You’ve heard about the three body types, and you’re pretty darn sure you’re the big one. Uh… the Endomorph yes!
You struggle to lose weight, and you could never be as lean as the Ectomorph. “You have a genetic advantage, it’s literally your body type!” you try and console yourself…
The reality is that any body type can get ripped, it merely depends on how hard you work. To find out how to get ripped regardless of your body type, keep reading…
Are There Really “Body Types”?
Science has come a long way since the 1940s, and civilization has boomed as a result of it. That being said, back in the early 1940s, a psychologist named W.H. Sheldon had a pretty revolutionary idea regarding human biology.
He theorized that humans (all of humankind) can be split up into three respective groups depending on what their bodies looked like, called Somatotypes. Not just that, but they figured not only could this be an indication of your health, but even intelligence and future success.
The idea caught on pretty rapidly and was accepted by some, and disputed by others. It later died off, but with the rise of social media and every person looking to make a quick buck, the idea is back.
Somatotypes can be split into 3 main groups and a few subgroups in between:
Ectomorphs are your typical “hard gainer”. Imagine the high school kid who eats everything in sight and simply cannot gain an ounce of weight.
They might have shredded abs, but those shoulders aren’t very wide and those legs ain’t stomping anytime soon.
Ectomorphs are usually individuals who struggle to gain weight, regardless of how much they eat. They also struggle to develop muscle tissue and muscle strength in the gym, but even though they are so light and small, they don’t seem to do terribly well in athletic events such as running.
- Narrow shoulders with little to no muscle tone
- Flat chest
- Has abs, but they don’t look particularly “good”
- Small legs, and very underdeveloped calves
- High metabolism and struggles to gain weight
Mesomorphs are the Captain America of the Somatotypes. The perfect one, the one with great genes, and the one we all want to be.
They usually not only have really great bone structure but also really good hair and skin? Hey, that’s unfair…
You can spot these people easily as they have nice, broad shoulders with a small waist, a big, full chest, and quads to match. Typically, if you’re envious of someone’s physique, there’s a good chance they’re a Mesomorph.
- Good muscle tone with little fat
- Broad shoulders with a small waist
- Large arms and chest, with quads just as big
- Generally, look healthier
- Can gain or lose weight quite easily
These are the big fellas. When something heavy needs to be moved you call these people because they are just inherently strong.
They usually also carry a bit more weight, especially around the abdomen.
These folk struggle to lose weight, but as a plus, they are some of the strongest people on the planet. Imagine The Mountain from Game of Thrones. Broad from head to toe, just really big people.
- Big, strong, and usually very friendly people
- Broad shoulders but also broad hips
- Can suffer from High Blood Pressure very easily due to their weight
- Struggle to lose weight, but gains muscle and strength very easily
Are they Real?
Here’s a hot take…
NO! SOMATYPES DO NOT EXIST!
All of the humankind cannot be summarized into three categories based on how broad your shoulders are and whether or not you gain weight easily.
These Somatypes have never been proven in any scientific study, and have remained nothing but a disproven hypothesis from the 1940s. The idea has stuck around till today when people try to monetize it like they do almost everything else on the planet.
There are certain types of bodies, yes. Some people are tall, some people have shorter legs, and some people have longer torsos, but the idea that all human genetics can be summarized into three singular types is laughable.
So, the truth is, that your body type is based on the genetic code that you received from your parents and is dismally complex.
So, How Does Anyone Get Ripped?
Getting ripped may seem like a big goal, and while it may be enormous, it’s actually pretty darn simple to get ripped. We’ll be going through the steps in detail in a minute (go do cardio in that minute so long) but for now, getting ripped requires three things:
- A Decent amount of muscle mass
- A very low amount of fat mass
- Management of Stress
The idea of being ripped is simply a state in which you live, where your body is mostly living off stored body fat as energy, thus giving you a leaner look. This is not sustainable, as staying lean for too long can have detrimental impacts.
Further than that, being ripped isn’t for everyone. Because you’ll be placing stress on your body through training and diet, you should ideally not be suffering from high stress, and you should actually have time to train.
That being said, it is possible for anyone to get lean – provided they work hard and are realistic about their goals. If it took you several years to get where you are now, it will not be reversed by 4-5 weeks of dieting.
Now, let’s get (to the choppa!) the nitty-gritty of being as ripped as Arnold was. There are really only three things you need to be doing:
Even though I train abs 3 – 5 times per week (because I like lifting heavy and I don’t want to develop a hernia) I know that abs are made in the kitchen. What that means is that you have to be eating a certain way to get shredded.
