Are you an Endomorph?

(Portions of this article were originally published by the American Council on Exercise (ACE)) and authored by Tiffani Bachus, R.D.N., and Erin Macdonald, R.D.N.)

How to Train and Eat as an Endomorph
Look around at a group of people and what do you see? No two people are built the same. But if you look at little closer, you might find that there are similarities in body shapes. The majority of individuals can be grouped among one of three different body types: mesomorphs, ectomorphs and endomorphs. Each requires different diet plans and training methods to achieve overall health, fitness goals and successful weight management. Most people are a blend of two body types, with one being more dominant. Ectomorphs tend to be long and lean with a fast metabolism, so gaining weight and muscle can be a challenge. Mesomorphs are naturally muscular and have the ability to lose weight or gain weight easily. This article addresses the unique characteristics and needs of the endomorph body type, who typically have a larger bone structure, store fat easily and struggle with weight loss.

Physical Characteristics
Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Sophia Vergara and Marilyn Monroe are some of the most famous female endomorphs. They all could be described as curvaceous, small-waisted, full-figured and pear-shaped. Endomorphs generally have a smooth, round body, medium-large bone structure, small shoulders and shorter limbs. They usually carry their weight in the lower abdomen, hips, and thighs rather than evenly distributed throughout the body. This pattern of fat distribution makes it a bit harder to lose weight, but with the correct training and nutrition program, they can achieve positive results. 

Metabolic Characteristics
From a metabolic perspective, endomorph body types usually have some degree of carbohydrate and insulin sensitivity. High-carb foods are quickly converted to sugar in the bloodstream and are more likely be stored as fat than be burned for energy. As a result, many endomorphs have a higher body-fat percentage, putting them at greater risk for developing diabetes, infertility, certain forms of cancer, gallbladder conditions, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and depression. Fortunately, hormone imbalances can be prevented or corrected with a nutrition and fitness program that achieves a reduction in body fat.

Diet and Weight Loss
Because endomorphs tend to be carbohydrate and insulin sensitive, the best nutrition plan for this body type focuses on an even distribution of macronutrients, with carbohydrates coming mostly from vegetables and smaller amounts of unrefined, high-fiber starches, like quinoa and amaranth. Stay away from the bread, cereal, cracker and cookie aisles of the supermarket! A Paleo-like diet is best suited for an endomorph, where each meal contains protein, vegetables and some healthy fats, like avocado or olive oil. Aim for a nutrient distribution close to 30 percent carbs, 35 percent protein and 35 percent fat.

Fitness Goals
Endomorphs typically have a difficult time losing fat with diet alone, so a well-rounded fitness program is a must for those with an endomorph body type. Exercise is essential to boosting metabolism and must include both weight and cardio training. In general, endomorphs must commit to a lifelong program without overtraining. Building muscle comes easily for endomorphs; however, a slower metabolism and extra body fat make it much harder for endomorphs to stay lean. To begin, find a few different activities that can be rotated to prevent overtraining or boredom.

Cardio
Endomorphs’ basic disposition is to take it easy and relax, but they must stay in motion almost every day to fight against the urge to chill out. The cardio-training component is imperative for the endomorph to burn calories and create a greater calorie deficit."

Cardio Training Recommendations for the Endomorph:

  • Incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) two to three days a week for no more than 30 minutes per workout.

    The eFitClub’s MX4 and Sprint 8 are both HIIT programs to help you achieve your goals.

  • Or, if one cannot perform at HIIT intensity, incorporate 30 to 60 minutes of steady-state cardio, two to three days a week. 

Weight Training
Maintaining or building lean muscle mass and losing body fat, while also revving up metabolism, is the focus during weight-training sessions. Focus on large muscle groups (e.g., legs, back) and high repetitions. 

The eFirClub’s eGym circuit includes a weight loss and metabolic training option that meets this objective.

Another strategy is to perform circuit training with very little rest time between sets.

Try eFitClub’s MX4 small group training class - a fun, fast, and efficient workout!

Other Factors to Consider for Endomorphs
Other factors are good advice for all body types: watch less TV, avoid excessive sleep, become an early riser, work out with a partner, or hire a personal trainer.

Consistency and diligence with eating and exercise are key to facilitating weight loss.

The eFitClub provides nutrition seminars and counseling to help keep you on track!