Endomorphs and genetic crap shoots

Ugh. My fitness coach (I’m part of an Adventure Bootcamp program) sent us a book today (Tom Venuto’s e-book called Burn the Fat), and in one section it talks about three different body types and nutrition/fitness plans that work best for each.

I’d never heard these described before with official names, and I must say I’m beyond amused and also rather depressed by the category I clearly predominantly belong to.

Here’s the characteristics of each:

Ectomorph (I hate you!)
Naturally skinny, wiry
Long limbs, linear
Small joints, small-boned
Small waist, narrow shoulders
Angular, projecting bones
Naturally lean (low levels of body fat without even working out)
Often call themselves "Hardgainers"
Low strength levels prior to starting a training program
Fast metabolism – they burn up everything, even when overeating
Don’t store carbohydrates as fat – high carbohydrate diets are ok
High energy levels
Tendency to be overactive and restless (hyperactive)
Natural born endurance athletes (successful at distance/endurance sports)
Sometimes hard to maintain weight
Extremely hard to gain weight
Sometimes insomniacs
Respond best to low volume, brief, infrequent, high intensity weight training
It takes years of hard weight training and heavy eating to overcome this body type

Mesomorph (I really hate you!)
Medium joint circumference
Small waist
Broad/square shoulders
Chest dominates over abdominal area
Naturally lean (low levels of body fat without even working out)
Naturally muscular (muscular before they even started working out)
Naturally strong (strong before they even started working out)
High energy levels
Don’t store carbohydrates as fat – high carbohydrate diets are ok
Highly efficient (fast) metabolism
Controlling body fat is easy
Gaining strength is easy
Gaining muscle is easy
Losing body fat is easy
Responds very quickly to just about any type of training (fast results)
Natural born athlete (successful at strength and power sports)
Top-level professional bodybuilders are often pure mesomorphs

Endomorph (OH LOL)
Naturally high levels of body fat (often overweight)
Usually large boned, large joints, large frame (but not always)
Short, tapering arms and legs
Smooth, round body contours (round or pear shaped body)
Wide waist and hips
Waist dominates over chest
Tendency to always store excess calories as fat (can’t get away with overeating)
Keeping fat off after it is lost is a challenge
Tendency to be sluggish, slow moving and lacking energy
Slow thyroid or other hormone imbalance (sometimes)
Fairly good strength levels
Sensitive to carbohydrates (carbs are easily stored as fat)
Responds better to diets with higher protein and low (or moderate) carbs
Naturally slow metabolic rate/low set point (fewer calories burned at rest)
Falls asleep easily and sleeps deeply
A lot of cardio is necessary to lose weight and body fat
Extremely difficult to lose weight (requires great effort)
Bouts of fatigue and tiredness
Often describe themselves as having a "slow metabolism"
Tendency to gain fat easily as soon as exercise is stopped
Tendency to lose fat slowly, even on a “clean,” low fat, low calorie diet.
Often overweight, even though they don’t eat very much
Respond best to frequent, even daily, training

Here’s what I find so funny. One–the name endomorph. ENDO! HA! I’ve often referred to myself as an endocrine disaster, and how appropriate that my body type even reflects the name. Two–the thyroid and insulin resistance bit is amusing. I’m a type 1 diabetic, not type 2, but it sure seems to indicate a genetic predisposition for all the type 2s out there. Recommendations for endomorphs included lower-carb (not low like some people do here, but low as in 100g/day for women). This is really the only body type they discussed carbs and insulin levels with for an eating plan, and how AMUSING again that I fit this category and my entire world revolves around carbs and insulin (in a different way than they mean here since they’re referring to bodies that actually make their own insulin, but STILL).

I’ve started my exercise program about a year ago and have lost around 50lbs. It’s been very slow going to the point of frustration when I see/hear about other more “normal” people, but it’s still going well for ME. But I really do fall into this body category. I’m medium to large framed, and always been on the chubbier side. I’ve also always had large muscles and I gain muscle easily. I weigh more than I look, and have had nurses tell me this often. I’m hypo-thyroid. I can’t get away with eating anything fun. My extremely skinny fiance and I can eat the same exact thing everyday and he will stay the same weight or lose weight and I will gain 20lbs a year (from experience, this one!). I am a very heavy sleeper. When I stopped exercising in college, I gained weight immediately and this is when my serious problems began.

So I’m nearly every item on that list. Hilariously enough, my fiance is nearly every item in ectomorph, down to the sleeping.

I am such a genetic poop bucket, I swear.

Though even as I say that, I tell myself to shut up, because I know it could be eons worse.

Broad categories like these are simplified generalizations.

Endomorphs were the ideal of female beauty until fairly recently. Marilyn Monroe would be considered chubby now, along with many other “sex symbols” of her day. Paintings, sculptures show beautifully rounded bodies. No paintings of skinny women:) Thin was considered sickly. Lush, voluptuous women were healthy, vibrant & sensual. You’re a classic beauty, not a genectic poop bucket!

I agree with Gerri… Marylin Monroe was a size 16. Of course sizing was slightly different back then, and it’s more like a size 12 now, but that’s still very much “plus size” in the modeling world. I’ve never been smaller than a size 8 as an adult, simply because of my bone structure (very wide pelvis… and I’m not counting ‘hips’ on that, I’ve had several DOCTORS comment based on various MRI’s that I have very wide pelvic bones and a very spacious pelvic outlet)… but I was never really overweight until my thyroid started giving me trouble in 2004 (though I was actually underweight and hyperthyroid then - which was ultimately the early stages of hashimoto’s and obviously didn’t last… lol).

if you look at classic paintings… most of the women fit the typical endomorph description… I don’t think in general it is a bad thing, really. I don’t fit everything in that list but there are quite a few that ring very true due to being a T1 and hypothyroid.

That said, I’ve always looked heavier than I am though… even when my sister and I who is 2" shorter than me were at the same weight… she wore a smaller size and always looked “thinner”… and I was putting in serious hours training at an elite level, so it’s not like I wasn’t fit back then (I was probably in better shape than she was) - we’re just built different. I don’t think our metabolism is really all that different though - or at least, it wasn’t before the hashimoto’s showed up (and I had 3 kids to slow me down too).

In terms of my size/weight - I don’t put much weight (no pun in tended) on the numbers… I really go by how I feel physically. If my endurance is good, and I feel like my overall fitness is good and I’m active enough to keep enough endorphins flowing to keep me happy, all is well in my world, even if I am medically “overweight” :slight_smile:

hahah these body shape things confuse me. i never know where i fit because i have elements of all.

Actually, Jill, they say most people are a combination of all 3–so you’re probably normal! The book said very few people are extremely one type.

Though I find it funny that I fit so well in one end and my fiance the other.

And I dunno, people always say it’s just current times that very thin is beautiful…but I’d take super thin over naturally chubby any day. But, that could be a similar phenomenon to hair types—I’ve always had super straight hair, and when I was a kid I hated it and wanted curly hair so badly. Where as friends with curly hair wanted straight hair.

I think I’ll always be jealous of people who can eat delicious junk every day and still be healthy and thin, whether I ever reach a size I’m happy with for myself or not (which I do set realistically higher…I don’t think I’ll ever be a healthy size 4. But right now, I’d be completely ecstatic with an 8/10). :smiley:

Sarah, I don’t put too much stock into numbers either. Weight can vary so much between different people, it’s kind of crazy. Sometimes I’ve felt like I have a distorted view of myself because I weigh so much more than people who look heavier than I do. It’s a strange feeling. Now if I could only get doctors to not obsess so much over the number on the scale…