We’ve all heard about body type theory. But how does your body type affect the supplements you use? It’s time to find out.
Body Types 101
The concept of somatotypes – body types – dates back to 1954 where it was set out in the book “Atlas of Men”, written by American psychologist William Herbert Sheldon.
Sheldon proposed three somatotypes: endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph. He initially came up with these distinctions to predict people’s mental characteristics, but also identified common physical characteristics. It’s this aspect of somatotyping that the fitness industry still uses today.
Which Somatotype Are You?
Like all absolutes, it’s not black and white. Most of us are some combination or two (or even three) of the somatotypes. But here’s a guide:
Ectomorphs are the “hard gainers” of the gym world. They are usually thinner, longer, and taller than others, with small bone structure, thin limbs, small wrists and ankles. They might struggle to put on weight and muscle, and find it very easy to lose weight. If they’ve got muscle, they worked very hard to get it there (and live in fear of losing it). Ectomorphs tend to be thyroid dominant and may feel like they’re running off their nerves a lot of the time (they’re often sensitive to the catecholamines epinephrine and norepinephrine). Ectos tend to have a high carbohydrate tolerance.
A good macro split for ectomorphs might be 25% protein, 55% carbs, 20% fats (regardless of numbers, definitely a higher carb, moderate protein, lower fat approach).
Endomorphs have a larger bone structure than ectos, with more total body mass and fat mass. Think powerlifter build. Endos are often very strong, but don’t gravitate towards cardio (and the idea of endurance style cardio baffles them!) Endomorphs tend to be less naturally inclined to general activity than ectomorphs, which could be one explanation for their ability to lay down more body fat. They usually have a lower carb tolerance, a slower metabolism, and find it pretty easy to put on excess body fat (and find it difficult to lose it, too).
A good macro split for endomorphs might be 35% protein, 25% carbs, 40% fats (in general, a higher fat and lower carb intake, with carbs being timed mostly around training).
Everyone wants to be a mesomorph. These guys and girls put on muscle easily and respond well to training. They look muscular but athletic, and have a balanced physique and medium bone structure. If they stay active, they usually have a decent amount of lean mass and stay pretty lean, too. Mesos tend to be naturally testosterone and GH-dominant, which could explain their ability to build muscle and maintain low body fat.
A good macro split for a mesomorph would be fairly balanced – try 30% protein, 40% carbohydrate, 30% fats.
Useful Supplements For Your Body Type.
It’s important to eat the best macro split for your body type, and to pay attention to meal timing, too. But what about supplements?
Best supplements for Ectomorphs?
Since ectomorphs can struggle to put on weight, and often seem to be hard-gainers, they need calorie dense foods. They could benefit from a quality mass gainer as a protein choice. Ectos – stock up with tasty nut butters, and try Complete Lean Mass™ or Informed Mass™ as a post-workout shake you can use throughout the day to get plenty of protein and carbs into your diet without having to shovel in a high volume of food.
Best supplements for Endomorphs?
Endomorphs can put on unwanted body fat easily, so they need to make sure their carbs come from quality sources. They shouldn’t avoid fats completely, but consider EFAs, CLA, and Coconut Oil for supplemental fats with added benefits. Green Tea Capsules, or Matcha Green Tea Powder, can support metabolic rate and encourage a little extra calorie burn throughout the day. In terms of protein, Pure Whey Protein™ will deliver the protein you need without extra carbs or fats, Whey Isolate will be the purest and lowest-fat option for you, and Complete Diet Protein™ ADVANCED will support your goals if you want to shed some weight.
Best supplements for Mesomorphs?
Mesomorphs will need to support their training with the best quality food they can lay their hands on. They should focus on quality sources of carbs, and supplements for power, performance, and recovery. Mesos will probably feel a lot of benefit from Creatine and, if they need an extra boost for training, ELEVATE™ would be a great choice (it contains 13 pre-workout ingredients and is tested under the Informed Sport programme). INFORMED WHEY® would be a solid choice as their post-workout, and Liquid Egg Whites could be a useful kitchen staple for adding extra protein to meals without fats or carbs.
Which body type are you?
About the Author
Nicola Joyce has been writing for (and about) sport, fitness, nutrition and healthy living since 2004. She’s also a keen sportswoman: her background is in endurance sport but she now competes as a natural bodybuilder, most recently winning a world title with the INBF. When she’s not writing content, she can be found blogging. Follow her here www.nicolajoyce.co.uk and on Facebook & Twitter (@thefitwriter) too.