The Skinny-Fat Ectomorph

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    The Skinny-Fat Ectomorph


    I found this article extremely interesting, and decided I had to share it, and it could give a hand to every hardgainer out there. I am trying this one, and getting it perfect. It will be a 3 week plan. For lean gains, I think this makes a lot of sense.
    The Skinny-Fat Ectomorph Part II by Kelly Baggett

    Take the time to read the other ones, as they are very interesting, and don't have to be a scientist to understand

    Summarizing the Problems
    To review part I of this series the problems experienced by the skinny-fact ecto are problems with endocrine status, stress intolerance, volume tolerance, structure, and genetics in general. We have this big circle. A naturally hyperactive person naturally geared towards overproducing stress hormones. A person naturally geared towards over-reaching and overtraining. A person that has a hard enough time recovering from life itself. A person that doesn’t have a lot of testosterone. So what to do?

    Addressing the Problems
    Well the first thing is determine that you’re just not making excuses. In many instances people like me dig so far into minutia that a person starts to overanalyze things to the point that they develop ‘paralysis by analysis’. Many people simply eat too much junk, don't get enough activity, and don't have the metabolisms to handle the excess energy they're consuming. Even a genetically gifted person can look like **** under the right circumstances.

    Nutrition
    Many naturally skinny people often say that as they get bigger and eat more their genetics get better and better. I believe that not only is this good advice for other ectos but is very true in general. What happens as someone with an extremely sensitive metabolism gets bigger and bigger and eats more and more? That extreme sensitivity that contributed to him being an ectomorph in the first place tends to become more and more normal. Many people simply don’t eat enough so get your mind right first. If you need any help this series of articles ought to serve as some motivation:

    **** or Get Off The Pot I
    **** Or Get Off the Pot II
    **** or Get Off The Pot III

    Partitioning
    Having said that, providing a person is training and eating well and still having problems, the main problem is one of partitioning. Partitioning refers to what happens when excess calories are consumed. Are they directed into muscle or fat stores? The worse your partitioning, the more fat you gain when you gain weight. The better your partitioning, the more muscle you gain. This is largely impacted by training and diet, yet with those things being a given, how well you "partition" is primarily determined by genetics.






    Building muscle is rarely the problem providing someone is willing to eat enough. Anyone willing to eat themselves up to 350 lbs scale weight will build a lot of muscle in the process. The problem is not building muscle all the fat that comes along with it. In a perfect world you'd be able to easily get the excess nutrients to your muscles without risk of any spilling over into fat.
    Now, if you have round the clock elevated stress hormone levels your body will shut off uptake of nutrients into the muscles to make more fuel available for the brain. If you have elevated stress hormone levels and a chronic nutrient excess guess where those excess nutrients are gonna go? Straight to your fat cells. Is there anything you can do to correct this problem? Certainly.

    First thing you can do is improve your diet. If you're the type that gains more fat then muscle that means you might be better off with more protein and less carbs. Get that protein on up around 2 grams per pound of bodyweight and pay more attention to your carbohydrate intake. Some people do well with 100 grams of carbohydrates spread throughout the day and a post-workout drink consisting of 50-100 grams.

    Taking the Next Nutritional Step
    Now take the next step. Improve partitioning beyond that. You can do that by making use of a storage tank for excess nutrients known as glycogen. It accounts for 1200-2000 calories of immediate storage in the average man and you simply learn to use it to your advantage. In other words, use cyclical or zig-zag diets. You take a couple of days and briefly deplete your storage tank (eat lower calories and do cardio, HIT, light weightlifting etc), and burn some fat. Then you take several days and slam your muscles with excess nutrients while the excess goes into your storage tank rather then fat. Then you keep repeating that process over and over. The 2 phases complement each other. The low calories increase sensitivity to he high calories. Most people can get good results with a 5, 10, or 14-day plan. A 7- day plan might consist of 5 days high calories with calories at 20 pounds per bodyweight followed by 2 days of low calories at 10-12 calories per pound of bodyweight. A 10-day plan might consist of 7 days high calories and 3 days low. A 14-day plan might consist of 11 days high calories and 4 days low. That's a pretty cheap solution for skinny fat if you're willing to work hard.
    [What’s possible? Joel Marion actually started off at a ‘soft’ 16% bodyfat before dieting down to the 7%. He then used a zig zag approach of 2 weeks of high calories 1 week low, to gain 30+ pounds of pure muscle in 12 weeks]

    Is there Anything Else One Can Do On the Nutritional End?
    Another thing you can do is a bit more creative and increase the density of your diet so that you are able to send an anabolic signal at a caloric intake level that does not stimulate fat gain. To do that you consume cellular hydrating and swelling supplements such as those in leptigen. creatine, ip6, taurine, salt, bcaas etc. Do that in conjunction with my 2nd suggestion and you have a pretty good plan.

