Do you know your body type? Understand the way your body stores, uses and processes the food you eat to get into the best shape ever, explains our health specialist Dave Catudal.
At age 17, my mission was to be super ripped, so I’d hit the gym each day in a quest to transform from skinny dude to spartan warrior. It took the good part of a decade for me to learn the body type I had in my mind was never going to happen. Genetics simply wouldn’t allow it.
We are all different. We each metabolise food differently, grow muscle differently and expend energy differently. Helpfully, however, science shows us that we tend to cluster together into three different body “types”. If we understand our own body type, we can work it to our advantage to build a strong, healthy, functioning body. Personally, once I understood and embraced that I had a “mesomorph” body type, my training and diet refocused and quickly I began to see results.
Know your body type and set your goals accordingly, and you will enjoy more consistent and sustainable results.
The Three Body Types
Human beings tend to fall into one of three different possible body types: the endomorph, the mesomorph, and the ectomorph. Here is a list of their characteristics.
So, which body type are you? You should be able to get a sense reading the above. Otherwise, consider your parents’ physiques when they were between the ages of fifteen to twenty: You are likely one or the other, or a mix of both. Though it is possible for people to carry a recessive gene, normally two endomorphs will not make an ectomorph, and so on.
Can an endomorph get lean? Absolutely. Can ectomorphs get fat? They sure can. The human body is an incredible organism, and has an amazing ability to transform. The question is: how badly do you want it, or how badly will you treat it?
Following are tips for specific body types.
[Remember to read our Health disclaimer and visit your doctor before changing your diet.]
For the Endomorphs
We are going to start with endomorphs, as people with this body type must be conscientious about their nutritional intake in regards to energy levels, physique transformation, and performance.
Assuming that you are an endomorph who would like to lose body fat, and you are not an athlete or distance runner or cyclist, you should only consume a maximum 40 grams of starchy carbohydrates after a workout, ideally within 60-90 minutes of training. Examples of starchy carbohydrates are bread, potatoes, chapattis, pasta, rice, cous cous, noodles and breakfast cereals.
Why? I’m not trying to ruin your love affair with the bakery. But the cold, hard fact is as an endomorph you do not have an efficient insulin response. That means, when you eat carbs your body does not effectively convert those carbs into usable energy, and it is very likely going to be stored as body fat. That is why you should exploit the most insulin-friendly times of your day in order to maximize your carbohydrate’s effectiveness—and this is directly after a resistance training workout.
If you are an endomorph and are mostly sedentary, work a nine-to-five job and only squeeze in an hour or two of exercise a week, you do not need more than 80-100g of carbs daily. That’s one glass of orange juice and one slice of bread with a little jam.
Endomorphs specifically need to be aware of their fruit intake. Fructose can have a damaging effect on the pancreas, especially for endomorphs who already tend to have insulin resistance issues. The only fruits I recommend for endomorphs (and only once their intestinal health has been repaired) are small portions of berries, grapefruit and other citrus fruits, or fresh apricots and peaches. Lemons and limes are always fine. Dried fruit is always out of the question.
For the Mesomorphs
Mesomorph body types typically have more freedom in their diet due to the fact that they have more efficient insulin systems and generally have a faster metabolism.
Mesomorphs naturally have a significant amount of muscle mass, which acts as its own metabolic enhancer. When a mesomorph wants to get lean and toned, the task can be handled generally by a 45-minute high-intensity weight-training exercise program, four days per week. A clean diet including high protein intake, along with moderate healthy fats and carbohydrate intake, keeps a mesomporph in tip-top shape.
Many mesomorphs do not need to do cardio to lose fat, and an intense workout routine is more than enough to stimulate muscle hypertrophy and efficient fat burning.
For the Ectomorphs
As an ectomorph who wants to get stronger and lose a bit of stubborn body fat, you will face a challenge that is similar, yet opposite, to the one faced by an endomorph who wants to be very lean. Both can acheive their goals, but both need a special approach.
I recommend that you generously increase your daily protein intake (shakes are a great way to supplement extra protein intake) and be sure to consume a portion of carbs (about 40 grams) with the meal before training and immediately after your resistance-training workouts.
If you are an ectomorph who wants to lose stubborn body fat (“skinny fat”), I recommend an exercise routine where the focus should be taken OFF cardio and realigned to implementing a weight regime. Don’t worry girls, you won’t “bulk up”. Cupcakes and ice cream bulk you up — lifting weights will give you lean, sexy muscles. By implementing an intense weight-lifting program combined with a clean diet, ectomorphs will soon notice that they will sufficiently lose fat and positively re-shape their bodies. This is the ideal situation for both male and female ectomorphs, as they often benefit from switching their mindset from “burn” to “build”.
All body types benefit from following a generally healthy lifestyle diet—natural foods, lots of fresh veggies, healthy fats, and adequate protein intake. But to reach specific goals, each body type has to manipulate their carbohydrate and total calorie intake according to the parameters that fit their body type.
It’s possible you have been making simple, little “mistakes” in your diet, only because you were not aware of the specific dietary needs of your body type. You will be amazed at how fast you can change your body and improve your mood and energy levels by providing your body type with exactly what it needs to perform at its very best!