When I Was Young...
As a kid I was definitely an Ectomorph. I use to stay up all night long eating chips, drinking Pepsi, playing games, and never sleeping. I could eat once a day, ten times a day, and living on a pure fat diet and never gain weight. As good as this was at the time, it became a problem when I started weight-lifting, but not immediately as people would assume.
When I began weight-lifting I had great success initially. I grew quickly, and became considerably stronger despite my horrible overtraining. Sounds like a pretty standard thing to happen to a person who just begins weight-lifting, but a lot of people do not get the results they expect quickly enough and give up, but this wasn't a problem for me.
In previous articles I have thanked my high protein diet for this, and I still do, but that's hardly the point. Soon I began hitting plateaus and my weight wouldn't increase, I was a skinny guy and I wasn't getting any bigger. It was only years later that I ever knew what the word Ectomorph meant, but that was me, an Ectomorph. Nothing really changed until college, then I hit a change, but hardly for the better.
In college I ate, and I ate a lot. A lot of people gain weight their first year of college, I'm not sure why, food has always been around, why do people eat more of it at university, or maybe its just the thousands upon thousands of empty calories everyone is consuming from alcohol, whatever the case, I gain weight along with them. It was about this time that I understood that being in the gym didn't make you gain weight, eating did.
So on top of an already easily-to-gain-weight environment, I was also attempting to "bulk". By the end of that year I had gained roughly 20 pounds, and I'd say most of it was fat. I didn't think it was possible for my body to even store fat, but I definitely had gained a noticeable gut. I realized that my metabolism was slowing down, combined with my bulking diet and lack of cardio, plus excessive drinking, it would be impossible not to gain fat. I believe my body type went from Ecto to Endo/Meso in just a year, and if I had my choice I'd go back to Ecto.
First off Ectomorphs have the definition Endomorphs can't acquire. Ectomorphs also have to do less cardio and can be slightly more open on their diet. I have only found a couple advantages to the change. And considering I believe I have experienced a little bit of both worlds, I think I can safely describe the differences to you. Being more Endomorphic has given me much more strength. My lifts are all much higher than they were when I was lighter. Mass doesn't always equal strength, so just because I gained weight it shouldn't automatically be assumed that I would get stronger, but I did.
I believe that is an advantage to anyone looking for strength, bulking may be a good idea. The only other thing I like about being more Endomorphic is that muscle, while no where near as defined as before, shows up much better under clothes, and I am much more recognizable as a bodybuilder no matter what I am wearing. Having great definition is all well and good, but if you are thin and aren't very broad a lot of people might not even notice you lift. My shoulders have become much broader, and my chest shows through shirts easily.
I wanted to discuss my transformation with you because many people don't like their body type and believe there is nothing they can do about it and it won't change. But things do change as you get older. Muscle does find its way on the body, no matter how small the body may start. Eating the right food is very important. The idea of bulking is not to consume all the empty calories you can find, if all calories were created equal, as some people may believe they are, then getting wasted on vodka every night would be the perfect bodybuilding experience. That is not the case however. You must eat high protein food.
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Keep those carbs close to your workouts, they aren't beneficial and are often harmful during the rest of the day, especially close to bed time. The real key to changing your body type is the change in lifestyle that goes with it. You must change your diet and training routine to make a large difference in your body, don't think that changing either alone will work for you.
Also I get a lot of e-mails asking tips on how to train or what do eat for a certain type of body. Everyone's body is different, and you must find what works for you, along the way of my bodybuilding journey I stumbled along what works for me, but I only did it after countless mistakes, some things I believe everyone should follow for a better body are:
- Have a protein/carb drink immediately after a workout, and have a good high protein meal with an hour after that.
- Keep workouts short, 45 minutes would be ideal.
- Train each body part once a week, any more is over-training. The only exceptions may be calves and abs, as they seem to be able to recover quicker.
- Keep cardio separate from weight-lifting
- Sleep at least 8 hours a night.
Those are just some tips to follow. There are many things different people believe in, so it is very hard to give general advice that could apply to everyone, but those things seem to be agreed upon by a large number of people. They worked for me, and it's the reason I'm here writing what will hopefully be an encouraging article for you.