It sounds like one of those crazy fad diets, but body type training is grounded in science and growing in popularity.
Until we have genetic profiling, it's the best we can manage for personalised eating and training for cricket. You see you will react to different foods and training methods in different ways depending on your body type.
The wrong sort of training or eating can scupper your plans to become a fitter, healthier and better player without you even realising it.
Fortunately, it's quite easy to work out your own body type and adjust your training and eating to match your needs.
How to determine your body type
Broadly speaking there are three body types:
- Endomorph. Finds it easy to put on fat. Has wide features especially the waist.
- Mesomorph. Finds it easy to put on muscle. Wide shoulders and a narrow waist. Generally considered to be athletic.
- Ectomorph. Finds it hard to put either fat or muscle. Often called skinny with long, thin limbs.
Here are some pictures:
Most people do not fit exactly into on category or another. As you can see from the diagram below, you can be at one extreme or be nearer the centre with a crossover of body type.
The person on the diagram numbered 1 is an almost 'pure' mesomorph. Person number 2 shows equality between all three traits. Person number 3 is mainly an ectomorph but shows some traits of an endomorph.
Think of it as a sliding scale. You will be somewhere on the scale, most likely nearer one type than another.
According to nutrition expert John Berardi, a very simple way to decide which type is closest to you is to ask: If I didn't train and ate how I liked, how would I look?
Answer that and you know your genetic body type.
How to eat to your body type
Different body types have different responses to food.
Eating the 'wrong' way will make life difficult for you. For example, if you are an endomorph that eats a lot of pasta, potatoes and rice (high in carbohydrates) you will be carrying more fat than an ecto- or mesomorph. This, as you know, is detrimental to performance.
So, after you have got the basics down, you can adjust to your needs:
- Endomorph. Mainly get carbohydrates from fruit and vegetable sources. Save all starchy carbohydrates (bread, pasta, potatoes, corn, rice, quinoa, beans, and legumes) for after exercise. Eat plenty of lean protein and fat from whole food sources (nuts, meat, fish and dairy).
- Mesomorph. Eat a roughly equal balance of lean protein (30%), carbohydrate (40%) and fat (30%) from whole food sources. Save most of your carbohydrates for breakfast or after exercise.
- Ectomorph. Get about half of your food from all carbohydrate sources (especially starchy carbs) eaten at every meal. Split the rest between lean protein and fat. You can eat more calories than the other body types.
Adjusting the way you eat will see you meet your goals more quickly.
For example, most ectomorphs struggle to gain strength, speed and power. To balance this out, eating more carbohydrates will give you more fuel to train. Your hormonal response will most likely prevent you putting on useless fat instead of useful muscle.
It's important to remember that whatever your body type some universal principles apply: Eat plenty of vegetables, stick with lean protein, have whole foods not stuff from a packet and have the odd 'cheat'. You can read about those here.
How to train to your body type
Just as we respond differently to food, we also respond differently to exercise. Training for cricket needs to have maximum effect. We don't want to waste time doing work we don't need or even overtraining.
Follow these principles to avoid issues:
- Endomorph. You can train harder than any other body type. That's good because you need to work harder to get results. A combination of strength, skill and endurance training is possible for you and can help you get stronger, have more work capacity and deal with body composition (as you are naturally liable to hold fat as well as muscle).
- Mesomorph. You are the middle of the three types when it comes to training. You can't go as hard as an endomorph but can go harder than an ectomorph. That said, you will naturally get faster results than any other body type even if you do not train as hard. You can benefit more from focusing on one goal at a time.
- Ectomorph. You are very easy to overtrain. Any intense work like speed training or Olympic lifting must be followed by plenty of rest. You usually have naturally good endurance but are less good at explosive stuff. Focus your training on improving the latter while mixing in lots of recovery days.
Remember these are general guidelines. You know your body better than I can so always be careful when taking general advice. It's important to get the basics right first. However, if you are looking to go to the next level then body type is a simple but effective strategy to get the best from yourself.
Image credit: ActionPixs (Maruko)
If you want a more comprehensive guide to reducing injury risk and increasing cricket specific fitness, check out county strength coach Rob Ahmun's guide on PitchVision Academy.