How can body shape affect an athlete’s reaction to training and recovery?
We know that every athlete is different. However, when it comes to body types, these differences in shape may determine how your body adapts to high intensity training. Some will argue that it is all common sense, when you carry some extra weight your performance is impacted. However, sometimes having a little extra weight can benefit swimmers and bikers on a flat surface while at the same time being far from beneficial for runners.
A more muscled athlete, known as a mesomorph, is generally not as good as a skinnier (ectomorph) athlete at tolerating high level of speed and lactate tolerance training. It means that the more muscle you have on your body the longer you may need to take recover from the high end efforts. Coaches and athletes will need to be mindful of this when building and designing the training plan.
Body type also plays a role in gender adaptations. Different hormone make ups related to body shape also affect training and recovery. Males for the most part cannot tolerate high intensity training as well as women. This is due to their higher levels of testosterone. Training hard impacts testosterone levels and therefore tends to cause more damage for those with higher level of testosterone. This doesn’t mean that men can’t train as hard as women, again it just means that they need to factor in more recovery time.
Don’t think that women are getting off easy on this. Though female athletes recover faster from hard training since the impact is not as severe on their hormonal balances, the science of body types also has an impact on female tolerance of high intensity training. Females with an endomorph body type (soft and round and gains fat easily) will tolerate higher volume of hard training than females with a leaner mesomorph build (muscled athletes). So they too will have to factor this into recovery time.
In general, athletes and coaches need to know that body type matters in training and recovery. If you are male, or have a more muscular build your body’s systems will be impacted more heavily by high intensity or high volume training. By watching diet and factoring in extra recovery time, athletes will be better equipped to adapt to these types of training sessions.
Resource from the SIC Collection.