If you are the type who is big on bodybuilding, you have probably heard of the terms endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph. Each of these words represents how your body handles carbs and calories and how well it loses or retains weight. Despite what many people may think, height does not have anything to do with body type. The slim ectomorph body type may or may not be tall. The heavy-set endomorph body type may or may not be short.
Ectomorphs have the following physical characteristics:
- Small joints and bones
- Light muscle definition
- Slim, ruler-like appearance
- Can maintain low body fat without exercise or low-calorie diet
- Small or narrow shoulders, chest and buttocks
- Gains weight with difficulty
- Fast and efficient metabolism
- Moves quickly and may be hyperactive
Mesomorphs have the following physical characteristics:
- Naturally lean
- Naturally muscular
- Medium or large joints and bones
- Naturally strong
- Broad shoulders
- Evenly distributed body fat
- Loses fat easily
- Has an efficient metabolism
- Gains muscle quickly
- Sees rapid results from exercise
Endomorphs have the following physical characteristics:
- Smooth and round body appearance
- Can gain muscle easily, but tends to have underdeveloped muscles
- Medium or large joints and bones
- High body fat levels
- May be overweight
- Small shoulders
- High waist
- Large hips
- May have a pear-shaped physique
- Has trouble keeping lost weight from returning
- Slow metabolism
- Loses weight slowly
What Are You?
Maybe it was immediately obvious which body type you fall into after reading these descriptions. If you are still unsure, consider your reaction to food and exercise.
Do you gain weight easily if you eat high-calorie foods or spend lots of time sitting around on holidays? If you are able to lose this weight quickly after making a diet change or getting exercise, you are most likely a mesomorph. If you have trouble losing those extra pounds, you have the endomorph body type. If you don’t put on any weight at all, you are probably an ectomorph.
What are your eating habits? Do you consume lots of calories and still remain slim? If so, you are an ectomorph. If you eat an average number of calories and see no change in a trim and healthy physique, you are a mesomorph. If you eat few calories and still have trouble losing weight and appearing heavy, you are most likely an endomorph.
To determine the size of your bones/joints, encircle your wrist with your thumb and your middle finger. If your middle finger overlaps your thumbnail, you are small boned and are an ectomorph. If your middle finger just touches your thumb, you are medium-boned and are either a mesomorph or an endomorph. If your thumb and finger do not touch, you have large bones and are either a mesomorph or an endomorph.
No matter your body type, you have the potential to have a great physique with the right eating and exercise habits. This article will focus on how to eat and train if you are an endomorph.
The Endomorph Workout
Endomorphs have a higher percentage of body fat than the super-slim ectomorphs. As an endomorph, you will need to place your focus on a good combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise for fat-burning. The key to success for the endomorph body type is to lose unnecessary fat and to preserve muscle mass.
The workout routine for endomorphs will differ from that of other body types. You should be using moderate weights, which will enable you to perform as many reps as you like without overtaxing your body. The breaks between your sets should be relatively short, no less than 30 and not to exceed 60 seconds. This will allow you to maintain a high heart rate during your exercise program, thereby turning your weight training into a cardio workout that will burn fat while building muscle. Shoot for 10 to 15 reps per set. Your priorities as an endomorph are to maintain a healthy weight (or lose body fat) while building muscle and strength. Once you have reached a point at which you are happy with your appearance, you will be able to decrease the intensity of your workout for maintenance.
Avoid “Spot Reduction”
Be careful about using weight training for “spot reduction” of certain areas of your body. Many women are unhappy with the size of their thighs and give them names like “thunder thighs,” “wobbly thighs” and “saddle bags.” In fact, the vast majority of women wish they could do something to improve the appearance of their legs. Along with the annoyance of having large thighs, many women suffer from cellulite, which can worsen the more weight you gain. Inner thigh exercises are popular under the mistaken belief that targeting these muscles will burn fat in that area. However, fitness experts say that you cannot reduce fat in one area of the body by targeting that specific area. When you lose weight, you tend to lose it from your entire body and not one localized area. Working your inner thighs can result in fat loss from your upper body instead of your thighs and may even cause your thighs to grow bigger as you build muscle in that area.
How to Eat as an Endomorph
Now that you know how to train, the next step is how to eat for your body type. Endomorphs tend to do best when their diet consists of a higher fat and protein intake with a lower carbohydrate intake. Endomorphic men should consider a diet with the following guidelines:
- Two palm-sized servings of dense protein
- Two fists of veggies
- Two cupped handfuls of dense carbohydrates
- Three thumbs of dense fat foods
These servings sizes are the recommendations for each meal of the day.
Female endomorphs follow the same diet as males with a few changes. Again, these recommendations are for each meal of the day.
- One palm-sized serving of dense protein
- One fist of veggies
- One-half cupped handful of dense carbohydrates
- Two thumbs of dense fat foods
Most of the carbohydrates for the endomorph body type should come from low glycemic sources that are also nutrient dense such as squash, sweet potato, quinoa, apples, etc. If you’re an endomorph, try these recommendations and let us know how it worked for you.
Until next time,
Kusha Karvandi, PES, CES, CSCS