They are the ones to whom little, or no, sympathy is garnered. He/she is often spoken behind his/her back with little, or no, regard in terms of having the ability to seemingly eat whatever they desire and nary gain an appreciable amount of fat for their efforts. They are the ones that can continue to wear Abercrombie well into their later years whilst the rest of us add words to our vocabulary like, “loose fitting”, “plus size” and “elastic.” In short, we have strong dislike for “them.”
The “them” we are talking about is the Ectomorph bodytype, defined as, “characterized by long and thin muscles/limbs and low fat storage; usually referred to as slim. Ectomorphs are not predisposed to store fat or build muscle.”
In this year-end closeout of 2011, I wish to cite our ill-addressed brother/sister the “skinny-fat” physique, which, in actuality, causes many a self-doubt just the same for the possessor of said bodytype. Although these persons may seem lean or skinny from the outside, an unclothed look often reveals a soft midsection much like anyone else might possess. Although their slender frames and slight bone structures may mask well the advancing obesity epidemic, their struggle is much the same, and although their war, a quiet one, can use diagnosis and assistance as well.
While it is true that many of us may have cursed them under our breath for allegedly eating whatever they want and nary putting a dent in their physiques, they pay a price for continual poor nutritional choices just as the rest of us do. And the question remains: Just what can I do to lean up and show my muscle tone as an already skinny person?
Proof, yet again, that the scale should never have been invented. (At least when discussing the composition of the human body.) For while a thin person may showcase a slight number in actual weight, his/her composition may be composed of a bodyfat percentage too high entirely. Even clothes can mask this person’s true conditioning. Making, by default, the mirror, this person’s greatest ally in establishing the truth.
What follows are my top 7 action items for you, the Ectomorph in both gaining lean muscle mass and shedding unwanted bodyfat; your ultimate physique goals:
1. Forget Numbers/Sizes – The main key is to dismiss all measurements and numbers in accordance with your physique. Forget about supposedly measuring progress by the measurements of your body. If you can see your abdominals, you are lean. If your weights are going up consistently, you are gaining muscle.
2. Eat Macronutrient Specific – The Ectomorph, or “Hard gainer”, can typically get away with more fats in their diet than the rest of us. Mind you, these should be good fats in the form of lean beef, fish oils, olive oil and nuts. In keeping muscle AND losing fat, be sure to consume enough good fats and protein whilst keeping refined carbs and sugar low.
3. Drink when you can’t chew – Another issue generally associated with this bodytype is appetite. Yes, I know you are eating all day and can’t possibly get any more food down. But, oftentimes, if the macronutrients were explored in the actual composition of these “meals” you may be surprised to find them both low in protein and high in refined carbs. Of course you will not build muscle and lose fat on this type of “diet.”
4. Label Thyself Accordingly – You are an ectomorph. You are a hardgainer. You need more sources of good fats than your other bodytype counterparts, coupled with progressively heavier weights in order to gain any appreciable amounts of muscle mass. No, you do not need to give up your hopes of actually building a physique many would desire to own. No, you need not resort to MMA, (Mixed Martial Arts), training only, in hopes of attaining just a skinny, yet functional, body. Look at Bruce Lee, a pure Ectomorph if ever one existed, who achieved not only a perfect harmony and balance in his physique, but he was also one who’s muscles could actually do what they looked like they were capable of doing.
5. Still Weights – Fat burning is, and will always be, the result of cardiovascular activity, solid nutrition, and weight training combined. All higher reps coupled with lighter weights will accomplish is in losing muscle mass, not in sculpting actual cuts to your physique. You must stick with what brought you to the dance.
6. Do Not Switch Tracks – All too often the greatest obstacle I encounter with Ectomorphs is reversing their goals all too often before actually achieving one. One week they wish to add muscle, the next refine it. Again, one must build the house before painting it. Allow ample time allotments and go about it with consistency and precision and continual goals attained shall be yours. Furthermore, this results best when a 7 days per week (nutritional) persistence is employed, not 5.
7. Marketing – In the fast paced society today in which we live, and with the flurry of images presented to us upon waking to hitting the pillow, we are bombarded with perfection, which translates to many as the impossible suit of perfection. Why do most that aspire and set out to achieving this level of physicality often come up short in their quests? Perhaps because we far too often shoot for an ideal that does not genetically suit us. Far better to find someone to whom your physique can compare with, or at least empathize with, on a physical level and shoot for that.
I wish to send to you my best wishes for a truly joyful and blessed Holiday Season and a safe and happy New Year’s.
If you, or a loved one, need help getting back into shape, please let me know! I am looking for a few more dedicated clients. I'd gladly accept anyone who comes via your recommendation.
Here’s to your best 2012!