Obviously, your body type is closely related to how you look. But did you know that which types of foods you eat and your ability to excel at athletic activities are related to your body type? Don’t worry, there is no “right” body type and each one has its positive aspects. Also, we want to note that whichever body type you have does not mean how you look now will forever be the way you look. Sure, drastically changing your body type is a challenge, but provided you’re willing to work hard enough, you are actually in control of your own destiny.
Before we get to that, let’s first go over the three primary terms used to describe body types and what characterizes each of them.
Ectomorphs are generally identified as having thinner limbs and thin bone structures. They tend to have fast metabolisms and the immensely frustrating ability to eat plenty of carbohydrates without showing it. If you’re trying to visualize what an example ectomorph looks like, think of most long distance runners – long, thin, and lithe. Ectomorphs tend to constantly burn calories. For them, putting on muscle mass is a constant struggle. They have to force feed themselves and oftentimes eat far more than they have any interest in doing (while this may sound like a blessing to some, for many ectomorphs, it is a point of constant frustration).
Think of M to stand for in this case Medium as Mesomorphs have a medium bone structure and fall in between Ectomorphs and Endomorphs. Generally, this body type is characterized as an athletic build with a naturally higher percentage of muscle mass than ectomorphs. This body type is ideal for explosive sports. In sticking with the Olympian analogies, you can think of Mesomorphs as your thickly muscled sprinters – not built to go long distances but rather built to generate a lot of power in a short amount of time. Also, people with this body type tend to have higher testosterone and growth hormone levels, which as a result allows them to maintain low levels of fat.
At the other end of the spectrum, endomorphs have larger bone structures as well as naturally higher levels of body mass and fat mass. Exemplary endomorphs are the shot-putters on the Olympic field. In stark contrast to ectomorphs, endomorphs tend to have a harder time burning excess calories and therefore, are likely to carry both more fat and muscle.
Once you’ve identified which body type category you belong to, how should you eat? The following chart shows in simple guidelines to follow:
|% of Calories from Dietary Sources|
|Carbohydrates||High (~55%)||Medium (~40%)||Low (~25%)|
|Proteins||Medium (~25%)||Medium (~30%)||Medium (~35%)|
|Fats||Low (~20%)||Medium (~30%)||High (~40%)|
Important to note is that when you eat is almost as important as what you eat. If you’re exercising frequently, then your overall ability to eat high carbohydrate foods regardless of your body type will go up – especially if you eat carbohydrates within a short time period before or after exercise.
To be clear, this is not how to eat for one specific goal but rather a general methodology to work toward moderate muscle gain or weight loss – what will change is simply the amount of calories consumed. For someone who is trying to put on muscle (be it an ectomorph or endomorph) these general dietary splits remain true, however, the amount of calories consumed needs to be increased.
Lastly, it can’t be stressed enough that these are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. Put these guidelines into practice as a starting point and start watching how your body responds. Use your results to iterate to achieve the desired goals. No two people are alike so no two responses to a diet will be exactly the same. Test, learn and adjust your way in order to achieve your goals.
While eating for your body type will help with staying healthy, you will probably still have gaps in your nutrient intake. Find out how WellPath can help fill your nutritional gaps and help you reach your health goals.