Losing weight and gaining fitness isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. We all have different body composition types, different metabolisms, and different fitness goals. A lot of what works depends on your body composition type, and if you’re an endomorph, chances are you know the feeling of being frustrated with slow results from your diet or fitness program. Don’t despair. Carb cycling can be a game changer for endomorphs. Here’s how it works.
- Endomorph Body Type
- Benefits of Carb Cycling for Endomorphs
- What Does Carb Cycling for Endomorphs Look Like?
- Endomorph Macros
- Carb Cycling Meal Plan for Endomorphs
- What To Eat and Avoid While Carbohydrate Cycling
- The Best Endomorph Diet for Meeting Your Goals
Endomorph Body Type
People come in all different shapes and sizes, but for the most part, we can all be categorized by one of three different body types. These body types are ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. These body types define a person’s general shape, body composition, and how easily they gain, maintain, or lose weight.
Endomorphs tend to be softer, sometimes with a more rounded body shape and lacking noticeable muscle definition. Endomorphs tend to be carrying around a least a little extra body weight and are the fastest of the three body types to gain weight. This is believed to be at least partially blamed on a slower metabolism, which is commonly seen in endomorphs.
This isn’t to say that if you’re an endomorph, you’re destined to a life of having a hard time losing weight, yo-yo dieting, or always feeling out of shape. Endomorphs can be fit, but this involves understanding how to eat to boost their metabolism and help their bodies burn more fat for fuel.
Low-carb or keto-style diets are often recommended for endomorphs, but there’s no reason that you have to eliminate carbs altogether. Complex carbohydrates (the types of carbs that are good for you) are extremely beneficial and offer vital nutrients. You don’t have to give up carbs, but you can modify your carb intake daily, which is what carb cycling helps you do.
Endomorph Body Spectrum
Even among endomorphs, there are differences in body type and metabolism. These things aren’t fixed but tend to move along the spectrum, separating endomorphs from mesomorphs and ectomorphs. To better understand this, let’s start by understanding how mesomorphs and ectomorphs differ from endomorphs.
Mesomorphs are those among us who seem to have a perfectly functioning metabolism. It’s neither too fast nor too slow, and they seem to gain weight or lose weight as they see fit. They have a low to moderate amount of body fat. Generally speaking, mesomorphs tend to be pretty successful with almost any diet or fitness routine they try. They tend to have a more compact, more muscular build, and while they may carry around a little extra weight, it’s usually well proportioned, and their bodies still look more defined rather than soft and rounded.
Ectomorphs are on the exact opposite end of the spectrum compared to endomorphs. Ectomorphs have an overactive metabolism and tend to have more difficulty gaining or maintaining their weight. They also tend to lack muscle definition, with bodies that are more long and lean.
It’s entirely possible to be an endomorph and still have a characteristic or two from one of the other body types. For example, an endomorph that’s closer to a mesomorph on the spectrum might have more muscle definition, but it might not show as much because there is a higher percentage of body fat covering it.
Likewise, an endomorph who is closer to the ectomorph side of the spectrum might be more pear-shaped, with a thin, more lean, and compact upper body and a fuller lower body where they tend to gain and retain weight.
Following an endomorph diet plan will help you, no matter where on the endomorph spectrum you fall, but you might need to make minor adjustments to accommodate your individual needs.
Benefits of Carb Cycling for Endomorphs
Carbohydrate cycling can help reset your metabolism to work faster and more efficiently. By alternating between low carb days and high carb days, you’re providing your body with caloric fuel but also changing how it uses and metabolizes fat stores. Of all the body types, endomorphs are the most perfectly suited for carb cycling.
Following a carb cycling plan can help endomorphs achieve lose weight by using body fat for fuel, help build greater muscle mass, which will also help to improve your metabolism, and help balance blood sugar by improving insulin resistance.
Combined with a fitness program, carb cycling for endomorphs can more efficiently burn excess calories, eventually resulting in fat loss. This is important because while being an endomorph isn’t synonymous with being unhealthy, endomorphs are more at risk of the serious health problems that being significantly overweight or lacking muscle mass can lead to.
