Hello fellow ectomorphs! How are we doing today? My guess is it is the same as always…exercising hard, eating a lot and a whole lack of gains!
An ectomorph is naturally skinny/toned and find it difficult to put on weight..(that’s great right?) well not necessarily. Your body cannot create lean muscle out of thin air, it needs something (body mass) to synthesize it. It is like a carpenter stripping down a tree to create a wooden plank. Without the tree, you cannot get the plank. Make sense?
Going off on a tangent here about dieting, whether you are trying to gain weight or lose it, eating principles remain the same, in that for both of these tasks, you are going to want to be eating about 6 times a day. Too often i hear about people skipping meals to lose weight, thinking that if they put less food into their body they will not gain weight, and it makes sense from that point of view. But that’s not how it works. The reason why ectomorphs find it hard to put on weight is usually because they have a high metabolism. So there body burns off all of the food they eat very quickly. Whilst it is the opposite for overweight or obese people, their metabolism works at a much slower rate. I hear you all asking, So why do they need to eat more meals?
Eating more frequent meals will promote your metabolism to increase. Obviously if you are trying to lose weight, you need monitor the portion size, but by having regular, smaller meals, you will find that your metabolism will increase, thus promoting a healthy weight loss. Because you see, if you only eat one meal a day, your body is going to hold onto that food and not digest it as it does not know when the next meal is going to come. But if you eat small meals every 3-4 hours, your body will quickly break down and digest the food because it knows it will not starve.
How does this relate to ectomorphs? Well we already have a high metabolism, so eating regularly will not change the speed of it. What we need to do is to eat bigger portions and ensure that we are taking in food at least 6 times a day. This is the hardest part about gaining weight for ectomorphs. Quite often ectomorphs know how to exercise, and have a good routine at the gym to gain muscle, it is just the eating that prevents them from gaining weight. I always tell people that whether you are trying to lose or gain weight, diet is 80% of the job. You can lift weights like Jay Cutler, but if you are not eating the right amount of food you will not gain weight.
So what is the right amount of food?
There are a couple of guidelines for ectomorphs. Firstly, you need to ensure that you are eating protein at a rate of 1 gram per pound of body weight you are. So if you are 60kg (133lbs) you need to be eating at least 133 grams of protein a day. Minimum. Along with protein, because of our high metabolism, we need to be eating a lot of carbohydrates and we need to make sure our calorie count is roughly 2000-3500 a day. Now that is a LOT of food for people who are not used to eating. It really is. But there are a couple of different strategies that you can use to initially help your body on it’s way to change.
The first is just worrying about calories. This method is good for those just starting as it is easier to eat food that you like. So if you like McDonald’s, eat it. If you like pizza, then eat it. To start off, you just want to vastly increase the number of calories entering your body. I guarantee, if you do this, you will quickly begin to see some weight being put on.
Now once you have began putting on some kilos, i recommend this is where you change your diet. You are still going to want to ensure that your calorie requirements are met, but you are going to be cutting out on the unnecessary saturated fats. This is where it becomes hard, as you are going to need to start doing a LOT of cooking yourself to make sure you are eating the right foods often enough. My main tip for this is to look for convenience to get you started. What i mean by this is buying microwaveable rice and microwaveable vegetables so two thirds of your meal can be cooked in less then 3 minutes. Once you get into the swing of things a bit more, then i suggest you do a lot of prep-cooking. So one day a week you will cook a kilo of rice and a kilo of vegetables so throughout the week you can simply pop them in the microwave. This way is more time consuming, but in the long run, it will save you a lot of money.
I bet there are a few of you who are still a little confused about what to eat and when, so i will list what i ate yesterday!
7am- 4 pieces of toast. 1 Banana. Protein shake
10am- Peanut butter sandwich. 12 almonds
1pm- 100g tuna. 1 serve brown rice. 2 serves spinach4pm- 1 apple. 12 almonds. Ham & cheese toasted sandwich
7pm- 250g chicken breast. 1 serve brown rice. 1 serve vegetables
10pm- Peanut butter sandwich. Protein shake
As you can see there are a lot of carbohydrates in my diet, that is to ensure that my body uses them for energy and not the protein which is needed to build muscles.
Now exercise is the next thing, but i will not get into that now as that is a whole different topic. If you follow the advice above, you will see results and you will put on weight!