    Training and Recovery
    Regardless of how you look at it, fundamentally you have to match up your training load to coincide with your ability to recover from all of your combined stressors.

    It's always better to undertrain then to overtrain. Progress will be slower by undertraining but progress is progress. If you overtrain you will make zero progress. The amount of stress you tolerate is very individual. Some people can only tolerate 2 lifting sessions per week while others can tolerate 6 or 7. You need to find the right amount for you. For most ectomorphs I recommend 3 lifting sessions per week with at least one day off after every session and with 2 consecutive days off at some point during the week, such as weekends. Having a day off after every session allows the hyperactive CNS to recuperate. That one recommendation has saved the life of many a hardgainer.

    Most likely you’re not gonna be able to train full bore all the time. Six weeks is about the length of time that ANYONE can make consistent strength gains when training full bore. Learn when to take rest days and off weeks. I normally recommend people take 1 or 2 ‘easy’ weeks after every 4-6 weeks of hard training. During an easy week I might recommend you split your body in half and do 2 easy sets of 10-15 reps per muscle.






    Learn to identify over-reaching symptoms and when they start to appear don’t be afraid to pull back and cut volume and frequency. Most importantly, listen to your body. What’s the easiest way to identify over-reaching? Pay attention to your motivation. I tell people to rank themselves on a scale of 1-10 for energy, motivation, and sleep every day and write it in their training log. lf you can't give yourself at least a 7 in all 3 categories take the day off. Sleep is ultra important as well.
    When choosing exercises, don’t be a ***** and take the easy way out, but keep in mind it’s ok to do some isolation movements if you have problems getting stress to the working muscles. Flyes, laterals, and hack squats can be god sends.
    With that in mind, a 3-day split like this works well for a lot of people:

    Monday
    Dumbell Bench – 3-4 x 8-10
    Row- 4-5 x 8-10
    Flye – 2 x 10-12
    Side cable lateral – 2 x 10-12
    Bicep – 2 x 10-12
    Tricep- 2 x 10-12

    Wednesday
    Squat – 4-5 x 8
    Leg Curl 4-5 x 5-8
    Split squat 2-3 x 12-15
    ½ rack pull + shrug 2 x 12-15
    Calf – whatever
    Friday
    Incline press- 3-4 x 8-10
    Chin- 3-4 x 8-10
    Incline side lateral – 3-5 x 8-12 with 20 second rests (rest-pause)
    Row – 2-3 x 12-15
    Bicep – 4-5 x 6-8
    Tricep – 4-5 x 6-8




    To fully maximize strength gains, ideally on your tension driven compound movements (typically the first exercise in a workout for a given bodypart), the reps should decrease over the course of a mesocycle. An example of how you might jack with the reps on compound movements is this:

    Week 1 and 2 – Sets of 8-10 (ex: 3 x 8-10)
    Week 3 and 4 – Sets of 6-8 (ex: 4 x 6-8)
    Week 5 and 6 – Sets of 4-6 (ex: 5 x 5)
    Week 7 and 8 – Reduce training to just twice a week and take it easy, recuperate, reduce training frequency and volume.
    Week 9 – Start over with week 1.

    If you really have ****ty recovery abilities you could just split your body in half and train twice a week. Or you could Train 3 times per week alternating between 2 workouts on an every other day basis. Pick one exercise for each bodypart and have at it.

    Workout #1
    Lats (rows and pulldowns)
    Biceps (curls)
    Calves (some type of calf raise)
    Quadricep (some type of squat)
    Hamstrings (some type of leg curl) Workout #2
    Erectors and Traps (Deadlift, Rack Pull)
    Chest (Bench variation)
    Shoulders (front and side lateral variation)
    Triceps (extension or close grip press)


    Hopefully that gives you some ideas. Put that stuff to use and soon you might find your genetics getting better and better.

