Let’s talk about body shape today! Here is the synopsis:
- What are the three body types and how do they affect your training?
- How does a riders body type affect their riding?
- Does my body type matter when it comes to riding?
- How many calories should I eat?
- How can I change my body shape?
There are 3 main categories but you can also be a mixture.
- Ectomorph: Lean and long, with difficulty building muscle
- Endomorph: Big, high body fat, often pear-shaped, with a high tendency to store body fat
- Mesomorph: Muscular and well-built, with a high metabolism and responsive muscle cells
How does this translate to exercise?
Depending on your body type you may be better suited to a particular type of activity and by that I mean you will find it easier. Ectomorphs will find it easier to run distances, Endomorphs will find it easier to do slow sustained cardio and weights and Mesomorphs will find it easier to weight train with small amounts of high-intensity cardio.
Have a look HERE to see which body type you may be!
How does a riders body type affect their riding?
will often feel fatigued more easily as they have less muscle mass and they burn energy at a higher resting rate when doing nothing. When they are active, the body will choose to use muscle as an energy source when glycogen (carbohydrates) are depleted and because the body has little fat stores, it is the only other option available.
For you, nutrition is key. If you are riding regularly each week, or multiple horses you are more likely to ‘burn out’. Whilst us equestrians push through, you will more often than not be surviving on caffeine, high sugar foods, fruit, and snacks.
By eating more of the right foods (nutritionally rich protein, carbs, and fat), you are highly unlikely to put on fat, however, if you continue to not feed your body what it needs you to put yourself at risk from injury. A ratio of roughly 50% of calories should be from good carbs (not sugars) and 25% from both protein and fats.
In addition to affecting your performance and putting you at risk of injury, not eating correctly can also go as far as changing the appearance of your skin and the speeding up the aging process.
High levels of cardio are not ideal for Ectomorphs either. You are best suited to a strength training programme to increase lean muscle mass (long sleek muscle) to help reduce the risk of injury, protect joints and give you the ability to ride with less fatigue and more energy.
can often feel sluggish with low energy levels. You will find it challenging to lose body fat and unfortunately will need to work harder than the other body types to lose it. When the body is active its primary source of energy will be glycogen and this is typically in abundance so the body rarely has to seek an alternative energy source.
Changing the types of foods that you eat and breaking meals into smaller ones will help the body to increase its metabolism. Avoid carb-heavy foods and seek a higher protein intake with an average of good fats.
When you are carb reliant, reducing them is hard. Initially. You will adjust and feel so much better for it. Eat an abundance of vegetables to replace that ‘full’ feeling you would normally get from rich carb sources (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes). A rough ratio of 30% of calories should be from carbs and 35% for both protein and fat.
Having excess fat weight not only increases your risk of a number of health-related issues but it can also put undue stress on your body. You will probably find that your posture isn’t great and you feel tension, tightness and have a fair few aches and pains.
Due to the body carrying more, it has to work even harder when you ride. The body will look for a way to perform movement using muscles that are not designed to do such jobs. Mainly because the postural muscles used when riding are tired and fatigued from life itself.
Performing long bouts of cardio are also not the answer for you. I always promote strength training and more so with Endomorphs than others. Muscle increases the metabolism meaning you burn more calories at rest! So, not only does it make you stronger, increase your mobility and stability but you benefit when you are doing nothing!
Due to the stress already placed on the body, I would recommend low impact cardio exercises such as walking, cross trainer or boxing and for periods of no longer 15minutes in total.
are often at a happy medium but this can cause them to become complacent. Having a natural ability to build lean muscle and lose fat fairly rapidly. When the body is active it will use glycogen as energy, then fat and lastly muscle. Because the body provides the best of both worlds, it is easy to become complacent in the way that you eat and exercise which can sometimes lead to putting on fat and then dropping, on and off during the course of your lifetime.
A Mesomorphs diet is generally higher in calories as muscle uses more and needs more to maintain. This is a good thing used wisely. Yes, you can get away with eating more ‘cupboard’ food but these lack in nutritional value which will affect your mood, energy, and performance as a rider. Also, it doesn’t mean you can’t put on fat weight at all, especially if you are consuming more calories than you are burning. Typically mesomorphs respond best to an equal division of 1/3 of Protein, Carbs, and Fats.
To be completely honest, most riders don’t know if they are this body type. Purely because they are not exercising correctly by building muscle to sustain their natural type or see muscle as ‘bulky’ so restrict calories to reduce the ‘bulk’ and end up going hugely affecting performance and feeling like it is a constant battle.
Typically mesomorphs respond best to an equal division of 1/3 of Protein, Carbs, and Fats but work with your body and adjust depending on how it makes you feel and look judged over a period of time, not within a week. Not only will you feel better and stronger but you will also increase your energy levels and performance as a rider.
Does my body type matter when it comes to riding?
No, we are all different shapes and sizes but if you are lacking in rider fitness, strength, straightness, and balance but are happy generally then look for a programme or trainer that will work on your riding weaknesses.
How many calories should I eat?
This is another blog as there are a fair few things to consider. Finish reading this blog and then click >>HERE<< to read calculate your needed calorie intake.
How can I change my body shape?
It may alter as you age and you can work with your body to adapt it to an appearance that you would prefer but you will have to work hard and it won’t happen overnight. For example, if you are an Ectomorph, you can build lean muscle and have more curves and shape but it can take a couple of years and you will constantly be fighting your bodies ‘natural’ level of happiness.
The best advice I can give you is to find a Fitness Expert with real-life experience working with a variety of clients. One size does not fit all and it will take you and your expert time, working together to find out what works for you and what doesn’t. This goes beyond just diet and training, you also need to take into consideration your lifestyle, barriers and budget.
You can try on your own but there is so much confusing information available on the internet it will often cause you to yo-yo between methods when you don’t see results after a few weeks.
Changing your body type is possible as I mentioned before but it will take time. This is something you must accept. If you are looking for a quick fix, it is not going to happen.
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