What can I learn from my body type? Part 2- Nutrition and Exercise

After reading Part one (click link if you haven’t) you should now be able to identify which body type you are.  This is very helpful in helping you understand your body and learn to love who you are.  However, sometimes we still want to change for the better, whatever that may be.  For any body type, exercise is going to help you lose fat because it will help you achieve a calorie deficit (your body is using more calories than you are eating).  However, the rate at which you will lose the fat can be changed by simply changing your macros and fitness routine. Remember, what works for you and your body type won’t necessarily work for others.  This is why when I say everyone is different, I truly mean it. Not because you look different but your body responds differently as well.

Let me explain…

Protein seems to be the new must have buzz word in nutrition these days, I mean you even see it on Mac and Cheese commercials.  It is essential for weight loss and muscle gains, and all body types respond to protein in a similar way.  Instead I want to talk about the other macro nutrients: carbohydrates (carbs) and fats.  Our bodies are amazing organisms, they have mastered the ability to survive in scarcity.  The body feeds off of food for energy and knows how to go into starvation mode, storing and protecting its fat, when you are at an extreme calorie deficit.  This is why an extremely low calorie diet (like 1200 calories) with intense workout is counterproductive.

Fat is a very good energy source; it has 9 calories (energy) per gram.  Our bodies have evolved to store as much of this rich energy source as possible. We need it to help regulate hormones as well as provide the body with sustainable energy. Fats have often been looked at as “bad” and should be avoided.  I say, eat your cheese, cream and your avocado and don’t feel guilty! Fats in moderation are not something to be afraid of but can be beneficial to your health.  Fat is necessary for normal bodily function.

When you plan your daily menu you need to plan for fats taking longer to be converted to usable energy than carbs.  This means, if you are not an active person, or are on a rest day, your body does not require a lot of quick energy (carbs).  The body will not burn through them and then holds onto both the quick and sustainable energy.   It isn’t the fat in food as much as it is the caloric surplus that is making the fat gain occur.

Carbohydrates are a source of quick energy made from glucose (sugar); this is your bodies source of energy that is easiest to metabolize and its most readily available source.  If you are inactive your body converts the glucose to glycogen to be stored in the muscles and liver. If you consume more calories from carbs than your body can burn, it will chemically convert the glycogen to fat. Because carbs only have 4 calories of energy per gram, you can burn through them quickly, which doesn’t make them a great source of sustainable energy.  While carbs are necessary for muscle growth, not every body type processes them the same. Carbs are tricky and don’t always play nice!

So how can this all work for your body type?

ENDOMORPHS

As an endomorph, having a very consistent nutrition plan and tracking is key to keeping the weight off and achieving your fitness goal.  With this body type you have some degree of carbohydrate and insulin sensitivity.  This means the body has a natural tendency to store the sugars that are processed in carbs such as breads, pastas, and refined sugar as fat instead of burning those calories. For other body types, the energy they get from these foods are usually well utilized when they are strength training and lifting heavy. However, because of the genetics in you endomorphs, your body has a tendency to store them even with strength training.  This in no way means you can’t ever eat bread, or most importantly, a cookie!  It just means that compared to other body types, like ectomorphs, your carb ratio is lower, not non existent.

The carbs you need to eat are non dense, low calorie, high fiber foods like vegetables, quinoa and some fruits. Eating foods like pasta, breads and high starchy foods (potatoes) should be eaten moderately.  Fruits are full of vitamins and minerals but are also high in sugars, which means higher in carbs.  You must be careful to not eat more than one serving of fruit a day, OR swap out another carb source so you can have an additional fruit serving for the day. Eating twice the serving size of vegetables as fruit will help your body consume more for few calories.

For some people the idea of having to really restrict their carbohydrate intake might make them cringe.  Trust me, I am one of them!  Even as an endomorph, you do not need be on a low carbohydrate diet the rest of your life, if you can incorporate the proper fitness routine.  The combination of HIIT for cardio and strength training is HUGE for endomorphs.  Not only will they see results in muscle gain quickly, but strength workouts allow the body to consume more carbohydrates because it needs to replenish the glycogen stores that were depleted during strength training.