    References
    “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers”. Sapolsky, Robert. Owl Books
    Association between idiopathic mitral valve prolapse and panic disorder. Tamam, Ozpoyraz, San, Bozkurt. Department of Psychiatry, Cukurova University Faculty of Medicine, B. Blok No.15, 01130 Adana, Turkey
    Mitral valve prolapse: causes, clinical manifestations, and management. Devereauz, Kramer, Kligfield. New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, New York
    Boudoulas, J. (1992). Mitral valve prolapse: Etiology, clinical presentation and neuroendocrinefunction. Journal Heart Valve Disease, 1, 175188
    Coghlan, H., Phares, P., Cowley, M., Copley, D. & James, T. (1979). Dysautonomia in mitral valve prolapse. American Journal of Medicine, 67, 236244

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    Great find! This really seems to describe my predicament pretty well, so I think I'm going to give that zig-zag strategy a try.
    One question though (and keep in mind I know very little about metabolism or biochemistry, so forgive me if this is a huge blunder)
    but I've read that a low-carbohydrate diet promotes insulin resistance [Back to the Basics: Insulin and the GI by Mark Collins], so wouldn't this only compound the problems of the skinny-fat ectomorph (ie - poor nutrient partioning, etc). Or would you not consider 150-200g of carbs a day low out of a 2800-3000 calorie diet?
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    Sorry for the double post. My internet sucks, and freezes constantly..
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    good article. it makes sense.
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    I'd lump myself into the skinny fat ectomorph category as well. I can gain weight easily enough provided I eat enough calories, but find that a disproportionate amount of the weight tends to be fat gain. Throw in a rotating shift style of work, and you have a recipe that doesn't allow for much in the way of muscle gains. I've been lifting for 6 or 7 years and am still learning what works for me in order to gain muscle mass.

    I'll be trying DC training when I'm finished cutting, as it seems like a style that should allow for good strength and mass gains given my bodytype and work hours.
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    Quote Originally Posted by max silver
    I'd lump myself into the skinny fat ectomorph category as well. I can gain weight easily enough provided I eat enough calories, but find that a disproportionate amount of the weight tends to be fat gain. Throw in a rotating shift style of work, and you have a recipe that doesn't allow for much in the way of muscle gains. I've been lifting for 6 or 7 years and am still learning what works for me in order to gain muscle mass.

    I'll be trying DC training when I'm finished cutting, as it seems like a style that should allow for good strength and mass gains given my bodytype and work hours.
    Yes, exactly. I like the way it's thought, as you can have short-term goals. I use the three week routine, and don't get discouraged. I always want to get to the next phase(1 week cut or the 2 week mass) when I do this. Every 3 weeks, you get better gains, and are able to clearly see it as you cut every 2 weeks. Not stupid theory, and it works.
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    I was a fat skinny ecto, pretty simple to correct once you find the root of your problem.
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    I've corrected the fat part of the equation, and have cutting pretty much down to a science. My problems still lie in building muscle mass without packing on a pile of fat. I've spent entirely too much of my lifting career cutting, and not nearly enough building mass. I suppose, that formerly being overweight has given me a fat phobia, in which I have a hard time seeing fat come back after I put in such a massive effort to lose it in the first place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by max silver
    I've corrected the fat part of the equation, and have cutting pretty much down to a science. My problems still lie in building muscle mass without packing on a pile of fat. I've spent entirely too much of my lifting career cutting, and not nearly enough building mass. I suppose, that formerly being overweight has given me a fat phobia, in which I have a hard time seeing fat come back after I put in such a massive effort to lose it in the first place.
    I was like that exacly before my first show. I gave everything I had to trim down, and once I was done, now I am able to go step by step, clean diet, and super clean LBM gains Once you cut down all your exess fat, you are able to maintain more easily IMO..
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    Grassroots - What was your strategy to pack on some good muscle without fat storage around the midsection? I'm dying for some more pointers here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobscrk777
    Grassroots - What was your strategy to pack on some good muscle without fat storage around the midsection? I'm dying for some more pointers here.
    Controlling insulin. I thought I had a good diet, but my glucose management sucked so bad due to factors in my life (stress, sleep patterns) that it didn't matter. I was up to 4000 calories a day and well over 350g protein/day and gains were not apparent - at least the ones that I wanted to see. I always noticed that I lost fat so easy and gained LBM gains by using say a TCD or the Anabolic Diet where you limit carbs (although I never had a cheat day on the weekends and "carb up").

    Stress and cortisol play a very big part of storing fat around the midsection. I would recommend visiting IA's board as it really helped me out alot. I am making great gains now and eating much less calories. There is still a lot to learn. Whats your sleep patterns like? Do you find yourself holding your breath? Anxiety?
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    Well in the last several years (way before I started even thinking about lifting) Ive typically gotten 6-8 hours of sleep, but I always feel like I wake up tired and wish I could go back to sleep, but I never can. Weird problem; might be related to this, but I cant say for sure.
    As for stress - it is the summer right now so ther has not been much of it. Schools starting in a few weeks so inevitably some will come back with that.
    What sort of ratio worked for you? What did you do to control your insulin, stay as low GI as possible and cut carbs after a certain time, or what?
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    I'd be interested in a little more detail on your diet also. I work a rotating 12 hour shift, so my sleep pattern is always changing, that much I can't do much about unfortunately. Any insight on the diet that works for you would be greatly appreciated.
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    I will give you mine as soon as I get home buddy. If I remember right, its 3600(2 weeks) and 2700(1 week) or somethin like that. Works top notch
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    There it is buddy Just for ya Hope you appreciate it.


