Fort Berthold Diabetes Program

Body Types

Workout rants from the desk of Sir Zachary Stewart 

By Zachary Stewart- Fitness Specialist


Hello MHA Nation it is my time again to write for the paper so today the topic for discussion is body types. This article isn’t about diabetes but rather about fitness, which is my field. 

I hear a lot of people talk negative about how their body is built. I hear things like ,“oh I’m too skinny like a grey hound, I just cant gain weight,” or ,”geez I’m built like a block cheese with no curves.” I used to fall into this category also. I am built short and stocky. And even before fitness I was chubby and short. So I tried to change it by going to the diabetes program in Rosebud and blasting every machine light weight for a hour with no technique. Then I’d leave and go smash a bag of Funyun’s and a Chuckwagon. The result in the end was that I looked and felt like a Chuckwagon. Looking back, I know it’s because I wasn’t training or eating right for the way my body is constructed. I had to figure out what works for my body and play to it’s strengths.

When it comes to the gym many variables come into play. It may be our gym goals, which may be wanting to lose a couple pounds, enter a gladiator run, feel better, or be a body builder or mma fighter. When it comes down to it, we can get our bodies to look and react any way that we want it to. Like Arnold said ,“what you think is what you get.” What he is saying is you have to have a vision of what you want, you have to believe you can get there, then work for it. And when it comes to these things you have to train, eat, and rest a certain way. For example let’s take an endurance athlete, body builder, and strong man power lifter. All gym rats but all these guys will eat, train, and rest a different way. Even going further into differentiating reps, sets, rest periods, and even exercises. But enough of me rambling let’s get into the meat and potatoes.

So anyone who has spent time at a beach, swimming pool, or weirdly a locker room can attest to the fact that as human beings we are born with a variety of different characteristics. Some are shorter or taller, wider or narrower in the shoulders, longer or shorter legs and the list goes on. One of the factors that helps to create body type is metabolism. Some people naturally burn calories more than others. Some bodies seem naturally designed to turn food energy into muscle or fat while others turn it into fuel for exercise. But as your body changes so does your metabolism. One popular method of categorizing all these various body types recognizes three fundamentally different physical types, called somatotypes. They are Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph.

So the first body type we have is the Ectomorph, this is that thin cat running around who can eat everything and still have a six pack. They may be described as having a short upper body, long arms and legs, very little fat storage, narrowness in the chest and shoulders, with thin muscles, and most likely, have a naturally fast metabolism, so it is harder to gain mass. So the extreme ectomorphs first objective is to gain weight, preferably in quality muscle. They will not have the strength and endurance for wicked long training sessions, will have to eat more than usual, and muscle will develop slowly. Doing power moves(bench, squat, deadlift) at heavy weight and low reps would do them great(6-8 range after proper warm up). Take enough time to rest between sets. Making every rep count will help keep these sessions shorter. Also bumping up the calorie intake will help for this body type to gain more muscle. Remember we are trying to turn food energy into muscle mass for this body type, so if you’re trying to get some nice muscle, we don’t want to burn up all our energy going for a 10 mile run.

The next of our three amigos is the mesomorph. They have a large chest and long torso, solid muscle structure and great strength. For mesomorph’s it is pretty easy to build muscle but they will need to balance exercises to be proportionate and not just be thick and bulky(no skipping leg day). So for this guy recommendations are quality, detail, and isolation training, along with basic mass and power exercises. They build muscle easily so working on shape from the beginning would be good. Meso’s gain pretty easy so training sessions don’t need to be short or basic. A standard workout can have 16 to 20 sets per body part with as much or little rest between sets as needed.  A mesomorphic body type indicates a person is ready to transition to more advanced forms of training. Comparatively, diets for mesomorphic bodies should be tailored specifically to health and fitness goals. And a balanced diet (protein/carbs/fats) with some cardio should help your physique look fresh.

Now last but not least my endomorph’s. The ones that tend to carry a little extra jazz lil extra funk. They have soft musculature, round face, short neck, wide hips, and a tendency for greater body fat storage. These types generally won’t have too much difficulty building muscle but they may have concerns losing and gaining body fat mass. So recommendations for this body type are a higher proportion of high set, high repetition training(no lower than 10-12 rep range) with Very short rest periods so as to burn as much fat as possible. In addition, this body type may benefit from incorporating additional aerobic exercise into their fitness program. Such as bicycling, swimming, running. Because the gym burns calories but not as much as cardio does. Ok, so nutrition isn’t my specialty and that’s why we have dietitians here at the Diabetes program, but if I can suggest a small thing its just eating a well balanced diet without snacking as often as we can to fight those cravings. Because yes, we want the macro nutrients but we don’t need super 2nd’s or 3rd’s.

With all these in mind, I would also like to throw a little curve ball in there. Yes, there are three body types but no one usually is entirely one type. In the classification I follow there are 88 subcategories which are arrived at by examining the level of dominance of each category on a scale of 1 to 7. But we aren’t going to get into all that crazy lingo. Just know that these are the categories and we can see traits in all of us. And if there’s one that you believe you are more than another try to create your work out plan and diet around what you believe your body will respond to. But that’s the greatness of the gym, it helps us find out things about ourselves and it’s a wonderful journey that we get to embark on and help others along the way.