Always feel like you’re the weakest in the gym? Being an ectomorph, for many, is just as bad as being an endomorph who’s overweight.
Try as you might, you just can’t seem to put on weight – fat or muscle. – and frustration sets in on a continual basis. Not to mention, with the plethora of conflicting information out there, trying to get educated on the right nutrition and fitness practices can seem like a mine field.
An ectomorph is described as someone who is naturally quite thin and has a metabolism that runs along at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, when you eat more, it just runs faster.
If you have this particular body type, you need to approach weight gain and muscle building differently than the average individual. Since your body doesn’t act in an ‘average’ way, you can’t use the same approach.
Let’s look at seven ectomorph-specific weight gain tips that you need to know and abide by.
Tip #1: Do Less In The Gym
Contrary to what you might think, you should actually do less in the gym if you hope to gain weight. Far too many naturally thin people think that they need to be in the gym six days a week for at least an hour a day.
After all, since they are so thin, this must mean they need to do more to build muscle, right?
Wrong. The problem with this thinking is that it fails to realise that, as a skinny person, you just don’t have the same recovery system that the average person does. Remember, muscle is built when you are resting. In the gym, you are actually breaking your muscle tissue down.
So the more time you spend in the gym and the less time you spend resting, the less time you are giving yourself to build that muscle mass.
An ectomorph should limit his gym sessions to 3-4 per week, staying in the gym for 45 minutes or so per session. That’s all that’s needed to see optimal results.
As you plan these sessions, be sure to focus more on compound movements and exercise, and less on the isolation work that you might be doing right now. You will get more of a hormonal response from the larger compound moves like squats, deadlifts, shoulder press, bench press and rows, which will in turn help you build muscle faster.
If you’re too busy doing bicep curls, lateral raises, and leg extensions in the gym to focus on those above mentioned moves, your program is far less effective than it could be.
Tip #2: Track Those Calories
As an ectomorph, you might be putting yourself on a ‘see-food’ diet. Basically, if you see it, you eat it. In other words, you don’t worry about tracking calories. Tracking calories is for those looking for weight loss, you may think.
Wrong. It’s just as important for you to track calories as it is for someone who hopes to lose weight. Why? If you don’t track calories, you have no way of knowing for sure how many you are getting in.
Most naturally thin people tend to overestimate the number of calories they’re consuming, meaning they’re not eating nearly as much as they think they are.
In order to see results, an ectomorph needs learn how to increase their calorie intake. If they aren’t seeing results, it usually comes down to one simple reason: they aren’t eating more calories than they are using.
Tracking calories is a simple and effective way of ensuring you are eating enough calories to see results.
Tip #3: Prioritise Sleep
The next tip is to prioritise sleep. If you try and get by with six or seven hours of sleep, this could seriously be hindering your success.
Sleep is when your body goes into deep recovery mode and when you can be sure that you are recovering and building muscle. Sleep is also when your body releases growth hormones, which is a key to jumpstarting the rate that you are burning fat.
Aim for eight to nine hours of sleep a night. If building muscle is important to you, you need to find a way to incorporate this into your routine.
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Tip #4: Ditch Food With A Low Calorie Density
As an ectomorph, you will want to avoid foods with a low calorie density.
What do we mean by that? Basically, avoid food that you need to eat a lot of in order to make any significant calorie gains.
A great example of food with a high calorie density is cooked oatmeal. A small serving will give you a big boost of energy and keep you feeling fuller for longer. A quarter cup of oatmeal will contain approximately 80 calories. Since your stomach can only hold so much food, so you will want to focus on getting the best ‘bang for your buck’, so to speak.
Some great calorie-dense foods include:
Tip #5: Eat Every Few Hours
Eating little and often is a great way to ensure your body constantly has the fuel it requires.
If you have to eat 4000+ calories per day (which is not uncommon for most ectomorphs), it’s far easier to get these calories in by dividing them up into 6-8 meals over the course of the day compared to 3 large, 1000+ calorie meals.
Your stomach simply won’t handle that much food that well and you’ll be left feeling sluggish for much of the day.
By fueling your body on a continuous basis and eating 400-500 calories per meal, you will keep your energy levels at a consistent level.
Make sure that each meal you eat contains a good levels of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats to make it as balanced as possible.ip #6: Make Good Use Of Shakes
Another great way to get your calorie intake up is to make good use of shakes. These are convenient and quick options that will help you hit your daily calorie target. Blending together ingredients means you can up the calorie intake per serving.
Do steer clear of commercially prepared weight gainers however. While these may seem like a good idea, as many have 500+ calories per scoop, they are often loaded with sugar and are only going to provide your body with empty calories. They will leave you feeling hungry again quite quickly and won’t give you the nutrition that you need.
Prepare your own so that you can control exactly what goes into each shake.
Tip #7: Watch Your Extra Activity
Finally, the last tip to remember is to watch your extra activity level. Those who are ectomorphs tend to be rather fidgety in nature, meaning try as they might, they just can’t sit still.
They may find that they tend to pace around often, jiggle their foot, or are constantly doing other activities throughout the day because they are so restless.
If this is you, it’s time to focus on slowing down. All this extra activity is going to dramatically increase your total daily calorie burn, meaning you will need to eat even more food than you already do to gain weight.
All this extra activity is actually a prominent reason in explaining why many ectomorphs have that particular body type.
If you can relax and slow down a bit, you might come to find that you will achieve your weight gain goals a little easier.
This will take you some time to get rid of this habit as it’s something that’s been ingrained in you. But, if you can look at your overall daily schedule and try and find ways to relax and take it easy more often, you’ll soon get used to it.
So there you have some of the best tips for any ectomorph who is trying to build muscle to know and remember. It’s vital that you make some adjustments to how you are living, exercising and eating or you will not see the desired results.
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