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Eating for Your Body Type

male and female flexing muscles with hands on hipsAre you an ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph? The following is an explanation of what each somatype is, and how you should eat for your body type.

What is a Somatype?

The whole somatype idea is a theory that was developed back in the 1940s by Dr. William Sheldon. He proposed that you could classify people’s bodies based on certain characteristics. In modern times, this theory has been expanded to explain and classify certain physical traits. Based on these physiological traits, nutrition guidelines were proposed that would best work for your somatype, and the idea of eating for your body type was born.

Eating For Your Ectomorph Body Type

Characteristics of an ectomorph:

  • Difficulty putting on fat.
  • Difficulty putting on muscle.
  • Good endurance athletes.
  • Very insulin sensitive.
  • High thyroid output.
  • High metabolic rate.
  • Lower testosterone levels.

The typical ectomorph is a hard-gainer. They are usually small and lean. The physique of an endurance runner comes to mind. They have a very high metabolism and can process carbohydrates well. Because of these traits, they tend to have to consume more calories than the average person if they want to gain weight.

Not only that, but because of their improved glucose metabolism, carbohydrates typically aren’t a problem for them. They can usually eat a diet that is majority carbohydrates, and eat them at any time of the day without any issues of fat gain. Their biggest problem is getting in enough calories.

If you’re an ectomorph, eat your recommended 1 gram/pound of body weight in protein, but feel free to eat carbohydrates and healthy fats liberally. You might even find that having some simple sugars post-workout is optimal for you. Food is your friend.

Eating For Your Mesomorph Body Type

Characteristics of a mesomorph:

  • Have little problem putting on muscle.
  • Not very difficult to stay lean.
  • Excel at bodybuilding and sports.
  • Good insulin sensitivity.
  • Good thyroid output.
  • Good metabolic rate.
  • Good testosterone levels.
  • Good growth hormone levels.

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The mesomorph is a lucky individual. He/she can usually be fairly lax with their diet and still end up muscular and lean. With good testosterone and growth hormone levels, they have the ability to add muscle and keep a low body fat percentage much more easily.

A mesomorph should eat the recommended 1 gram/lb of body weight in protein, but they need to be a bit more mindful of their carbohydrate intake. While they may do just as well eating a moderate to high carbohydrate diet as an ectomorph, it would be wise to implement nutrient timing into their diet. Keeping their carbohydrate intake timed around breakfast and their pre and post-workout meals tends to work best.

Many people would be surprised to know that they are actually mesomorphs that have just been a bit too lax with their nutrition over the years. Your somatype is not based on what you look like now, but on what you are genetically predisposed to look like. With a little more mindfulness towards your diet and exercise program, your true somatype can show.

Eating For Your Endomorph Body Type

Characteristics of an endomorph:

  • Have a fairly easy time adding muscle and strength.
  • Predisposed to store fat.
  • Excel in strength activities.
  • Very insulin insensitive.
  • Slow thyroid.
  • Slow metabolic rate.

The endomorph is what every overweight person thinks they are, yet only a small percentage actually are. Endomorphs seem to add body fat just by looking at food. They have a low sensitivity to carbohydrates, and a slower metabolic rate. While there are plenty of true endomorphs out there, don’t sell yourself short.

Endomorphs need to be mindful of their carbohydrate intake. They can do very well on a “low” carbohydrate diet. Eating 100 grams of carbohydrates or less per day really helps them keep the fat off. It’s also best to try and eat the majority of these carbohydrates in their post-workout meal when their insulin sensitivity is at its highest.

Because of their reduced metabolic rate and slower thyroid output, endomorphs don’t typically need as many calories to build muscle and optimize their fat loss potential. This also means that it’s even more imperative for them to eat a nutrient dense diet since they can’t tolerate as many calories.

While there are 3 main somatypes, most people will have traits from several groups and will fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. They might be ecto-mesomorphs, or they might be meso-endomorphs. Whatever the case, eating for your body type might help you better understand how your body reacts to food, and how you can start taking control of your individuality.

