Ectomorph, Endomorph or Mesomorph, which one are you? (part 2)

Welcome to part 2 of my blog on the 3 body shape types. If you haven’t read part one yet go here. In part 1 I covered descriptions of the 3 types, and nutrition and exercise recommendations for the Endomorph type. In this blog I’ll be covering nutrition and exercise for the other 2 types – Mesomorph and Ectomorph.

A quick review of the physical features of both of these types:

The Mesomorph body type  is almost the exact opposite of the Endomorph. They are athletic, generally with a hard body. Their muscles are well defined, they are strong and gain muscle easily. They have a more rectangular body shape.

The small, delicately framed Ectomorph, tend to be flat chested, with small shoulders and on the thin side. They have lean muscle mass and find it hard to gain weight and muscle. They also tend to have a fast metabolism.

Nutrition and Exercise for the Mesomorph:

If you have this body type, you are able to put on muscle easily when you lift weights and find it fairly easy to gain and lose body weight. However, this doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want and lie around on the couch all day.

Balance is important for the Mesomorph, who falls between Endomorphs and Ectomorphs — the other two body types which are characterized by excess body fat and skinniness, respectively. I recommend that mesomorphs follow a dietary plan that is nearly balanced between the three macro-nutrients — 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat. At each meal. Make calories count by choosing whole foods (over processed foods), which tend to be more nutrient-dense and lower in unhealthy fat, salt and sugar. Focus on non-starchy vegetables, fresh fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, limit dairy products (don’t replace full fat with low or non-fat, they’re full of added sugar to make up for the missing fat), and enjoy nuts and seeds in moderation. Get healthy fats by drizzling your salad with olive oil or topping it with sesame seeds, or adding avocado to a salad or on a lean burger.

Just as they should eat a balanced diet, Mesomorphs should engage in a balanced fitness regimen including both cardio and weight training. Lift moderate to heavy weight in order to stimulate muscle growth. But be careful not to overdo it. Once a Mesomorph has reached their ideal physique, they can train to maintain. Mesomorphs don’t need to do as much cardio as Endomorphs, but they should still engage in cardio exercise such as running or cycling for 35 minutes three days a week.

Nutrition and Exercise for the Ectomorph:

Since Ectomorphs have such a naturally fast metabolism, they must make sure to consume an adequate amount of calories and carbs. Ectomorphs typically handle carbs much better and should consume a sufficient amount of high-quality carbs every day in order to support intense training sessions. Ectomorphs should also aim to eat every two to four hours, meaning have smaller meals more frequently, 6 meals a day! Take advantage of high quality carbs (starchy, unprocessed, whole grain carbs), don’t skimp on protein. Even add some carbs to your after workout protein drink! It’s still about balance, protein is still important but Ectomorphs need and can handle a higher carb to protein ratio. Fruits and vegetables are also still important. Vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients are in these foods that are absolutely essential for you to grow and be healthy. Don’t allow being an Ectomorph to be an excuse to eat crap! A healthy diet always includes plants with every meal.

Being naturally leaner and finding it harder to gain weight, Ectomorphs should focus on resistance training and limit endurance-type training. So the name of the game is strength and building muscle. In order to gain strength and size, Ectomorphs should focus on resting longer between sets, using heavier weights for fewer reps (four to eight) and not targeting the endurance energy systems during training (you’re not running a marathon here, so you don’t want to feel as if you are).

You can do your weight session three times per week, resting a day in between sessions. You should not be doing a ton of high-intensity cardio on your off days (even if that’s your natural inclination), but you can stay active with low-intensity activities like walking or swimming. Compound movements are great for you, as they maximize your workout time by working multiple muscle groups at once. So if you’re burned out on your current workout, try incorporating lunges with biceps curls, squats with an overhead press or renegade rows with push-ups.

So, there you have it, the best way to eat and workout for your body type. Remember though that a) you may not fit perfectly into one of the body types and b) always listen to your body when changing routines and adjust accordingly. Your body wants to be its best healthy self. If we listen to it and do our best by it, it will get there!

I’m off to the gym to do my own HIIT workout and then out into the sunshine for a walk with a friend. Enjoy your day 🙂

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Ectomorph, Endomorph or Mesomorph, which one are you? (part 1)

I’ve recently begun research on the 3 (main) body shape types. You will find a few sources out there that list more than 3 types, but 3 is the most common or accepted number. I started this research because of knowing my own body well, but still needing more information when it comes to the best way to nourish my body and to exercise for the best healthy results.

In this recent exploration I’ve also researched (re-read parts of the book) on Eating For Your Blood Type, and the Paleo and Ketogenic diets. I’ve found some great sources of information online about all of this, and I’m thrilled with how I’m feeling and looking since I made some changes.

It’s interesting to note that what I’m discovering is not new for me/to me. I’ve known for years really about my body type and how it reacts to food and types of exercise but 2 things are important to mention- 1) for whatever reasons I didn’t trust the info my body was giving me, and 2) there is a lot more science based research out there compared to 15-20 years ago.

Let’s start with a pic and description chart of the 3 types:

3 body types

I hope you can read the description part. I picked this pic because it shows women and men figures. I am definitely an Endomorph body type. This is the type that gains fat easily, darn! Yet we also gain muscle easily. We have the softer, rounder body. Quite stocky and generally on the short(er) side. It is hard for us to lose fat, we have a slow metabolism and our muscles are not well defined.

The Mesomorph body type however is almost the exact opposite. They are athletic, generally with a hard body. Their muscles are well defined, they are strong and gain muscle easily. They have a more rectangular body shape.

