Being an ectomorph allows you some special advantage over your fellow non-ectomorph lifters — you don’t add body fat.
This may seem like a blessing to most but unless you’re an ectomorph yourself, you know that this advantage isn’t really all that great.
All the non-ectomorphs might be thinking “what the heck is this guy on about” but this so-called advantage has a downside, and that downside is—the stuff of nightmares—the inability to make gains.
Coming second to losing your gains, not being able to make gains is any gym rat’s worst nightmare.
The whole reason that most of us go to gym is to make all kinds of sick-ass gains.
However, ectomorphs have a more challenging time than others when it comes to adding muscle mass. So, what should they do about it?
Well, this article is targeted at the bodybuilding ectomorph as a basic nutritional guide to help get you started on your muscle-building journey!
What Is An Ectomorph?
According to Google’s dictionary, an ectomorph is a person with a lean and delicate build of body. Don’t worry, we know that you’re not delicate. After all, Spot Me Bro readers have an ocean of testosterone flowing through their bodies. There’s nothing delicate about that.
Basically, an ectomorph is a person with a Ferrari engine for a metabolism. Anything and everything that they eat gets burnt up as if it were thrown into a furnace.
The double-edged sword of an ectomorph is a sharp one.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Ensure that your nutrition and training are on point, and you’ll be making gains as if you were born to do it!
Basic Nutrition Design for the Bodybuilding Ectomorph
We’ll cover some key parts about what needs to be done regarding your calories. And its requirements in order for you to achieve the gains you’ve been chasing for who knows how long.
Nutrition for the Ectomorph
With all things bodybuilding, the lack of a great nutritional plan is the downfall of all potentially great physiques. In order to chase, and successfully achieve the goals that you’ve set for yourself, you’ll first need to clean up what you’re putting into your body — or at least organize it.
As an ectomorph, your body allows you to eat copious amounts of food without adding even an ounce of body fat to your frame. Many may deem this unfair, but you know that you’d do anything for a little extra muscle mass, even if it means having a slower metabolism.
So, the only logical step to take is to damage your metabolism in order to slow it down, forcing you to eat less. Kidding.
We need to bump up your caloric intake. Sure, you might’ve been eating doughnuts and burgers, thinking that you’re getting your fair share of calories. No. We’re not going to get our calories from junk food. Instead, we’ll do things the right way.
Calculating Your Calories
It’s hard to say where to start off with the number of calories you need to consume. If everyone was the same, then this process would be a whole lot easier. Then again, if everyone was the same, there’d be no need for me to write this guide.
I’ll kick it old school and give you some numbers to run with so that you can get your estimated number of calories that you should be consuming each day. Note that this is just an estimate and should be used to guide you, and should not be considered ‘your number.’
I generally don’t like calculating caloric needs with the inclusion of body fat mass (I’ll typically do calculations based off of the trainee’s lean body mass) but for the ectomorph, it doesn’t matter.
Your basal metabolism (BMR) is the number of calories you need to sustain life at complete rest. It’s the bare minimum.
First off, we’re going to need to calculate your estimated BMR. To do that, simply multiply your body weight by 10.
If you weigh 170 pounds, your BMR will be 1,700 calories a day (170 x 10 = 1,700). Simple, right?
As you know, those 1,700 calories will do absolutely nothing to help you make any kinds of gains. So, we need to find a way to add to that, and we’ll do that by adding more calories based on your daily activities.
To calculate your caloric needs, you’re going to have to add some more numbers together and do a little math before establishing an estimate for the number of calories that you should be consuming on a day-to-day basis.
Have a look at the activities and their corresponding numbers below:
- Extremely Active — BMR x 1.0 + BMR
- Very Active — BMR x .7 + BMR
- Moderately Active — BMR x .4 + BMR
- Non-Active — BMR x .2 + BMR
The definition of each level of activity:
- Extremely Active — Works a physical job and trains 5 or more days a week
- Very Active — Works a physical job and trains 3 days a week or works a desk job and trains 5 days a week
- Moderately Active — Works a desk job and trains 3-4 days a week or works a physical job and does not train
- Non-Active — Neither works out or works a physical job
Don’t be frightened if you don’t quite understand what’s going on — I’ll explain.
Remember the example of the 170-pounder? Well, his BMR was 1,700. So, let’s just continue to use him as an example for this guide.
To calculate the daily caloric needs of our 170-pound example, we need to multiply his BMR with the number corresponding to his level of activity and then add his BMR to that number. The math will look like this if he lives a very active lifestyle:
1,700 (BMR) x 0.7 = 1,190
1,190 + 1,700 (BMR) = 2,890 calories a day
Our 170-pound ectomorph will need an estimated 2,890 calories a day to supply his metabolic needs.
Next, we’re going to get the numbers needed for your macronutrient needs. Those numbers will look like the following:
- Protein — 1-1.2 grams per pound of body weight
- Fat — 30% of total calories
- Carbs — Remainder of calories
Again, this might be confusing to some, but I’ll break it down below.
To get the protein needs of our example, we need to multiply his body weight with 1.2 (that is if he decided to go on the higher end of the scale).
170 x 1.2 = 204 grams of protein
204 x 4 (number of calories per gram of protein) = 816 calories
To get the amount of fat that he needs, we need to calculate what 30 percent of 2,890 is.
0.3 x 2,890 = 867 calories reserved for fat
867 ÷ 9 (number of calories per gram of fat) = 96 grams of fat
To get the number of carbs is a simple case. All we need to do now is to add the number of calories from both protein and fat and subtract that from 2,890.
816 (protein calories) + 867 (fat calories) = 1,683 calories
2,890 – 1,683 = 1,207 calories reserved for carbs
All that’s left to do now is to get the number of grams of carbs that our example will need to consume.
1,207 ÷ 4 (number of calories per gram of carbs) = 302 grams of carbs
There you have, the complete macronutrient breakdown of what our 170-pound example will need for his muscle building adventure.
Let’s review his calories and macros:
- Protein — 204g / 816kcals
- Fat — 96g / 867kcals
- Carbs — 302g / 1,207kcals
- Total Calories = 2,890
As mentioned earlier, these numbers are just there to help you build a foundation where nutrition is concerned.
This has been a much-debated topic in recent years. Studies have shown that meal frequency has absolutely no effect on the changes of the metabolism’s speed. However, we’re not trying to make your metabolism faster, so that argument is irrelevant.
What we need to do, is ensure that you eat all of your calories eat and every day.
To get hit your macro needs in three meals would be a challenging task. Therefore, breaking your meals into 4-7 meals a day would greatly aid you in getting all of your food in.
It’s not so important to space your meals out for every 2-3 hours. This isn’t a recommendation, but it is suggested. By eating every few hours, you’ll be able to easily get all of your meals in during the day.
As for ingesting your macros, do your best to keep your protein and fat intake consistent with each meal. As for carbs, eat 25% of your total carbs for breakfast and then another 25% after your workout and disperse the remaining 50% evenly throughout your other meals.
Being an ectomorph is fun, but being a bodybuilding ectomorph is challenging. The big takeaway here is to ensure that you eat enough calories to fuel your muscle-building goals.
Don’t skimp out on nutrition. We all love to eat food, but ectomorphs can actually eat a lot of food without worrying about the consequences thereof.
Utilize that to your advantage, but keep it clean and consistent and you’ll be making and seeing gains in a matter of time.