5 Strategies To Defeat Your Fat Kid Genes

Endomorph somatotype – A dude or dudette who even so much as sniffs a piece of cake and gains weight.

You know you’re an endomorph when…

  • You so much as take a passing glance at dessert and feel your love handles expanding
  • You seem to lack an appetite suppressant in the brain (if there’s food in front of you, you’ll eat it)
  • Your carbohydrate tolerance is on par with Rosie O’Donnell’s

Do you meet those minimum requirements? Then this article is for you, aiming to provide you with 5 strategies to defeat your fat kid genes and send them back to the depths of your cyber gaming days where they belong – finally leveling the playing field with that football jock who got all the girls in high school while you waited for your balls to drop and the baby fat to disappear (bonus points if you had braces in high school, too).

1) Get Your Mind Right

Until you get your mind on the right track, you’ll never succeed. The greatest barrier to success (in anything) lies in your own mind. Ditch the excuses and defeatist attitude before you start – if you approach your lifestyle change with the mentality that you’ll fail, you will. Many will argue somatotypes don’t exist – since the original somatotype research was largely based on psychological attributes tied to each body type rather than physical ones and that theory since been refuted –  but the fact remains his work outlined three different somatotypes that prevail today. You likely have the friend or even sibling who can eat McDonald’s all day and not gain a pound while you have to watch every morsel of food you shovel down your throat.

Nevertheless, labeling yourself an endomorph and giving up is not the solution. In fact, a recent study published in Psychological Science, showed that obese people who saw the American Medical Association’s decision to call obesity a “disease” were more likely to choose high calorie foods and less likely to self-regulate their diet than those who didn’t.

Take home point: Ultimately, if you don’t think your weight is a problem or figure there’s no use trying because of your genetics, you’ll almost assuredly fail.

t report graphic

2) Ramp Up The (Training) Volume

Since the FTO gene was discovered (which links individuals to obesity), studies have been conducted to see what impact exercise could have on those cursed with it.

Researchers at the Medical Research Council’s Epidemiology Unit in Cambridge examined data on genes, weight and the exercise habits of 220,000 adults from around the world.

In sedentary folks with the gene, odds of obesity were 30 per cent higher than in those who did not have the gene, which was consistent with previous research. But, here’s the caveat: In those who exercised, the effect of the FTO gene on obesity was reduced by 27 per cent.

Courtesy memespp.com

Yes, if your parents have weight issues, you of course run the risk of following in their footsteps through genetics and environment, but don’t compound the risk by living a sedentary lifestyle and eating junk all day.

More recent research on DNA and genes, out of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, performed a series of physical tests on 23 young and healthy men and women, requiring them to exercise one leg and not the other. Using sophisticated genomic analysis (sounds cool, though admittedly I don’t have a fucking clue what it means), the researchers determined that more than 5,000 sites on the activated leg’s muscle cells featured new gene patterns known to play a role in energy metabolism, insulin response and inflammation. In layman’s terms, getting off your butt and  pounding away in the gym can change your genes for the better, having a direct impact on how healthy and fit our muscles — and bodies — become.

Take home point: Exercise! Additionally, train with high volume relative to your capabilities. Focus more on hypertrophy than powerlifting style low reps, heavy weight approach if fat loss is one of your goals.

3) Time Your Carb Intake

By replacing carbs with healthy fats during sedentary periods of the day, you can avoid the constant insulin ebbs and flows of frequent feedings. If your body can effectively switch between energy systems (using fat or carbs as fuel depending on the time of day) – otherwise known as metabolic flexibility – you’ll better digest food and always be in an optimal environment to grow muscle and burn fat. When you adapt to this style of eating, keeping fat gains at bay is much easier.

It may take some time for your body to adjust to using fat as fuel during sedentary periods and carbs when push comes to shove, especially if you’ve been predominately carb reliant since birth, but it can be done.

When do you eat carbs then? When they are needed in and around a heavy resistance training or interval cardio session, which both sensitize muscle tissues to carbs. Holding out on carbs until your workout really primes your body to absorb them where you want them to go – into muscle cells, not fat cells.

Take home point: Cutting out carbs completely is a short term solution. Instead, time your carbs around your workouts and reap the growth opportunity benefits that come with it.

report graphic fbcarb

4) Prioritize Protein

It takes a lot more effort for your body to digest protein than fats or carbs—plus protein helps you preserve lean body mass, and if you’re in a calorie deficit you want that! Further, optimal protein synthesis (hint: muscle gains) throughout the day via frequent meals limits binge eating and allows for better nutrient timing. A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition split study participants into two groups.  Each group was fed different quantities of protein in each meal, and protein synthesis was measured throughout the day. One group ate the majority of its protein at dinner (63 grams of 90 grams total) while Group 2 spread its day’s allotment over three meals equally – more so emulating the typical bodybuilding approach.

The results of their research? Which should come as no surprise, protein synthesis was greater in Group 2 by as much as 25% over the course of 24 hours. Essentially, then, Group 2 participants built 25% more muscle over 24 hours than Group 1.

Take home point: Emphasize protein (in EVERY meal) for muscle gain and fat loss

5) Fill Up on Veggies

When trying to lose weight or curb that lion-sized appetite of yours, choosing foods that can fill you up without blowing up your caloric needs are a must. For guys and gals like us with appetites for days, these foods are an integral piece of the dietary pie (mmm, pie). We’re talking foods with relatively high fiber content in many cases, while at the same time being low in calories. A win-win.

That’s why staples in nearly every meal – especially during a fat loss phase – are non-starchy, high fibrous vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli. It’s all about the broccoli, man. Fuck, brussel sprouts (sorry, they just aren’t my thing).

Take home point: Emphasize vegetables (in nearly EVERY meal expect post-workout) for muscle gain and fat loss

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Mitch Calvert is a Winnipeg-based fitness coach for men and women like his former self. Heavyset in his 20s, he lost 60 pounds and now helps clients find their spark and lose the weight for life.