How to eat and train for your body shape


Rachael Attard is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist and founder of the Lean Legs Program and the Body Type Quiz. Her mission is to empower women, help them feel good in their skin, and fall in love with exercise and their bodies. 

Have you ever followed the same workout and diet plan as a friend, but ended up with completely different results? If you’ve answered yes, you likely have different body types.

According to Australian female fitness expert, Rachael Attard, several PTs put their clients on the same exercise regime and diet, even though they have different body types and fitness goals. This is something that Attard is strongly against as she believes that PTs need to take into account different body types as not all bodies respond the same way to fitness plans.

If you’re about to start a new training or nutrition plan, Rachael Attard suggests finding out what your body type is.

‘There are 3 female body types: ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph,’ she says, ‘and by finding out what your body type is and adjusting your workout regime and diet to it, you will be training smarter and you will achieve better and faster results.’

The three main body types

How to find out your body type

Most people don’t know their body type, so Rachael has created a free online quiz to help women figure out where they fit. The body type quiz is very easy to complete and only takes 2 minutes to reveal your results.

The 3 different body types

So what are the three different body types? In a nutshell, endomorph body types are generally shorter and curvier, ectomorph body types are usually tall and slim and mesomorph body types are typically characterised as naturally muscular, with a medium size bone structure, broad shoulders and narrow waists.

Unlike body shapes, your body type focuses on how you gain weight and muscle. Ectomorphs generally find it quite difficult to gain weight or muscle but are naturally low in body fat.

Endomorphs can gain muscle very quickly, have great strength and endurance but may find weight loss a little more challenging and have a higher level of body fat.

Mesomorphs can often lose, and gain weight quickly and often see results from exercise quickly too.

 

Tips for each body type

Once you’ve identified your body type, Rachael has provided three nutrition and three workout tips for your specific body type.

 

3 tips for ectomorphs

Up your resistance training (ideally 3 x a week)

Since ectomorphs find it quite hard to gain muscle and they lose weight easily they should focus on heavy lifting, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and other resistance training workouts.  Cardio is not 100 per cent necessary (unless you love it of course!) or if you’re trying to get rid of excess fat.

Aim for 1 rest day per week or an active recovery day (that might involve some light walking or stretching). Your body will gain muscle and strength very slowly so don’t be disheartened if you are not noticing any improvements straight away.

The ectomorph body type does best on a higher carb diet (yay!). You are the only body type that thrives on high carbs and does not gain weight, so embrace it. An ideal macronutrient ratio for you is:

40-50% carbohydrates

30-35% protein

20-25% fat

Focus on the best types of carbs. Not all carbs are created equal. A few treats here and there are OK. But try to avoid sugar and focus on healthy carbs such as fruit, brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa and veggies.

Your body still needs fat and protein to function efficiently. For your ectomorph body type, add in healthy fats and protein with every meal to help you recover from workouts faster.

 

3 tips for endomorphs

Up your reps with lower weights. Since endomorphs tend to be ‘bottom-heavy’ Rachael suggests focusing on lighter weight resistance training (high reps, low weights) and not heavyweights. Rachael strongly recommends walking as it helps reduce fat on your legs and burns more calories than you think. Try to do as much power walking as you can; at least 5 times per week for 45 minutes per walk.

Endomorphs need cardio so make sure you’re doing it regularly. You should combine low-intensity cardio (walking) with at least 2-3 days of moderate-high intensity cardio. Running at a steady pace and on a flat surface will work best for your body type

Endomorphs can’t handle a lot of carbs, so try to keep your carb intake low. Make sure most of your carbs are coming from fruit and veggies, and skip the starches such as pasta, bread and rice. An ideal macronutrient ratio for you is:

20-25% carbohydrates

45-50% fats

30% protein

Healthy fats and protein will be your new best friends! Both of them will keep you feeling fuller for longer and will help you burn more calories. Think lean meats, oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocado. Try some healthier treats such as choc avocado mousse or homemade protein balls. But if you must have chocolate, keep it in moderation!

 

3 for mesomorphs

Choose your weights according to your desired fitness results. Mesomorph girls tend to be more athletic and gain muscle easily. But, if your goal is to lose weight, stick to body weight or lighter weight (higher rep) workouts. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) works great for mesomorphs. Rachael suggests incorporating HIIT at least 1 (or 2) times per week.

Walking and running are perfect! Rachael suggests aiming for 3 cardio-only days. High-intensity cardio, such as running on a flat surface and at a steady pace, works best for fat loss. To challenge yourself, make one of your cardio days high intensity.

Mesomorphs do best on a diet that has a balanced amount of carbs, protein and fat. So try to have all 3 in your meals and snacks. An ideal macronutrient ratio for you is:

30-35% carbohydrates

35-40% protein

30% fat

Mesomorphs can gain weight quickly if they eat too many high-sugar foods. Try to keep these treats to a minimum (80:20 rule) and fill your diet with whole foods. If your body fat is being stubborn or you just need a little kick start, try a low carb and high protein diet for 4 weeks. Then switch it back to balanced macros.

More information

Rachel Attard is a fully qualified group fitness and personal trainer. She has a Cert III and IV in Fitness, a Bachelor of Science and a Sports Nutrition Certificate. Visit https://www.rachaelattard.com/



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