exercise

Train for Your Body Type: Endomorphs -- Part 3 of 4

Endomorph Body Type

Endomorph:  Often pear-shaped, with a high tendency to store body fat

Endomorphs are adept at storing fuel, with muscle and mass concentrated in the lower body. The endomorph is the hardest body type to have in terms of managing your weight and overall fitness, but to get a more balanced physique, you should focus on developing your shoulders and stripping away excess mass from your lower body.  A low- to medium-intensity cardio plan will help you shift weight, as will a diet that’s high in fiber.

Are You an Endomorph?

If you have trouble shifting weight, the chances are you’re an endomorph, characterized by a relatively high amount of stored mass, a wide waist and a large bone structure.

What’s Going On?

The good news is that, evolutionarily speaking, you’re awesome when food was scarce, natural selection favored humans with fat-storing metabolisms. The bad news is that, now sofas and milkshakes are readily available, those genes are holding you back. Some experts suggest heredity factors might account for as much as 70% of your body mass index (BMI).

What Endomorphs Might Be Doing Wrong

First, the good bit: there’s no point in spending hours plodding away on a treadmill.  Ditch the long, slow, steady-state cardiovascular work, start doing more interval-based conditioning to strip away fat. Sprints and box jumps are great, but if you’re heavy to the point of being worried about your joints, then moves like the sled push are slower but just as intense.

And if you’re doing hundreds of crunches to try and shift your gut, ditch them now.  Spot-reducing just doesn’t work, you need to lose it from everywhere to see results.

What Endomorphs Should Be Doing

While much of the endomorph’s focus should be on shedding mass through aerobic exercise, we’re of the opinion that weight-training is best because it carries on burning calories long after your final set. What’s more, the calories you ingest during the recovery period will help your muscles grow rather than fuelling your gut. Therefore, we recommend doing four days a week of hypertrophy training (more weight, low reps) alongside your cardio.

Combine hypertrophy work – basically, muscle-building – with conditioning to strip away unwanted body mass.   A four-day split might go something like: Monday, upper-body hypertrophy; Tuesday, lower-body conditioning such as sprints or sleds; Thursday lower-body hypertrophy; and a Friday ‘repetition’ day on the upper body, when you’ll do lots of reps at relatively low weights.

What to Eat

From a nutrition perspective, a low-carb diet that still includes oats and brown rice should be complimented by a high protein and fiber intake.  Nutrients such as green tea and spinach will help with the fat burning process.  You’ll have to watch what you eat more strictly than people with other body shapes.  Get your carbs from vegetables and steer clear of processed bread and rice.

What Else?

There’s evidence that extra weight around the midsection indicates high stress levels or a low ability to handle stress.  Try to minimize the effects of the stress hormone cortisol by getting plenty of sleep and avoiding overtraining.  Also, avoid sports drinks.  They’re full of carbs and they’ll spike your blood sugar through the roof.

Money Moves

Work on bodyweight moves such as the press-up or chin-up, and moves that force you to use good technique such as the Turkish get-up.

The Endomorph Cheat Sheet

Do

  • Train with intensity

  • Watch your carb intake

  • Build your shoulders

Don’t

  • Do endless crunches

  • Jog for hours

  • Drink sports drinks

Winter is Coming: Do I Need (gulp) Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates Winter

Have you ever gone for a run outside when it’s freezing out and come home only to have a crazy cough for the next day or so?  We have too — so we did some research on winter exercise and how to stay healthy when working out in the cold. 

Working Out and Your Immune System

Until recently, many scientists believed that exercise reduces the body’s ability to fight off infections. Past studies had found, for example, that after workouts, people had fewer infection-fighting white blood cells in their bloodstreams than before working out, suggesting that their immune system had been weakened.

A new review of studies about exercise and immunity indicates that the interactions between exercise and immunity are far more intricate than scientists once suspected.  Encouragingly, it seems that a few simple precautions, including consuming carbohydrates during exhausting workouts, might help to keep our immune systems robust.

The New York Times sat down with a sports science lecturer to discuss carbohydrates and exercise.  Below is a summary of the conversation!  (for the full text click here http://nyti.ms/2xugatM)

Q. Why would exercise affect the immune system in the first place?

Dr. Peake: Exercise is a form of stress. The immune system responds to stress.

Q. What actually happens to the immune system during a workout?

Dr. Peake: White blood cell numbers typically increase in the blood during exercise, much as they would during an infection. Body temperature rises, and immune cells move from the lymph nodes, spleen, the walls of blood vessels, and the bone marrow into the bloodstream.

Q. And after exercise?

Dr. Peake: The number of white blood cells in the bloodstream, especially a type of cell that is particularly good at fighting infections known as natural killer cells, rapidly falls. People often have fewer natural killer cells in their blood after exercise than before they started. For many years, it was thought that exercise was destroying these cells and causing your immune system to be weakened.

Q. But it isn’t?

Dr. Peake: We believe that the cells are not destroyed.  It’s more likely they move out of the bloodstream and to other regions of the body.

Q. Can this development leave us particularly vulnerable to infections after a stressful workout?

Dr. Peake: Yes.

Q. What if the exercise is relatively moderate, like a brisk walk or easy jog, instead of a more intense workout?

Dr. Peake:  Evidence suggests regular moderate exercise protects against upper respiratory illnesses, whereas regular intense exercise increases the risk of upper respiratory illnesses.

Q. For people who train hard and would prefer not to repeatedly catch colds, is there any way to maintain a healthy immune response?

Dr.  Neubauer: Eating carbohydrates during vigorous exercise may help, because carbohydrates maintain blood sugar levels. Having stable blood sugar levels reduces the body’s stress response, which in turn, moderates any undesirable movement of white blood cells.

Q. How much carbohydrate? And when?

Dr. Neubauer: Most people only need carbohydrates during high-intensity or prolonged exercise that lasts for 90 minutes or more.  For them, between 30 and 60 grams — which is 1 or 2 ounces — of carbohydrates per hour during exercise could minimize immune disturbances related to exercise.  Consuming carbohydrates in the first few hours immediately after strenuous exercise also helps to restore immune function.

Q. Any additional advice for those of us who work out and wish to stay well?

Dr. Peake: Washing your hands often and avoiding contact with sick people will also help.