How to eat for an ectomorph body type?
Let’s face it – there is no “magic” exercise routine that provides wonderful results to every person who tries it. Just like there is no “magic” diet and no “magic” weight loss pill. Humans are like snowflakes, and our biological diversity needs to be taken into account when planning a fitness or nutrition routine.
At the same time, much confusion and frustration can be eliminated due to the fact that most individuals fit very nicely into three different body categories. In anatomy terms, these three categories are called “ectomorph”, “mesomorph”, and “endomorph”. Like any classification scheme, you may not fit perfectly, but you will find that you match up with one category more than the other two, and this information will be especially helpful in forming a plan to achieve your bodybuilding goals. Once you know your body type, you can then work on developing a near perfect body like the ancient Greeks.
When it comes to eating for controlling body composition, the first type are ectomorphs – an individual with a lean and delicate build. Tired of being called the “skinny guy”? If so, this post is just for you. In this post you’ll find out how to eat for an ectomorph body type.
What are the physical characteristics of an ectomorph body type?
If you are an ectomorph, you are likely to be tall and lean. You look more like a marathon runner than a swimmer. Your limbs are relatively long in proportion to the torso and your shoulders often droop and appear narrow. You probably struggle to gain weight or muscle. The reason is that this body type is by far the most efficient at burning calories.
Ectomorphs display typical characteristics. They:
- have relatively thin shoulders;
- have lean muscle mass;
- are slim;
- have relatively flat chests;
- have thin frames (delicate build);
- find it difficult to gain weight;
- muscle growth takes longer;
- have very fast metabolism;
These body types typically don’t gain weight. They generally can eat anything and everything and never gain weight. Female ectomorphs are the envy of other women because they seem to eat large numbers of calories and don’t get any heavier. But most males would rather have a much more masculine appearance and probably find it frustrating that, no matter how much they eat, they simply don’t pile on the pounds.
Eating tips for an ectomorph body type
Metabolism & ectomorph diet tips
They seem to struggle gaining weight no matter how much they eat, despite the possibility of having a high and unhealthy body fat percentage. This is due to the fact that they have super-fast metabolism that burns calories fast and efficiently.
Ectomorphs need additional calories in their diet to build muscle. However, it is important to make sure that these calories only come from quality foods, not junk. Although people with this body type seem able to consume junk with little effect, without restraint and exercise excess body fat will develop. With this in mind, we’ll introduce the term “skinny fat person“.
“Skinny fat people” have high body fat with very low muscle content. They are not “lean machines”. A “lean machine” body is one with muscularity with very little fat.
Despite the scales reporting a healthy body weight, to be “skinny fat” is just as dangerous as being overweight or obese. Excess visceral fat around the waist (fat that surrounds the internal organs) is the single biggest indicator of heart disease risk. Therefore, in order for an ectomorph to gain weight and fill out they need to eat a calorie rich diet of unprocessed foods that are organic, natural, and wholesome. Refined foods should be avoided by all people, but the ectomorph needs to realize that even though they can eat refined, processed foods and not gain weight, these foods can destroy their health.
Most bodybuilders are well aware of the importance of eating enough protein to build muscle mass. However, too many ectomorphs forget that carbohydrate also plays a critical role. Without enough carbohydrate, all the protein in the world will not help ectomorphs add size.
If this bodybuilder were eating 500 grams of carbohydrate a day, he should get 400 grams from complex, slow-digesting foods such as oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, or corn. The remaining 100 grams could be from a simple carbohydrate such as cold cereals, bread, muffins, fruit preserves, or honey.
Other eating tips
- Ectomorph diet plan should be strict eating with the most nutrient dense type of foods, emphasis on quality, and not junk foods either.
- Feeding times should be often, more than they are use to with the calories being high in number. Eat every few hours.
- Avoid foods with a low calorie density. Basically, avoid food that you need to eat a lot of in order to make any significant calorie gains. A great example of food with a high calorie density is cooked oatmeal. A small serving will give you a big boost of energy and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
- If you have to eat 4000+ calories per day (which is not uncommon for most ectomorphs), it’s far easier to get these calories in by dividing them up into 6-8 meals over the course of the day compared to 3 large, 1000+ calorie meals. By fueling your body on a continuous basis and eating 400-500 calories per meal, you will keep your energy levels at a consistent level.
