The theory of somatotypes, which suggests there are three general builds that a person can possess, has always been debated due to its lack of scientific and physiological proof. However, I feel it still serves as a tool to be used for understanding your genetics in relation to how you should eat and exercise in order to achieve your fat and weight loss goals.
As I mentioned in one of my previous articles, not everyone can train nor eat the same in order to achieve their goals, and it is extremely important to recognize this to determine the most effective method to get the most optimal results. It should also be noted that depending on your genetics and body type, some physiques may not be realistic for you, which I also mentioned in my latest article http://wp.me/p49Iw6-a1 .
So, what are the body types, and how can I use them to decide which training style will benefit me the most?
- Very thin and long body. Normally has a high basal metabolic rate (BMR) and does not have trouble losing weight.
- Tends to struggle in gaining muscle mass and making strength gains.
What You Should Do.
- Females: Use a combination of resistance training methods using moderate-heavy weights (75-95% Max or 3-10 repetitions) supersetting upper and lower body exercises.
- Males: Use slightly heavier loads (normally 80% + or 8 repetitions or less) supersetting antagonist muscle groups (chest and back) as well as upper and lower supersets.
- Muscular build. Has a normal BMR but must watch eating habits more strictly than ectomorphs.
- Has little trouble putting on muscle and almost seems to gain muscle mass by simply watching other people workout.
What You Should Do.
- Females: Avoid use of high repetition resistance training (10 reps or higher). This will not make you “toned” but only add to the process of you gaining muscle mass. Focus instead on a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic exercise such as full body heavy weighted circuits, metabolic circuits, and interval cardio training with shorter rest periods than males.
- Males: Similar guidelines as females. More emphasis on utilizing resisted circuit training with heavy loads, explosive/plyometric training, interval training, and limited rest periods.
- Larger frame than most people with high susceptibility to gaining fat around the abdomen for men, and hips and thighs for women.
- More focus should be put toward creating better nutritional habits as they will gain weight the easiest. The saying “you can’t outwork a bad diet” pertains to this group more so than the others.
What You Should Do.
- Although any activity for this population is beneficial, more focus should be placed on metabolic circuits and interval training than on strict resistance training.
Which One Are You?
Sometimes its hard to tell which body type we possess because we’ve been stuck in this body for quite some time and see ourselves every day. A good frame of reference is to pull up old pictures from childhood and early adulthood. This can generally help identify which build you more closely resemble. If you were always skinny growing up and in our earlier adult years and now you’re heavy, then you’ve just gotten lazy over the years and need to get your butt in gear! Use this information as a guide to understand which exercise protocols are best for helping you lose weight and/or decrease body fat for a leaner physique.
If you’ve been working out for a while now, eating fairly well, and still aren’t seeing the results you’re looking for, it could be due to a number of reasons.
Reason #1: Your goals are not REALISTIC. Setting unrealistic goals is a sure way to set yourself up for failure and damage your confidence and self esteem. Know what kind of body type you possess (just look at your pictures from childhood into early adulthood to get an idea) and focus on making it the best possible YOU. I’ve witnessed far too many people destroying bodies that they looked amazing at in order to become a better someone else.
Reason #2: You aren’t working out HARD ENOUGH. There was an article recently published citing how majority of adults overestimate how hard they are actually working out. People who were working at a 55-65% of maximum workload estimated that they were working at a 75% workload determined by their heart rate.
Reason #3: You aren’t doing WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU. Depending on your body type, there may be a training style that you will benefit from more than another. There is no one size fits all training style to suit everyone’s needs. Some people tend to benefit better from resistance training only, some metabolic only, some a certain combination of the two, but no one benefits from long durations of cardiovascular work with respect to their physique. Later this weekend, I will discuss the training methods for particular body types, so stay tuned!
Every day I walk into a gym I shake my head. I’m never surprised about what I’m witnessing, just severely disappointed. I thought this would be a great opportunity to let out some frustration, so this post will be dedicated to a few of the most popular exercises that certain people do that have little to no affect. Keep in mind, I’m talking about those strictly interested in losing weight and body fat and getting into great shape. So, what exercises should you avoid doing at all costs?
1. Hip Adductor/Abductor Machine
- Not only is this an isolation exercise that burns a limited amount of calories during and after your workout, these same muscle tend to be overactive in most people and should only be worked through movement based exercises, where they are worked just as well anyway.
Do Instead: Full Range of Motion Squats(all variations), Lunges and Step-ups (all directions), Dead Lifts (all variations)
2. Upright Row/Front Raises
- Upright rows tend to place a large amount of stress on the supportive structures of the shoulder girdle, while medial rows do close to nothing. Not to mention most of these exercises are done with poor posture and movement patterns that only exacerbate deep structural deficiencies.
Do Instead: Full Range of Motion Bench press/Push-ups (all variations), Overhead pressing (all variations except behind the head)
*If you MUST do upright rows, do them laying down. This puts your body in a less comparable position and corrects malalignment in your posture.
3. Knee Extension Machine
- Knee extension exercises are often done with too much weight at the wrong tempo, and places excessive force on the patella (knee cap). If your goal is weight loss and fat reduction, you’re simply wasting your time. You’ll get more bang for your buck by doing compound exercises such as squats and lunges.
4. Ab Exercises with your torso locked in place
- I love rotational exercises for the obliques, but never lock your upper body down in order to rotate the lower body to do so. Doing this creates mobility in the lumbar spine (where we don’t want it) and decreases mobility in the thoracic spine and shoulders (where everyone absolutely needs it)
Do Instead: Standing oblique rotations with band or cable, side laying V-ups, side plank thread the needles
Although certain isometric exercises have their place, if you are as busy as any of my clients, your time could be better spent! If your goal is fat loss and weight loss, stick to compound lifts and supersets that train the entire body.
If you’ve read my blog posts it’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of cardio, unless it is done in an interval fashion. A question came to me the other day though of what to eat before an early morning cardio session. To be completely honest I never really considered it because I, for the most part, don’t do cardio unless it is achieved by sprinting (not really cardio since it’s anaerobic) or metabolic circuits (even less like cardio).
About a month ago, I put up a 2-Part post about the benefits of sleep as well as how to time your nutrients to attain the best method for fat loss (Part 1 : http://wp.me/p49Iw6-6F and Part 2 : http://wp.me/p49Iw6-7p). You’ll notice by reading these articles that if you restore your glycogen stores before bed, you’ll limit how much catabolism of protein occurs in your body and if you get enough sleep, your body will start burning visceral belly fat for energy. This process continues on for hours into the early morning, but can be stopped if you ingest a carbohydrate source prior to the morning run.
Now, for athletes and the performance minded folks, ingesting carbs before a run or cardio session is a great idea, but if our main goal is fat reduction, it wouldn’t make sense to fuel the body with carbohydrates, especially for body-builders, physique competitors, and those most concerned with their aesthetics. In my opinion, it would be wiser to take an amino acid and b-vitamin supplement roughly 30 minutes prior to the run to help limit protein catabolism and give you enough sustained energy to complete the bout of cardio. Replenishing your body with much needed carbohydrates after the workout will replenish those glycogen stores and aid in protein synthesis. This is amongst many of the reasons why I feel the latest research debunks the myth of carbohydrates in the morning, and pushes for more of a focus to limit carb intake in the morning and replenish your body with carbs later in the day.
If you would like to learn more about B-vitamin and Amino Acid supplements, reach out to me on my blog or on Facebook.