True or false? Two people can follow the same eating and exercise plan and see different weight loss results. The correct answer is true. As much as we want to simplify weight loss down to “calories in and calories out,” the process is much more complex. Many factors influence your ability to lose or gain weight, including body type.
Your body type, also known as somatotype, tells a story deeper than what you see in the mirror. Skeletal structure, body fat location, and muscle makeup reveal critical information that you can use to help improve your weight loss and health. Each of these body types, classified as ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph, presents various benefits and challenges in weight loss.
Ectomorphs. People who are ectomorphs are thin and lean, with little muscle and body fat. Ectomorphs usually have difficulty gaining weight and may be prone to injury due to small, weak bones.
Endomorphs. This group is usually heavier and rounder, characterized by fat distribution mainly in the lower portions of the body, including the waist, hips, and thighs. The endomorphic body type is more inclined to gain weight due to high levels of insulin sensitivity. Building muscle tends to come easily for endomorphs, but it is in major competition with fat storage.
Mesomorphs. A mesomorph is characterized by having strong muscles that are fairly evenly distributed. Despite the muscle, mesomorphs still need to be careful about putting on unwanted weight, especially in the form of fat.
While these three body types serve as a helpful framework, it is very rare for anyone to be purely ectomorph, endomorph, or mesomorph. Most of us are a blend of the types. So if you were looking to blame your weight on your body type, sorry, you’re out of luck there.
Once you’ve identified your body type, it can support your own personal weight loss plan. For instance, if you lean towards the endomorphic body type, it’s very important to decrease consumption of simple carbohydrates, like bread and pasta. These foods increase insulin sensitivity, which makes it much harder for your body to fight fat. Instead, choose foods higher in protein and complex carbs, like vegetables and whole grains. This will help maximize that side of the ectomorph body type that likes building muscle. These dietary modifications will only be amped up by complementing it with a well-rounded cardio and strength-training activity plan.
If you fall more into the mesomorph group, it’s very important for you to focus on consuming complex carbs to fuel your cardiovascular exercises. You’ve got the strength training down with those muscles. Make sure your heart is in top shape through regular cardio activities.
And if you’re an ectomorph, well, you most likely aren’t reading this article. However, even if you are thin on the outside, it’s a good idea to still understand your body’s fat and muscle composition. There is such a thing called “skinny-fat,” which basically means your fat percentage presents health risks that may not be apparent due to your slight frame.
Again, most of us will probably have characteristics of multiple body types, and there are even variations of the body types depending on gender. All of this points us back to the original assertion that weight loss is indeed a complex process. But, with the proper measurement of body composition and a basic understanding of how body types work, you will can feel confident about achieving your weight loss goals.