Don’t train again until you have read this article.

I received an email the other day which stated, minus the rude language, “Why should I read your weight loss books, when other trainers and authors compete in bodybuilding, you don’t?”

Now, I’m not sharing this with you in the hope of gaining sympathy or support, it is my choice. At the end of the day those trainers who compete in bodybuilding have a passion to do so, I don’t.

My passion is working with obese individuals in “results guaranteed' programs. If you have read my previous articles, you will be aware that I work at weight loss retreats, and as an example, last week went on bushwalks totalling 17 hours. One of the days last week I even went on a bushwalk with a bootcamp group followed immediately by a weight loss group, totalling 5 ½ hours straight.

I think any sane person understands that a bodybuilder is not going to spend this amount of time per day, expending thousands of calories, to achieve their muscle mass. That is their choice, this is mine. I love this type of work and making a life-changing difference in peoples’ lives.

But this article is not about answering a question, for sympathy or to sell myself so you buy my weight loss books. It’s about understanding your body type in order to train and eat appropriately to achieve amazing results.

For anyone who has read my background, I left high school weighing 50kg and learnt the principles and tips of training and nutrition to pack on muscle. But to do this I first had to understand that I am an Ectomorph. Simply, I lose weight quickly. When I am sick I lose weight fast. I can eat junk food and not gain a kilo. And cardiovascular training makes me lose weight so quick it is ridiculous. So imagine now, bushwalking for 5 hours a day.

With the understanding that I am an Ectomorph, to gain the weight and muscle that I desired, I cut cardio completely; drank no alcohol; I ate 6 times per day; I ensured my calorie intake exceeded my expenditure; and I ate from quality protein sources with a massive amount of carbs. And... I gained over 20kgs.

More so, I learnt that for my body type, if I wasn’t strict and skipped meals, I lose weight quick. I learnt that cardio is counterproductive to me gaining muscle; therefore before working at weight loss retreats I limited cardio to 15 minutes max. I also learnt that if I didn’t maintain weight training, I lose muscle.

Even at the moment I am constantly struggling to maintain my weight due to the excessive cardio that I do working at weight loss retreats. Why?

Without correct training and nutrition for my body type, my body goes back to my skinny days where my body is most comfortable.

But the question you’re probably asking is:

How can I understand my body type to take my weight loss results to new levels, and to stop regaining my former weight?

Generally, those I deal with attempting to lose weight are Endomorphs. Simply, an Endomorph is a person who works hard but struggles to lose weight, as they have a slow metabolism and store fat easily.

A few Endomorph characteristics include:

  • Extremely difficult to lose weight;
  • Naturally high levels of fat;
  • Easily regains lost weight;
  • Round shaped body, or pear shaped;
  • Wide hips and waist;
  • Usually big boned, large joints and frame;
  • Short, tapering arms and legs;
  • Slow metabolism;
  • Bouts of fatigue and laziness;
  • Lack energy;
  • Stores excess calories as fat;
  • Carb sensitive (carbs generally stored as fat);
  • Even if they don’t eat much, they tend to be overweight.

Does this sound like you?

Due to an endomorph generally being carb sensitive, when they consume a high amount of carbohydrates they put on weight, very quickly.

Can you see the difference and importance of understanding your body type to achieve amazing results?

In my personal example as an Ectomorph, I need to eat a high carb diet and I still struggle to put on weight. However, if an Endomorph ate the exact same nutritional plan they would put on weight due to the fact an Endomorph generally receives quicker and greater results on a low to moderate carbohydrate diet with higher protein.

It is therefore essential to eat and train appropriately for your body type. Along with a low to moderate carbohydrate diet with higher protein, Endomorphs should:

  • Eat clean and healthy almost all of the time as the body is very sensitive;
  • Steer clear of processed and refined foods;
  • Grilled instead of fried;
  • Most Endomorphs lose fat training 4-5 days a week, however extreme Endomorphs usually need cardio every day of the week. Aim for around 45-60 minutes of high intensity cardio;
  • Don’t neglect strength training, particularly exercises such as squats, lunges, leg presses, bent over rows.... which are extremely effective for stimulating the metabolism;
  • Be disciplined. It takes hard work, discipline and time to lose weight being an Endomorph, so stick to your training and nutritional plan;
  • Be consistent, even if you lose weight and reach your desired weight, it is essential to continue eating and training well. If you stop you will quickly regain your lost weight.

Again, note the difference in body types, being an Ectomorph I limit cardio to 15 minutes max a day, yet for an Endomorph, cardio is vital in large amounts. So if you are given a one-size fits all training program, forget it. Remember the principle of Individuality in my weight loss books, ‘The Tips Personal Trainers Don’t Tell You’   

Do you know somebody who trains 5-6 days of the week, eats fairly well and yet, are overweight. The truth is they are training and eating wrong for their body type and hence, the reason for their weight issues despite training consistently.

Don’t let your training and nutritional plan make, and keep, you fat.

Thank you for reading to the end. I understand that it is a longer article than normal. However, by understanding your body type you will improve your results exceptionally.


Phil Hartshorn

Author of weight loss books ‘The Tips Personal Trainers Don’t Tell You’