Before we get int the nitty gritty of what’s the best exercise for endomorphs, let just start with this. The best exercise is the one you enjoy most. If you like it, you’ll do it. But, if the thought of having to get out of bed in the morning fills you with dread because your cardio workout looms, you’ll find a thousand and one reasons to get out of it. So, pick something you enjoy doing.
Try as many different activities as you can and, if you have access to a gym, various exercise machinery to determine what type of cardio you most love.
When you’re done with your workout you should feel on a high, even if you feel shattered because you gave it your all. It doesn’t matter if you just ran 5K, killed it on the cross-trainer or did a crazy awesome Zumba class and unleashed your inner Beyoncé.
For endomorphs almost daily cardio is a lifelong commitment. So it’s super important you find a cardio workout you love and have fun doing, since you need to incorporate it into your lifestyle not only to achieve the health, fitness, or body you want, but also to maintain it.
Below are tips for choosing an exercise activity that you’ll find comfortable, but is sufficiently intense to stimulate fat burning and weight loss.
The ideal activity for endomorphs should be one that allows you to workout
- for at least 20 minutes
- engages the large muscle groups (e.g. legs, back)
- requires continuous, rhythmical movement (i.e. not stop and start like tennis)
- is moderate intensity
Another factor to consider is how much impact an exercise has:
- Joint problems, previous injury, muscle imbalances and higher body weight increase the pressure on joints and bones during high-impact exercise, increasing the risk of injury.
- The more you weigh; the more force your body has to absorb.
- Body fat, bone and muscle mass all contribute to overall weight.
High-impact exercise is absolutely fine for endomorphs, but will be challenging if you have been sedentary or overweight. High-impact exercise (e.g. running) requires greater levels of fitness and strength to lift yourself off the ground, withstand the bigger impact and avoid injury. The more you weigh or the more out of shape you are, the tougher it gets. That means it’s harder to exercise long enough (i.e. more than 20 minutes) to burn a significant amount of calories and that your risk of injury is greater.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run, jump-rope or do any other high-impact workout. But just that if you’re a beginner, you need to ease into it. Remember. Do what you love!
And whatever you do, don’t throw yourself into a high-intensity, hard-core workout on day 1, only to swear off ever exercising again! You want to love exercising. And to understand that if something didn’t work out, why it didn’t, what to do next, and that it doesn’t mean you can’t try again later when you’re stronger, more fit and a lot more fierce!
BEST EXERCISE FOR BEGINNER ENDOMORPHS
People with an endomorph body type tend to find non- or low-impact activities easier, which minimize impact with the ground and strain on the body, especially in the beginning. Ideally endomorphs, particularly if overweight and/ or sedentary, should start with a workout plan that is low-impact in nature.
Once you’ve improved your level of fitness and strength, you can switch to high-impact exercise. If you are already fit, in good health and do not suffer with joint problems, by all means start with higher impact exercise. But still ease in to it. If you’re interested in running for example, start with a run-walk plan, that alternates high-impact running with periods of low-impact walking.
Unfortunately low-impact exercise has a bad rap. Low-impact is often confused with low-intensity. However, the two are not the same – far from it. Impact is how hard you hit the floor when doing a particular activity. Intensity is how difficult a workout is – how hard your heart is beating, how much you’re sweating, how out of breath you are, and how many calories you’re burning.
It’s true that doing high-impact exercise tends to lead to a high-intensity workout. But the reverse isn’t necessarily true. Low impact exercise doesn’t have to result in a low-intensity workout. Low impact exercise can be very intense and burn a ton of calories – if you want it to.
The advantage of low-impact exercise is that it feels easier, even if it burns a lot of calories. For example, exercising on the elliptical trainer can burn as many calories as running on the treadmill. But despite burning a similar amount of calories, exercising on the elliptical feels easier than running. And if you find it easier, it means you can exercise for longer and burn more calories!
There’s a vast array of exercises that allow you to work out at a high level, but are low impact. The bulk of your workout plan should consist of one or more of these core activities listed below. These activities will allow you to exercise long enough and hard enough to burn a lot of calories and lose weight, if that’s your goal.
You can also supplement your core exercises with extra activities, which offer variety, fun and team interaction, but are less effective calorie-burners.
CORE ACTIVITIES FOR ENDOMORPHS
High-intensity, low-impact workouts. The activities are low-impact, but can be high-intensity, which means they can burn a lot of calories.
- Cycling/ Spinning/ mountain biking
- Power walking/ Race walking
- Elliptical machine
- Ski machine
- Stepper/ Stair-climber
- Stair climbing
- Low-impact, high-intensity aerobics (some Zumba classes for example – speak to an instructor)
You can do high-intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio workouts with all of the activities. HIIT is a super efficient way of increasing fitness and burning calories.
High-intensity, high-impact workouts. High-impact workouts that are great for weight loss include:
- Jump rope
- HIIT programs such as CrossFit, PX90, and other HIIT based DVD workouts such as Jillian Michaels, which are very tough but effective.
OTHER ACTIVITIES FOR ENDOMORPHS
Moderate-intensity workouts. The activities tend to be low-impact and moderate calorie burners:
- Nordic walking
- Rock climbing
- Cross-country skiing
- Aerobics-based programs e.g. cardio-boxing
- Low-impact aerobics
- Step aerobics (low impact)
- Water aerobics
- Hula Hooping
Low-intensity workouts. Stretching classes, Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates and other related activities aren’t cardio workouts. And while they possess immense benefits, they won’t help you lose fat. You can include them in your exercise routine, but don’t substitute your cardio for it.
- Brown GA, Cook CM, Krueger RD, Heelan KA. Comparison of energy expenditure on a treadmill vs. an elliptical device at a self-selected exercise intensity. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(6):1643-9. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb2854. PMID: 20453685.
- Egaña M, Donne B. Physiological changes following a 12 week gym based stair-climbing, elliptical trainer and treadmill running program in females. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2004;44(2):141-6. PMID: 15470311.