Your strength training needs to focus on lower weight and higher reps.  As an endomorph, you can easily create a more large musclualr if you train hard and heavy.  If that is your goal, you will see growth in no time!  However, if you want to stay more cut, you need to strength train with higher reps (12 being the minimum), and super set multiple muscle groups together.  Incorporate HITT training 15-20 minutes for every workout. Cardio/strength circuits that can be done at home are a great way to workout this body type.  Learn to love cardio because your body needs it!

For nutrient timing, when you eat during the day, you need to eat your heavier carb meal post workout.  This is essential because  your body needs to replenish the depleted glycogen stores and is less likely to store it as fat.  Eat up after a workout and enjoy every bite of your calorie dense food.  You sweated, you deserve it!

Macro ratio for fat loss that works well is 35% protein, 25% carbs, 40% fat with a calorie defecit.
To increase muscle mass the macros shouldn’t change much, 35% protein, 30% carbs 35% fats staying within maintenance calories.

 

 

MESOMORPHS

Mesomorphs are the one body type that the macro ratio can be both a high carb/low fat, or low carb/high fat diet and be successful.  You will pick the diet based on your fitness goal.  As a mesomorph, you will do well in achieving a fitness goal when you are tracking macros and staying consistent.  Your athletic build allows your body to process carbohydrates a little easier, and your body already has a good base for lean muscle mass.  If your goal is to build muscle, you have a good chance at meeting those goals.  If you want to get lean and cut, you can as well. You are in the drivers seat with how you want your body to look.  However, your success in your fitness goals will require you to be deliberate.

Having a well balanced macro ratio works well for this body type.   The carbs you eat can be calorie dense (breads and pastas), but you also need a good amount of high fiber foods like vegetables and fruits.  If you are strength training, calorie dense foods are your friend. If you are opting for a lighter strength training program, you need to eat those types of carbs moderately and focus on getting full on fiber rich foods.

Even as a mesomorph you still need to incorporate HIIT training into your fitness routine. You do not need to do it daily, but your body type does well with variety.  Switching up your workouts throughout the week, as well as changing them up completely every 4 weeks, is the key to not hitting plateaus.  Strength training should be part of  your weekly routine at least 3 times a week with HIIT training 2-3 times for fat loss/maintenance.  If you chose to do minimal cardio your fat will not shred as easily.

Strength training should be done hard and heavy with little rest between sets.  You want to keep the heart rate up while focusing on strength.  Super sets are great to help keep the heart rate elevated.  You can also focus on one muscle area for a workout and hit that muscle hard for that day, with no cardio.  Strength circuits that can be done at home with resistance bands, mini bands and dumbbells can also help you achieve any fat loss or strength goals.  Play around with your workouts.  You can be creative and not to structured and still see slow results.

For nutrient timing, a higher carb meal should still be consumed post workout.  You always need to eat to restore and rebuild.  This body type does well with spreading your carbohydrates evenly throughout your meals.  If you are strength training to build muscle make sure you are eating frequently, 5-6 times a day. If you are trying to lose fat, eat frequently but with 2 meals at a high carb ratio and the rest of your meals/snacks on having an even P/C/F  (Protein/Carbohydrates/Fats) ratio.

Being mesomorphs, allows you to easily change your body depending on your macro ratio. If you are seeking fat loss a very balanced macro ratio of 30% Protein, 35% carbs, 35% fats with a calorie deficit will get you there.

If you are wanting to increase your muscle mass, increase your carbohydrates to a higher carb ratio of 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fats and be in a slight calorie surplus. 

ECTOMORPHS

As stated in my previous post, ectomorphs are the body type that people envy because of the amount of food you can eat and not gain weight.  Notice though that I said not gain WEIGHT.  As an ectomorph, you can still gain FAT, although it takes a really poor diet.  It may seem like an ideal situation to be able to eat calorie after calorie but even with eating large amounts of food the “boyish” figure still remains.  The emotional aspect of being skinny, if you want to gain muscle, can be just as damaging as fat loss, maybe more.  If your goal is to be a fast marathon runner being an ectomorph can be an advantage. If you want to gain muscle, dig deep and find a love for weight training, you will need it!