In order for your body to actually “burn fat” it needs to use that fat as energy! This means we need to create an environment where energy is “missing”, so the body will use that stored fat as energy.
We do this by following a calorie deficit.
This means eating lower amounts of food, and usually increasing our physical activity, as both can help you achieve that calorie deficit. To calculate how many calories you need, you can use the following tools:
- MyFitnessPal has a built-in calorie needs calculator
- You can use the Harris-Benedict Equation
- You could try to calculate it by trial and error, seeing how many calories are needed to simply maintain your weight
Once you have established the number of calories needed to sustain your current body weight, we need to remove some calories to create that deficit we just mentioned. You can remove 10 – 15% of the total calories to start off with.
Now that you have your calories, how are you going to decide what to eat? Well, certain Macronutrients (Protein, Carbs, and Fats) have certain effects on the body, and thus you need to split your macros accordingly:
Protein – 0.8 – 1.36g per pound of Bodyweight
Protein is the wonder food of the fitness world. Not only is protein the only food that can turn into muscle mass, but has also been shown to aid in a fat loss journey!
Having higher amounts of protein in your diet will most likely not make you fat, and will aid in muscle recovery.
Fats – 0.3 – 0.6g per pound of Bodyweight
Fats are often frowned upon, and they shouldn’t be. Fats are important for hormone production, cell health, and fat-soluble vitamins, and can even fight inflammation.
We get different types of fats and aiming to get more unsaturated fats seems to be the healthiest often.
Carbohydrates – Rest of your Calories
Carbs seem to be the best source of energy the body has to function on, especially when you are engaged in any type of resistance training. This is why you’d want more carbs than fats, but in reality, the ratio does not matter as much – as long as you remain in a calorie deficit.
As you might expect, people who are really ripped spend a lot of time training! This includes resistance training as well as cardiovascular training, as both can have positive contributions to a fat loss plan.
Resistance training refers to training that includes some type of external force. This can be weights, bands, machines, or even gravity with bodyweight training.
Why do we include resistance training when trying to get ripped you might ask?
Well, having muscle is kind of a luxury. When you fail to convince the body to keep that muscle, it will cease to hang around.
You need to give the body a legitimate reason to have muscle – and what better reason than training with resistance!
You can really try any type of training, as long as you apply progressive overload.
Progressive overload is simply “Doing more with time” – meaning you have to get stronger over time as this will provide the body with a novel stimulus to actually create new tissue.
Cardio is the least fun type of training according to some, but no one can deny the health benefits associated with cardio. This includes better health markers such as lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
For fat loss, cardio is a way to burn calories off.
Will cardio (alone) make you lean? No.
Will hours of cardio (alone) make you ripped? No.
Will high-intensity cardio make you lean? No.
The only thing that’ll make you lean is staying in a calorie deficit for a prolonged period of time. Cardio can help with that. Don’t think that you have to do hours and hours of cardio to lose fat – 10 – 20 minutes, in the beginning, is all you need; 4-5 times per week.
Lastly, choose a cardio style you enjoy! Go hiking, or take the dog for a walk.
As long as you remain consistent with your efforts and intensity, it’s a viable source of cardio!
Recovery is the one most people forget about, and unfortunately, this is what keeps people from reaching their goals often. You need to give your body time to recover and replenish, or it will bite you in the butt and refuse to change.
Recovery can be summarized into a few points:
- A healthy diet rich in protein, carbohydrates, and micronutrients
- Sleeping more than 7 hours per night
- Not training too much (limit it to 7 – 10 total sessions per week)
- Keeping volume relative (don’t do too much work per session)
- Managing external stressors to lower cortisol
Basically, you want to be the “chill” person for the entire day, but be an animal while training. You could potentially also look to get a soft tissue massage or meditate to increase recovery and decrease stress respectively.
So, Can Any Body Type Get Ripped?
Yes, any person can get ripped. Body types (somatotypes) simply do not exist, and no study has ever found credible evidence regarding their existence. This means that living your life according to a disproved hypothesis from the 1940s is silly.
You’re better off identifying where YOU need to be working. Do you have trouble staying on a diet, or do you not like your current training style?
Solve those problems, and every other small problem, and eventually you’ll make progress.
Getting ripped is so simple, yet particular. The steps are easy to execute but can take some time to master.
Give yourself some time to master these, and be okay with the fact that no one is perfect.
Do the best you can every day with your genetics. Remember, when it comes to fitness, one size never fits all.
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