    Low calorie (1 week)
    Protein Carbs Fat Calories

    550 g. Extra lean turkey 137,5 0 4,9 598
    Brocolli 4,2 9,8 0,5 50
    3 scoops whey 69 4,5 4,5 390
    1 piece low fat cheese 5,9 0 5 69
    1 banana 1,3 27 0,4 105
    2 x 2/3 cups oatmeal 20,3 79,5 8,3 467
    500 g. Egg whites 54,5 3,7 0,9 260
    1 Whole wheat bagel 12 56 4 300
    1 cup cottage cheese 28,7 6,1 2,3 163
    2 scoops gatorade 0 58,3 0 208
    Total in grams 333,4 244,9 30,8 2610
    Total in calories 1333,6 979,6 277,2
    51,10% 37,53% 10,62%


    High calorie (2 weeks)

    550 g. Extra lean turkey 137,5 0 4,9 598
    Brocolli 4,2 9,8 0,5 50
    4 scoops whey 92 6 6 520
    1 piece low fat cheese 5,9 0 5 69
    1 banana 1,3 27 0,4 105
    2 cups oatmeal 30,45 119,3 12,4 700,5
    500 g. Egg whites 54,5 3,7 0,9 260
    2 Whole wheat bagels 24 112 8 600
    1 cup cottage cheese 28,7 6,1 2,3 163
    2 scoops gatorade 0 58,3 0 208
    1 apple 0,4 19,1 0,2 72
    Total in grams 378,95 361,3 40,6 3345,5
    Total in calories 1515,8 1445,2 365,4
    45,31% 43,20% 10,92%
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    Thanks for info JJohn. I was kind of more after what Grassroots lower carb/calorie diet however.
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    Trust me. This works Try it, you will be surprised at how much dedication can pay off.
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    Thanks for the insight jjohn! But wow, am I reading that right? no more than 10.5% of your calories come from fat?
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    That kinda jumps out at me too. Why so low with the fat intake?
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    I forgot to add the almonds in the high calorie..
    there ya go:

    Low calorie (1 week)
    Protein Carbs Fat Calories

    550 g. Extra lean turkey 137,5 0 4,9 598
    Brocolli 4,2 9,8 0,5 50
    3 scoops whey 69 4,5 4,5 390
    1 piece low fat cheese 5,9 0 5 69
    1 banana 1,3 27 0,4 105
    2 x 2/3 cups oatmeal 20,3 79,5 8,3 467
    500 g. Egg whites 54,5 3,7 0,9 260
    1 Whole wheat bagel 12 56 4 300
    1 cup cottage cheese 28,7 6,1 2,3 163
    2 scoops gatorade 0 58,3 0 208
    Total in grams 333,4 244,9 30,8 2610
    Total in calories 1333,6 979,6 277,2
    51,10% 37,53% 10,62%


    High calorie (2 weeks)

    550 g. Extra lean turkey 137,5 0 4,9 598
    Brocolli 4,2 9,8 0,5 50
    4 scoops whey 92 6 6 520
    1 piece low fat cheese 5,9 0 5 69
    1 banana 1,3 27 0,4 105
    2 cups oatmeal 30,45 119,3 12,4 700,5
    500 g. Egg whites 54,5 3,7 0,9 260
    2 Whole wheat bagels 24 112 8 600
    1 cup cottage cheese 28,7 6,1 2,3 163
    2 scoops gatorade 0 58,3 0 208
    50 g almonds 10,6 9,9 25,3 289
    1 apple 0,4 19,1 0,2 72
    Total in grams 389,55 371,2 65,9 3634,5
    Total in calories 1558,2 1484,8 593,1
    42,87% 40,85% 16,32%
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    Quote Originally Posted by max silver
    That kinda jumps out at me too. Why so low with the fat intake?
    Probably because excess calories from a fat source are the most likely to be stored in adipose tissue. Whereas carbs are middle of the road and protein the least.

    As an ectomorph myself I find that I just build muscle very slowly. If I use a daily calorie surplus that typical for endo's and meso's I add too much fat. IMO a more conservative surplus and a longer bulking phase is probably the better approach for ecto's.
  

  
 

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