Know your body

Monday , July 23, 2012 - 2:57 PM

Illustration by BRYAN NIElSEN/Standard-Examiner...

Katie M. Ellis

You’re pear-shaped like your mom. You have the same beer belly as your dad. Big bones run in the family. Are you doomed to live with the body you have?

Some local trainers say that knowing your body type can help you set realistic goals. Others warn that categorizing yourself can be used as an excuse and keep you from seeing results.

Trainers often categorize body types as ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph, says personal trainer Becky Olson, who is also the group fitness supervisor for the Ogden Athletic Club in South Ogden.

“An ectomorph is someone who is longer, leaner and tends to be skinnier and have a harder time putting on weight,” she explains. “A mesomorph is athletic and muscular and is usually very narrow-hipped and broader-shouldered. The endomorph is usually a little fuller-hipped or softer in the middle and has a hard time getting lean.”

Personal trainer Heather Gilbertson, who works at Stroops fitness center in Clearfield, said you should know and train for your body type.

Mesomorphs, she says, will probably have the easiest time achieving their goals because they quickly gain muscle and lose weight. Ectomorphs should eat more calories and be cautious of how much cardio they do if they want to build muscle. Endomorphs should watch their calorie intake and do more cardio to lose weight.

“For example, if I were training a client who had an ectomorph, naturally lean body type, I would most likely have them eating more fats and carbohydrates with less cardio, versus a high-in-fat endomorph body type, where I would be more cautious about how much this person eats because they naturally store more fat. This person would also need to be doing more cardio,” she said.

David Edgell, a personal trainer who owns The Shop in Ogden, said knowing your body type can help you know where to focus.

“If you have broad hips and narrow shoulders, you can build your shoulders. You don’t have to be a pear. If you have belly fat, you can sculpt so you’re not an apple,” he said.

For the most part, Olson said, women can expect to lose weight and gain muscle more slowly than men.

“One thing I’ve noticed through all of my training is that although these body types apply to both women and men, women in general have a harder time gaining muscle and getting leaner,” she said. “A female mesomorph will respond more quickly to weightlifting and plyometric training than the other two types. I’ve found by doing my boot camp classes and personal training that a true endomorph will really struggle with changing their bodies quickly.

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