The term ‘metabolism’ refers to all the biological and physiological as well as chemical reactions that occur naturally within the body. All these processes burn a number of calories every day. This means that you are burning calories when you aren’t physically active.
Some people’s metabolisms are faster than others, whilst others may have a slow metabolism. Although many people believe that people with faster metabolisms are more advantaged than people with slow metabolisms, this is not necessarily true.
People with faster metabolisms struggle to gain weight and muscle whilst the fat burning process comes very easy to them.
On the other hand, people with slower metabolisms find it easy to gain muscle but struggle to lose fat. Some of the greatest bodybuilders have slow metabolisms.
So, how do you distinguish whether you have a slow or fast metabolism? This is called metabolic typing. Metabolic types refer to your body type, and there are 3 body types:
The autonomic nervous system, which is divided into sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, is responsible for the most important variations between these body types.
The sympathetic nervous system influences thermogenesis (heat generation within your body/metabolism) and energy balance.
The parasympathetic system, on the other hand, reduces respiration and heart rate while increasing digestion. As a result, the body’s metabolism slows down. Some people may be sympathetic dominant and others can be mixed types.
Knowing which body type you are will provide you a better understanding of the kinds of foods that you should consume. This can also improve your overall health and even prevent certain diseases.
Whether you are a female or male, you will fall into this category if your body is tall and lean. You may struggle to build muscle or gain body fat. Even if you manage to gain any weight, you can drop it within a very short period.
This type of body type is also known as fat-protein efficient or fast oxidizers. A fat-protein efficient body is more parasympathetic dominant. Therefore, your eating plan should consist of mostly carbohydrates, a medium intake of protein, and limited fats.
This is probably the best body type, also known as mixed oxidizers because their bodies are a mixture between an endomorph and an ectomorph. If you are a mesomorph, you may be well-built or naturally muscular since your muscles are easily stimulated and responsive. Also, you may have a high metabolism. Your eating plan should consist of a moderate intake of all macronutrients.
Can mesomorphs build muscle easier than other body types?
There was a study done by Ryan-Stewart et al (2018) which looked into mesomorphs and ectomorphs abilities to build muscle. Whilst understanding that the way to build muscle is progressive overload, power output plays a major part in this too. The more power you can exert, the heavier weights you can lift. This study tested the power exertion of mesomorphs and ectomorphs in back squats and bench presses. These are the two main methods to test upper and lower body power.
The study demonstrated that mesomorphs performed better in squats and bench presses compared to ectomorphs. This will be due to their genetics and their muscle tissues are very responsive and naturally quite strong.
If you are an endomorph, you may have noticed that you have a high tendency to gain weight. Your body may look pear-shaped but different people store fat in different areas. For example, women store body fat in the hips and thighs due to genetics whereas some men may store body fat in the hips or stomach. So, your body might not necessarily be pear-shaped.
However, if you feel like you gain weight quite easily and building muscle feels quite easy too then you might fall under this metabolic type.
This means that your body is opposite to being fat-efficient, you are more carbohydrate-efficient. With this type of body, you will most benefit from a low-carbohydrate, medium-protein to a high-fat diet. However, if you’re looking to gain weight, you should focus on strengthening the parasympathetic nervous system by eating a diet with moderate to high carbs (it really depends on what you’d like to achieve).
Are endomorphs at a disadvantage when losing weight or building muscle?
Some of the strongest people in the world are endomorphs. For example, Evan Centopani is an endomorph and you see no body fat on him!
Thanks to their slow metabolisms, the calories they eat can contribute greatly to their muscle growth. Power output and strength are definitely in favour of endomorphs. However, they may struggle during long-term cardio exercises.
It is suspected that in a 600m sprint, an endomorph will start ahead of other racers thanks to the power exertion at the start, but by the time it gets to the finish line, they may struggle to keep up their endurance.
There was a study done by Busko et al (2017) which examined all 3 body types against their strength and power output in Basketball. The study reported that both ectomorphs and mesomorphs performed better in jump and maximum cycle speed trials compared to endomorphs. However, this study simply looked at basketball techniques, no weights were used. Therefore, endomorphs would not be in their best environment to perform better.