If you have an endomorph body type, then you know the struggle of feeling like it’s easy to gain weight and nearly impossible to lose it. While a lean, athletic physique may feel out of reach, it’s not! Following an endomorph diet can help you finally make progress toward your health and fitness goals by tailoring your nutrition to your specific needs.
This article will cover the basics of an endomorph diet, provide food lists and meal plans, and discuss exercise strategies to follow for the best results.
Table of Contents
- What is an Endomorph Diet?
- Determining Your Body Type
- Popular Diets for Endomorphs – What Works?
- Endomorph Diet Food List
- Sample 7-Day Endomorph Diet Plan
- Best Exercises for Endomorph Body Types
Want to learn more about all body types? Read our blog to find out which one you are and get a better understanding of how to take care of yourself in fitness and nutrition.
What is an Endomorph Diet?
The endomorph diet offers a personalized and effective approach to weight management for individuals who self-identify as endomorphs. This dietary approach aims to optimize metabolism, promote muscle development, and manage body composition by focusing on lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. In addition to choosing the right types of foods, it’s key for endomorphs to monitor portion control to avoid overeating.
Determining Your Body Type
Body types can often be identified by examining both physical and metabolic traits. Endomorphs, for example, are characterized by a natural tendency to store excess body fat, often possessing a rounder or softer physique. They may find it easier to gain weight, particularly in the form of fat, and can face challenges in losing it due to a slow metabolism.
Why does knowing your body type matter when it comes to nutrition and exercise? By recognizing your body type, you can tailor your fitness and nutrition strategies to achieve optimal results. This self-awareness enables you to make informed choices that align with your body’s tendencies, promoting a healthier and more sustainable approach to diet and exercise.
A Look at Other Body Types
In contrast to endomorphs, who tend to store more body fat, ectomorphs are characterized by a lean and slender physique, with a fast metabolism that makes it challenging for them to gain weight and muscle. Mesomorphs, on the other hand, have a naturally muscular and athletic build, and find it easy to develop and maintain muscle mass.
They also find it easier to both gain weight and lose weight compared to ectomorphs and endomorphs. Understanding these body types allows individuals to tailor their diet and exercise plans to better suit their unique metabolism and physical characteristics, promoting more effective and sustainable results.
Hybrid Endomorph Body Types
Not everyone falls into one single body type category perfectly; instead, it’s common for someone to have a hybrid body type. Hybrid body types include a combination of characteristics from multiple body types. For example, a meso-endomorph may exhibit qualities of a naturally athletic build (typical of a mesomorph) with a tendency to store excess body fat (typical of an endomorph).
Creating a meso-endomorph diet involves a nuanced approach. While the emphasis on a balanced diet with lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fat remains, portion control becomes even more critical to address the endomorphic trait of weight gain.
Curious about tailoring diets for different body types? NASM's Certified Nutrition Coach course has the answers you need.
Popular Diets for Endomorphs – What Works?
From the keto diet to the paleo diet and everything in between, there are many popular diets that carry a claim of helping people lose weight and improve their health. Nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all approach, however, and endomorphs should take into consideration their specific needs before choosing a nutrition plan to adopt. So how do the keto and paleo diets measure up as potential nutrition plans for an endomorph looking to lose body fat? Both the keto and paleo diets can offer benefits for endomorphs, but there are also drawbacks to each approach that need to be considered before diving in. Let’s take a look at the potential benefits and drawbacks of each diet type:
“Is a keto diet good for endomorphs?”
The ketogenic diet (often referred to as the keto diet) emphasizes high fat, moderate amounts of protein, and very low carbohydrate intake to induce a state of ketosis, where the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
- Fat Loss: Ketosis promotes fat loss versus lean body mass loss.
- Increased satiety and improved blood sugar levels: The high fat content of the diet will keep you feeling fuller for longer and reduce food cravings.
- Challenging to maintain: Following a very high-fat diet and cutting out most carbohydrate sources may be hard to stick to long-term.
- Possible nutrient deficiencies: A variety of foods must be eaten to obtain the recommended daily amounts of fiber, B vitamins, and minerals needed for good health.