For example, obesity is tied in as a risk factor for conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Low muscle definition may make you more prone to falling, accidents, and injuries as you age.
What Does Carb Cycling for Endomorphs Look Like?
While endomorphs do well by cutting some carbs, particularly refined carbohydrates, a strictly low-carb diet often isn’t the best solution. For endomorphs who enjoy carbohydrates, cutting them out cold turkey is rarely sustainable. But more than that, endomorphs need certain carbs, especially those high in fiber.
Carb cycling is the best of both worlds. You can enjoy a high-carb day, then switch to low-carb days, which will help burn fat and balance the slower metabolism that endomorphs are known for.
With carb cycling, each person needs to find the right balance between the high carb and low carb that works for them. Endomorphs tend to get the best results by scheduling more low-carb days, with only one to two high-carb days each week.
Moderate carb days can be used to transition from one to the other and are good for days where you might do something like resistance training instead of cardio or endurance activities for fitness.
With carb cycling, you’re not only burning calories but also naturally consuming fewer calories due to the shift in eating habits. Often, when people start cycling, they don’t worry about counting calories initially.
However, those with an endomorph body have a sluggish metabolism, so maintaining a calorie deficit is important if you want to lose weight. As an endomorph, paying attention to macros is important so that you know exactly where your calories are coming from and that they’re all accounted for.
When carb cycling, you want to focus on whole, nutritious foods as much as possible, regardless of which cycle day you’re on. Eating healthy is the primary goal, so make sure you stick to healthy fats and lean, grass-fed animal proteins. Stick to complex carbohydrates and avoid processed and sugary foods. The quality of each calorie matters if you want to lose body weight as an endomorph while carb cycling.
A typical carb cycling week for an endomorph might look something like one high-carb day, followed by a moderate-carb day. The next phase would be two low carb days, and then one high and one low carb day again before starting the cycle over again.
Some people find a simple alternating day schedule between low and high-carb days to work best, but this really depends on your individual metabolism and how active you are. Most endomorphs will lose the most body fat if they follow a low-carb cycle for at least two days in a row. Most carb cycling experts advise against going three or more days of eating extremely low carb unless you’ve hit a weight loss plateau and want to leverage carb cycling to break through it.
Carb cycling is also called macro cycling because following a carb cycling healthy diet involves keeping track of the three macronutrients – carbohydrates, fat, and protein.
We focus a lot on carbohydrates when talking about carb cycling, but fat and protein are equally important. There are a couple of different schools of thought about whether you should focus more on healthy fats or lean protein when carb cycling. Honestly, this is up to you and may depend on your health goals. Still, if you choose to cycle in high fat rather than high protein days, it’s important that you’re eating the right kinds of dietary fat.
Endomorphs who choose a high-fat diet when cycling should stick to fats from food sources such as olive oil, avocados, and fatty fish like salmon, nuts, and seeds. What you want to avoid are the saturated fats that are bad no matter your weight or body type.
For endomorphic body types that want to gain muscle, increasing protein intake on low-carb days is key, especially when exercising properly – like focusing on muscle growth with a targeted weightlifting workout. In this case, lean proteins are great; the cleaner, the better. Avoid processed foods, like lunch meats or smoked meats that are high in nitrates and sometimes added sugar.
To calculate your macros, it’s a good idea to start with a basic idea of how many calories you need to consume to achieve your fitness goals. If weight loss is the goal, you want to achieve a calorie deficit – meaning that your body uses more calories than it consumes. If weight gain or maintenance is the goal, then you don’t need to worry about achieving a calorie deficit.
Next, find a macro-nutrient starting point for each day. This is simple, straightforward, and relatively easy to calculate. A good beginning macro formula for a beginning low-carb day is 20% of calories from carbs and 40% coming from each fat and protein.
These numbers can be adjusted up or down, depending on what works best for your body. If you want to shed body weight but have hit a weight loss plateau, you might shift the carbs to 10%-15% on low-carb days.
