So, I have a body type that’s quite unique… it’s called a Ectoendomorph. Is that even a word?
If you recall from phy-ed, “experts” like to classify bodies into 3 types, Ecto, Endos and Meso morphs.
Ectomorphs are the skinny lanky tall creatures that can’t seem to gain a pound of fat but also have an equally hard time gaining any muscle.
Endomorphs seem to be the exact opposite. They are usually short and stalky has quite an inclination to gain fat as well as muscle but have a hard time getting cut. They resemble a pear with fat accumulation arounds the hips, stomach, lower back and thighs.
Mesomorphs are human unicorns and are the sexiest beasts around. Able to shed fat and gain muscle quite easily, these people tend to resemble the images of Greek gods.
According to Dr. Google these are the only body types. Unfortunately, the world isn’t quite that simple, Google. Enter the Ectoendomorph.
I am what you call a hybrid of two body types. I have a hard time gaining muscle anywhere but thanks to my hideous genetics I accumulate and have a hard time getting rid of belly and lower back fat. I also have a higher propensity to accumulate visceral fat and the many medical complications that come with that.
I’m lucky that I keep reasonably fit… or so I thought. I’ve been struggling with a pain in my lower abdomen. It feels like a sharp pain pushing against my intestines. Not a fun feeling. I was going to the gym 4 times a week doing Olympic lifting so I thought I was covered. Granted I wasn’t watching what I ate.
Month on month my stomach and visceral fat kept getting larger (damn you Indian curries!) and the pain kept getting worse. GPs said it would pass but it never did (don’t get me started on how useless GPs are) … I took matters in my own hands.
I started tracking my calories using my fitness pal and set obtainable goals. I was competing at the 85 kg weight class during my competitions but I knew that wasn’t my natural weight so I made the choice to go down in weight class, 77kg … to my coaches dismay.
My Fitness Pal …. Check
Weight Goal… Check
Strategy to get there…. Where do I start?
Less is more
Calories in – Calories out = Weight Loss or Gain – It’s as simple as that. You don’t need to go Paleo or go to a naturopath and eat moss off a log to get shredded – All those fancy diets and fads are just convoluted ways to achieve the same thing, a calorie deficit.
I assumed I had a higher than average muscle composition from my prolonged “hypertrophy” training (I’ve been trying to only gain muscle by whatever means necessary all my life). Not the most effective approach but it did give me a good benchmark.
My fitness pal uses an algorithm to calculate an average resting metabolic rate so keep that in mind when you try and hit your calorie targets. For me, I knew I didn’t want to lose weight too fast and that I had higher muscle mass than the average Joe which required a higher calorie maintenance (or resting metabolic rate) than what fitness pal suggested so I set my goal to “maintain current weight” and I knew I would start to lose weight… and I did 4 kgs so far and the pain in my side is finally gone!
Carbs, Protein, Fats – It all boils down to how your body reacts to these three. From the many sources I’ve read, the optimal splits between these three depends on the person. Mesomorphs tend to get away with eating pretty much anything (if they hit their protein requirements). Ectos and Endos are the ones that need to be a bit more strategic. I noticed that my body reacted poorly to a low carb high fat diet so I turned to a high protein balanced approach. Hitting my calorie deficit I set my macro split goal to 20/50/20 carb, protein, fat split. It was the worst decision of my life.
The Big Mistake
My life of chicken breast and canned tuna grinded my diet to a halt in about 2 weeks. My stomach couldn’t process the amount of protein I was consuming and I became quite ill. Turns out by reducing other macros I was also depleting my already diminishing digestive enzyme supply my body had in stock. Without a way to digest the protein my body started building up stockpiles in my small intestine. Carbs and fats would pass through no problem but if anything resembled protein entered my system my body would immediately reject it. I’m still recovering, although now armed with some digestive enzyme supplements to assist in the protein backlog. I’ve been reintroducing protein slowly. The enzymes seem to be working… for now.
I’m switching my diet back to how it was originally 30/40/30 which was working great before. Some people can do a 20/50/20 carb, protein, fat split – I wasn’t one of them. It took a lot of mistakes like this one to realise what works for my body. I’m not suggesting going as far as I did but do play around with your diet and pay attention to what it reacts positively to. It will make your experience a lot nicer.
So what’s a good split for you? If you are cutting properly and only doing low rep strength training to do just enough to preserve your muscle, then to compliment that you will need to consume about 2x your bodyweight in kgs in protein. Go to my fitness pal and get your % for protein to allow for at least that much protein and you can play around with the carb/fat split and adjust it to what works best for your body and activity level. For example, I was 85kgs so my protein requirement was 170g of protein. Anything more than that is excessive and unnecessary.
I’m going to end the blog here for now and I’ll keep you guys updated on how I do with my diet. I hope to get bloody shredded by the time my wedding rolls around. Watch this space!
Have you guys had fitness goals you’ve been trying to obtain? Let’s compare notes!