- Long-term effects unknown: Research is very limited when it comes to long-term effects of the diet, so monitoring by a physician and dietician is recommended when choosing and following this approach.
“Does a paleo diet work for endomorphs?”
The paleo diet emphasizes whole, unprocessed foods, and typically includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds while excluding grains, dairy, legumes, and processed foods. It’s based on the idea that we should eat close to what our paleolithic ancestors ate to obtain optimal health.
- Weight loss
- Emphasis on eating whole foods: Reducing processed foods can reduce overall calorie intake and increase protein and vegetable intake when choosing whole foods.
- Improved blood markers: Improvements in cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin.
- Elimination of food groups: Eliminating legumes, dairy, and grains can lead to nutrient deficiencies and make the diet harder to maintain long-term
- Difficulty in social settings: Similar to the keto diet, the paleo diet’s restrictions might make it challenging to navigate social events or eating out.
- Cost: An emphasis on high-quality, organic, and grass-fed meats can make this diet more expensive than other whole foods diets.
Endomorph Diet Food List
An endomorph’s diet plan should focus on whole, unprocessed foods to support optimal health and weight management. Here’s a list of some foods to incorporate into your meal plan:
- Chicken Breast
- Lean Beef
- Fish (Such as salmon and trout)
- Brown Rice
- Sweet Potatoes
- Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, black beans)
- Olive Oil
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts)
- Seeds (chia seeds, flaxseeds)
- Fatty Fish (salmon, mackerel)
Vegetables (check what's fresh in season):
- Leafy Greens (spinach, kale)
- Cruciferous Vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts)
- Colorful Vegetables (bell peppers, carrots, eggplant)
Fruits (in moderation):
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries)
Dairy (if tolerated):
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
Sample 7-Day Endomorph Diet Plan
Here’s an example of what a 7-day meal plan might look like using some of those foods:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes
Snack: Greek yogurt with a handful of mixed berries
Lunch: Grilled chicken breast with quinoa and roasted veggies
Snack: Sliced apples with almond butter
Dinner: Baked salmon with sweet potato and steamed broccoli
Breakfast: Oatmeal with sliced bananas and a sprinkle of chia seeds
Snack: Carrot sticks with hummus
Lunch: Turkey and avocado whole-grain wrap with a side of mixed greens
Snack: Cottage cheese with pineapple chunks
Dinner: Stir-fried tofu with quinoa and a variety of colorful vegetables
Breakfast: Whole-grain toast with poached eggs and sliced avocado
Snack: Handful of walnuts and a small bunch of grapes
Lunch: Lentil soup with a side salad of mixed greens
Snack: Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey
Dinner: Grilled shrimp with brown rice and sautéed zucchini
Breakfast: Smoothie with spinach, banana, Greek yogurt, and almond milk
Snack: Apple slices with a tablespoon of almond butter
Lunch: Quinoa salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta cheese
Snack: Hard-boiled eggs with a sprinkle of salt and pepper
Dinner: Baked chicken thighs with sweet potato wedges and green beans
Breakfast: Greek yogurt parfait with granola and mixed berries
Snack: Celery sticks with peanut butter
Lunch: Chickpea and vegetable stir-fry with brown rice
Snack: Cottage cheese with sliced peaches
Dinner: Grilled steak with quinoa and roasted Brussels sprouts
Breakfast: Whole-grain waffles with strawberries and a dollop of Greek yogurt
Snack: Handful of mixed nuts and dried cranberries
Lunch: Turkey and vegetable kebabs with a side of quinoa
Snack: Sliced pear with cheese
Dinner: Baked cod with sweet potato mash and steamed asparagus
Breakfast: Vegetable omelet with whole-grain toast
Snack: Banana with a handful of almonds
Lunch: Black bean and vegetable soup with a side of whole-grain crackers
Snack: Greek yogurt with a drizzle of maple syrup
Dinner: Grilled chicken breast with brown rice and mixed sautéed vegetables
Consulting with a registered dietician can help customize a nutrition plan that aligns with individual needs and preferences while considering the unique characteristics of an endomorphic body type. You can also check out NASM's Calorie Calculator tool to help you figure out how many calories you need in a day as you create your personalized plan.