As an ectomporh, the work you have to put in to change the way your body looks, no one should envy.  Your body is constantly in overdrive.  Your metabolism is a well oiled machine without having to train it to burn constantly.  Because of this, lean muscle mass is hard to keep and build on the body.  This is where the “skinny” look comes from.  It is not so much that there is not any fat on the body, but instead, there is a lack of lean muscle.

Tracking is still essential for you to achieve your  fitness goal.  Even for fat loss you need to make sure that you are not over eating in a macro nutrient ratio that doesn’t help produce fat loss.  Eating frequently with a lot of calorie dense foods is key!  You can eat your breads, pastas and starchy foods daily.  To help promote muscle gains you need to eat, and then eat some more.  This might be your biggest struggle.  Your body won’t naturally feel hungry which leads you to not want to eat. Choosing not to eat can do more damage than overeating.  A diet that is high in both protein and carbohydrates, with a moderate fat level, is ideal to help increase muscle mass.  You will always be in a calorie surplus. Enjoy it!

Your exercise regimen to gain muscle will take a lot of hard work and dedicated gym time.  It is not easy to gain the muscle needed with at home workouts, unless you have heavy weights and racks at home.  You need to be lifting hard and heavy 5 times a week.  Focus on one to two muscle groups each training session.  Take longer rests between sets to allow your body to regain the strength to continue to push heavy weights.

If you hate cardio, you are in luck! I am a huge advocate of incorporating cardio into your fitness routine no matter your body type.  However, you do not need to focus on HIIT training.  If you enjoy it, one session a week is all you need.  Low intensity steady state cardio, running at the same speed the whole time,  works better while trying to build muscle.  On really heavy lifting days, no cardio is recommended or split up your cardio and lifting sessions for different times in the day.

Don’t be scared of the heavy weights!  Your body will react completely different to them than an endomorph would.  You will not build a boxy, huge muscualr frame.  Lifting heavy will first build your lean muscle mass, and then help it grow slowly.  Your genetics won’t allow for your muscles to ever gain an extreme bulk.  That in no way means you can not be strong.  The size of your muscle has nothing to do with the strength of it!

As an endomorphs your macro ratio for fat loss and muscle gain rarely change.  Adding exercise will encourage fat loss even with a higher carb ratio.  Focus on muscle gains with a macro ratio of 30% protein, 50 % carbs, 20% fats.  The only change would be to go from a maintenance calorie to a large calorie surplus for muscle gains.

We are all SO different  that comparing yourself to others is only damaging you.  I want you to learn about YOUR body and how YOU can make it what YOU want. That is when you become the best version of you possible and results happen.  You are all beautiful and strong! Do not let someone else’s genetics make you feel otherwise.

You got this!

 

24 Hours in a Day Just Isn’t Enough…Let’s change that!

You know the famous phrase, “There just isn’t enough time in the day for me to do that…” Why is this so widely accepted and lived?? We spend time in our day doing things that would not be considered productive; I know because I do them.  When it comes to not wasting time, I am no saint.  I have sat in and avoided piles of laundry more times than I can count. I have looked through social media sites, read meaningless articles on the internet, and looked up a movie star or two to see what dreamland they are off to that day. I can say that 50% of that time I spent wasted, I could have done something that could help me grow into a happier and healthier me.

Take note of your daily activities, write them out, find out how much time you spend doing them, and then make a plan for yourself.  We ALL do better with a plan. A written plan, not a metal plan!

My 24 hour Day Broken Down

There are 24 hours in the day. Let’s break down an average of time spent doing certain activities each day.

  • 7 hours of sleep
  • 1 hour to shower and get ready for the day
  • 3 hours for school drop off/pick up and errands
  • 2 hours cleaning/organizing/more cleaning
  • 1 hour of “girl” time
  • 2 hours spent preparing meals
  • 2 hours playing soccer mom for after school activities
  • 1 hour helping with homework
  • 1 hour of family time
  • 1 hour of hubby time, BEST part!

