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Building muscle : Ectomorphs

Ectomorphic frame – individuals who are naturally slight in build tend to thrive on a higher carb, high protein and medium to lower fat diet.

Ectomorphs usually have faster metabolism and are a lot more insulin sensitive, this is why they can tolerate a higher carbohydrate diet. The extra carbs will shuttle amino acids into the muscle to promote protein synthesis and build more muscle. Throughout the day low to medium GI carbs such as oats, sweet potato or brown rice should be consumed with every meal apart from after a workout. Fast acting carbs such as jelly beans/ vitargo powder or glucose powder after a workout are a must, this will create a highly anabolic (growth promoting) insulin surge. For an ectomorph trying to build muscle I usually recommend 5 – 7g of carbs per kg of bodyweight a day. For example, an individual weighing 70kg would have between 350g and 490g of carbs in a day. This should be split over at least 5 and up to 10 meals per day as regular feeding for this body type is crucial to stop muscle breakdown for energy.

Equally as important is a high protein intake. Protein from meat, fish, eggs and dairy contains high amounts of amino acids (the building blocks of muscle). A high protein intake will prevent muscle breakdown and promote an anabolic (muscle building) state this should be split evenly over at least 5 meals a day. After a workout a fast acting protein such as whey protein powder should be used alongside the fast acting carbs to create a strong muscle building effect. Protein requirements are 3g per kg of bodyweight a day. Once again using a 70kg person as an example, they would require at least 210g of protein a day.

When carbs are high in the diet then fat should be relatively low, 1g of fat per kg of bodyweight would work well here but no less, good fats are crucial for health and will also ensure testosterone levels in the body are optimal. Testosterone is vital as an anabolic hormone and it plays an importance role in muscle building. Ectomorphs usually have higher amounts of slow twitch muscle fibres. These fibres unfortunately have less growth potential than fast twitch but they will still grow when trained correctly. Because of this, individuals with this body type respond better to high rep and high volume weight training.

In order to get the required time under tension, reps should sit between 15 and 20 reps per set, aiming to do between 10 and 20 sets per muscle group (depending on current training experience level). If you need help structuring your diet or training contact me for a free consultation.

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