Weight Loss Plan for Endomorph Body Type

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You should include resistance training in your routine.
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While everyone's body is different when it comes to gaining and losing weight, a mid-20th-century theory suggests that there may be some similarities across body types. If, according to this theory, you're an endomorph, here is an endomorph diet and exercise plan that could help you lose weight.

Read more: What's a Healthy Body Fat Percentage?

The Somatotype Theory

The University of Houston notes that the concept of somatotypes, or body types, was first introduced by William H. Sheldon, PhD, MD, in the 1940s.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) says that while some parts of Dr. Sheldon's original theory have held up over time, many have not. Today's understanding is that several factors like genetic variations, environmental and social influences, geographic locations and personal decisions influence mental and physical development.

However, the NASM says that the parts of the original theory that have survived provide the basis for forms of somatotyping that are acceptable today, since several of the physiological markers linked to each somatotype do actually exist in the greater population.

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), there are primarily three body types: endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph. Endomorphs usually have a larger bone structure, tend to store fat easily and struggle to lose weight. Ectomorphs are typically long and lean; they have a fast metabolism which can make gaining weight difficult for them. Mesomorphs tend to be naturally muscular, and can gain and lose weight easily.

The ACE explains that most people are a combination of two somatotypes, although one is usually more dominant than the other. The University of Houston lists ecto-endomorphs and endo-ectomorphs as some classic combinations. Ecto-endomorphs usually have leaner upper bodies, with a tendency to store fat in their hips and thighs. Endo-ectomorphs on the other hand tend to store weight in their midsection and generally have leaner lower bodies.

Per the University of Houston, these body types have been devised based on skeletal frame and body composition. A July 2018 study published in the journal Psychological Medicine says that it was also originally believed that there was a correlation between body types and certain personality traits and psychiatric disorders.

However, the researchers were unable to confirm the correlation and feel that additional scientific research is necessary. As with other parts of the somatotype theory, the psychiatric aspect remains extremely controversial, with many believing it amounts to nothing more than quackery.

Read more: The 16 Types of Fitness Personalities, According to Myers-Briggs

Endomorphs and Weight Loss

The ACE lists Marilyn Monroe, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Sophia Vergara as some of the world's most famous endomorphs. The University of Houston notes that defensive linemen tend to be endomorphs as well.

If you're an endomorph, here's what you need to know about the physical and metabolic characteristics of this somatotype, and how they can affect your weight.

The ACE describes endomorphs as curvaceous, full-figured, pear-shaped and small-waisted. People who are endomorphs generally have a medium or large bone structure, a round body, small shoulders and short limbs. Instead of carrying weight all over, endomorphs tend to carry it in their hips, thighs and lower abdomen.

In terms of metabolism, the ACE explains that endomorphs tend to have a certain degree of carbohydrate and insulin sensitivity. This means that high-carb foods are quickly converted to sugar and are more likely to be stored as fat, instead of being burned for energy. Unfortunately, the result is a higher body-fat percentage and a greater risk of health conditions like cancer, hypertension, heart conditions, diabetes, infertility, gallbladder conditions and depression.

However, the good news, according to the NASM is that your body type isn't a life sentence. It was originally believed that people couldn't change their somatotypes; however the NASM states that you can in fact change your body type by consistently making the right diet, fitness and lifestyle choices.

Endomorph Diet Plan

Due to a tendency toward carbohydrate and insulin sensitivity, the ACE says endomorph diets should steer clear of refined carbs and sugary foods. Instead of bread, cookies, cereal and crackers, you should aim to get your carbs primarily from fruits, vegetables and smaller amounts of unrefined, high-fiber grains like amaranth and quinoa.

In terms of macronutrient distribution, the ACE recommends that your diet consists of 35 percent protein, 35 percent fat and 30 percent carbs. You could opt for a paleo-like diet, with protein, vegetables and healthy fats, like olive oil or avocado, at each meal. A low-carb diet, the paleo diet focuses on unrefined foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish and lean meat, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The ACE suggests starting your day with a nutritious, protein-packed breakfast, to get your metabolism going and keep insulin levels in check. Harvard Health Publishing explains that your metabolism revs up when you eat food, because your body has to expend energy to digest, absorb and store the nutrients in your meal. Scientists refer to this as the thermic effect of food. Protein has a higher thermic effect than carbs or fats, because it takes longer for your body to absorb it.

Eggs are a quick, easy and protein-rich breakfast option. You could do scrambled eggs, an omelet or a frittata, made with vegetables and cheese.

Read more: How to Make Sure Your Low-Carb Diet Is Actually Healthy

Endomorph Exercise Routine

The ACE says that in addition to altering your diet, you will also need to follow a well-rounded fitness program in order to lose weight. The program should include cardio and resistance training, to help you burn calories, build muscle and boost your metabolism. According to an August 2016 study published in the Diabetes & Metabolism Journal, regular exercise can significantly improve insulin sensitivity as well.

While building muscle may not be too difficult, the ACE notes that you may find it difficult to get lean. Don't lose heart; keep at it! Building more active muscle tissue helps increase your resting metabolic rate and causes your body to burn fat as fuel.

Per the ACE, the importance of cardio cannot be overstated for endomorphs; it's important that you get moving almost every day. You should aim to get 30 to 60 minutes of steady-state cardio exercises two to three times a week, and 30 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) two to three times a week.

In terms of weight training, the ACE suggests focusing on the large muscle groups, like your legs, back, arms and core. Opt for compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Keep the number of repetitions high and the amount of rest between sets minimal.

The ACE lists this weight training workout that you can follow. Try to do three repetitions of the whole routine.

  • Squats with overhead press: 50 seconds
  • Rest: 10 seconds
  • Stationary lunge with lateral raise (right leg in front): 50 seconds
  • Rest: 10 seconds
  • Stationary lunge with lateral raise (left leg in front): 50 seconds
  • Rest: 10 seconds
  • Plié squats or upright row (dumbbells or kettlebell): 50 seconds
  • Rest: 10 seconds
  • Push-ups with single-leg knee drives: 50 seconds
  • Rest: 10 seconds
  • Plank with triceps extension (dumbbells): 50 seconds
  • Rest: 10 seconds
  • Alternate step-ups with hammer curls: 50 seconds
  • Rest: 10 seconds

Read more: The Most Versatile Workout You'll Ever Do at the Gym

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