How to tailor your program based on your body type

Abdominals

Achieving competition results is not an easy task: balance must be achieved between overall symmetry, muscular definition and stage presence to name a few. Unfortunately, there isn’t one set formula that guarantees the winning look on competition day. It can often be hit or miss; therefore preparations must be based on the individual and timed accordingly. It’s through trial and error that people discover how their body responds to imposed demands. Genetic predispositions play a huge role in the determination of which training methods should be applied. Individuals may be categorized as one of the following body types: ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph or a combination of the afore mentioned.

Ectomorphs are defined as people who are long and lean, have a small rib cage and joints. These individuals will easily lose fat mass, but will have difficulty gaining muscle mass. Generally speaking, ectomorphs do well in categories such as Fitness Model, Body Fitness and Figure. When training for a competition, remember that the judges are looking for an “X” shape figure (i.e. wide shoulders, narrow waste and round thighs); emphasis should therefore be placed on developing shoulders, thighs, glutes and back. Weight training should not be too lengthy (45 - 60 min.), working within the 8 - 12 repetition range. Cardiovascular training should be kept to a minimum during the mass building stages. An ectomorph’s diet remains quite classic throughout the preparatory stages; in others words there is no need to significantly cut carbohydrates, even prior to competition.

DID YOU KNOW???

AN INDIVIDUAL CAN MAINTAIN CARDIOVASCUALAR FITNESS, FOR A FAIRLY EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME, BY ENGAGING IN CARDIOVASCULAR TRAINING ONLY TWICE A WEEK FOR 30-45 MIN. AT A TIME!

Mesomorphs are defined as having well defined muscles and a large bone structure. They truly have the best of both worlds: they build muscle mass and lose fat mass with ease. They are strong and are the envy of most athletes. Mesomorphs usually perform well in the Bodybuilding and Fitness categories. These individuals should train within the 8 - 12 repetition range however it is important to include a variety of exercises in order to develop symmetrically. In preparation for a competition, such individuals may require more cardiovascular work in comparison to the ectomorph, yet they too can maintain a classic diet throughout the process.

DID YOU KNOW???

ON AVERAGE, AN INDIVIDUAL MAY ATTAIN GAINS OF 5LBS OF MUSCLE MASS IN A 2 MONTH PERIOD. IF SAID INDIVIDUAL IS NEW TO WEIGHT TRAINING, THEY MAY EXPERIENCE GAINS TWICE THIS.

Endomorphs are typically defined as rounder, heavier individuals. They can build muscle mass quite easily, but will have more difficulty cutting down. During the off-season, endomorphs should work in the 8-12 repetition range and do moderate amounts of cardiovascular training. A few months prior to competition, work within the 12 - 20 repetition range may be needed. Emphasis will need to be placed on cardio; at times two sessions per day may be required to achieve the desired goal. Ectomorphs generally do well in the Bodybuilding category, but may have difficulty achieving the desired leanness. Their diet may require the elimination of some of the carbohydrates that the Ectomorph and Mesomorph may permit themselves to eat.

DID YOU KNOW???

IF YOU HAVE APPROX. 20 PERCENT BODY FAT, YOU SHOULD ALLOW YOURSELF 12 – 13 WEEKS IN ORDER TO SUFFICIENTLY TRIM DOWN IN TIME FOR YOUR COMPETITION. ON AVERAGE AN INDIVIDUAL SHOULD LOSE BETWEEN 1 – 2 POUNDS OF FAT MASS PER WEEK.

Rarely however are people purely ecto, meso or endomorphs. More often than not, they are a combination of two such categories. If I use myself as an example: I am an ecto / mesomorph. On other words I am able to build muscle mass fairly easily, especially considering my height (5’10”), while still having the capacity to lean down to about 8 percent body fat for a competition without cutting out too many carbohydrates. Based on my genetic predisposition, I chose Fitness Model as my category of choice. The following is a breakdown of my training and eating habits:

ON-SEASON

I do a three-day split (2 days upper body, 1 day lower body), training within the 10 – 12 repetition range. I weight train 5x/week, for no more than an hour, and a half hour of cardio in the morning prior to eating breakfast. My diet consists of about 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein, 20% fats totalling approximately 2000 cal. /day.

6:00 – 6:30 am
Cardiovascular training (75% of MHR)

6:30am – Breakfast
2/3 cup of oatmeal, ½ cup of berries, 5 egg whites

9:00am – Snack
2/3 cup of oatmeal, one dozen almonds, and 1 scoop MVP TrisoPlex Whey Protein powder mixed with 1 cup of water

12:00pm – Lunch
4oz chicken breast, 1-cup brown rice, 1-cup broccoli

2:30pm - Snack
1 ½ cups crudités, ½ cup light cottage cheese, and 4 rice cakes

5:00pm – Dinner
4oz salmon, 1 small sweet potato, and 1-cup green beans

6:00 – 7:00pm
Weight training

7:30pm – Post workout shake
1 scoop MVP Isologic Whey Protein powder, 1-cup strawberries, and 1-cup water

OFF-SEASON

My workouts are designed to improve weaknesses. My training is divided into specific training phases: mass, strength and power building. Periodization is crucial and can make or break your performance on stage. If you’re new to the industry, finding a well-qualified trainer is probably one of the best investments you can make. Periodization is almost an art; your training is calculated right up to competition day, not a day more or less. I maintain the same percentage of nutrients throughout my off-season however I do increase my calorific intake to about 2500 cal. /day.

6:30am - Breakfast
2 slices whole grain bead, 2tbsp almond butter, 1 fruit, and 5 egg whites

9:00am – Snack
2/3-cup oatmeal, 5 crushed almonds / 4 chopped dried apricots, and 1 scoop MVP TrisoPlex Whey Protein powder

12:00 – Lunch
4oz chicken breast, 1-cup brown rice, 1-cup broccoli, and 1 yoghurt

2:30 – Snack
11/2 cups crudités, ½ cup light cottage cheese, and 4 rice cakes

5:00 – Dinner
1 can tuna, 2-cups mixed green salad (dressing: 1tbsp olive oil, 3tbsp balsamic vinegar), and 1 whole grain pita bread

6:30 – 8:00
1 hour weight training, 30 minute cardiovascular training

8:00 – Post workout shake
1 scoop MVP Isologic Whey Protein powder, ½ banana, 1-cup strawberries, 1 yoghurt, and 1-cup water

Bottom line is that an individual may only learn what works best for them through trial and error. If I can give one word of advice, it’s that you should do what makes you feel good. If you’re realistic about your goals and achievements, disappointment will not be an issue. Competing can be a wonderful, rewarding experience and I recommend it to anyone who is up for the challenge.