Whether you’re looking to drop excess pounds or add some muscle definition, getting results involves maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise. But depending on your body type, some diet and workout plans may work better than others.

If you have a higher percentage of body fat and little muscle definition, you may have what is known as an endomorph body. Some people with endomorphic bodies struggle with weight loss. However, the key is understanding how your body type differs from other types and knowing what to eat and what not to eat.

The classification of different body types was introduced in the 1940s by American researcher and psychologist William Sheldon. Through his research he concluded that, based on our skeletal frame and body composition, we all have inherited body types that determine whether we’re leaner, heavier, or somewhere in between. Because of this inherited body type, reaching weight loss and fitness goals often requires an individualized program.

Endomorphs are said to have a higher percentage of body fat with less muscle mass. They’re often heavier and rounder, but not necessarily obese. Because of their physical makeup, people with endomorphic bodies are more sensitive to calorie consumption than people with other body types. Endomorphs must carefully watch their food intake to ensure they don’t consume more calories than they burn. Other characteristics include a larger frame and an inability to drop weight.

These characteristics differ from the other two body types: ectomorph and mesomorph. People with an ectomorph somatotype have higher metabolisms, which means they can eat more and gain little weight. They also have smaller joints, a smaller body size, and a narrower frame.

The mesomorph somatotype, on the other hand, is in between ectomorph and endomorph. These individuals may have a larger skeletal frame, but a lower percentage of body fat. They can typically gain muscle and lose weight easily.

If you have an endomorphic body and you’re looking to lose weight or gain muscle definition, you may consider a fitness plan and diet that’s specific to your body type.

According to the diet’s theory, endomorphs have slower metabolisms. Since you don’t burn calories as fast as ectomorphs and mesomorphs, excess calories are more likely to convert to fat. Some believe you’re also less tolerable to carbohydrates, so the best diet for your body type may be one with a higher fat and protein intake and a lower carbohydrate intake, such as the paleo diet. This diet can help you lose body fat while keeping your energy level up.

Good sources of fats and proteins include:

  • macadamia nuts
  • olive oil
  • beef
  • egg yolk
  • fatty fish
  • walnuts
  • cheese

You don’t have to avoid carbohydrates. Carbs are an excellent source of energy. Removing carbs from your diet can trigger sluggishness and fatigue. If too extreme, a low-carb diet can also lead to gastrointestinal problems and ketosis. The trick is choosing the right kind of carbs. Focus on complex carbohydrates like vegetables, including starchy vegetables like potatoes and tubers, legumes, whole grains, and fruits.

Limit your intake of simple carbohydrates. These foods are high in sugar and calories, which can cause fat storage. Simple carbohydrates include white bread, white rice, pasta, cakes, and cookies.

Fruit is a healthy addition to any diet program. If you’re carb-sensitive, eat fruit in moderation. According to the American Council of Exercise, you should follow this formula when planning your daily meals:

  • 30 percent carbohydrates
  • 35 percent protein
  • 35 percent fat

Portion control is also important when reducing body fat as an endomorph. This helps you avoid excess calorie consumption. Eating 200 to 500 fewer calories than you normally consume will also help you reach your weight loss goal.

According to proponents of the diet — because endomorphs have a harder time losing body fat — dieting alone may not be enough to lose weight. Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, which is a common recommendation for anyone looking to improve health.

An effective fitness plan includes a combination of weight training and cardio training.

What does research say about diet and body type?

There’s been little research to date that’s studied how diet should be modified based on somatotype to achieve specific results.

Losing weight can seem like an uphill battle when your efforts don’t pay off. Understanding your individual body type, as well as the unique challenges faced by endomorphs, may help you drop pounds and hit your fitness goals.

Maintain a low intake of refined carbs, get plenty of regular physical activity, and practice portion control. These are all healthy behaviors recommended for most people. Sticking with this routine may help you shed excess pounds — and keep the weight off.