Ectomorphs are naturally thin and find it hard to gain muscle. To find out which body type you are, check out my previous blog post here.
You probably already have naturally lean legs so your goal is to maintain (or perhaps lose a little bit of stubborn lower body fat) while building lean muscle to get tone, definition and shape.
Alternatively, you may be skinny fat which means you are skinny but have a higher percentage of body fat. If this is the case, you may need to reduce the body fat on your legs, but you will still need to build lean muscle mass to get definition.
To find out more about what to do if you are skinny fat, read my blog post here.
Here is your how to get skinny legs nutrition and workout guideline.
One misconception about ectomorphs is that because they are naturally skinny, they can eat whatever they want. Sure, they might be able to get away with eating some junk food and not gain weight. It would be very difficult for them to become overweight. But if they ate a lot of junk food, they would most likely gain fat. So whilst they can be a bit more lenient with diet, they still need to make sure they’re consuming healthy foods so that they don’t become skinny fat.
Ectomorphs should be eating at a slight calorie deficit (less of a deficit than the other two body types) if they are trying to lose weight. By slight, I mean 100-300 calories. If they are not trying to lose any weight, then they should eat at maintenance level. To find out how many calories you should be eating, read my blog post here.
Eating 6 smaller meals per day is recommended for your body type, but isn’t 100% necessary, as long as you’re consuming the correct calorie intake. If you ate 4 larger meals and still got the right amount of calories, this is fine.
You may also want to eat more on workout days and less on rest days, but make sure that your average weekly calorie intake remains the same. For example, if you have worked out that you need 1500 calories per day, you could consume 1800 calories on workout days and 1200 calories on rest days. Therefore you are still consuming an average of 1500 calories per day (roughly).
As you naturally have a high metabolic rate, you burn through glucose (carbohydrates) quickly. Your best strategy is to consume a diet relatively high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fats. A good macronutrient split is:
- 40-50% carbohydrates
- 30-35% protein
- 20-25% fat
Carbs should make up the bulk of your diet. Try to eat unprocessed, whole grain or natural carbs at every meal, such as fruit, potato, sweet potato, green vegetables, oats, brown rice, whole grain pasta and bread. But make sure the bulk of your carbs are coming from fruit and vegetables.
As I mentioned earlier, you probably already have skinny legs or have some body fat on your legs. If you are skinny fat or want to reduce your body fat, then you should do some type of cardio. If you already have a low body fat percentage, then you can get away with no or minimal cardio.
Here are some key guidelines:
- Resistance training 3 times per week
- Low to moderate intensity cardio 2-3 times per week
- 1 rest (or active recovery) day per week
Your resistance training should consist of whole body workouts. Your workouts will vary depending on the type of look you would like to achieve. If you want to look really fit and toned, then your weights should be moderately heavy and your reps moderate to high. HIIT training should also be a part of your program so aim for 2 of your resistance sessions to be HIIT.
If you want a leaner look, you should do lighter resistance circuits, such as those in my 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program. Have a read of this blog post for some free 3 Steps to Lean Legs workouts. You could also try workouts similar to that of the Victoria’s Secret models – read about their workouts here) or pilates / yoga style workouts.
As I mentioned above, you only need to do regular cardio if you have excess body fat. If you’re already skinny and have a low body fat percentage, cardio is not necessary, but it is great for keeping you fit and healthy!
Aim for no more than 3 cardio sessions per week and cardio days should be separate to weight training days. Low to moderate intensity cardio works best for fat loss (read my blog post about this here). Power walking and jogging are great, but make sure you’re doing cardio you enjoy. If you hate jogging, and enjoy boxing or cycling, then do what you like!
Aim for 1 rest days per week. But if you can’t stand the thought of a rest day, you can take an active recovery day and do something light such as a walk or yoga / pilates.
Your body will gain muscle and strength very slowly so don’t be disheartened if you are not noticing any improvements straight away. This will be hard work for your body!
Also, you will not build muscle like the other two body types, so you have less chance of developing unwanted bulkiness. One other thing – if there is any exercise that doesn’t feel right for your body or joints, then avoid these to prevent injury.
I have now provided how to get lean legs nutrition and workout guidelines for each body type. If you are not an ectomorph, then refer to the nutrition and workout guidelines for the mesomorph and endomorph. If you are not sure of your body type, read my blog post here.
Remember that these are a guide only, and everyone’s bodies will be different and respond differently to exercise. If I have suggested something that doesn’t seem to be working for you, then change it! If you’re gaining more muscle than you would like, then reduce your weights and increase your cardio.
It’s your body, so do what makes you look and feel your best! Overall though, I hope that I have been able to provide some information to help.
To find out more about the 3 Steps to Lean Legs workout and nutrition program for ectomorphs, click here.
Read my blog post on how to do weights without getting bulky here.