For high-carb days, you might consume between 40%-60% of your calories from complex carbohydrates and divide the remaining calories among fat and protein. Expect an adjustment period as you figure out which macro formula works best for your endomorph diet.
We’re all about making life easy, so we recommend using one of the many apps that will do all the hard work of calculating and keeping track for you. Still, knowing how to calculate macros on your own is a good idea.
The most important numbers you need to know are how many calories are in one gram of each of the three macronutrients. It probably won’t come as a surprise that fat has more calories than protein or carbs. Fat has nine calories per gram, which holds true no matter what type of fat it is.
Carbohydrates and protein both have four calories per gram. If you’re watching calories, you can see why fats need to be more closely monitored than carbs and protein.
Let’s say you’re an endomorph whose ideal diet contains 2000 calories. If we’re following the 20/40/40 macro ratio for a low-carb day, you would want 400 calories from carbs, 800 calories from protein, and 800 calories from fat.
Since carbohydrates have four calories per gram, we would take the 400 allotted calories and divide it by four. This tells us that 400 calories are equal to 100 grams of carbs. Now you can keep track of your carbohydrate macro by using either the number of grams you’ve consumed, the total calorie count from carbs, or both.
You’d then repeat this for protein and fat. Eight hundred calories of protein intake are equal to 200 grams, and 800 calories of fat are equal to just under 90 grams. These numbers are your goal posts but don’t be hard on yourself if your macro numbers don’t match exactly at the end of the day.
Carb Cycling Meal Plan for Endomorphs
Carb cycling isn’t so much a diet as it is a sustainable dietary lifestyle, especially for the endomorph body type that’s prone to fat gain and muscle loss. You can definitely cycle on and off of a carb cycling program, but many modify their cycling days to make the lifestyle more sustainable for the long term.
For example, if you were following a more strict carb cycling fat loss meal plan, you might adapt that to include three days of high carb, two moderate carb days, and two low carb days once you reach the point of weight maintenance. Carb cycling is extremely adaptable, which is why many say it’s the best diet, regardless of your body type.
On the surface, carb cycling can feel complicated, but the secret is to keep things as simple as possible. You don’t have to have a new, different meal every night. There are no rules that forbid you from enjoying your favorites on repeat. If you need a little extra help to get started, we’ve created a free seven-day carb cycling meal plan for you to try.
What To Eat and Avoid While Carbohydrate Cycling
With the endomorph diet, you want to stay away from refined carbs, even on the days you eat more carbohydrates. White bread, standard pasta, and baked goods are just a few examples of carbs to avoid. This isn’t the keto diet, so you don’t have to avoid starch vegetables unless you want or need to for weight loss.
Carbohydrates from whole grains, sweet potatoes, and other nutrient-dense starchy vegetables are fine. What matters is being mindful of your macros and making sure you consume a variety of vegetables, whole grains, and fruit (the actual fruit, not the juice).
A carb cycling fat loss meal plan will also feature lean protein sources. Whether you get your protein from animals or plants, you want to make sure it’s as clean as possible. Think along the lines of grass-fed, pasture-raised, no antibiotics, and sustainably sourced. For plant-based protein, opt for organic, non-GMO products as long as they fit within your budget.
The endomorph meal plan isn’t a fat-free diet by any means. In fact, it’s higher fat than most other dietary approaches, with the exception of keto. Losing fat and being healthy requires a certain amount of healthy fat intake, so don’t avoid fats altogether.
To help make life easier as you transition into carbohydrate cycling, our in-house registered dietician has created a completely free carbohydrate cycling meal plan that works wonderfully for endomorphs and other body types.
The Best Endomorph Diet for Meeting Your Goals
Carbohydrate cycling is a dietary approach that can help endomorphs lose stubborn weight, gain muscle, improve insulin resistance, and have more energy to enjoy life. Check out the endomorph meal plan for free, and try carbohydrate cycling for yourself.