- Another great way to get your calorie intake up is to make good use of shakes. These are convenient and quick options that will help you hit your daily calorie target. Also think about buying good mass gainer. They provide hundreds upon hundreds of calories per serving, along with amino acids, protein blends, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and dietary fats. Weight gainer supplements are must in an ectomorph diet.
Fast metabolism – blessing or a curse?
We all know that ectomorphs have a fast metabolism, which is both a blessing and a curse. A high metabolism makes is easy to get lean, and it can seem as if they can eat whatever they want and not gain weight. However, with age, their metabolisms will slow down, primarily due to low muscle mass, which can result in an unhealthy gain in body fat.
The nutritional breakdown for an ectomorph
The nutritional breakdown for an ectomorph working to gain size is approximately 35 percent protein, 50 percent carbohydrate, and 15 percent fat. This breakdown allows a bodybuilder to eat more than enough protein, sufficient essential fat, and high amounts of carbohydrate to add muscle mass.
If an ectomorph eats 1.25 to 1.5 grams of protein for each pound of body weight, he should also eat 2 to 4 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight. Therefore, a 150-pound ectomorphic bodybuilder needs to eat 190 to 225 grams of protein and 300 to 600 grams of carbohydrate per day to gain size.
One way to increase caloric intake is to add protein drinks to the diet. It is much easier to finish off a protein drink than to consume lots of solid food. And it is easy to add calories to the drink itself by adding ingredients such as fruit, ice cream, protein powder, and flaxseed oil.
High performance foods for an ectomorph
Ectomorph has to eat at least every three hours with each meal consisting of quality protein, of 1.5 grams per pound of body weight, and essential fats with some complex carbs thrown in the mix for sustained energy levels. A guide of good food sources are listed below as an example:
1. Quality protein sources
Lean steaks, 95% lean ground beef, chicken breasts, turkey, tuna, egg whites, whole eggs are OK, beans, whey proteins, salmon, spirulina, chlorella, soy, milk, skim milk, cottage cheese (high in glutamine).
2. Vegetables & grains
Brown rice, whole wheat products, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, spinach (excellent source of iron & beta-ecdysterones), sweet potatoes, peanut butter, pea nuts, all nuts are great source of proteins & essential fatty acids, olives, olive oil, canaola oil, pea nut oil, avocados, oatmeal, dark grain breads.
Fruits: All fruits are great, supplies the body with important vitamins, minerals, and live enzymes.
3. Dietary essential fats
Are very important for proper body functioning and hormone production. Most people have an unhealthy balance of these fatty acids. Good sources are – almonds, walnuts, almond butter, peanut butter and pea
nuts, avocados, flax seeds, olive oil, eggs, fish, sardines, salmon, tuna, mackeral. And omega 3 fish oil supplements, krill oil. Look for quality name brand.
Sample ectomorph meal plan
- First meal: Smoothie with oats, bran cereal, milk, egg whites, almond butter, natural peanut butter, natural honey, whey protein;
- Second meal: Grilled chicken, whole-wheat pasta, side of almonds;
- Third meal: Spinach leaves, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, olives, raisins, sunflower seeds, grilled chicken;
- Fourth meal: Pre-Workout: Mixed fruit smoothie, wheat bread, sliced turkey, spinach, tomato;
- Fifth meal: Post-Workout: Mass gainer, natural peanut butter;
- Sixth meal: Steak, brown rice, almonds
- Seventh meal: Natural peanut butter, Greek yogurt, beef jerky, milk, serving of casein;
Summary: Ectomorph Diet
Ectomorph body types simply have to eat a lot to grow! There’s no way around that. They simply have to increase their overall caloric intake. That is the primary factor that governs your growth potential, calories! You need to take in more calories than you burn. If you eat less than you burn you will then lose weight!
However, you don’t need to force feed yourself either, just try and introduce more feeding times day by day and soon you will adapt to the extra feeding times, and besides as your muscles start to grow from the supplements, workouts, and diet, you will actually begin to notice that your hunger level will increase on a natural basis. Know that as an ectomorph you can achieve the dream physique with a little hard work and dedication.