Easy Gains for the Hard Loser

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The opposite of a “hard gainer” would be an “easy gainer.” Therefore, if a hard gainer is typically what is described as an ectomorph, the easy gainer would be labeled an endomorph.

Pros & cons of the endomorphic easy gainer

Positive traits

  • Ability to accrue LBM quickly
  • Ability to lift more weight due to bone structure (e.g., thicker bones, stronger ligaments, tendons)
  • Ability to have a stronger appetite for food -- due to a few possible reasons such as, insulin resistance/leptin resistance.
  • Ability to maintain LBM while in a caloric deficit.

Negative traits

  • Ability to accrue body fat quickly
  • Inability to process carbs/glucose efficiently
  • Must maintain a controlled diet all year long to keep an appropriate body composition
  • Less liberty to enjoy what would be considered “junk food.”
  • Must adhere to strict dieting practices longer than his/her ectomorph counterpart.

I have had the opportunity to work with all different body types in regard to off-season dieting and contest dieting. Therefore, I have observed first-hand the commonalities between several people that most of us would consider, “husky”, “big boned”, or an “easy gainer” , which of course coincides with the “endomorph” body type. These individuals will adhere to PRECISE nutritional practices all year long. I will often make changes to my endomorphic client’s nutrition plan weekly, and in the off-season, that is rare compared to the ecto/meso body types.

What is the best diet plan for the endomorph?

The best diet plan for this body type is a diet that is TIMED PERFECTLY. Nutrient timing is a wonderful strategy to employ with endomorphs. I will find out exactly how active or inactive my endomorph clients are during the day, to determine how I will set up their carbohydrates, fats, and proteins according to their schedule.

I have always kept carbohydrates in the nutrition plan at all times since I am a big believer in carbohydrates for hormonal benefits , e.g., thyroid,& leptin, & also feel they make predicting a person’s ability to load carbohydrates into the muscle cells before a contest more predictable. I also take into consideration as the endomorph becomes leaner and leaner, he/she will now have greater insulin sensitivity and actually tolerate carbohydrates more efficiently.

When setting up an off-season nutrition phase for the easy gaining endomorph, I will use carbs around training or “peri-workout,” and that will include a pre-workout meal consisting of a lean protein and a complex carbohydrate. Next, carbohydrates will be used during their training or “intra-workout,” and I will actually bypass post workout carbs due to the intra-workout drink being sufficient in keeping the endomorph anti-catabolic, and not fully depleted. I prefer to use only a fast digesting protein source such as whey isolate with 5-7g of L-leucine added. This will augment muscle protein synthesis (MPS) just fine, and start the repair and growth process immediately.

Food sources for the easy gainer-

My preferred dietary fat source for this somatotype is organic, raw coconut oil/butter. Coconut oil is rich in MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides) and is comprised of caprylic, capric, and lauric acid. These fatty acids are less likely to be stored as body fat, and instead are readily useable as an energy substrate. Even better, lauric acid found in coconut oil is like human breast milk, which has immune boosting properties, and displays anti-microbial traits that kill off bacteria and viruses. My personal favorite is coconut butter -- which includes the MCT’s, but also contains essential amino acids, and minerals. This fat source tastes amazing, and is ideal for the endomorph.

Next, I will allocate my ‘huskier’ clients complex, fibrous carbs, such as steel cut oats, yams, flourless bread, and a high fiber cold cereal. I choose these specific carbs for the sole reason of satiety and balanced blood sugar levels from the added fiber. I know these individuals have ravenous appetites, and I use every defense possible to keep the nutrition protocol feasible and sustainable.

Protein sources come from whey powders, egg whites, omega-3 whole eggs, grass-fed lean beef, specific lean game meats, and wild caught fish.

Sample off-season meal plan for 200 lb. endomorph Bodybuilder

Meal 1:

3 (omega-3) whole eggs

1.5c egg whites

3 oz. 90% lean grass-fed beef

1c spinach

2 tsp. organic coconut oil

Intra-workout:

50g highly branched cyclic dextrin’s

20g essential amino acids

5g creatine gluconate

5g glutamine

Meal 2:

8 oz. steelhead/swordfish

Large spinach/cucumber salad

1 tbs olive oil + balsamic vinegar

Meal 4: (post workout)

2 scoops whey isolate

7g -leucine

Meal 3: (pre-workout)

8 oz. hake filet (white fish)

10 oz. baked yam fries

8 asparagus spears

Meal 5:

2c egg whites

1/2c (dry) steel cut oats

1 tbsp. coconut butter

Meal 6:

8 oz. elk or venison (game meat)

Large spinach/cucumber salad

1 tbs olive oil + balsamic vinegar

Meal 7: (before bed)

1c 2% cottage cheese

1 scoop whey isolate

2 tsp. organic coconut oil/butter


As you can see
-- the meal plan above is very controlled in carbohydrate allotment and timed for best effect. This plan gives adequate protein content for anabolism, enough carbs for glycogen maintenance, and appropriate fat amounts for energy and healthy hormone production.

If the endomorphic individual is sedentary during his/her working hours I will always incorporate off-season cardio to keep his/her metabolism elevated. As for weight training style, I prefer my endo’s to increase frequency of muscle groups and volume -- remember, resistance training, as in anaerobic stimulation augments GLUT4 proteins in skeletal muscle, which increases muscle glucose transport. This benefit is paramount to people with poor insulin response and are borderline diabetic.

Finally--I firmly believe in implementing what I refer to as “mini-diets” after several weeks of consistent eating in a slight or moderate caloric surplus. Endomorphs need to keep their insulin sensitivity efficient and bouts of minor calorie cutting is necessary to increase their response to insulin signaling, and also lower body fat percentage for the next phase of off-season eating.

Keep in mind-- these individuals are easy gainers so if they are diligent, and prudent in their dietary habits, they will gain substantial muscle mass while lessening their chances of piling on pesky, stubborn body fat. 

References:

1.) Takeuchi H, Sekine S, Kojima K, Aoyama T.

The application of medium-chain fatty acids: edible oil with a suppressing effect on body fat accumulation.

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:320-3.

2.)Verallo-Rowell VM, Dillague KM, Syah-Tjundawan BS.

Novel antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult atopic dermatitis.

Verallo-Rowell VM, Dillague KM, Syah-Tjundawan BS.

3.)St-Onge MP, Jones PJ. Greater rise in fat oxidation with medium-chain triglyceride consumption relative to long-chain triglyceride is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue, International Journal of Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders, 2003 Dec;27(12):1565-71. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12975635

4.)Geliebter, A 1980. Overfeeding with a diet of medium-chain triglycerides impedes accumulation of body fat, Clinical Nutrition, 28:595

5.) Dr. Mary G. Enig, Ph.D., F.A.C.N. Source: Coconut: In Support of Good Health in the 21st Century

6.)Holten MK, Zacho M, Gaster M, Juel C, Wojtaszewski JF, Dela F.

Strength training increases insulin-mediated glucose uptake, GLUT4 content, and insulin signaling in skeletal muscle in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes. 2004 Feb;53(2):294-305.

7.)Goodyear LJ, Kahn BB

Exercise, glucose transport, and insulin sensitivity.

Annu Rev Med. 1998;49:235-61.

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