There is a very important nutritional strategy that I use with my clients and that I try to educate my family and friends on – a strategy that can help us address a lot of the issues that we deal with when it comes to managing weight and knowing what to eat to lose fat or gain muscle.
What do I need to know?
Unfortunately, like a lot of nutritional information, we aren’t really taught this stuff unless we have a background in nutrition and fitness or, have had a coach educate us on the importance of eating for our body type.
Aside from eating mostly whole, minimally processed, highly nutritious foods and eating appropriate portions, this is one of the most important takeaways of proper nutrition.
We are all unique.
My reasoning for holding this belief is simple: there isn’t a single person on the planet who is built exactly like another, requires the same amount of energy as another or, has the same tolerance for certain foods as another.
So, instead of trying to follow what our friends and family say, or what that bodybuilder on Instagram said, why don’t you try something simple first: eat for your body type! From there, you can structure your diet accordingly; and who knows, it may end up that you can eat exactly what the influencers recommend on Instagram.
What’s my body type?
It’s important to consider your body type as a way to guess the type of metabolism you may have, what are the best-suited activities for you, and what nutritional advantages and disadvantages you may experience.
There are 3 specific types of body types that we are generally categorized into:
Ectomorphs are usually categorized as endurance athletes, climbers, gymnasts, and dancers. They are typically lean, have sparse musculature, are light-framed, and usually tall and long limbed.
These are usually the people who can eat an entire party-size pizza and have the rest of us wondering where the heck it disappeared to. They have very high-functioning metabolisms and burn energy very easily, which enables them to get away with eating more carbs than the average person.
The macronutrient split for an Ectomorph looks something like this:
25% to 30% of total calories coming from protein
50% to 55% of total calories coming from carbohydrates
15% to 20% coming from healthy dietary fats
This means that if you fall under this body classification, you don’t have to worry about extra servings of carbs at dinner. To be quite honest, your body type would do best with a moderate serving of minimally-processed, wholly nutritious carbs at every meal. Maybe a pizza here and there won’t hurt, BUT: make it a good pizza if you’re going to eat pizza!
Mesomorphs are usually categorized as the naturally-athletic build with a balanced power, strength and speed ratio. Typically, these body types are stronger than ectomorphs and can put on muscle much easier, while having an easier time maintaining a lean body fat percentage.
The taller mesomorph body type works well in team sports like basketball, hockey and rugby, whereas shorter mesomorph body types can be found in the gym throwing weights around or doing gymnastics.
With a relatively fast and efficient metabolism, these are usually the people that can convert almost everything they eat to muscle, connective tissue, dense bones and energy, as long as they maintain the appropriate macronutrient split and are exercising regularly.
The macro-nutrient split for a Mesomorph looks something like this:
30% to 35% of total calories coming from protein,
35% to 40% of total calories coming from carbohydrates, and
35% to 40% coming from healthy dietary fats.
This body type can have pizza, but they try to keep it a bit more reasonable. Maybe: do a small personal pizza perhaps?
Endomorphs are usually categorized as the powerlifter-type. These body types are naturally big-boned, with lots of muscle but also a relatively higher body fat percentage than the other two body types. They typically have the slowest metabolic rate out of the three and are naturally less active.
Where excess calories tend to burn off of ectomorphs and high-functioning mesomorphs, the opposite appears to be the case for endomorphs; they tend to store excess calories as body fat.
This means, that for any endomorphs, it’s best to be moderate with your pizza intake; once or twice a month at most, and make sure not to go too crazy with the portion size. Endomorphs generally do better on a high fat (yes, you heard me: high fat) and high protein diet with very minimal to low carbs.
The macro-split for endo’s looks like this:
35% to 40% of total calories coming from protein
20% to 25% of total calories coming from carbohydrates
40% to 45% coming from healthy dietary fat; specifically, unsaturated fats
If you fall under this category, it’s best to be careful as to when and how you consume carbs. You can absolutely have pizza; just make sure 85% of your diet falls under the “healthy and nutritious” category, with minimally-processed foods and the odd pizza won’t be an issue.
Final considerations for your body type
By determining which category you fall under, you can start to get a better understanding of where you lie on the spectrum for your body type.
If you’re an endomorph, are you making sure that you get enough exercise to eat those extra carbs? If you’re an ectomorph, are you making sure you get enough carbs to be able to complete that event competitively?
If you’re looking to lose weight, aside from ruling out food tolerances and allergies, eating for your body type is most likely one of your best options, and trust me, each body type has PLENTY of enjoyable and nutritious options to choose from.
If you’re looking for more information or some assistance with dieting, nutrition or fitness feel free to contact me directly for a free consultation and assessment!
Alternately: to start establishing healthy habits, join @FitInFounder in her 90-day #healthyhabitsmovement challenge! By starting off your day right, you stand a better chance of hitting your daily health goals.
Wes Van Hart is a personal trainer, nutritionist (and far more), located in Toronto. Wes is an advocate for constantly improving both physical and mental health, and as such, he is dedicated to advancing his knowledge base, certifications and ability to help his clients, no matter how that looks.
Wes was the very first FitIn affiliate, and is a regular contributor to the FitIn blog.