Workout Tips

The Mesomorph Dilemma

Even those who are genetically blessed stand to lose it all without proper upkeep. Here’s a look at the tortured lives of the lean and well-muscled.

josh bryant thumbnail by CSCS, MFS, PES
mesomorph physique

Ahh, to be a mesomorph. Comedian Jim Gaffigan famously quips, “The most annoying are those people in the gym that are exceptionally fit. I’m like, ‘What are you doing here, you’re done.’” He’s talking to you, mesos.

Mesomorphs could very easily be referred to as “easy gainers.” Naturally, mesomorphs are muscular, lean and generally more athletic – it doesn’t take a lot of work to produce a drastic body makeover. Mesomorphs are able to add muscle mass and lose body fat more rapidly than either of the other somatotypes (heavy endomorphs and skinny ectomorphs).

Still, such physical blessings still require special attention to detail, lest they be squandered. At the very least, there are things that mesos are overlooking that could help maximize results.

Mesomorph Traits

When you think mesomorph, think Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Mesomorphs have large bones and marvelously defined muscles. Generally, because of the low, narrow waist, they have a tapered V-like torso. (Rough life, right?) Mesomorphs have excellent posture, well developed arms and broad shoulders and even the fingers can have a muscled-up appearance.


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Mesomorph Challenges

Early on, mesomorphs make great gains regardless of what they do exercise-wise. On the surface this is a blessing but as one advances along, this can become a curse.  Because unsound training practices elicited gains early on, mesomorphs can be prone to developing poor training factors that make it difficult or impossible to continue making gains or to do so without sustaining injury.

Mesomorphs, when they are young, can generally eat anything and not get fat but that is not the case as they age. Even early on, the mesomorph accumulates body fat easier than the ectomorph.

Because initial gains come easy, the mesomorph may be inclined to eat whatever. Not a wise move if the goal is to look like an M&F cover model. Mesomorphs do best with a high-protein diet and a moderate carbohydrate and moderate fat intake. Mesomorphs that have gained excessive weight will initially do well with a low-carb approach.

Mesomorph Training Tips

True, mesomorphs can do most anything in the early going and see gains. But even talented athletes need to be adaptable in order to thrive in perpetuity. Here are a few training habits that all mesos should adopt in order to maximize their gifts.

>> Train with a variety of rep ranges, tempos, and methods. You may have started off with the typical 10-rep sets and 3-5 sets of whatever. But breaking the mold will help you to tap in to the full spectrum of muscle fibers at your disposal, each begging for a new challenge.

>> No matter how far you stray from your orginal working equation, you should frequently come back to the 5-8 rep range with explosive reps. Your growth-prone, fast-twitch muscles will benefit from this while also improving muscle density and overall athleticism.

>> Because of your ability to recruit so much muscle, you may take longer to recover from a tough workout. A heavy leg or lower back day can take upward of a week or more.

>> Train heavy with adequate rest intervals a majority of the time. You can shorten rest times to enhance fat-burning or slow them down to increase strength, depending on your particular training goal for the moment.

>> Do cardio up to three times weekly. This is a stark contrast to the ectomorph who shouldn’t do cardio much, if at all. But mesomorphs can use cardio to shed additional bodyfat quickly. You can do more or less depending on your body’s response.

 

Josh Bryant, MFS, CSCS, PES, is the owner of JoshStrength.com and co-author (with Adam benShea) of the Amazon No. 1 seller Jailhouse Strong. His new book, Built to the Hilt, is now available at Amazon and EliteFTS. He is a strength coach at Metroflex Gym in Arlington, Texas, and holds 12 world records in powerlifting. You can connect with him on Twitter and Facebook or visit his website at www.joshstrength.com.

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