Your body type doesn’t just help determine what sports you’re good at, influence what type of exercise you’ll love, and how easily you lose and gain weight, but can also affect how much and what type of foods best fuel your body and help you lose weight. While ectomorphs for example, can eat just about anything without gaining a pound, endomorphs are more sensitive to what they put in their body. And unlike other body types endomorphs find it difficult to make up for poor dietary habits with exercise.
Endomorphs need to get their diet right to lose weight, to feel energetic, and for good health.
ENDOMORPHS ARE SENSITIVE TO EXTRA CALORIES
One of the reasons endomorphs struggle with their weight more than mesomorphs and ectomorphs, is that for various reasons endomorphs are very sensitive to even the slightest over-consumption 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.
The calorie excess we’re taking about could simply be a chocolate bar a day too much. That’s it! On average a chocolate treat such as Milky Way or Snickers contains between 300 and 400 calories. Let’s assume you consume 300 extra calories a day. That would work out at 2100 extra calories per week. This amounts to 2.6 lbs (1.2 kgs) of fat gain per month and a whopping 31 lbs (14 kgs) per year!
This may seem crazy. I mean it’s just a chocolate bar, right?! But this is the actual reality for most of us and the reason we’re gaining the extra weight and struggling with it so much. Who even remembers eating that tiny little piece of chocolate! While many of us wake up one morning and suddenly realise we’re overweight, it doesn’t actually happen overnight. Weight gain happens gradually and creeps up on us, until we realise that it isn’t our favorite clothes store that has been messing around with the dress sizing, but that it’s our waist and thighs that have been steadily expanding. And the difference between us and ectomorphs is that ectomorphs have the unique capacity to burn off extra calories – their bodies actually defend against weight gain. Ours doesn’t.
Does that mean calorie counting until the day you die? Not at all. But for the first few months you do need to closely watch your diet until you have a firm sense of how and what to eat. And at regular periods you might want to do a spring clean/ inventory of where you diet’s at. Looking over your diet for any bad habits that have crept in, and then to re-evaluate and reset your diet.
Remember when you veer of course it’s often only by a few degrees (or a chocolate bar!). You want to catch it and get back on track early. Before you’ve strayed off too far, gained a lot of weight and become disillusioned, discouraged, and feel you have to start all over again.
WHAT SHOULD ENDOMORPHS EAT?
As an endomorph, it isn’t only your calorie intake that’s important. Your macronutrient ratio (the ratio of protein, carbohydrate and fat) is also a key factor helping you lose weight and get fit. And it’s your body type that helps determine your ideal macronutrient ratio.
Endomorphs often have some degree of carbohydrate sensitivity and insulin sensitivity. Carbohydrate rich foods are converted to sugar in the bloodstream quickly and more likely be stored as fat than be burned for energy. This is one of the reasons endomorphs tend to do better on a lower carb diet. A moderate reduction in carbs will make a significant difference in helping carb-sentive endomorphs shift body fat.
The carbs you do eat should be complex carbs – predominantly vegetables and some smaller amounts of unrefined, high-fiber starches, such as quinoa and amaranth. As an endomorph, if you want to lose weight, you need to step away from the white bread, rice and pasta, and from the sweet cereals, cakes and cookies! Fruits are rich in important nutrients, but also higher in sugar. So aim to eat at least 5 servings of veggies for every 2 servings fruit (~5:2 ratio).
Carb sensitive endomorphs should minimize the amount of carb-dense foods they eat outside the workout window. Stick to eating largely complex carbs most of the time. Limit eating carb-dense foods to the pre- and post-workout period when your body wants them most – for energy and when it will help your body repair and recover from your workouts and also limit fat gain.
BEST DIET FOR ENDOMORPHS
Endomorphs typically do best on a diet that is higher in protein and fat, with less carbs. A macronutrient ratio that works well for endomorphs is:
- 30 – 40% carbs
- 30 – 35% protein
- 30 – 35% fat
You can start with more carbs such as a nutrient distribution of 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fats, and if you find you’re not losing weight reduce your carb intake further. For example, 30% carbs, 35% protein, and 35% fats.
You needn’t follow a complicated diet to make these changes. This ratio of protein, fat, and carbs doesn’t have to be pinpoint accurate. Think of it simply as eating a diet higher in protein and fat, and lower in carbs. A Paleo-like diet is often best suited for endomorphs, as each meal contains protein, vegetables and some healthy fats, such as avocado or olive oil.
A moderately low carbohydrate, higher protein and fat diet will help endomorphs to:
- Lose fat.
- Maintain energy levels.
- Higher protein levels allow a reduction in calories, while minimizing any feelings of deprivation/ hunger. A protein rich meal is more satisfying and leaves you more full after eating compared to carb-heavy meals.
- Protein has a higher thermic effect and “stirs the pot” more than fat or carbs. While anything eaten in excess is likely to lead to fat gain, a diet higher in protein is less likely to be stored as body fat than a diet high in carbs or fat.
- Moderate carbs with higher protein will help prevent the muscle loss that occurs when lowering calories to lose weight.
- Provide enough carbohydrates to fuel metabolic needs, while keeping blood sugar controlled and minimizing risk of diabetes and other diseases.
- Help make eating like this a lifestyle choice and a habit, as it isn’t restrictive, doesn’t exclude entire food groups and is easy to stick with.
SUMMARY/ RECOMMENDATION FOR ENDOMORPHS
Baseline macronutrient ratio: 30-40% carbs, 30-35% protein, 30-35% fats
Carb tolerance/needs: Low
Carb timing: Almost all carb-dense foods should be consumed before/ after exercise.
Exercise: Endomorphs tend to have a hard time losing fat through diet alone, so a workout program is absolutely necessary for the endomorph.