Genes Influence Ability to Build Muscle
Your genetic makeup influences more than just your hair and eye color. Genes
play a major role in your athletic abilities and body composition. Exercise,
diet, supplements and lifestyle choices can only take you as far as your genes
will allow. We will discuss how your genetic makeup can influence performance in muscle building,
sports and physical development.
Somatotype: Body Composition
You may have heard the terms ectomorph, endomorph, or mesomorph used before
to describe the builds of individuals. This system of nomenclature, along with
corresponding numerical values, was developed by W.H. Sheldon. It is the most widely
used somatotype classification system used today.
Sheldon's system uses three basic builds: Endomorph, which is the heavy
boned, round shape which has a high distribution of body fat (think George
Costanza); Mesomorph, which is the muscular athletic build with moderate body fat
(think of the classic male v-shape structure); and Ectomorph, which is the lean,
small boned, slight of build kind of look (think of a tall, lean basketball player).
However very few people can be classified as being entirely one class. Sheldon
realize this and devised a numbering system to help properly classify people
into multiple body types.
Each individual receives a score
of 1-7 on each of the three body types. Thus, a somatotype of 171 would be
a perfect mesomorph (the first number being endomorphic traits, the second
mesomorphic, the third ectomorphic). Likewise, a 711 would be a perfect endomorph,
and a 117 would be a perfect ectomorph. Almost everyone should have traits
in more than one category. The "perfect" bodybuilder would be a 173, while
475 would be better suited for football, and a basketball player would optimally
have a 147. Having scores in multiple body types, for instance the football
player's 475, does not mean he has all of the traits of each body type mixed
together. Rather, it means he may have the heavy thick build of the Endomorph
combined with superior musculature and strength of the Mesomorph, with the
above average height of the ectomorph.
How does my somatotype influence my training goals?
Endomorphs: A predominantly endomorphic individual typically has short arms
and legs, as well as a large amount of mass on their shorter than normal frame.
This hampers their ability to compete in sports requiring high levels of agility
or speed. In addition, their propensity to add body fat keeps them from being successful
at sports requiring definition and visible muscularity. Sports of pure strength,
like power lifting, are perfect for an endomorph. Endomorphs should not be afraid
to go the low calorie route as far as dieting is concerned.
primarily mesomorphic individual excels in strength, agility, and speed sports.
Their medium structure and height, along with their tendency to gain muscle and
strength easily makes them a strong candidate for a top athlete in any sport.
Both bulking and cutting diets suit Mesomorphs well.
Ectomorphs: A principally
endomorphic individual is long, slender and thin, and therefore power and
strength sports are almost totally out of the question. Their slight build also
leaves them susceptible to injuries. While they can easily get lean and hard,
their lack of musculature severely limits their chances in sports requiring mass.
Typically, Ectomorphs dominate endurance sports. High calorie diets are a must
for endomorphs in any kind of sport.
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assume any liability for the information contained herein.
The Information contained herein reflects only the opinion
of the author and is in no way to be considered medical advice.
Specific medical advice should be obtained from a licensed
health care practitioner. Consult your physician before you
begin any nutrition, exercise, or dietary supplement program.