Ever wondered how two people can eat in exactly the same way, but have completely different figures? We uncover the body-type mystery…

Can you pig out endlessly without gaining a pound? Or does just a whiff of that chocolate cake wreak havoc with your waistline? The reason our bodies respond differently to the food we eat is down to genetics, just like hair or eye colour. But that doesn’t mean your efforts to change your body are going to waste. It just means you need to find the right fuel to your body type.

Description: Fuel up to lose weight

‘You can’t change your body shape or bone structure,’ explains Joel Campbell, personal trainer, nutritionist and managing director of Step Success (www.stepsuccess.com). ‘But things you can change include your weight, muscle mass and body fat percentage.’ While ending legs of Gisele or the booty of Beyoncé, you can achieve the well-proportioned, trim and toned body you’ve always dreamed of by matching your diet to your body type.

Discover your body type

Description: Discover your body type

There are three body types, otherwise known as somatotypes, devised by Dr. William H Sheldon in the 1940s. There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ type, but being aware of which category you fall into can help you get results by eating correctly in accordance with your genetics, as well as revealing why generic diets might not work for you. Have a look at the three different types below and consider which category best describes your body. Then read onto discover the secrets to transforming your figure.

Endomorphs: hold onto fat, especially on the arms and legs, and often have a softer shape with bones.

Mesomorphs: are naturally athletic, and put on muscle and remain lean with ease.

Ectomorphs: are naturally long and lean, don’t put on muscle or fat easily and have fast metabolisms.

Find the right fuel

Description: Find the right fuel


Endomorphs aren’t able to tolerate carbohydrates as well as mesomorphs and ectomorphs. ‘This is because they are more sensitive to insulin,’ says Joel. ‘So a diet with more protein and healthy fats than carbohydrates is best.’ When choosing carbohydrates, it’s important to go for wholegrain or brown versions when possible, such as brown rice. ‘Slow-absorbing carbohydrates that aren’t loaded with sugar are particularly good, such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes and wholewheat bread,’ adds Joel. But just because endomorphs hold onto more fat than other body types doesn’t mean their diet should be devoid of fat. In fact, Joel recommends a diet consisting of 40 per cent protein and 25 per cent carbohydrates for endomorphs.


This body type may seem ideal, but that doesn’t mean that mesomorphs are immune to weight gain. ‘Mesomorphs look overweight easily if they eat too much,’ says Joel. ‘But they also tend to lose weight easily with the appropriate adjustments.’ Because of their ability to fall into either side of the weight spectrum, mesomorphs need to be consistent in their eating. Protein is essential to maintain easily gained muscle mass: Joel suggests a diet of 40 per cent carbohydrates, 30 per cent protein and 30 per cent healthy fats. ‘One pound of body weight requires at least 1.5 grams of protein a day,’ advises Joe. ‘Eggs, whey protein and lean meats are best.’


It can be difficult for ectomorphs to gain mass due to their metabolisms. Carbs should make up 55 per cent of their diet, followed by 25 per cent protein and 20 per cent healthy fats, according to Joel. ‘Ectomorphs process carbohydrates very efficiently, which in turn burns calories efficiently, explains Joel. ‘Increase intake in the form of brown rice, granola and oatmeal and eat at least one gram of protein for every pound you weigh per day.’ And just because ectomorphs burn calories efficiently doesn’t mean they can get away with a bad diet. ‘Avoid junk food and don’t skip meals,’ warns Joel. ‘Drink plenty of water, too, so that your muscles stay hydrated.’

Slim down! – Match your work out

Dave Fletcher, founder of Odyssey Fat Loss (www.theodysseyway.co.uk), gives his top tips on how to adjust your exercise regime to suit your body type.

Endomorphs: need to focus on balancing oestrogen levels, as this causes fat storage in the thighs and bum, which is common for this body type. Interval training (sprints and short bursts of cardio followed by short periods of rest) is particularly effective. Endomorphs often have a healthy level of lean muscle mass, so respond well to low-repetition weight training, too. Try doing four to six reps of each exercise and don’t do more than 15.’

Mesomorphs: will respond best to a structured exercise plan. I’ve found that this body type responds well to a programme that features plenty of weight training. Cardio can be used to improve fitness levels, but it’s best to mix up the reps, sets and rests with weights. Reps need to range from as low as three (with heavy weights) to 15 (with lighter weights) for optimum results.’

Ectomorphs: don’t usually need to lose weight – in fact, some often need to gain weight. I’d suggest hypertrophy weight training (8-12 reps per exercise) to help build up some lean muscle tissue. This doesn’t mean gaining overall weight though; lean muscle mass will actually help you improve your overall body shape and drop fat due to the improvements in your metabolic rate, which is often achieved through this type of weight training.’

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