WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A MESOMORPH?
Often times, mesomorphic body types are referred to as the preferred body type because mesomorphs easily put on muscle and appear athletic in stature. Mesomorphs have broader shoulders and slimmer waists which helps give them a fit appearance. However, each body type has its advantages and disadvantages.
Individuals with mesomorphic body types have the ability to lose weight quickly when they adhere to a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates accompanied by the right style of exercise. Interestingly, mesomorphs also have the ability to gain weight quickly when eating a diet high in calories from the wrong sources such as high-sugar foods. Most mesomorphs have the following traits:
- Naturally strong, lean and muscular
- Medium size joints/bones
- Wider at the shoulders than the hips
- Female mesomorphs: hour glass or pear shaped figure
- Male mesomorphs: V or rectangular shape
Mesomorphs have an efficient metabolism and are usually very athletic. If you have ever had a friend who can go to the gym over a three-week span and miraculously see their body transform, they are probably a mesomorph. Mesomorphic body types respond quickly to exercise and losing fat oftentimes is almost effortless. We all know weight loss does not occur in the gym, it happens in the kitchen, but for this somatotype it takes a little less work.
SO, WHAT SHOULD MESOMORPHS EAT TO ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS?
Those with a mesomorphic body type should have a balanced diet. That means eating foods high in protein, consuming the proper amounts of fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
Mesomorphs should try to consume a diet that is approximately:
- Carbohydrates: 40 percent
- Protein: 30 percent
- Fats: 30 percent
Mesomorphs should consume carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit and whole grains. Carbohydrates such as these provide fiber, which contributes to satiety but also offer a host of phytonutrients or antioxidants that help repair the damage caused by oxidative stress that naturally occurs in the body. Choices for fruits and vegetables should come from a variety of sources and vary in color. Healthy fats like seeds, nuts, nut butters, olive oil and avocado are a great way to ensure you are getting adequate amounts of good fats high in omega fatty acids.
- Complex Carbs (brown rice, quinoa and oatmeal)
- Fruit (berries, peaches, apples and papaya)
- Vegetables (broccoli, beets, carrots and kale)
In general, it is suggested that mesomorphs eat 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight, but for a mesomorph that is interested in adding more muscle mass, the amount of protein will be slightly more, 0.8-1.5 g of protein per pound of body weight.
- Lean meats
- Fatty fish
- Dark Chocolate
- Nuts, seeds and nut butters
Although mesomorphs may have it easy in regards to putting on muscle, they can put on fat easily as well. As mesomorphs begin to age, their metabolism slows. Due to this, they may notice gradual weight gain. Here are a few simple ways to help maintain a healthy weight:
- Although mesomorphs have very efficient metabolism, try not to indulge in foods that are high in calories because inevitably you will gain weight. Remember, mesomorphs are easygainers (fat and muscle).
- When you work out, train in a balanced way that incorporates aerobic and muscle strengthening activities. If you want to gain muscle, spend more time on muscle strengthening. But ,if your goal is to lose fat mass, you will need to increase your aerobic exercise.
- Use a variety of workout regimens ranging in the number of repetitions, tempos and methods.
- Drink water to keep your body hydrated. As you work out, you lose fluids. It is important to replenish what was lost.
- Remain physically active and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
EXERCISE BEST PRACTICES FOR MESOMORPHS
Mesomorphs tend to have an advantage over other somatotypes when it comes to achieving their fitness goals, whether it is building muscle mass or burning body fat. These individuals develop muscle at a much greater rate than ectomorphs but can burn fat a greater rate than endomorphs. This somatotype responds well to both aerobic and resistance training.
Mesomorph have a high aerobic capacity and excel in high endurance workouts. Cardiovascular exercise for mesomorphs ultimately depends on your current physique and training goals. Generally, mesomorphs should engage in cardio at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes, approximately three times per week for overall maintenance of health.
- Mesomorphs with less body fat and/or those who seek to gain muscle mass can focus more on resistance training and perform cardio a few times per week; 20-30 minutes of cardio after your workout will ensure you stay lean.
- Mesomorphs with more body fat and/or those who seek to lose body fat can focus more on cardio. Perform steady-state cardio and high-intensity interval training (HIIT), each two to three times per week. This combination of training will help maximize your body’s natural fat-burning capabilities.
Mesomorphs thrive in strength training thanks to their naturally thick and dense muscle composition. This advantage helps these individuals manage physical stress at a high frequency and high intensity. Due to this advantage, it is imperative to implement 30 seconds up to two-minute rest periods between sets. This lessens the chance of incurring injury (mesomorphs are more prone to injury due to over training compared with other somatotypes) and helps increase performance. If you are training with heavy weight or performing many sets, increase your rest periods.
- Mesomorphs need variety in their workouts and benefit from switching between moderate and heavy weight as well as lower and higher repetitions sessions.
- Include both compound and isolation exercises during resistance training. Isolation exercises involve single-joint movements and concentrate on a single muscle group (in conjunction with stabilization muscles), as opposed to compound exercises which place an emphasis on multiple muscle group. These exercises are especially beneficial for mesomorphs who are looking increase muscle mass and volume, want to correct a muscle imbalance or need to rest other muscle groups. Incorporate some of the following isolation exercises after your compound lifts:
- Biceps: Hammer curls, barbell curls, preacher curls
- Triceps: Tricep push-downs, overhead tricep extensions, tricep bench dips
- Chest: DB fly, incline DB press, cable chest press
- Shoulder: DB lateral raises, one-arm front cable raise
- Legs: Leg extensions, lying leg curls, calf raises
- Back: DB row, cable straight-arm pull down
†The preceding guidance is not medical advice and may not be suitable to you. Please consult with your healthcare provider prior to changing your diet or exercise regimen.
Lauren Horton, PhD.
Dr. Lauren Horton is passionate about moving patient care forward through research. As a Division Research Director, she is at the forefront of groundbreaking studies and innovation. Her dedication to advancing knowledge and solving complex problems has led to her pivotal role in shaping the future of patient care in the healthcare industry.
Dr. Horton leverages her deep insights and knack for communicating complex ideas in an accessible way to educate and engage a global audience. In her spare time, she is an avid advocate for health and wellness, dedicated to making a positive impact on the world. She believes that knowledge is a powerful tool for change and strives to empower others with the information and inspiration needed to effect meaningful transformation.
Dr. Horton loves to help improve the quality of life of those around her. She has helped men and women from all over the country discover how small steps each day can lead to huge strides towards living a healthier lifestyle.
Dr. Horton holds a BS in biology from Rust College, a MS in health economics and outcomes research from Xavier University and a PhD in biomedical science from Morehouse School of Medicine and completed her post-doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania.