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Endomorphs are one of three somatotypes that all humans are categorised by, the other two are Ectomorphs and Mesomorphs.
Ectomorphs are typically tall and thin, with a lack of muscle size. Mesomorphs are typically athletic looking, with low body fat, great posture, and big muscles.
Endomorphs are usually short (especially when compared to Ectomorphs) and gain weight easily so are usually fat.
They are typically not blessed with muscle definition, and can be quite weak but once they begin training they can gain muscle almost as fast as Mesomorphs, but will find it a lot harder than either Mesomorphs or Ectomorphs to lose body fat whilst dieting.
It should be noted that very rarely do you find a ‘true‘ Endomorph, or even Ectomorph or Mesomorph. Usually a person is a mix of one or two somatotypes, but with more emphasis on one than the other. I'm sure we've all seen a very tall (Ecto) yet fat (Endo) person, or a very short Mesomorph in our time.
Essentially, if you have always described yourself as having ‘a slow metabolism‘ and that you gain weight easily then you are probably best describing yourself as an Endomorph. Once that is out of the way you can start eating to suit your body type and get the bodybuilding composition of your dreams.
Calories in versus Calories out
Whilst Ectomorphs will probably be looking to gain weight, and Mesomorphs can pick and choose either depending on their goals, a Mesomorph will have two goals; build muscle, and lose fat.
In some ways this is the simplest approach, and can be an advantage for Endomorphs compared to the other two somatotypes.
Endomorphs will not need to spend their time Bulking or Cutting, they have already bulked, so can lose fat whilst increasing muscle along the way.
The first step for an Endomorph is to establish their current daily calories, and work out how much they will need to cut to lose weight.
To do this they will need to work out their Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), this can be done using a formula known as the Mifflin M.D. St Jeor formula which you can see here:
10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) +5 = Resting Energy Expenditure (REE)
Using this will work out what their energy expenditure would be whilst lying down and not doing anything.
To work out what their calories would be after a normal day we will have to establish how active they are.
Now Endomorphs tend to have a low metabolism, due to having low NEAT levels. NEAT stands for Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and it essentially means all of the calories burned performing movements that are not exercise related. For example, walking, running for a bus, washing the dishes, even fidgeting.
An Endomorph will typically have a lower NEAT than an Ectomorph or Mesomorph which means that they burn less calories during the day, which means that they gain weight. And the more weight you gain the lower your NEAT levels go.
So whilst Ectomorphs would have an active lifestyle, and Mesomorphs would have similar. Endomorphs would have a sedentary activity level, so this means that we take our REE and multiply it by 1.2 (which is sedentary) to get our TDEE.
Once we have our TDEE we will know how many calories our Endomorph is burning throughout the day, for instance 2,500.
Now as we are looking to create a calorie deficit we will need to consume less than 2,500 calories to do this.
So we take the 2,500 calories and divide it by 10-20% (we'll say 10% for this example) which gives us 250 calories. We minus that from 2,500 to give us a calorie target of 2,250. This is the new target for our Endomorph to follow.
Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates
The macronutrient requirements for natural bodybuilding were looked into by Helms, Aragon & Fitschen (2013) . They found that the following ratios were optimal:
- Protein = 2.3-3.1g per kg of lean body mass
- Fat = 15-30% of total calories
- Carbohydrates = remaining calories
Endomorphs tend to struggle with carbohydrates more than Ectomorphs and Mesomorphs so we are going to go for upper protein and fat targets, and then use the rest for carbohydrates.
So we will consume 3.1 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass (body weight minus total body fat). Then we will consume 30% of our calories from fat, leaving the rest for carbohydrates.
Measure your progress, and if you aren't succeeding then lower your calories slightly, do this by lowering your carb intake slightly. If you are losing 0.5kg per week then you are on target.
Whey protein would be essential, as would creatine and caffeine both for performance and for the effect they have on fat-burning.
 Helms, E., Aragon, A., Fitschen, P. 2013. Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 11(20)