Boxing yourself into ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph body type is ​​ridiculous in every possible way. And yet this guy, V-Shred, the nearest possible human equivalent to Fred Flintstone, but waaaay more beautiful…

V-Shred on body type and weight loss

…tells you to eat and train according to your body type. He and a hill of other “experts” postulate that if you are an ectomorph—tall and skinny… 

ectomorph body type

...You have to follow a specific macro split (and don’t you dare to screw this up). Specifically, 60/20/20. 60% carbs, 20% fats, and 20% proteins. No more no less.

If you are an endomorph—bulky, usually overweight… 

...Ensure you are carb cycling because he says it’s the fastest way to lose fat. And don’t forget to do HIIT training a minimum of three times a week.

If you are a mesomorph—the best of both worlds… 

...You gotta eat “clean” (whatever that means, wash your food well, I reckon) and, again, carb cycle. Oh, and fat burners. Gotta buy those too.

Listen, this is textbook idiocy. This theory would only work in a room full of beautifully burning weed. Attaching a specific body type label to yourself can lead to unnecessary food restrictions (endomorphs—no carbs!) and sub-optimal, gut-wrenching workout protocols.

Your body type is a sum of your habits. Change your habits and you will change your body type. You can go from one body type to the other without special diet tricks and workouts. Christian Bale and Jared Leto are great examples of that: 

Image credit: Alan Aragon

As Alan Aragon, a nutrition researcher and educator, noted: 

What people see as a given somatotype regarding body composition (proportion of lean mass & fat mass) is largely the manifestation of habits. Change the habits, and you can change the supposed somatotype. Individual differences in appetite & other factors can make these changes easier for some, and more difficult for others. However, boxing yourself into the presumption of a particular somatotype ultimately can be sabotaging for the goal of altering body composition in the long term.
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So don’t even think about eating and training based on your body type. There is no one best magical nutrition or training approach to each of these body types. Nutrition fundamentals are the same for everyone: 

  • Adherence trumps everything. You can have the best goddamn diet plan in the world but if you can’t stick to it, it’s useless. 
  • Caloric management. Want to lose weight? Eat fewer calories than you burn. Want to gain muscle? Do the opposite. 
  • Eat mostly nutritious foods. 80-90% of your food choices should come from minimally processed foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, etc. 10-20% can come from “fun” foods. Enjoy the crap out of them guilt-free. Flexible eating, remember?
  • Eat protein at most, if not all, meals. 
  • Set a consistent day-to-day meal structure (meal frequency, meal timing, etc.). 
  • Stay well hydrated

Whether you are an ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph, the above is true to all body types. No carb cycling, no keto, and no goddamn fasting (unless you like it and it fits your lifestyle). 

When it comes to training, whether fat loss or muscle gain is the goal, the same guidelines apply to all body types: 

  • Train for progressive overload. Focus on gradually increasing load, frequency, number of repetitions, range of motion, etc. 
  • Obey the principle of specificity. If you want to build muscle, everything in your training should support that goal. 
  • Train with sufficient volume aka weekly sets per major muscle group. Train with 10–20 sets per major muscle group per week when muscle growth is the goal. Reduce it by 10-20% when “dieting.” 
  • Train each muscle group at least twice per week
  • Train across a wide spectrum of repetition ranges (1-30)
  • Rest ~1.5 minutes between single-joint (isolation) exercises and at least 2 minutes between multi-joint (compound) exercises. 
  • Take deload weeks every 4-8 weeks. 

So, if you’re an endomorph, you don’t do stupid burpees. Ectomorph? No need to train only in the 8-12 rep range. Mesomorph? None of that 5x/week HIIT fuckery.

Instead, you follow the above guidelines and sprinkle things you enjoy as complementary work. HIIT or cardio, for example. 

Since my girlfriend bought me an ice cream the size of a baby’s head and I want to eat it all, let’s wrap this up: 

Your training and diet don’t need to be based on your body type. Regardless of your current body type, you should be following the same nutrition and training principles as everyone else (unless you have a medical reason to do otherwise). 

And as Menno Henselmans, a physique coach, observed: 

Your body composition is largely determined by your training and diet, not your genetics. You can significantly change your somatotype by getting leaner and more muscular. So there is no such thing as a doomed endomorph. Everyone can get lean. And while some people have to work harder than others to build muscle, virtually everyone can become more mesomorphic. Your body shape does not define you. You define your body shape.
Image credit: Menno Henselmans

So the next time you spot the V-Shred ad on Facebook or Instagram, report it for a joke answer. Or for causing bush fires. Or for pandas not fucking each other and not making more cute pandas.

For anything. Get creative. 

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Originally published by me on Medium on August 25, 2021

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Misty Pelhank

    your right

  2. Egis R.

    Thank you.

  3. Karen

    Thank you!! I so hoped this was all a myth…and you explained it hilariously, as per usual. Love it.

  4. Egis R.

    Haha Thank you, Karen 🙂

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