Have you ever wondered why some people can stay thin no matter what they eat? While others of us gain 5 pounds just looking at a brownie! Well, it’s not as complicated as you may think, but it does have a lot to do with your metabolism type! There are 3 types of metabolism and it is important to know which type you have so that you can stop stressing over which foods to eat and can finally manage weight regardless of your age.
What is metabolism?
Before we dive into specific types, let’s go over what metabolism actually is! Metabolism is the fancy term that describes how your body changes the food that you eat (and the oxygen that you breathe) into energy. It is also responsible for the break down of stored fat to use as fuel, so metabolism has a direct impact on weight loss!
Now I want to take a moment to share that you can love yourself and feel worthy with ANY body type. It took me a lot of work and practicing self care to be able to accept that I still have value and beauty at any size. As women, we have so many daily pressures and standards placed on us, that it is tough to truly believe that we are just as worthy at size 16+ as we are at size 2.
I could go on about this (and probably turn it into another article!), but for now I want to stress that just because I am reviewing metabolism types, and ways to optimize your health, DOESN’T mean that I am anything other than a body-positivity-supporter of all women everywhere!
Whew! So let’s continue.
There are 3 different kinds of metabolic rates (also known as metabolism type) that are classified based on how quickly you convert calories into usable energy. This is a combination of genetics and body composition. (Which means that, yes! Some people were born this way, while others have been able to change their composition to be able to get the results they want!)
You can think of these 3 types of metabolism as a tool for understanding how your body processes food, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t lose weight! It is just simply a way to understand your body and what lifestyle changes can help you maximize the health and wellness goals that you are looking for.
Metabolism Type One: The Fast Metabolizer
This person burns through carbs fast and loves low-intensity workouts like jogging or light cardio because it doesn’t take much physical effort but they still get great results. Interestingly, these people may also metabolize certain chemicals more quickly as well! Did you know that people with red hair often require a higher amount of anesthesia during surgery? It’s because they have a gene that causes fast metabolism of those drugs!
Metabolism Type Two: The Slow Metabolizer
This person doesn’t burn through calories as quickly, so they need to spend more time focussing on nutrition and the right type of exercise in order to lose weight. They are also more likely to gain weight with age because metabolism slows down over time! In my opinion, this type is seen more in women over the age of 40 due to years of chronic stress and hormonal changes.
Metabolism Type 3: Balanced Burner or Goldilocks Metabolism
The third type is the balanced metabolizer- this person burns fat at about the same rate that it accumulates in their body (which means if they can maintain a healthy weight by eating everything in moderation). This is the most common type of metabolism, which is good news because it means that you can make just a few small changes to maximize your metabolism and the way that you process food!
Which metabolism type am I?
The easiest way to determine which metabolism type you are is by getting naked and looking in the mirror! Once you know which body type your overall shape falls into it is much easier to find out what kind of metabolism type you have.
Type 1: Ectomorphs
The Ectomorph body type is typically characterized by a small frame, with narrow shoulders. They tend to have a lighter build with long thin arms and lean muscles.
Typical traits include:
- Small delicate frame and bone structure
- Flat chest, minimal body curves
- Small shoulders
- Find it difficult to gain weight
This type tends to break down carbohydrates into energy very quickly and burn fat very quickly as well. The downside is that ectomorphs have difficulty bulking up and although they look skinny, they may have more body fat than one would think.
Popular women who have this body type include Taylor Swift, Cameron Diaz, Kate Moss, and Charlize Theron.
Since this body type has a very fast metabolism when they are younger, but have a difficult time building muscle, they tend to have a higher fat composition. And as they age, they find that they gain weight specifically due to this reason.
The best way to combat weight gain with aging is to eat every 2 to 4 hours, with a diet that consists of approximately 50% carbohydrates, and the remaining 50% evenly divided between protein and fat. They may also find that they do well with things that help with digestion, such as warm foods or supplementing with digestive enzymes.
And as far as optimal exercise plans, ectomorphs tend to prefer long, steady cardio routines (which is why many marathon runners have this body type). However in order to build muscle and maintain metabolism as they age, they may want to concentrate on weight lifting routines over cardio.
Type 2: Endomorphs
Endomorph’s are on the opposite side of the spectrum. They usually have a larger, muscular frame (this is what people refer to when they say they are “big boned”) and have a slower metabolism which makes it difficult to lose weight. This body type converts calories into fat more easily than the other types.
Endomorph features include:
- Soft, round features
- Gains muscle and fat very easily
- Finds it hard to lose fat
- Slower metabolism
This body type does best with a diet that is focussed primarily on high protein and healthy fat; one that is low in carbohydrates and low in fatty dairy products. Foods such as poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, whole grains, and plant products will help them to shed fat and increase muscle. Problems occur with processed foods, refined sugars, and diets that are high in carbohydrates (think chips, crackers, etc).
For workouts, the Endomorphic body types do well with both cardiovascular and strength training activities. They can change up the routine with high intensity interval training, steady state low intensity cardio training, and good weight lifting exercises.
Some popular celebrities with this body types include Marilyn Monroe, Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Lopez, and Beyoncé.
Type 3: Mesomorphs
This body tape seems to be the most sought after body type of all of the three, because these people are usually the ones who have an athletic build and can work out slightly while still reaching their fitness goals. They need to be mindful of the way that they eat and move, but with a little bit of effort, they can reach optimal health goals.
Features of a Mesomorphic type include:
- Able to achieve muscle definition
- Gains muscle easily
- Gaines fat more easily than ectomorphs
- Steady metabolism
- Sensitive to types of food and exercise routines
With this body type, mesomorphs do well with healthy food. A basic guideline includes consuming meals that are 40% complex carbohydrates, 30% lean protein and 30% healthy fats. This body type tens to retain water easily, so staying hydrated and consuming a diet that is low in salt will be very beneficial.
As long as mesomorphs stay away from processed foods and starchy vegetables, and choose lean protein options, they can maintain a healthy metabolism and body composition goals.
For workouts, this body type does well with a mix of moderate weight lifting, HIIT (high intensity interval training) exercises, and cardio three times per week at a moderate level(think P90X). For the mesomorphic body type, it is best to focus on all types of training for optimal results.
Celebrities with this body type include Janet Jackson, Jessica Simpson, and Alyssa Milano.
Metabolism is just a simple term used to describe how we process food and use it for energy. You can get a general idea into your metabolism by body characteristics, grouped into 3 types. Knowing which type of metabolism you have is the first step towards making your body work better for you, so I hope you’ve gained valuable insight about your metabolism and how to optimize it!
But before we say goodbye, let me ask you this one last question- which of these 3 metabolic types do YOU think that you have? It’s also worth noting that while your metabolism does change as you age (and may even slow down), that there are many things you can do to keep metabolism going by changing just a few simple habits.
If you want a more detailed plan to fix a broken metabolism, click here to learn more about getting your metabolism tested with personalized solutions with a functional medicine provider.