Diets are not one-size-fits-all.
Any man who has ever bought a suit knows that a tailored suit is better than an off-the-rack suit.
But many people fail to apply this basic principle to nutrition.
Your body is unique. No one is quite like you.
Which brings us to the problem:
There is a lot of general nutrition advice floating around, but little information about how to customize it to your particular needs.
Statements like “Eat 2,000 calories per day”, or “Eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight”, are general pieces of advice. Basic solutions will fit you like an off-the-rack suit: never quite right.
The Tale of Skinny Jeff
A few years back, I knew a great guy at the gym where I worked. We will call him Jeff. Jeff was in excellent shape. He was pretty strong and he was very lean. Jeff was always trying to build muscle mass but never seemed to make progress. At 6 feet tall, Jeff couldn’t have weighed over 160 pounds. Much to his dismay, he was dubbed “Skinny Jeff” and the name stuck.
The problem? Jeff was using nutrition programs for guys with body types completely different from his naturally thin frame.
Jeff had never heard of somatotypes.
The key to faster progress toward your goals is altering the ratio of the three macronutrients (proteins, carbs, and fats) to fit your somatotype.
The folks at Precision Nutrition have boiled down data from tens of thousands of clients to find the best macronutrient starting point for each of the three somatotypes.
This was Jeff. Naturally thin and with a higher metabolism and carb tolerance. Usually these guys are trying to build new muscle and are sometimes called “hard gainers.” Think of a marathon runner body type.
Ectomorphs should start their macros at 25% Protein, 55% Carbohydrates, and 20% Fat.
These guys are the natural bodybuilders. Mesomorphs are genetically inclined to build muscle and lose fat quickly. These are the rugby players of the world.
The best macros for a true mesomorph are 30% Protein, 40% Carbohydrates, 30% Fat.
More squarely built than the other two, Endomorphs have slow metabolisms and poor carb tolerance. These are your powerlifters and strongmen body types for the most part.
Endomorphs should start their macros at 35% Protein, 25% Carbohydrates, and 40% Fat.
Application in the Real World
Now the fine tuning begins. Few people are perfectly one somatotype. Most are in between two of them.
Start with whichever somatotype predominates for you. If you can’t gain weight, you’re an ectomorph. If you gain a pound every time you look at a cookie you’re an endomorph. If you think keeping muscle and cutting fat isn’t that hard you’re a freakin’ unicorn. Or a mesomorph.
Slowly adjust your ratios toward the next closest somatotype. If you start seeing the results you want you’re going in the right direction. Your goal is to find where your ideal ratios are in between somatotypes. Soon, you’ll dial in to your perfect macro ratio.
Avoid an unflattering nickname. Customize your nutrition by somatotype and make better, faster progress in the gym.