Our bodies are unique and process food differently depending on our genetic makeup. If you’ve researched various diets or just nutritional information in general you may have come across the three body types known as ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. With some assessment you can probably categorize yourself into one of these body types. You may wonder, though, what it really means if you discover you’re an ectomorph.
The three body types describe various physical and biological traits. For example, ectomorphs have a hard time gaining weight and usually have smaller body frames, mesomorphs build up strength and muscularity almost effortlessly and characteristically have broad shoulders, and endomorphs usually struggle with losing fat and carry excess weight around the mid section. Everyone has a dominant body type combined with two other non dominant body types.
How will knowing your body type be beneficial for your hunting preparation? Knowing this kind of information gives you insight into how your body processes and uses food. If you’re predominantly an endomorph but you don’t know it and your hunting meals consist mostly of processed carbs you will more than likely feel sluggish and struggle during and after your back country hunt. But if you take the time to find out what your body type is you can go about building the optimal diet for your individual needs that helps you feel and function at your best in the back country.
With all this information in mind, is the food you’re buying off the shelf at the grocery store able to fuel you adequately for the outdoor challenges you will face? Almost all packaged foods will have labels that tell us what they are made up of. These labels will provide the ratio of macronutrients in that food and that’s where you should focus your attention.
Macronutrients, or macros as they are commonly called, are proteins, fats, and carbohyrates that humans require in large amounts. Although packaged foods are not necessarily ideal when it comes to their ratio of macronutrients, they are light and easily fit in a hunter’s pack. To make a meal that will have the ratio of macro’s that works for you, experiment with adding more ideal foods to the packaged food. When you take the time to understand the labels on packaged foods you will learn how to build meals and pack snacks that will fuel you for a successful hunt.
There’s no doubt that determining your body type and eating to play to your genetic strengths takes time, consistent effort, and determination. To ease yourself into this type of process, start building healthy habits into your everyday life. For example, you can make the goal to drink more water everyday or add vegetables to most of your meals. You’d be surprised how making these little tweaks can add up to big changes.
Fuelling your hunt isn’t about deprivation or fad dieting, it’s about optimizing what you need. When you optimize your fuel based on your genetic strengths and age you successfully add years of ability to your life and activities.
In the next article, we’ll focus in on macronutrients and their role in our diet and the process of diet change.
Caitlyn Harbottle is a Peace Region nutrition coach.