Now, that is a grand total of 21 hours.

Phew!!

So, if I do my math correctly 24-21=3.  I have three whole hours left in the day to get a workout in with more to to spare for me to watch the latest episodes of This Is Us or the Hallmark Channel.  I fully admit that I am a sucker for these predictable, cheesy, sappy and most of the time awkward Hallmark movies. Most of the time with a bowl of ice cream and maybe some tissues…

Back to the point, 3 hours of the day is 12.5% of my day.  That may not seem like a lot, but if I take one hour of that for exercise is only 4.2% of my day.  Even just 30 minutes, is only 2.1%!Anyone can make time in their day for 2% of something that will benefit your both physically and mentally!  We already make time for trivial things that we could in the long run go without.

Take a step back and really look at how your day is spent.  Are you just telling yourself there is not time because it is an easy way out, or do you fill your day with things that you could easily go without?

Now, not everyone’s day looks this way. Some of you work full time outside of the home, others don’t have any kids, and some work multiple jobs to make ends meet.  If this is you, figure out your day.  Find where your time is spent and you will be surprised to see a little extra time just waiting to be used.

When you take the time to do something for yourself, life becomes more enjoyable. TRUTH.  When you are happy; life is happy!

SO, what are you waiting for?!?

Make a Plan!

You said six months of the same workouts…? Bored already.

Are you ready to sweat??

Your answer is YES and I have the workouts for you!

I am sure we have all bought a workout DVD or 2, maybe even 20. Never a bad thing, They can give you the push you need to get you familiar with exercise again and they can also make you lose weight.  But how many times can you really watch the same thing over and over again before you really don’t want to do it EVER again?

Maybe 10…?

It is like the movie Frozen, totally loved it the first handful of times I watched it but now if by some small chance that DVD was purposely broken lost I would not miss it one bit.  Workout videos can feel the same way after months of repeating them.  Being bored does not encourage motivation. We easily see this in kids. When they lose interest in an activity they chose not to do it.  It takes a little creativity and mom to the rescue to change up the activity and try something new for the spark to come back.  We are the same though we may not see it.

If you love workout videos, keep doing them!  Everyone has a different workout style they love. However, there are many, myself included that get bored with workouts easily.  I love adding new challenges and different styles to my cardio.  I switch it up by using all machines to just body-weight or to low weight strength circuits.  Having the variety can keep you motivated and have you falling in love with fitness week after week.

Switch up your cardio this week with these two workouts.  This elliptical workout is a great one to add to any weight training workout.  Incorporating intervals into cardio machines is the must effective way to scorch some calories.

This 60 min power cardio circuits is an all around body buster!  It will keep you moving and challenge all parts of your body, and burn some serious calories. It can even be modified for home. (Modifications are in the exercises descriptions)

For the circuit complete all exercises in the round before taking a short 1 min break.  Continue through all the rounds and then repeat 2-3 more times.  Remember to modify to your fitness level.  If you can’t do a full push-up, go to your knees.  If you need to eliminate the jumping, do so. This in no way means take it easy.  Push yourself further and harder than you think you can and you will be surprised at what you can accomplish!

Interval Elliptical workokout

As always, adjust the levels on the elliptical according to your fitness level.  Complete all five intervals before recovery.

Then repeat.

 

Power cardio strength workout

Exercise descriptions

Round 1

  1. Goblet squat- Begin with your toes pointed outward and your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and a dumbbell held up by your chest. Squat down keeping your toes out (think plie) while keeping the dumbbell held up by your chest. As you come up squeeze  your glutes and push your hips forward.  Remember to keep your booty back and your chest up
  2. Toe taps-  Start with feet right in front of the bottom stair on a staircase  or an aerobic bench.  Moving your feet quickly alternate tapping tops up and             down.  Move quickly to get the heart rate up.  The higher the elevation the harder it will be.  Modify height to your fitness level
  3. Squat jumps– Begin with your feet shoulder width apart, hands down at your side. Squat down keeping your shoulders back and booty low while bringing your arms up. Immediately jump as back up as high as you can swinging your arms  back and engage the core.  Make sure to land gently and slowly bend back down into a squat.
  4. Push-ups– Begin in a plank position with hands place right under your shoulders.  Slowly lower your body until your elbows are at 90 degrees all while pulling the bellybutton inward to keep from arching your back.  Push up to return to plank position.

