Is it a new fad or the key to your long term weight loss goals?
Eating for your body type is a fairly new concept, but could hold great potential for those of us that have struggled to in making the cookie cutter diets work for us. Beyond apple, pear, and hourglass there are three body types you may not have heard of but that you’ll want to become familiar with. Ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph are the three broad categories of body types, also known as somatotypes.
William Sheldon, an American Psychologist, coined these terms in the 1940s. Along with these body types it is known that each of them have their own physical hang-ups and because of that should eat certain ways in order to reach their goals.
To understand how to eat for your body type it is essential to know what your body type is:
- Ectomorph – Thin and long having a hard time building muscle.
- Endomorph – Large with high body fat, better known as pear shaped, and store body fat easily.
- Mesomorph – The type that most people wish to be. Muscular with high metabolism and ability to build muscle easily.
Even though most people want to be a mesomorph it is not possible to change this type that you are predisposed to because your body type is genetic. However, you can eat certain ways to help you stay fit and healthy for your particular type. This is just as important for a mesomorph as it is for an endomorph because no matter your body type you can still gain too much weight and / or be unhealthy.
The Bright Side
While there are three main categories each person probably exists somewhere in a mix of two or more. There is no pure form of any. This can be an encouragement because though you are a long and lean ectomorph you may be able to build muscle like a mesomorph, you just need to know how.
The Heath-Carter method is actually a method by which you can determine what mixture of the three types you are. You are scored from endomorph, mesomorph, then ectomorph in that order. While you may be a mix you should still eat based on your primary type.
The How – Ectomorph
For the ectomorph wishing to gain muscle it is helpful to eat a diet high in calories. However, the ectomorph should be conscious of the quality of calories, not just eat whatever they would like. Carbohydrates are a friend to the ectomorph because intake will drive up glucose causing protein to quickly and efficiently go to the muscles. Complex carbohydrates are essential here meaning unrefined and whole foods. Sweet potatoes, oats, and whole wheat breads are all examples of these types of carbohydrates. A mixture of a carb/protein shake should be consumed before and during exercises. To get in extra calories consuming a shake after working out is a good idea as well, or eating a healthy balanced meal.
Overall it is important to get a good amount of protein. As a rule .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is a good way to estimate your protein needs. The ectomorph will want to avoid doing too much cardio and instead work more with weights.
The How – Endomorph
This body type has trouble with gaining weight too easily. Because of this the endomorph will want to focus on low-carbohydrates from complex carb sources. High protein and fiber will help to reduce weight and increase fat burning. This body type may be tempted to drink sports drinks in the gym, but these should be avoided as they are high in simple carbohydrates.
In the gym the endomorph will want to focus on building their shoulders and training intensely. Excessive carbohydrate intake should be avoided along with long amounts of time jogging and ab work. High intensity training should give the endomorph the outcome they desire.
The How – Mesomorph
The mesomorph runs the risk of thinking they can eat whatever type of diet they would like. While their metabolism is high it is still possible to gain weight, or worse, have hidden negative health outcomes like high cholesterol and blood pressure. Because of this eating a healthy diet is still essential. From a percentage standpoint the mesomorph should eat 40 percent complex carbohydrates, 30 percent lean protein, and 30 percent healthy fat.
Because it is common for the mesomorph to not work out as much as they should they will want to time their workouts to make sure they are getting enough in. While they may not have immediate body goals setting goals to meet personal records can give them motivation in the gym.
What Is Your Body Type?
Trista K. Best, MPH, LDN