Best Exercises for Endomorph Body Types
Along with a healthy diet, endomorphs can tailor their exercise routine to take advantage of their strengths while overcoming previous barriers to weight loss. Endomorphs can benefit from a balanced exercise routine that includes both resistance training for muscle toning and cardiovascular exercise for fat burning.
Resistance Training for Endomorphs
For endomorphs looking to improve their body composition, resistance training can help with overall calorie burn, improve metabolic efficiency, and help to sustain muscle mass during weight loss. Incorporating compound exercises (like squats, bench press, and deadlifts) can help you get more bang for your buck by burning more calories per exercise than single-joint exercises (like biceps curls, triceps presses, etc.). Additionally, using a circuit-style format will help increase calorie burn and reduce the amount of overall time in the gym.
Here’s an example workout:
- Foam roll calves, hip flexors, and pecs
- Dynamic stretching: Arm circles, prisoner squats, push-up with rotation, floor bridge
Sample Resistance Circuit (perform 8-12 reps for 2-3 sets with no rest between exercises):
- Bent over dumbbell row
- Goblet squat
- Dumbbell chest press or bench press
- Dumbbell Romanian deadlift
- Biceps curl to overhead press
- Jump squats (medium tempo)
Rest 60 seconds and repeat
Cardiovascular Workouts for Fat Loss
Cardiovascular workouts can help endomorphs burn more calories, improve their metabolism, and promote cardiovascular health. For endomorphs looking to lose weight, here are a few ideas for how to incorporate cardio into your workout routine:
Beginners can start by performing 30 minutes of moderate interval training 2-3 days/week. An example would be using a cardio machine to perform 2-3 minutes of work at a lower intensity and 1 minute at a medium-high intensity. For intermediate to advanced exercisers, perform 20 minutes of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) 2-3 days/week. Short bursts (15-20 seconds of all-out effort) of intense activity followed by at least 1 minute of rest.
While walking may not be considered high intensity, it is effective in helping exercisers burn more calories per week when done consistently, at least 30 minutes per day on most days. Plus, walking can be performed on top of any workout routine as minimal recovery is needed.
Increase your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) by taking regular breaks to get up and move during work, parking farther away so you must walk, carrying in grocery bags one at a time, etc. This simple change can add a calorie burning boost to your overall weekly calorie burn!
Want to learn more about how to keep your nutrition in check? Watch our podcast, “Nutrition, Exercise and Healthy Weight Loss,” from NASM Master Instructor Rick Richey to learn more.
Endomorphs can successfully achieve their health and fitness goals by following an endomorphic diet that incorporates whole foods, lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. While following a trendy diet might seem appealing, endomorphs should carefully weigh the pros and cons of nutritional strategies to find the one that is most sustainable for them in the long run.
In addition to following a balanced nutrition plan, endomorphs can leverage their strengths in the gym by performing compound resistance training to build lean muscle mass and challenge their metabolism with circuit style-training and plenty of aerobic and anaerobic cardio work.
What to Read Next
- The NASM-CPT Podcast: Exercise Programming and Periodization
- Strength on a Plate: The Weightlifting Diet Guide
- Comparing NASM’s Three Nutrition Programs: CNC, CWC, & CSNC
Alarim, R. A., Alasmre, F. A., Alotaibi, H. A., Alshehri, M. A., & Hussain, S. A. (2020). Effects of the ketogenic diet on glycemic control in diabetic patients: Meta-analysis of clinical trials. Cureus. https://www.cureus.com/articles/42538-effects-of-the-ketogenic-diet-on-glycemic-control-in-diabetic-patients-meta-analysis-of-clinical-trials#!/
Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for weight loss. The Nutrition Source. (2019, May 22). https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/ketogenic-diet/
National Academy of Sports Medicine. (2019). Certified Nutrition Coach. Online education program, accessed at https://www.nasm.org/