Round 2

  1. Suicide plank- Begin in plank position with hands directly under shoulders. Engage the core and lower back and you lower one arm to your elbow followed by the next. Reverse the order until you return back to the original plank position.  That continued movement is one rep.
  2. Ab roll up- Begin standing with feet hip width apart. Jump up high with arms above the head.  As you come down slowly lower yourself backwards into a sitting tuck position.  Roll backwards lifting feet lightly up and over your head and arms down at your sides on the floor.  Quickly Roll back up into the sitting tuck, engage the core and stand up.  That continuous movement is one rep. Try not to cross your feet as you stand or use your hands to help you.
  3. Kettle ball swing– Begin with feet shoulder width and a kettle ball held with both hands down in front of you. Squat down keeping the knees over the knees and the shoulders back. As you come up immediately engage the core and swing the kettle ball straight out in from of you making sure not to raise it higher that shoulder height .
  4. Wall sit- Begin by leaning your back against a wall and your feet slightly out in front of you and hip width apart. Slowly slide your back down the wall until your knees reach a 90 degree angle and your heels are pressed into the ground. Hold this position for the duration stated.

Round 3

  1. Screamer lunge- Begin by standing with your feet hip width apart. Slowly step backwards with one foot and bend the front knee to a 90 degree angle.  AS you come up engage the cor while you bring the back leg back to the front and jump on the front leg while the opposite knee comes to the chest.  Be careful to slowly come back down and right back into the backward lunge position. Stay on the same leg through the all set counts and then switch.
  2. Bosu push- Begin with the flat side of the Bosu on the floor. Bend down with your hands in the center of the Bosu and your weight behind you.  Using the power in your legs and engaging the core push the Bosu across the floor for a set distance. Repeat back to the start.  (At home modification:  Use paper plates or washcloths under ,if on a hard surface, under your hands and push up and down a hallway).
  3. Mountain Climbers- Begin in plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Keeping your core engaged, bring one knee toward your chest. Return to plank position a quickly switch legs, bringing the opposite knee towards your chest.  That is one rep.  Complete the movement as if you were running.
  4. Tricep-dips- Begin standing with your back to a bench legs straight out in front of you, arms straight and hands resting on the bench with fingers hanging over the edge. Keep your hands directly under your shoulders and elbows back as you lower your body. Continue until your elbows reach a 90 degree angle and then push back up.

Changing up your workouts for results

A Week of Weight Training

I know what you are thinking when someone says “heavy weight training.”  The loud grunts and groans coming from the testosterone driven men as the try and lift a PR (personal record).  While this can make you regret your decision to try a weight training program let me tell you why to keep going!

I started weight training about five years ago when I needed to stop being such a cardio queen so I could get pregnant.  I needed an exercise that I could do without getting my hear rate up too high.  I didn’t know how much I would love lifting weights until I tried it.

It was something different. Something new.  It challenged my body in a a whole new way.  I love feeling strong.  I don’t just mean physically.  Weight training gives me a mental strength that makes me feel like I can battle whatever crazy children problems the day brings.

Cardio can push me to want to go faster or harder but there is something rewarding about watching the weights stack up as I get stronger and stronger each month.  Each workout can be something new.  Weight training allows for so much creativity that staying on a cardio machine lacks.  Don’t get me wrong, I still do cardio. I have a love/hate relationship with it.  That treadmill and I have had a few choice words back and forth on multiple occasions.

However, both forms of exercise have their health benefits outside.  Cardio helps with heart health and endurance as well as keeping the joints moving.  Strength training aids in muscle growth, which helps support the structure of the body.  This leads to better posture and balance.  When you can combine the two forms you will end up with the fat fighting workout you deserve.

