You have most likely heard of body-type categories before. The most common names are ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph. We can also go further and define your type based on fuel as a muscle, mixed or sugar burner. Body types can also be categorised through hormones via being an adrenal, pituitary, thyroid or gonad type. All these different names discuss the same three to four body types.
All these types are general indications of how your metabolism, hormones, nervous system and fuel systems operate. The categories give us great insight into how your body functions; we can use this information to align your nutrition and exercise to get the best results. Types are just starting points — great points of reference to begin your plan.
It is also important to realise that all these types can actually become obese. For example, someone could be overweight but actually be an ectomorph body type. Think of these types as underlying ways our bodies prefer to work but through lifestyle, nutrition and exercise you can affect the natural tendencies of your body. Certain body types respond better to starches by burning them for fuel and others very poorly by predominantly storing them as fat. Certain types respond better to higher volume resistance workouts with minimal rest periods where others develop better gains from more intensive heavy weights with longer rest periods.
1) Ectomorph (Muscle Burner / Thyroid)
This type tends to be thyroid and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) dominant with either a higher output or higher sensitivity to catecholamines like adrenaline and noradrenaline. This profile is linked to a fast metabolic rate and a high carbohydrate tolerance. Their “metabolic motor runs at high revs”.
They are generally tall, usually lean and have faster metabolisms. Character traits are that they generally fidget and move around a lot because their sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is dominant. If this type has become fat they generally are “wired on the inside, tired on the outside” and have an appearance of flabby fat. They trend to crave sugar, salt and alcohol. They don’t tend to do well on coffee, as it over-hypes them and can drop their blood sugar levels due to a higher cortisol response. They should replace coffee with drinks and foods that restore the SNS, consume foods high in magnesium and look to balance blood sugar levels. An ectomorphic type is better suited for a higher starch but lower fat diet.
2) Mesomorph (Mixed Burner / Adrenal)
The strength and power build. This type has no real genetic predispositions; lifestyle has the biggest impact on body fat storage. They tend to be testosterone and growth hormone dominant and thus can usually gain muscle and stay lean easily. They have no real problem with foods, have mixed cravings, however they can have issues with insulin and stress hormones. Moderate starch intake works well and usually conforms to a zone diet concept. If overweight, simply normalising diet and lifestyle issues tend to produce great results.
3) Endomorph (Sugar Burner / Pituitary)
Unlike the ectomorph the endomorph metabolic speed is set to “idle”. They tend to be parasympathetic dominant and naturally less active. They have a genetic predisposition to gain weight and be resistant to fat loss. They have an appearance to be muscular and fat.
Endomorphs can do well on coffee to counter act the parasympathetic nervous system dominance. They tend to be deficient in serotonin, GABA, dopamine and acetylcholine. Cocoa, branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), tyrosine, 5-HTP and GABA herbs are great nutrients that can really aid an endomorphic body type lose fat. They have to be very careful with dairy and fruit, eat low starch, and eat at frequent regular times. They are a great fit for a Paleo diet where fat is prioritised over starch.
4) Gonad (female only — pear shape)
Gonad types tend to gain weight on the lower body, the saddlebags on the sides of the thighs and buttocks. Oestrogen dominance and an inability to eliminate oestrogens and toxins from the body is a trait of this type. Females possess a high number of alpha-receptors in the thigh, which bind very well to oestrogens.
Gonads are sometimes more of a night owl than a morning person. They tend to have stable energy, as the day progresses their energy increases. Those that have low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia will tend to have an energy crash around 4pm.
Boosting liver function and focusing on steady and continuous detoxification is important for gonads to help eliminate toxins that accumulate more easily than with others. They should consume foods containing the chemical indole-carbinol-3, which binds to oestrogens to help clear them from the body.
Understanding the basic guidelines regarding how your body’s metabolism, nervous system, hormones and fuel systems operate is a great place to start. However, over time we could be a mix of these types. Nothing is set in stone and we must become intuitive, fat-loss detectives to learn what is best for our individual and unique bodies.
Phil is founder and master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763 or at his website bodyexpertsystems.com or through Star Fitness (starfitnesssaigon.com)