The small, delicately framed Ectomorph, tend to be flat chested, with small shoulders and on the thin side. They have lean muscle mass and find it hard to gain weight and muscle. They also tend to have a fast metabolism.

A person can be a combination of more than one of the body types but tend to be predominately one of the types.

I’m going to talk about the best exercise and nutrition for the Endomorph type in this blog and the Ectomorph and Mesomorph types in my next blog.

Let’s start with the nutrition component, which is about 80% of the whole package. One of the things I’ve learned in my research is about “eating windows”, in other words how many hours in a day is your eating spread over. For most people it’s about 12 hours. From 8 am to 8 pm for example. Now of course that doesn’t mean they are eating constantly for 12 hours, it just means that their total food intake for the day is spread over 12 hours. For us Endomorphs shortening that window to no more than 8 hours is a better strategy. For me that means keeping my eating from about 11 am to 7 pm. I remain flexible though to my schedule each day and to how I feel. If I wake up hungry then I’ll eat, and my eating will just shift to ending earlier. If I’m not hungry, then I’ll wait. I’ve been experimenting too with hot and cold morning fat fueled drinks (for more on that look here), that don’t break the fast but give me some nutrients.

So just what should you eat as an Endomorph for your best health and/or weight loss?

Endomorphs tend to be quite sensitive to carbohydrates (grain and grain products, rice, pasta, starchy vegetables, etc) AND sugar. A low carb diet, moderate in high quality proteins, and higher in good fats, such as wild caught salmon, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed beef, soy and corn free chicken (with the skin on), lots of greens and other non-starchy vegetables (avoid corn, potatoes, beets, cooked carrots, and similar vegetables), eat free range eggs and uncured bacon (aka pork belly). Limit fruit and choose mostly berries when you do eat fruit. Be wary of alcohol and artificial sweeteners, and the “good” sweeteners (like honey, coconut palm sugar and maple syrup). Some artificial sweeteners can still spike blood sugar, such at malitol and xylitol. Others like alcohol-free Stevia drops, Inulin, Monk Fruit and Erythritol do not spike blood sugar. Notice I’m not mentioning aspartame, sucralose or saccharin, do yourself a huge favour and avoid these forever!

If you’re noticing a similarity here between what I’m recommending and the Paleo and Ketogenic diets, it’s because there is a similarity! This way of eating is also in tune with the Eat Right For Your Blood Type recommendations for those who are blood type O. I happen to be blood type O and I have found this way of eating works well for me. I am still, after about 3 weeks now (and 9 lbs gone), tweaking things to work with what’s best for me. We are all different and following any one plan exactly is not necessarily the best for each individual. Think of it as a starting point. A place to begin, and then listen to your body, give it time to adapt – although the truer a plan is for your body, the faster your body adapts in a positive way.

The other 20% of the healthy balanced Endomorph package is exercise! I know, I know, for us who gain weight so easily and have slower metabolisms and have difficulty losing fat, exercise can seem pointless or too difficult to fit into our busy days; but there’s good news. As Endomorphs, we don’t have to do long boring cardio sessions, or any kind of long weight lifting session at the gym. We want a balanced workout plan with a focus on resistance training (body weight resistance training doesn’t require any extra equipment) and HIIT (high intensity interval training) with a longer slower cardio workout maybe 1-2 times a week. That’s when I enjoy a good 2 (or more) hour hike with friends. A steady state workout plan where we do longer slower (supposedly fat burning) workouts ALL the time actually creates insulin resistance. Studies show that high intensity exercise puts you at a LOWER risk for disease, whereas endurance exercise is counterproductive to health (hence the healthy eating marathon runner that drops dead from a sudden heart attack). Research also shows that 6 mins of pure hard exercise could be just as effective as an hour of daily moderate exercise, 2 mins from a BBC2 video on this. A HIIT workout plan fully depletes glycogen stores causing your body to burn fat for fuel and enhances insulin sensitivity. This also equals a higher metabolic rate. High Intensity Exercise activates an enzyme called Hormone Sensitive Lipase which mobilizes body fat making it the preferred energy source. HIE/HIIT also causes the release of adrenaline which causes this enzyme to operate under an amplification cascade. In other words it boosts the whole ‘fat for fuel, increased metabolic rate’ to surge in a beneficial way for your body.

There are SO many free videos on YouTube and written/pictorial workouts on multitudes of fitness sites that there is no way I can list them here for you. I suggest typing “HIIT workouts”, into YouTube or Google and you’ll have plenty to choose from. This is also a time where you want to listen to you body, try new things, modify and adapt to your current fitness level while challenging yourself, and most of all – have fun!! Oh, one last thing, within 45-60 mins after your workout make sure to eat some low GI carbs, about 15-30 grams worth for best fat burning. You want your body to stay in the catabolic fat burning state a little longer. Some examples of low GI carbs would be yam, sweet potato, bananas, berries, apple or an orange.

There is tons of research online about all of the above eating plans, exercise plans, and about the body types. I hope I’ve condensed it here (and in part 2 of this blog) in a manner that gives you the basics and maybe encourages you to do more research so that you can modify and adapt any and all plans to best suit your body so that it can be healthy and balanced the way it wants to be.

Oh, oh, one more last thing (chuckles) before I go do my own HIIT workout, for women, mid-afternoon is said to be the best time to workout in order to most benefit hormones, weight management and to stabilize mood.

I’ll be posting part 2 of this series, on the nutrition and exercise best suited to Ectomorphs and Mesomorphs within the next few days.

Until then,

have a great weekend