In addition to understanding how many calories and macronutrients you should be eating to lose fat, it is also important to go one step further to ensure ultimate success: Eating the right macros based off of your body type. There are three types:
Body type means more than “how you look.” Body type is also associated with how your body responds to certain types of nutrients. Some people lose more fat/weight on higher carb diets. Some people lose more fat/weight from eating more protein. Some people cannot gain weight no matter how hard they try.
Understanding your body type and how it responds to certain nutrients is an integral part of understanding how to achieve and maintain a lean figure.
Below we've broken down each of the three body types and given you a suggested macro intake percentage. It is important to note that this is a guideline for getting more specific with your eating habits, and many people can be a mix of all different body types. Knowing your body type ensures that you understand the right exercise and nutrition protocols to follow in order to achieve a lean, healthy figure.
So, what’s my body type?
ECTOMORPHS - Suggested macronutrient percentages for this group:
55% carbs 25% protein 20% fat
Thinner individuals characterized by thinner bone structures and limbs. Think of someone like a long distance runner. Typically skinny, right? Ectomorph physiques are correlated with a fast metabolic rate and higher tolerance for carbs. Essentially, these are the folks who can take five trips to the buffet without much weight gain (everyone has the skinny friend who loves to brag about his/her ability to consume two pizzas without consequence).
In terms of fat loss and maintaining a healthy, lean figure, this group responds better to higher carb intake, moderate protein, and low fat. For simplicity’s sake, think “more carbs, less fat.”
MESOMORPHS -Suggested macronutrient percentages for this group:
40% carbs 30% protein 30% fat
Characterized by a medium sized bone structure and more lean mass. This group typically has more of an athletic frame if active. Think of sprinters, soccer players, gymnasts, or NFL running backs. Mesomorphs tend to be more dominant in growth hormone and testosterone, making muscle gain easier along with a leaner body fat percentage.
Dan is a mesomorph. Although he can achieve a very low body fat percentage and gain muscle easier, it is VERY difficult for him to maintain a low body fat percentage without extreme focus on exercise and nutrition. On the other hand, if he takes a few weeks off and doesn’t focus on maintaining muscle mass, he gains body fat faster resulting in a constant need to stay active and being aware of how much he eats. This group responds better to a balanced macronutrient strategy.
Although Dan typically characterizes himself as a mesomorph, his body responds much better to lower carb, higher fat such as an ectomorph. This is what we meant when we said many people can be a mix of different body types so it is important to constantly measure progress and make changes as needed. Dan’s macronutrient breakdown: 30% carbs, 35% protein, 35% fat.
ENDOMORPHS - Suggested macronutrient breakdown: 25% carbs 35% protein 40% fat
Characterized by larger bone structure with a higher total body fat and mass. Think football linemen, plus size models, and power lifters. Unlike ectomorphs, excess calories tend not to burn off as fast via exercise making nutrition and food portion more important for losing body fat. Basically, this body type is characterized by a higher propensity to store energy, increasing the ability to quickly add on lean and fat mass. Through weight training, these folks can typically add muscle and overall strength very fast but also body fat if they are not careful with nutrition.
Endomorphs do better on a higher fat and protein diet with low carbohydrate consumption.Additionally, it is important that carb consumption is properly timed (post exercise). For simplicity sake: high protein, pretty high fat, low carb (if you like eggs, red meat, and nuts, being an endomorph is awesome).
Note: Regardless of body type, your ability to handle carbohydrates is greatly improved the more active you are. This means that the most optimal time to consume carbohydrate rich food is around (before or after, though we prefer after) the time you are most physically active.
Summary and macronutrient recommendations:
ECTOMORPHS - High carb need especially around the time of exercise. High protein to avoid the loss of muscle mass.
MESOMORPHS - Moderate carbs with a majority consumed around exercise. More experimentation with protein and fat intake until you find what ratio is optimal for muscle gain and fat loss.
ENDOMORPHS -Low carb consumption with almost all carbs being consumed around exercise. High protein and high fat necessary for muscle gain and fat loss.
THE OTHER 30% - So, if 70% of your food intake should come from whole, unprocessed foods on the approved food list, what about the other 30%?
ANSWER: It doesn’t matter. Remember, the most important factor in losing fat is calories and macronutrients, not food “type.” We are not suggesting you attempt to eat McDonald’s for the other 30% of your food intake.
However… this is the reason why, yes, you can still booze, eat chocolate, and eat burgers. As long as most (70%) of your food intake 1) comes from whole, unprocessed nutrient-rich food (real food), and 2) you stay within your
calorie range and meet your macronutrient goals, you will continue to lose fat and feel awesome.
Personally, we have found that eating more “indulgent food” is a better strategy for the other 30%. Why? Eating “healthy” sweets won’t satisfy your craving. You will end up eating more low quality “healthy” dessert food vs. eating a small portion of sugary “unhealthy” dessert food.
It’s like drinking expensive, high ABV% beer vs. cheap, light beer. Sure, Bud Light per bottle is cheaper, but we’d have to drink 20 to get drunk AND get bloated. We’d rather pay double per bottle for two IPAs that taste amazing and get us a good buzz, without making us feel bloated. Make sense?
To add to our point above, stop trying to eat “healthy food” at restaurants. You are already not eating healthy because guess what… you are in a restaurant. The Zen Dude Fitness Simple Meal System was designed so you can be super particular and make awesome, unprocessed, whole food meals during the week (that make up 70% of food intake) while still going out to eat, drink and have fun with friends and family (those who are beginners still need to log it!). Don’t get us wrong, the system does require discipline, and you have to be strict with yourself when you are alone so you can be indulgent when you are out. Losing fat and getting fit wouldn’t be worth it if you couldn’t enjoy yourself!