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health nutrition Jan 31, 2019

A little while ago I was complaining to my hair stylist. I was complaining about the fact that for the past four weeks I hadn’t been consistent in my workouts because of a serious chest cold that just wouldn’t go away. You remember that nasty chest cough that everyone had in December? During cardio (or really just laughing) would send me into a flurry of deep chest coughing. I could still do weight training, but I thought it wouldn’t be so considerate to be at the gym hacking away spreading my germs everywhere, so I focused on performing light weights at home. 

My biggest complaint was that I was losing weight. And that made me annoyed because I knew I was losing lean muscle mass, not body fat. And that muscle was hard earned. For the past year I trained 6 days a week, lifting 6-12 reps for 3-5 sets, twice a week per body part. 

So here I was in my stylist’s chair complaining about losing weight because I wasn’t exercising. I said something like, “you know when you stop working out and you start losing weight, isn’t that annoying? Knowing you are losing precious muscle mass?”

My stylist contemplates this, and then replies, “no, I don’t know what you mean. I don’t lose weight when I don’t exercise, I gain. Also, I gain muscle very quickly, and it’s hard to lose it.”

A lightbulb went off in my head. Oh yes! That is right! I had just learned in my Precision Nutrition course about the three different body types, or somatotypes: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph. Remember learning about those in high school biology class?

The above is a perfect example of the different somatotypes. I am an ectomorph and I am assuming my stylist is a mesomorph. 

Let me explain some of the differences.

Note: My 14yr old daughter Gwyneth who is a wonderful artist drew the illustrations for those of us who are visuals learners :)

Ectomorph’s are normally light and lean, and have longer limbs. They are often endurance athletes, and their metabolism is often on the higher side. They fidget, and are often “busy” personalities.

Mesomorph’s normally have medium builds and are naturally muscular. They have a normally functioning metabolism. They can build muscle fairly easy, and are athletic by nature. 

Endomorph’s are heavier, usually have larger bones, and shorter limbs. Their metabolism is slow and their body loves to store fat. 

Knowing our somatotype can be very helpful when trying to get healthy. 

My body just can’t keep a lot of muscle on it. Which is pretty frustrating as a personal trainer, but if I can embrace this I can work with my body better, becoming healthier and create a functional body where it thrives. Same with a mesomorphic body, being naturally muscular and athletic, that body’s training and nutritional needs will be different than ectomorphic and endomorphic bodies. Endomorphic bodies can also thrive, given the right energy needs it needs to lose body fat and gain muscle. 

Also, in terms of our nutritional choices our percentage of macronutrients will be different depending on your somatotype. 

Ectomorphs tolerate carbs well, so a higher carb, moderate protein, lower fat diet works best for them. Mesomorphs generally do best on a balanced mix distribution of carbs, protein, and fat, so the "Zone" diet -40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat- works well. Endomorphs generally do the best on a lower carb diet, so lowish carbs (25%), higher protein and fat works well for them.

Seven years ago, I tried low carb (under 100g of carbs), and being a Ectomorphic body type that needs a higher percentage of carbohydrates to function properly, the low carb diet completely messed up my thyroid function, whereas an endomorphic body may thrive on a keto diet as their carb needs are much less.

Being Precision Nutritional Coach Level 1 Certified (Pn1), I can help guide you to discover healthy food choices and appropriate exercises for your unique body type to thrive. Making lasting changes is hard, and that is where being Pn1 certified shines, their coaching model is the BEST for creating lasting behaviour changes to create the healthy body you want.