Feel like you’ve gotten very unlikely when it comes to your genetics? Do you look onward as you guys in the gym who pretty much just have to pick up a weight and they’re building muscle fast?
Do you feel like no matter what you do, that just doesn’t seem to happen – at all.
If you are hitting the gym workouts regularly but making no progress at all and feel like your genetics may be to blame, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate the program you are using.
There is absolutely no reason why genetics has to hold you back in the gym, but that said, there is also absolutely no reason to do the same workout as the guy next to you.
Different Body Types & Your Genetics…
Realize that you are unique and your body is going to respond very differently to any given protocol than the guy next to you, so unless you carefully assess your body type and how it’s responding and then make some adjustments from there, you are very likely to find yourself spinning your wheels and getting more frustrated than ever.
To help you get through this frustrating time and actually start being able to build muscle just like everyone else, let’s walk you through some of the implications genetics will have on the type of workout that you should be doing.
You’re Skinny And Seem To Stay That Way
The very first body type to look at and consider is what’s referred as the ectomorph. Basically, this is someone who is naturally very thin.
You eat and eat and eat, and still no weight gain. It’s like your body is a human garburator. You just don’t know where all that food goes.
You’re also someone who may have hit the gym for years, without much luck, and eventually stopped going. You were doing five workouts per week and stressing your muscles as much as you could, but they were just not responding.
That right there is likely the reason why. The biggest problem these ‘skinny’ guys face is doing too much work. They figure that since they are so skinny, this means that they should be working out more. They have more progress to make compared to the next guy.
But this is entirely wrong. The reason this is counterproductive is because as a skinny guy, you don’t have the recovery capacity to do that much volume. If you go to the gym and perform a 30 set workout, you’re digging yourself so deep into the recovery hole that it’ll take you days to climb out.
Plus, in doing all these additional sets, you’re burning up calories like mad – calories that could have helped you build muscle.
The naturally skinny guy needs to realize that the secret to his success is taxing his muscles slightly and then focusing on maintaining as high of a calorie surplus as possible.
It’s not abnormal to see individuals like this requiring 4000 to 5000 calories per day just to start gaining muscle, so as you can see, the fewer you burn off through exercise, the easier it’s going to be to maintain that surplus.
The workout program for the guy who’s naturally skinny should be kept lower in volume. This means 10-15 sets total per session. While this may not seem like much, if you are pushing each set hard and using the proper exercises, it’ll still definitely give your body the challenge you’re looking for.
Keep your rep range lower to the 5-8 reps. There’s no need for a skinny guy to go too much higher as endurance work is not what you’re after.
Then when it comes to your exercise selection, make sure that you’re picking the most compound movements possible. Bench pressing, squatting, deadlifting, and rowing are all great choices.
The key is to work as many muscle fibers all at once so that you can do fewer total exercises per workout session, while still targeting all the muscles you needed to.
This is what will help you keep your volume level lower.
The naturally skinny guy must also make sure that he is taking sufficient rest time off between workouts as well. Aim for 2-3 days off per week from all exercise. Remember, your body has an impaired recovery ability, so make sure you are tending to its needs. This means more time spent relaxing and recovering.
If you do these things as a skinny guy, you should find that you are making great progress.
Can’t Build Muscle And You’re Just Building Fat
Does it seem like you hit the gym and rather than gaining muscle, you’re just adding fat?
That scale is definitely going up, but it is not going up in a favorable manner. If so, you are the classic endomorph. You tend to store your food when you eat it, resulting in body fat gain when calories are taken high enough.
You are basically the opposite of our skinny guy up above.
So what can you do?
How can you overcome this genetic issue and still see success?
The key for the endomorph is going to be to really pay close attention to the level of surplus utilized and take the volume up higher than normal.
This will increase the total calorie burn, therefore helping to keep fat gain at bay, while also further depleting muscle glycogen levels, ensuring that you store your carbohydrates there and not in your body fat cells.
Endomorphs will need to focus on slower rates of muscle growth since they should only be slightly above maintenance with their intake, but the trade-off benefit is that by doing so, they will stay much leaner.
Endomorphs can also add more isolation moves to their workout so they aren’t just doing the compound exercises primarily as the ectomorphs did. It’s a good idea to start with the compound movements and then end with the isolation moves to fully exhaust the body and bring yourself to a full point of fatigue.
Finally, they should also consider adding in some cardio training as well. 1-2 sessions per week can help to keep the fat burning enzymes in the body active so they are better primed to burn up body fat throughout the day when they are not exercising. This cardio session can either come in the form of steady state cardio training for 30-60 minutes or else interval training where intense intervals and active rest periods are alternated back and forth.
So there you have the two genetic types – apart from the natural muscle building, the mesomorph who can virtually do almost any program and see results – and how they should structure their workout protocol.
It’s vital that you do give your body type and workout programming a high level of attention because it could really make or break the progress you see. Put an endomorph on an ectomorph’s workout or vice versa and both individuals would wind up highly frustrated after months of hard work.
By matching the workout to the body type however, excellent results can be seen.
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