just having a steady rate of fat loss without running into problems related to hunger and cravings and so forth, I do think it makes sense to consider some supplements that are related to losing fat, like Yohi being.
Like caffeine. One other supplement if you wanna look into it, is a fat loss supplement of mine. It’s called Phoenix. And it has several other ingredients that can help further reduce appetite, reduce cravings, increase energy expenditure. It’s called Phoenix. You can find it over at buy legion.com/phoenix.
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