What Are Ectomorphs?
Although they may sound more at home in Game of Thrones, or a Sci-Fi epic, ectomorphs are, thankfully far more civilised human beings.
Have you ever noticed that some of your buddies, or acquaintances, seem to constantly be eating copious amounts of junk food, doing very little exercise, yet they still maintain a 30-inch waist.
Then, on the other end of the spectrum, you have yourself, who can seemingly gain 20 pounds of fat, by simply watching a greasy fast food advertisement on the TV.
The reason why your friend/acquaintance, can shovel junk food down their throat and barely gain an ounce of fat at all, is because of their genetics, and because they’re classed as being ectomorphs.
✓ Tall & Slim
Ectomorphs are notoriously tall, are often very skinny, have narrow shoulders and joints, and have metabolisms like blast furnaces. The reason they can get away with eating so much junk is because they have unusually high metabolisms, which makes it much harder for them to gain weight.
Now, on one side of things, that is considered a good thing, but from their POV, their metabolisms will be a curse. Not only will they struggle to gain fat, they will also struggle immensely, to gain any form of muscle at all.
✓ Hard Gainers
Ectomorphs are sometimes referred to as ‘hard gainers’ because they struggle to build muscle. Although building muscle with ectomorph genetics, is difficult, it is certainly not impossible, so don’t throw the towel in just yet.
Ectomorph Diet Tips
As you are no doubt already well aware, whether you have the genetics of a Greek God or not, bodybuilding, and just generally bulking up, is reliant very much on diet and nutrition.
We’ll be taking a look at a few ectomorph training tips shortly, but before we do, let’s begin by taking a look at diet and nutrition as we provide a few useful ectomorph bulking tips:
#1 Count calories
When bulking, you may believe that calorie counting is not necessary, but in reality, it really is. Calorie counting when bulking is just as important as calorie counting when cutting, so make sure that you count every single calorie that you consume.
By counting calories, you leave nothing to chance, so if you find yourself failing to gain weight on X amount of calories, try increasing them the following week and see if you have any joy.
#2 Increase protein consumption
We all know that protein is vital for protein synthesis, and therefore, for the growth and repair of muscle tissue, so make sure you are getting enough every single day.
Aim for 1.5g of protein per pound of body weight., consume no more than 40 – 45g per serving, and make sure you place an emphasis on clean and natural protein sources, including meat, fish, and organic eggs. Throw a couple of whey protein shakes and a casein shake right before bed, and you’re good to go.
#3 Use mass gainers
Mass gainers are an ectomorph’s best friend as they provide hundreds upon hundreds of calories per serving, along with amino acids, protein blends, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and dietary fats.
One mass gainer can provide you with the equivalent of two who food meals, so make sure you’re using one on a daily basis.
#4 Don’t fear getting fat
As an ectomorph, you may consider yourself to be ‘skinny fat’ but if you’re serious about adding some quality lean muscle mass to your frame, you are going to have to mentally prepare yourself for the fact that you will gain a little body fat.
You should be on a calorie surplus, so of course you are going to gain weight, the idea is that most of the weight will come from muscle mass. There will be plenty of time to get your abs back afterwards, but if you want to get jacked, you must be willing to put a few pounds of fat on in the process.
Ectomorph Training Tips
Now that we’ve gotten the diet and nutritional basics out of the way, let’s look at a few ectomorph training basics to help you pack on the muscle mass:
#1 Emphasize compound lifts
Compound exercises are exercises that recruit multiple muscle groups simultaneously when you perform each exercise, making them ideal for anybody trying to build muscle.
Barbell bench presses for example, are great compound exercises as they work the chest, as well as the triceps, the core, and a little of the deltoids in the process. Make sure you perform plenty of compound exercises each time you train, and you’ll soon begin seeing noticeable improvements.
#2 Don’t over-train
One of the most common mistakes that ectomorphs make when it comes to their training, is trying to train too frequently, because they are under the impression that the more training they do, the more muscle they will build.
This can lead to overtraining in which the body will fail to grow because it will be under too much pressure and it won’t have enough time to repair itself. Limit yourself to 3 – 4 training sessions per week.
#3 Be wary of too much cardio
Although cardio is incredibly beneficial, if you perform too much, it can hinder your gains in the gym, so opt for low intensity exercise instead.
The more exercise you do, the more calories you burn, and if you end up in a calorie deficit through exercise, not only will you not grow, but you may even end up losing weight.
#4 Use thicker bars
Ectomorphs are notorious for having skinny wrists, so when it comes to lifting weights, either use thicker bars, or use grip attachments that basically turn smaller bars into thicker ones.
Thicker bars recruit more muscle fibres, which obviously leads to increased levels of hypertrophy, which basically means more muscle is built, particularly in the forearms and deltoids.