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Do our body types play a role in how we should diet? The answer may surprise you.

It’s one-part art form, one-part gamble, and one-part science. Some of us live on a diet, others diet to reach a certain number on the scale or to see a specific change in the mirror. There are loads of dieting research and information available online, but how do you know what’s right for you? It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of variation that’s out there, and people often get inundated and just give up because of it. Let’s start with the basics, and identify where to begin based on our unique body types.

For the most part, there are three main body types: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph.

You may share some traits between two or all three of them, but we all predominately fall under one category or another.



are characterized by long, thin muscles, and tend to naturally carry less fat, which makes for a more difficult time putting on muscle.


are characterized by larger bones, broader shoulders, and can generally control fat levels. Mesomorphs also build and maintain muscle with much less effort than the other body types.


tend to store more fat, carry a fuller waist, and typically gain weight quickly (not necessarily good weight either).


Your diet and routine should be structured to accommodate whichever of those three primary classifications under which you fall. Here’s a simple breakdown of each grouping and some general rules to try and follow:

Ectomorphs – Being an ectomorph has its ups and downs. So much of society is overweight, or even obese, and at risk for a long list of weight-related diseases. But not ectomorphs! You’re just skinny. Sometimes frustratingly so. Feel like you can eat whatever you want and not gain a pound? Well, your metabolism runs quicker than the other body types. Ectomorphs should avoid just straight cardio, as doing most any physical activity (strength/resistance training) will likely keep your heart rate high enough to burn fat without burning muscle in the process. Your diet? Eat as much as you want. In fact, it’ll probably feel like WORK to eat enough each day. Work out slowly with heavy weights, and eat, eat, eat.

Mesomorphs – If you were born with what amounts to an athletic physique, you’re likely a mesomorph. You pretty much fall in that sweet spot where your body responds well to weight training, dieting, and if you take a break from all of it, you don’t immediately turn into a giant blob. Developing a healthy physique tends to come naturally. Find a healthy balance between cardio and weights and let your body yield natural results. Don’t go out of your way to eat terribly all of the time either; just make smart food choices, and your body will metabolize it efficiently.

Endomorphs – Some consider it a blessing to carry size (mass) naturally and just generally be stronger from it too. The challenge starts when an Endomorph wants to get lean and chisel out some definition on their frame. Endomorphs tend to gain weight easily and naturally store more fat, thanks in part to a slower metabolism (fun fact – talking about myself here!). Like it or not, cardio, fast-paced interval workouts, and a strict diet are all going to play a role when an Endomorph wants to lose weight. Keep close track of your calories (lean proteins, healthy fats, and limit the carbs) and prepare to sweat it out each day you train to see the best results.

There’s nothing wrong with Googling-up a diet and workout routine for yourself. Most cookie-cutter programs offer practical information that, if applied correctly, can help the majority of people on their fitness journey. Just be aware of what sort of diet and exercise your body responds to the best. If whatever you’ve done in the past doesn’t work? Mix it up. Find your recipe for success and tailor your program accordingly to get the most out of all your hard work!

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Human movement before human performance before athletic performance. I know this sounds like gibberish but think about it: there are way too many people, athletes, and (even scarier) coaches who want to skip parts of this progression. Most people realize that we need to prioritize human performance before athletic performance, but it’s disturbing the number of individuals who skip the steps regarding basic movement of the human body even in the simplest forms, such as running. We’re so anxious to utilize athletic activities to get in better shape that we skip getting in shape to even PERFORM those athletic activities. The most common example I see of this is running.

Millions of people run in constant pain, simply because they skipped the necessary steps to be in running shape, and/or they chose or were coached to progress too quickly without allowing their body time to adapt to this new stimulus. I frequently ask runners what they do for leg strength work, and their response is: “I run.”

Running isn’t leg strengthening. Now before everyone loses their minds here, there IS a strength benefit that comes from running, but it’s not going to be the emphasis of your gains from running.

It’s just to say that there is a massive benefit to runners from very specific strength training. There’s even a benefit from just the most basic general strength training as well. As you progress with your strength training, it will become increasingly important to get more specific with the strength training you perform. Strength training doesn’t need to mimic running, but it needs to target the specific muscular activations that are required to improve efficiency and power output while running.

By starting off slowly running short distances and progressing gradually, and incorporating strength training into your plan, you can minimize your risks of injury due to running. What distance should you first start off to run? Well, that depends on your current overall physical condition and running history. For this article, let’s talk about the beginner. I would suggest starting at less than one mile at a slow to moderate pace. Now, onto your strength training. Let’s start that with body weight exercises that incorporate the entire body. Squats, kneeling walk, hip bridges, planks, push-ups, pull-ups, and heel raises are all great starting exercises. Since we’re training to help with long distance running, it makes sense to start your strength training with longer repetition sets. I suggest starting with one set of 20 of each of those exercises.

As your strength increases, it’s important to progress appropriately. Several variables can be adjusted in order to continue progressing. Speed, tempo, resistance, and base of support will be the primary adjustments that we’ll be making in a running program. By changing any of these variables, you change the way your body needs to adapt to the exercise you’re performing. There’s not much benefit from changing more than one of these at a time, and as long as you don’t try to progress too quickly, you can minimize your likelihood of getting injured, which will just further delay your progress. Consult with a local professional if you have questions about progression or just don’t know where to start with the process. Qualified personal trainers or running coaches can be an incredible resource for you to maximize your results. Just be sure to interview several and ask them questions about their education on this subject and how they will specifically address your needs.

Becoming a proficient runner doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated, but can quickly become so following injuries. Be safe and have fun while getting in your best shape.

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