Anyone can do weightlifting.  You don’t have to be thin and in shape already to start.  Weight training is all about starting out slow and increasing as you get stronger.  If you haven’t been active for quite some time you will just start with lower weight.  You will be surprised at how quickly you will gain strength.

To get you started, try out this week of weight training.  Each workout focuses on a certain muscle group.  You can combine any of these workouts with 15-20 minutes of any form of cardio.  Pick a weight that pushes you.  For more advanced fitness levels pick a weight that you really have to push through the last 2 reps on each set.  If you could do more reps than listed increase the weight.

Don’t be scared to go heavy!  Your muscles will thank you.

Day 1

Shoulder Workout

Complete all four sets of the exercise before moving onto the next exercise.

For a drop set, go down in weight one increment and repeat the rep count with no break.  That is one set.

 

Day 2

Chest and Back workout

Complete all three sets of the exercise before moving onto the next exercise.

Day 3

 

Bicep and Tricep Workout

For a superset, do both exercises in the set back to back then take a small rest and repeat.

 

Day 4

Leg day Burn

For a superset, complete both exercises back to back then rest.  For the Bosu push, find a place that you can push the Bosu ball for a good distance, about ten yards. Turn around and go back to the start.

Treadmill, it isn’t just for the casual runner

Another day, another time to sweat!  I have a quick 25 min treadmill workout that is waiting to push and challenge you physically and mentally.

Running on the treadmill can feel like you are running into a black hole.  I know from experience too many times.  Living in rainy WA and with a husband gone all the time I had to train for a half marathon on a treadmill.  The half marathon seemed way shorter than those 11 miles on that beast. However, I did what I could at the time and learned how to make the treadmill more bearable.

What’s my secret, you ask…? Intervals.

Adding speed and incline intervals will make those miles and time fly by.  Don’t just jump on and run mile after mile.  That will do nothing for your heart rate training or increase speed and strength.  Going further and faster is all a result of interval training.

Interval training is also a great weight loss tool.  Both high and low intensity exercise have their benefits.  Low intensity exercise pulls energy from your fat stores and can burn calories to make you leaner.  High intensity exercise tends to pull energy from the muscle glycogen (sugar or carbohydrates)  instead of fat storage.  When your glycogen is depleted your body needs to replace it from elsewhere, like food and the fat stores.  So now you have energy being pulled from the fat stores for the low intensity workout followed by energy burned from the glycogen for the high intensity workout which is then is partly replenished by the fat stores.

You get an extra fat loss!

For example, jogging at a steady speed for 30 minutes will burn roughly 300 calories, with half of those calories burned coming from your fat storage.  This will work in achieving weight loss. However, if you do a high-intensity workout for 30 minutes you can burn roughly 450 calories and 150 of that is coming from fat stores.  This workout would not only benefit your weight loss goal because you are burning more calories it improves your muscle strength.  And even better, the long term effect is your muscles get stronger and in turn need more fuel to perform, so they burn more calories!  Each has the same duration of time so why not make the most out of the 30 minutes you have?!?

When you can combine both high and low you end up with an intense fat burning workout that is worth every minute!

So hop on the treadmill and give this bad boy a try!

Elliptical HIIT

As always, the numbers do not fit into everyone’s fitness level.  These speeds are for a more advanced fitness level.  Decrease the speed and incline to match each other if you need to modify.  Adding any incline to your treadmill workout will add an extra workout for those amazing legs you’re transforming!

You will begin with a 5 min warm up.  Start with a fast pace walk  for a couple of minutes and then turn it into a jog.  You will then start the intervals.  You will work hard for 20 seconds and then jump off onto the sides of the treadmill using both hands for support.  This will be your 10 sec rest.  Always hold onto the treadmill as you jump back on and get running again before you let go.  DO NOT hold onto the handles at anytime during the run.  You will burn less calories and make the workout not as effective.  If you need to hold on, slow down instead. Don’t forget to BREATH!