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.
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.