Ectomorph Blues

My program from Next Generation Personal Training is now three weeks underway. It’s funny for me to admit this but the scariest part is not the workouts or the personal training session.  It’s the meal plan!

You see, I am an ectomorph.

Even more so, I’m a 40+ year old, 6’8″ ectomorph.

There.  I said it.

I don’t like the term  because it makes me sound like an extra for either an episode of Star Trek, Dr. Who or the sequel to Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  “Cue the Ectomorph!  No.  No!  Cut!!  We need someone with skinnier arms!”



A more recent term I stumbled upon, which soothes my ego a bit more, is Hard Gainer.  That’s more like it!  I can growl as I say it and sound like a pro wrestler!  (You can’t do it with “ectomporph.”  It just isn’t the same effect.  At best I just sound like a new character for a Mortal Combat game.)

What this all means is that I have a very hard time gaining weight and mass.  I’ve had this issue my entire life.  You can’t imagine how frustrating it is as a young man to work your ass off and see very little in gains.  All your friends are making it happen.   I’d workout.  I was active.  I did everything from martial arts to Ultimate frisbee.   Yet, nothing would really change.  In those days, I was 6’8″ and 180 lbs.  Most of this is due not to a lack of exercise but my intake of protein and calories.  In my 30’s, things changed up a bit and I climbed upward into the 200 or 210 range.  I still remember how happy I was the day I pegged 200.  It wasn’t really “healthy” weight but I was happy it was going up.  Yet, no matter what, I couldn’t gain any healthy mass.

It was because of one particular thing I was completely underestimating.

You see, it’s well known ectomorphs, or, excuse me, “hard gainers” have a high metabolism.  That’s what “They” say as they give a knowing, doctor-like nod.  “Yhep.  High metabolism.  Yhup.”

However, that’s a bit of a throw away phrase there that non-ectomorphs just don’t “get.” Saying a tall ectomorph  has a high metabolism is kind of like saying Daenerys has a pet lizard she found in the desert.  (If you’re not a Game of Thrones fan that joke just went over your head.)

Unfortunately, for the past 30 years, I just thought I had a little pet lizard called a “high metabolism.”  Yeah, I knew I needed to eat.  Ok, I’ll have an extra egg at breakfast.  Oh, sure, I’ll have a bit more bacon.  Should I get the large fries or the small fries with my cheeseburger.  Well, I AM tall.  I’ll take an extra large! YEAH!

All of that was about to change.

To start my program, Adam at NGPT built a nice, little, daily meal plan for me to follow and assigned me an awesome nutritional coach for me to report my results.  It was a dainty, wee plan.  It only took up a page or two.  How much damage could it do?

Unfortunately, I’m bound by my own code of ethics to not report the full details but I can sum it up for you with a graphic.



You know, I really didn’t feel any sense of dread or fear for this new stage in my training regime until I gazed upon the list of my daily food intake.   Even then, it wasn’t that bad.  Cool, I get to eat a lot of stuff!  Yay!

When it really hit me was sitting down to do the budget for the grocery store, then, again, as it started to pile up in the grocery cart.  “He wants me to eat how many chickens how many times a day?”  OR, “Whoa!  That is a LOT of bananas!”

Or, my favorite…

“Wait,” I remember saying in financial dismay as I looked at the grocery cart, “All this food.  It’s only going to last until Wednesday!?”

My wife simply pat-patted me on the shoulder.  I felt my first real shudder of apprehension at that point.

Never in my life had I been given free reign to eat this much food, day in and day out.  Never.  Not even when I was in college in my 20’s did I eat like this!   In my 20’s I was eating pizza and ramen and donuts and cheeseburgers and cheap Chinese food and well, you know, crap!  The sheer amount of food I was now being asked to put down was, well, monster-like.

The Otter wife laughed when we had our first breakfast together this week.  She’s going through the NGPT Bootcamp for weight loss and she’s doing amazing.  However, she was  in her final weeks and I’m on the end of the EAT ALL THE THINGS spectrum.  Our two breakfast plates placed together looked like a culinary version of Laurel and Hardy!

After a disastrous Monday where I discovered what happens when you eat too many Core meals in too short of a period of time, the rest of the week went a lot better.  (No joke, Day 1 was kind of horrific.)  As the week went along, a funny thing happened.  I started to feel AMAZING!

By far, the biggest success has been that my hypoglycemia has fled the battlefield AND my energy and mood swings have completely leveled out.  I also no longer feel “skinny” or “hollow”.  I feel, well, good.  So, I’m happy to report it’s working.

The downside is that it did come with an unexpected challenge.  I’ll get into that in Part Two.

Now, you’ll excuse me, I have to go eat another train.


Posted on September 21, 2015, in Fitness, Nutrition and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. “As the week went along, a funny thing happened. I started to feel AMAZING!”
    Whoa — that’s really interesting Bryan. I’m not ready for a PT, but certainly thinking I should look into something like this. Thanks for posting, and thanks to Lra for telling me about it!

    • Thanks and good to hear from you! It’s been a real shocker for me to realize how MUCH food my metabolism was capable of burning and then to think that I might have been literally starving myself most of my life. The best part has been the blood sugar swings leveling out and eventually disappearing. Of course, if I wasn’t working out almost every day I don’t want to know how big my belly might become with this caloric intake!

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