  • http://therealmomreview.blogspot.com Jean Lynd

    I’m an endomorph. I can put on muscle fairly easy for a female…and can’t get it back quickly if I lapse in exercise. But I carry fat in my abdomen & on my back super-quick. When I switched to low-carb diet, I dropped 20 lbs almost effortlessly. I can’t lose the last 5-10 lbs, though, to save my life. It’s very frustrating.

    • http://therealmomreview.blogspot.com Jean Lynd

      that should be “CAN get it back”

  • Roxanne

    What if you are a hybrid, my hubby & I tend to fall more in line as an Ecto/Meso genetically.

    • Coach Calorie

      Hybrids share some characteristics of each somatype. Ecto/Meso would have good insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate tolerance, and would be able to add muscle, but not to the extent of a true meso.

  • neil

    Can you help me. im 37 5ft 11 and 215lbs. I am a type 1 diabetic on insulin and find im gradually gaining weigh year on year. ive been training and can lift weights to gain muscle but want to lose weight / body fat. can anyone give me an idea of a good mixed interesting diet (i knwo i can eat chicken till it comes out of my ears with a couple of cups of vegetables) but theres only so long i can stick to that! lol
    Any help greatly appreciated
    Thanks

  • Sarah

    Pretty certain I am an ectomorph, but I have had my thyroid removed due to hyperactivity. Would that move me into a different somatype?

    • Coach Calorie

      Keep in mind that somatypes are a theory. That being said, I’m sure you’re on thyroid medication now. Depending on your thyroid levels, you could very well be in the same somatype. That all depends on your dose and where that puts on on the reference numbers.

  • http://Nikhelbig.com Nikhelbig

    Ectomorphs should not eat too much carbs, either. I read some research that Skinny Asians have high Diabetes rate. Ectomorphic people I know have heart disease and stroke even though they think they are lean.
    My guess is that being less able to produce fat causes extended hyperglycemia.

  • Heather

    I find it impossible to lose weight.I eat a low card high protein diet, cardio exercise 3 to 4 times a week (Zumba).I have very little other exercise as now do not work.
    I also get extremely tired and sometimes after a lot of exercise I sleep for long periods of time and feel totally exhausted.I have had thyroid tests and all is normal.my doc say I will never ever get diabetes so that is a good thing.But I am too heavy and cannot drop weight .This makes me miserable and depressed.I love my exercise and am generally fit.

    • Coach Calorie

      Heather, you say you are eating low carb and high protein. What does your fat intake look like? If this is too low, it can cause you all kinds of problems – energy being one of them. What is your calorie intake?

      • Heather

        Hi .I would say around 1,500 a day,fat content is average I would say,, I get your point though as sometimes after a few days I want bread and some fatty foods,,,I do not have a sweet tooth ,but again sometimes will have a chocolate “binge”.
        what diet would you recommend or how to add fats safely …

        • Coach Calorie

          Try limiting your carbs to pre/post workout only and having protein/fat/veggie meals the rest of the day. Also try adding in some strength training. Don’t be afraid of fat. It’s good for you ;)

          • Heather

            hi Thanks for that,I am also doing a zumba toning class now with weights,
            will keep going ,,,slow but sure !!
            :)

          • funicello

            When you say limit carbs to pre/post workout, do you mean all carbs (grains, fruit, starchy veggies, non-starchy veggies) or just grains?

  • charmaine

    How would i even know how to find out my type?

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    It’s not an exact science, but I laid out the main characteristics of each body type.

  • irisD

    i am Endomorph body type , which is good as i build muscle quite easy and therefore can stay quite trim being endomorph is great but for me it requires constant strenght training + cardio along with small intake of carbohydrates…
    there are positives and negetives to all 3 body types

  • http://www.coachcalorie.com/ Coach Calorie

    I mean all carbs