Workout Routines for Mesomorphs

Looking for a mesomorph workout to build mass or torch fat? First, make sure you know what types of exercise work best for your body type. Mesomorphs can gain muscle easily, but they are also prone to weight gain.

Lifting weights is a great option for mesomorphs.
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Mesomorph, Endomorph or Ectomorph?

Some people are naturally skinny and can eat everything in sight without gaining weight. Some are genetically gifted with a muscular body and find it easy to keep fit. Others are prone to weight gain and have trouble losing fat. These differences are due to variations in body weight, or somatotype.

The term "somatotype" was coined in the 1940s by William H. Sheldon, PhD, MD, according to the University of Houston. As you may already know, there are different body types: mesomorph, endomorph and ectomorph. Each has specific physical traits and responds differently to diet and exercise. Most individuals have characteristics of two or three somatotypes.

Mesomorphs have an athletic build and can easily gain lean mass. Their bones are medium-sized, their shoulders are wide and their waist is narrow, explains the American Council on Exercise.

Ectomorphs, on the other hand, are naturally lean and find it difficult to gain weight. Endomorphs, meanwhile, tend to be heavier and gain weight easily.

As the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) notes, your somatotype isn't set in stone. You can shape your body through diet and exercise. These factors may help improve your body composition, or fat-to-muscle ratio, and make it easier to achieve your fitness or weight-loss goals. Over time, your body can adapt to new energy intakes and exercise routines. Consistency is key.

Characteristics of a Mesomorph

Individuals with a mesomorph body type have an efficient metabolism, says the NASM. This is a double-edged sword, though. Although they have no problems gaining mass, they can lose muscle just as easily. The same goes for body fat mass.

According to the American Council on Exercise, bodybuilding is the best choice for mesomorphs because they are naturally strong. However, they are also prone to weight gain and need to work hard to stay lean.

Read more: Mesomorph Diet and Exercise

As a mesomorph, you can lose fat more easily than an endomorph can, but that doesn't mean you should indulge in cookies and junk food. If you do so, you may not only end up gaining weight but also put yourself at risk of heart disease, diabetes and insulin resistance. The American Council on Exercise recommends filling one-third of your plate with high-protein foods, one-third with veggies and another third with either whole grains or heart-healthy fats.

Also, beware that mesomorphs have slightly higher energy requirements than other body types. Muscle is more metabolically active than adipose tissue and hence requires more energy to sustain itself, explains the University of New Mexico. Therefore, if you're physically active, it's essential to eat a balanced diet that supports your energy needs. According to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, crash diets may lead to muscle loss and slow down your metabolism.

Mesomorph Workout Tips

As discussed earlier, weight lifting is a great choice for mesomorphs. However, you can also try cardio or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to stay lean. The American Council on Exercise recommends 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic training three to five times per week. Ideally, choose HIIT over steady-state cardio to boost your metabolism and get better results in less time.

A meta-analysis published in Sports Medicine in November 2017 assessed the effects of HIIT on body composition. This training method has been shown to be effective at reducing body fat and visceral fat, a type of adipose tissue that wraps around your internal organs, as described by Harvard Health Publishing.

Read more: The Truth Behind 5 Common Myths About HIIT

High-intensity interval training alternates between short, intense bursts of exercise and periods of active recovery or rest. What makes it so effective is the afterburn effect, or EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), as described by the American Council on Exercise.

When you work out at high intensity, your body consumes more energy after exercise to restore normal metabolic function. The more oxygen is used, the greater your energy expenditure. HIIT can be very intense, so you'll continue to burn calories long after leaving the gym.

In fact, you don't even need a gym membership to reap the benefits. Here's an example of a mesomorph workout that incorporates Tabata, a more challenging form of HIIT, and requires no equipment:

  • Push-ups (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10 seconds)
  • High knees (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10 seconds)
  • Mountain climbers (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10 seconds)
  • Push-ups (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10 seconds)
  • Jump squats (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10 seconds)
  • Plank jacks (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10 seconds)
  • Burpees (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10 seconds)
  • Push-ups (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10 seconds)

This heart-pumping workout takes just four minutes and can be done anytime, anywhere. The key is to work at a high enough intensity. Beware, though — HIIT is taxing on your body and may lead to overtraining.

Prioritize Weight Training

Mesomorphs have thick, strong muscles, which allows them to engage in more advanced forms of sport-specific training, states the NASM. Weight training is generally a good choice, whether you want to get leaner or build mass. The American Council on Exercise recommends lifting moderate-to-heavy weights five days a week.

Depending on your preferences, you can train one muscle group per day or do full-body circuits. Another option is to split your routine into upper- and lower-body workouts. A five-day split routine may look like this:

  • Monday: Chest
  • Tuesday: Legs and abs
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Back
  • Friday: Shoulders and abs
  • Saturday: Biceps and triceps
  • Sunday: Rest

Choose three to four exercises for each muscle group and perform at least three sets of eight to 12 reps, recommends the American Council on Exercise. Increase the load once you're able to complete 12 reps with perfect form. As you progress, try more advanced lifting techniques to prevent plateaus and keep your muscles guessing.

Read more: 11 Simple Ways to Add Variety to Your Strength-Training Routine

According to the American Council on Exercise, super sets involve training opposing muscle groups with little or no rest between exercises. If, say, you want to work your chest and back, you can do chest presses followed by barbell rows.

Drop sets, on the other hand, involve gradually reducing the weight used for a given exercise and doing as many sets as possible without rest until you reach muscle failure. A mesomorph workout may also include pyramid sets, partial reps, forced reps and other lifting techniques.

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