When I first started working out, I had no idea what I was doing.
I took dance lessons as a kid, so I never thought to try to burn calories outside of that. But then, I hit puberty.
On the one hand, I developed boobs, but I also grew a belly.
I thought to myself, “That's not what Fergie meant when she said, 'lovely lady lumps,' is it?”
My first attempt at exercise was just running alone through a hilly neighborhood, which was super painful. I decided the kids in cross country were insane for ever doing this.
Then, I tried weight lifting and loved it, but I noticed I wasn't losing my belly. I was just gaining abs underneath it.
It wasn't until after college that I learned there are different work-out routines and tricks to follow, based on your body type.
There are three body types: ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph. All vary in workout strategy.
If you think you are a mix of two, you can combine the workouts and find a middle ground that best suits you.
So, which one are you, and how should you be sweating it out?
Ectomorph body type
The first body type is the skinny, lean, model-types like Emily Ratajkowski.
A lot of people envy you because you can eat basically anything you want without a muffin top growing over your low-rise jeans.
This is amazing, but some people would like a little more junk in the trunk.
Men, especially, can envy the broad shoulders and muscles of their peers.
So how do you get the gains in the right places, and grow past your naturally wire-thin bod?
First off, ditch the treadmill and don't run marathons. If that's your life's passion, then by all means, do it. But it will hinder your ability to gain muscle and curves.
For this body type, there is a naturally low number of cells surrounding your muscle fibers, and it's harder to gain more of them.
Compound exercises like squats — which involve multiple muscle groups in one move — will give you the best results.
Isolated moves like bicep curls just won't cut it.
Some great compound exercises include deadlifts, chin ups, bicycle crunches, crunches on an exercise ball, the leg press and, of course, squats.
Personal trainer Mark Hughes suggests that ectomorphs work out only three days a week.
Each day should focus on strength training, with a quick low-intensity cardio session as a warm-up.
There's no need to become a gym rat because that would boost your already-amazing metabolism!
Supplements are worth the time and money.
It will be easier for your muscles to hold on to their mass if you have a protein shake with carbohydrates before — and after — working out.
That way, any calories you burn will come straight from the food you just consumed.
Endomorph body type
You're an endomorph if you're fuel-storing, curvy and have a bigger bone structure than the ectomorphs. Endomorphs also gain muscle quickly but then often find it hard to see the muscle underneath the layer of cushion.
This cushion is called adipose tissue — also known as fat — which can be used as energy when there is no food in the belly.
That means back in caveman days, you were amazing survivors. But in today's world, we usually don't go long without food, and we're sitting most of the time.
I'm an endomorph, and I will tell you right now that we have our work cut out for us. But, it's totally worth it.
It's not hard for us to get hard muscles; we just have to work at getting rid of that layer of tissue to reveal the hard work that's been done.
Cardio, cardio, cardio!
Although this is probably the hardest and most uncomfortable exercise for us, it is the most effective way to shift weight away from the belly.
But be aware that running at the same pace for long periods of time won't do the trick.
High intensity intervals such as sprinting and box jumps are the fastest and most efficient way to cut straight through to the fat.
Kickboxing is an all-body workout that uses intense quick spurts of energy that will burn a lot of fat and boost your metabolism.
Doing crunches won't slim your waistline! It's important to remember that spot training isn't how you lose fat — it's how you gain muscle.
Although cardio is super important for us, weight training may be just as — if not more— important because weight training burns calories, even after working out. So do both!
You want to use a moderate amount of weight so you can do higher reps. Go for about 15 reps per set, and about three sets should be good.
By the end of each set, you should feel like you absolutely can't do any more.
If you think you could do more, the amount of weight isn't high enough.
Endomorphs should try to be active about four to five days a week, with one of those days focused around a more calming workout such as yoga.
Two of those days should consist of high interval training, and two days should be made up of compound strength training exercises like the Turkish get-up.
Overall, it's important to train with intensity and cut out sugar as much as possible.
Mesomorph body type
The third body type is muscular with a high metabolism.
You are a natural jock and after just one day at the gym, your veins are already poppin'.
You are one lucky person because you have the best traits of the two body types above: a combo of great metabolism that also easily puts on muscle.
But if you know you can pack on muscle and don't have to worry about your diet — but still aren't seeing the results you want — it's time for you to amp it up.
Personal trainer Will Purdue says it's important to have a progressive plan that continually challenges you without getting too bulky.
Low reps with high weight and power moves such as vertical jumps and plyometrics will help you build on goals and raise the intensity.
Start timing yourself to track progress and try to beat your own record regularly.
Make sure to take care of your body on rest days by doing a little movement such as light yoga or brisk walking.
Your body will respond well when pairing strength moves, such as the deadlift, with a power move such as a power clean.
For all body types
No matter your body type, there are three major rules to stick to:
1. Listen to your body, and don't push yourself to the point of passing out or getting hurt.
2. Form is everything. If you are not paying attention to how your body is placed and aligned, it can lead to major injuries or a waste of your time because the muscles that are supposed to be working, aren't.
3. Explore your options, find a routine you enjoy and GO!