Ever wonder why your best friend is super slim, your brother is always toned and everyone calls you "stocky"? In the 1940s, Dr. William Sheldon created the concept of three distinct somatotypes, or body builds. The ectomorph is generally a long, lean body without much muscle. The mesomorph tends to be lean and muscular, while the endomorph tends to put on fat and have little muscle. Most people are a combination of the three types, but those who are primarily endomorphs can have trouble developing lean muscle without gaining fat. However, there are diet tips and exercises to help you get toned without filling out.
Eat four to six small, low-carb meals with lean protein during the day. Aim for about 200 grams of protein, and eat most of your calories in the first half of your day. Endomorphs often have a slightly sluggish metabolism. Eating several mini meals helps keep you fueled and energetic, not bloated. Consume between 2,000 and 3,000 calories per day to gain muscle without storing too many calories as fat.
Snack on fresh fruit and fill up on vegetables later in the day. The high water content will help you feel full without a lot of calories, and you'll get precious vitamins and minerals. Avoid carbohydrates such as bread and pasta three hours before bedtime.
Drink water and cut back or eliminate other beverages, especially sugary sodas and alcohol. Since alcohol has the same calorie content as fat per gram, it's earned the notorious nickname "liquid fat." Aim for a minimum of eight 8-ounce glasses of pure water every day.
Perform at least 30 minutes of cardio, such as running, swimming, elliptical exercise or biking, every day. Daily cardio activity will help you burn off extra stubborn fat stores, rev up your metabolism and let your muscles shine.
Weight train about four days a week to see results without overtraining. Try to exercise different muscle groups on consecutive days to allow your muscles time to rest and grow. Since muscle is metabolically active, adding muscle to your frame will actually help you burn extra calories and lose fat.
Weight train one set of muscles at each workout. Divide your body into chest and back, abs, arms and legs. Work only one group per workout. This helps your other muscles rest and lets you focus on building one area at a time.
Perform three to five sets of eight to 12 repetitions for each weight exercise, and use weights that are heavy enough to fatigue you after this number of reps. Do no more than 20 sets in total for a specific muscle set. This will limit you to four to six different exercises per workout.
Try bench presses and deadlifts on your chest and back day. Bench presses, in which you lie on a workout bench and lower a barbell toward your chest, exercise your chest and shoulders. Deadlifts require you to bend at the waist while keeping your legs and back straight to lift a weight. They target your back and core.
Perform weighted hanging leg raises on your abs day. Use a weight belt to attach a weight to your waist. "Sit" in a captains chair, allowing your legs to hang, feet together. Without bending your knees, lift your legs straight in front of you and lower slowly. This exercise blasts your abs.
Perform barbell curls for muscular biceps on arms day. Hold a medium-weight barbell in front of you, elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Slowly bend your arms to bring the barbell toward your chest. Lower and repeat for three to five sets of eight to 12 reps.
Do squats on legs day. Stand and keep your back straight, feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and stick out your buttocks, as though you're trying to sit in a chair. Return to start. For added challenge hold two dumbbells in front of you or on your shoulders. This hits your legs and buttocks.
- Expect a slow increase in muscle mass coupled with a slow, steady fat loss. Trying to gain a lot of muscle mass quickly with extra protein will cause endomorphs to gain fat. Twelve to 16 pounds of muscle in a year is a reasonable gain.