What’s Your Body Type?
Eating right can be pretty overwhelming. Between knowing where your food is coming from, to understanding the ins and outs of organic produce and reading the ingredients on every food item, there’s a lot to consider when doing your weekly grocery shop.
If you’re paying attention to what you eat in order to lose weight, you may find that you’ve been eating properly, but haven’t really seen a change in your weight. Part of this could be because you’re not eating for your body type.
That’s right, depending on your body type, there are actually specific ways that you should be eating. It can also impact what types of physical activity are most effective for you.
Of course, other aspects of your lifestyle may also impact your eating habits, but knowing how to eat for your body type is a good place to start.
Curejoy points out that there are three body types: ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph. It’s important to note that your body type isn’t simply determined by how you look. Yes, that’s a part of it, but it isn’t everything.
Precision Nutrition says that “your body type can also provide information about how you respond to food intake and about your hormonal and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) characteristics. Physique characteristics can thus be linked to metabolic differences between individuals. Once someone establishes their body type, they can then adjust nutrient intake to maximize body composition and health related goals.”
If you don’t fit perfectly into one category, that’s okay. Most people don’t. However, if you pick the category that most aligns with your body and pair that eating style with good exercise habits, you’ll be on the path to better health and your ideal weight in no time.
Generally, ectomorphs are characterized as thin individuals with small bone structures and thinner limbs. Precision Nutrition says “they tend to be thyroid and SNS dominant with either a higher output or higher sensitivity to catecholamines like epinephrine and norepinephrine. This profile is linked to a fast metabolic rate and a high carbohydrate tolerance.”
If this body type sounds like you, your body actually does best when you work more carbs into the mix, lower your fat content and take on a moderate protein intake. 55% carbs, 25% protein and 20% fat is ideal.
Portion sizes also make a difference depending on whether you are a man or a woman.
Precision Nutrition suggests using your hands as measuring tools. Ectomorph men should aim for two palms of protein dense foods, two fists of vegetables, three cupped handfuls of carbohydrate dense foods and one thumb of fat-dense foods per meal. For ectomorph women, each meal should ideally have one palm of protein-dense foods, one fist of vegetables, two cupped handfuls of carb-dense foods and half a thumb of fat-dense foods.
According to My Fit Fuel, in order to build muscle when you’re an ectomorph, you need to take in a surplus of calories. They suggest that eating healthy but high-calorie foods is a good place to start.
My Fit Fuel also suggests eating 6–8 meals per day, with breakfast, lunch and dinner as your main meals and three smaller snack meals, like protein shakes.
The next body type is the mesomorph. These bodies have moderately-sized bone structures and athletic builds. If you’re a mesomorph, your body mass it typically lean, though not always as mesomorphs can usually both gain and lose weight easily. Generally, mesomorphs have well-developed muscles.
Mesomorphs function best on a mixed diet. Precision Nutrition says mesomorphs function on a well-balanced diet, consisting of a “macronutrient split of 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 30% fat.”
However, Ace Fitness says that when a mesomorph is trying to lose weight, they lose weight more quickly when their diet consists of more protein, fewer carbs and lots of exercise. If mesomorphs aren’t careful though, they can easily gain weight by eating too many calories and foods high in sugar.
According to Livestrong, “Mesomorphs can gain fat less easily than endomorphs, but more easily than ectomorphs, so they still need to watch their calorie intake. 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 nonstarchy vegetables, fresh fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, low-fat or nonfat dairy products and nuts and seeds.”
Like ectomorphs, it’s recommended that mesomorphs eat three main meals with a few small, healthy snacks per day.
Finally, we’ve got endomorphs. Endomorphs tend to have large bone structures paired with higher amounts of body mass and fat. Naturally, this body type tends to be on the less active side and often have trouble shedding excess fat.
Generally, endomorphs aren’t very tolerant when it comes to carbs, so limiting carbs is the first step to eating for your body type if this description sounds like you.
What’s interesting is that endomorphs actually do best with a higher intake of healthy fats — this is significant since a lot of endomorphs think they should be on low-fat diets and that inclination may be hurting them when it comes to meeting their goals.
Precision Nutrition says that “endomorphs typically do best on a higher fat and protein intake with carbohydrate intake being controlled and properly timed (e.g., after exercise). So that’s what we recommend: more fat and protein, less carbohydrate. A nutrient distribution for this body type might be around 25% carbs, 35% protein, and 40% fat.”
According to Health and Style, endomorphs are extremely sensitive to the overconsumption of food. “This means that the extra calories are more likely to be stored as fat compared to ectomorphs, resulting in a greater propensity for fat storage. As an endomorph you need to monitor your calorie intake carefully.”
In terms of what foods you should be eating for weight loss and keeping healthy, it’s best to follow a Paleo-esque diet. Health and Style have a great introduction to the Paleo diet if you’re not sure what it’s all about.
Tips for any body type
It’s important to get exercise no matter what your body type is but your body type can actually determine what type of exercise you’ll get the most out of.
For example, endomorphs should be doing more interval training, for ectomorphs full body training including cardio should do the trick, while resistance training can work for mesomorphs.
Healthy food choices and staying hydrated are important for everyone.
For all body types, incorporating superfoods that fill nutritional gaps in your diet and provide you with healthy fats into your daily routine can also bring your body big benefits.
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By eating for your body type, incorporating the right kinds of exercise into your daily routine and adding superfoods and healthy oils into the mix, you’ll be seeing the results you’re looking for in no time.