Depending on what our fitness goals are we can normally split these into four categories: endurance, strength, speed and power. For the most part your body type will depend on what you are best at (compare Mo Farah to Usain Bolt in size and ability for example!) but unless you want to spend a small fortune on getting your genetics tested, we tend to try them all and see what works for us.
At the moment I am trying to reach all of these and I fear this will be in vain. I am a distance runner (endurance) who wants to be strong in the gym (strength), fast at short distances (speed) and lift heavy and quick (power). Mmmm, so despite being a mesomorph (Google it, I am the envy of others with this body type apparently!) I find I struggle with all aspects of these. And I KNOW that I will have to concentrate on one or two if I want to excel in anything.
So let’s look at two of these so that when you decide what your fitness goal is you can train effectively.
The best example of this is marathon running, triathlon or ultra-cycling/running. You need to train over a long distance and take time to do it too. You muscles need to go through the same range of motion again and again in order to build the endurance up. Typically if you are starting on a beginners programme you will start with low mileage and work your way up. There will also be an element of cardiovascular endurance (aerobic training) you will generally find that any kind of endurance training will involve steady-state cardio. Just be prepared to spend a lot of time training!
I strength train to support my running (speed and power!). This is where lifting heavy to build those muscles up comes into play. However, if you do A LOT of endurance training and not a lot of strength training you will find that no amount of heavy lifting will strengthen those muscles – unless you are taking enough fuel on board during those long training sessions to stop your body from eating into its muscle stores. It is also important to take in a lot of protein with strength training to build muscles up. When I was at the height of my marathon training I had to really knuckle down with my nutrition and found that I was calculating my needs for both Carbs AND protein to ensure I was taking enough in.
So training for endurance AND strength can be a pain. Sometimes quite literally (try deadlifting the day after a marathon – rest you say?? What’s that?). So focus on your goal. Adapt your training accordingly and remember if you need help, just ask!