Have you been killing it in the gym, but aren’t seeing the results you want?
Do you eat a varied and balanced clean diet, but feel frustrated about not attaining your physique goals?
If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, you might be eating and training for a body type other than your own. To reach your fitness goals, it’s best to start with the basics and to know your body type.
What's Your Type?
Different body types require different diet plans and training methods. There are three body types: mesomorphs, endomorphs and ectomorphs. Most people are a blend of two body types, with one being more dominant. The focus of this article is mesomorphs.
Characterized as naturally muscular with a moderate frame, mesomorphs have medium-sized bone structures. They are well-proportioned with wider shoulders and a narrow waist, and typically have low body-fat levels. Of the three body types, mesomorphs are the best for bodybuilding as they are naturally strong and can lose or gain weight easily.
Male and female mesomorphs looking to build muscle have a genetic jump-start in reaching their goals. However, mesomorphs are prone to weight gain and need to focus on diet and a well-rounded training program to achieve a lean physique.
While mesophorhs are genetically inclined to build muscle, if your goal is to stay lean and slim, concentrating on diet and cardio is imperative.
The calorie needs of a mesomorph are slightly higher than other body types, due to their higher ratio of muscle mass. Muscle weighs more than fat and requires more calories to maintain. While all body types need carbohydrates, protein and fat, mesomorphs seems to respond better to higher-protein diets. We have found that mesomorphs respond best when their plates are divided into thirds: one-third protein, one-third vegetable (or fruit) and one-third whole grain (or healthy fats).
Including small amounts of protein in every meal helps with muscle repair and building. Excellent protein sources include eggs (whole or whites), chicken, turkey, fish, beans, lentils, Greek yogurt and protein powder.
Carbohydrates are just as important, as the body requires glucose for energy production as well as glycogen resynthesis after exercise. Mesomorphs should mix up their carbohydrate choices to include vegetables, fruit and whole grains, such as quinoa, brown rice and oatmeal. These carbohydrate examples provide belly-filling fiber as well as antioxidants and phytochemicals that help repair exercise-induced muscle damage. Choose seasonal and colorful fruits and vegetables, and make sure to choose organic if it is one of the Dirty Dozen.
Healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut oil and olive oil, round out a healthy diet as they contain inflammatory compounds and help promote satiety.
Mesomorphs often can lose weight quickly when following a meal plan that is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates, and when they are getting plenty of exercise. However, mesomorphs gain weight just as quickly if their eating plan contains too many calories from high-sugar foods.
Try our Pumpkin Pie Shake (from our breakfast cookbook, No Excuses! 50 Healthy Ways to ROCK Breakfast!) for a nutritious and delicious pre- or post-workout meal that's perfect for mesomorphs.
Pumpkin Pie Shake
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk or rice milk
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp. chia seed
- 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed
- 4-5 ice cubes
1. Place all ingredients, except ice, into a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice cubes, one at a time, and continue to blend until shake reaches a desired consistency.
Achieving a lean physique for a mesomorph requires consistent cardio sessions to avoid putting on too much fat. Incorporating 30 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three to five times a week should become a regular part of the exercise routine.
Mesomorphs who carry less body fat can decrease their cardio sessions to twice a week. For optimal results in lowering body fat, cardio interval training or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is recommended two to three times a week, along with one to two sessions of steady-state cardio. Interval training involves alternating bursts of intense activity followed by intervals of lighter activity.
Adding in a couple of steady-state cardio or continuous aerobic training may not burn as many calories as HIIT, but it’s not as taxing on the body and allows you to avoid overtraining. It also decreases your risk of injury, while still improving your aerobic base.
Sample 30-minute HIIT Workout
5-minute warm-up – moderate jog
8 intervals – 30-second sprints, followed by a two-minute recovery walk or slow jog
5-minute cool-down – walk and stretch
Mesomorphs are naturally strong because their muscles are thick and dense. Lifting moderate-to-heavy weights, with limited rest in between sets, five days a week is ideal to stimulate muscle growth.
Perform eight to 12 reps of three to four exercises for each muscle group. Complete at least three sets of each exercise and rest 30 to 90 seconds after each set. Switching up your weight training routine by using higher reps with lighter weights, adding in body-weight exercises and techniques such as super sets and circuit training, can encourage strength and stamina without building muscle mass.