How to Personalise Your Nutrition and Exercise to Your Genes

Contrary to popular belief, optimum nutrition is not one-size-fits-all. What works for others may not work for you. Our body type is dictated by genes that we cannot change. What we can do is tailor our exercise and diet so that our genes respond and are expressed the way they are supposed to. 

This week, Neil joins me to explain how to personalise your optimum nutrition and exercise. Throughout the episode, we emphasise the importance of knowing your body type in building the right diet and exercise for your specific set of genes. 

If you want to achieve optimum nutrition and health according to your genes, then this episode is for you.

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Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  • Know the three general body types. 
  • Get Neil’s recommendations for each body type to get optimum nutrition.
  • Discover the role of genes in shaping our biology. 

Resources

Episode Highlights

[04:17] Genes and Body Types

  • All body types are unique. 
  • Genes are the blueprint of the body. Everything that happens in the environment affects your genes.
  • The exercise and food we give our bodies dictate how our genes express themselves. 
  • Our bodies can significantly change if we do the wrong exercise or give it below optimum nutrition. We may end up with an unhealthy body.

[09:15] The 3 Major Body Types

  • The formation of body types starts at embryogenesis. It depends on which layer (ectoderm, mesoderm, or endoderm) is provided with more energy. 
  • Different bodies will respond to exercise in different ways. 
  • Ectomorphs are taller, slimmer, and leaner with a low percentage of body fat.
  • Mesomorphs are shorter and have the classic triangle shape (broad shoulders and narrow waists).
  • Endomorphs are great at putting on fats and muscles. They have bigger bones and evenly shaped lower and upper bodies. 

[14:46] Nutrition and Exercise for Mesomorphs

  • Mesomorphs are agile and quick responders. As a result, they are coordinated and athletic. 
  • Activities that work well for this body type include 20- to 40-minute CrossFit-style exercise, intensity interval training and short bursts of high-intensity activity. 
  • Make sure to have enough rest to avoid injuries and health burnout.
  • Have three full meals a day, with regular snacks. Get your protein up for recovery. 

[24:32] Nutrition and Exercise for Endomorphs

  • Endomorphs are good at endurance and strength. 
  • Get heavier weights and lower repetitions.
  • Start slow and exercise optimally late in the day. Also, take longer warm-ups. 
  • Take later breakfast and lunch, with lunch as the biggest meal of the day. Increase your vegetable intake. 

[31:22] Fasting for Different Body Types

  • Women have to be a little careful with more prolonged fasting because of their cycle. 
  • Fasting should be shorter for ectomorphs and mesomorphs. For ectomorphs, 12 hours intermittent fast is good. 
  • Endomorphs can last up to 16 hours or longer. They take two to three meals per day. 

[33:05] Nutrition and Exercise for Ectomorphs

  • Ectomorphs have a more developed nervous system and are suitable for speed endurance. 
  • Cycling and swimming help calm their body. 
  • Because they have stiffer and more rigid body tissue, speed, endurance and flexibility work should be balanced. 
  • You can put a heavier load with higher repetitions — for instance, 12 to 20 reps. Do this at 7 in the morning and in the afternoon. 

7 Powerful Quotes from This Episode

‘We’re all born with around 23,000 genes; we’re all born with a blueprint. That’s a blueprint of our genes, and those genes were given when born. But what we can do now in a way our body responds with the exercise and food we give it will dictate how our genes express themselves’.

‘Here's my genes. Here's how I can optimise them, and how I can also be aware of perhaps some of the weaknesses that I might have and how I can make the best out of my body, and out of my mind, and out of my sporting performance and out of my health’.

‘If you look around — look at your family, your friends, those around you — you'll see that we are all different shapes. And we should be different shapes. It's okay to be different shapes’.

‘You can still be a long-distance runner, but it becomes more important, then, that you rest harder’.

‘You can get gains without pain’.

‘It's okay to be me, in all aspects’.

‘There are advantages and there are disadvantages to every body type. The thing to take away is let's work with our advantages’.

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To pushing the limits,
Lisa

Full Transcript

Introduction: Welcome to Pushing the Limits, the show that helps you reach your full potential, with your host, Lisa Tamati. Brought to you by lisatamati.com.

Lisa Tamati: Hi, everyone, and welcome back to Pushing the Limits this week. Coming up, I have a very good interview with Neil Wagstaff, who has been on the show regularly, my business partner at Running Hot Coaching. And today we are getting into personalized nutrition and personalized exercise. So, understanding how to build the right exercise and diet plan for your specific set of genes.  So, this is related a little bit to a couple of episodes that we've done prior, but it's focusing in on the nutrition aspects, and on the exercise aspect. So I hope you really enjoy the session. 

Now Christmas is coming up. So if you haven't got your Christmas presents ready yet, you might want to grab one of my books. We've got three Running Hot and my first one, Running To Extremes, both of those chronicling my adventures all around the planet. Lots of successes and failures, and lots of laughing, lots of fun we have at those books. And my recent book, Relentless—how a mother and daughter defied the odds, which is really a book about empowering you to overcome obstacles, think outside the square, take control of your own health. And it's a love story between a mother and a daughter and family. So I hope you grab one of those for your Christmas present this year. You can get them over on lisatamati.com, under the shop banner. 

And before we go over to Neil, I just want to remind you, we are taking on a small—very small number—of clients on one-on-one sessions. If you have a health problem—I just was getting asked all the time, ‘Can you please help me with this or that problem’? And so we've actually opened up a number of places, we're only dealing with 10 people at a time on their health journeys. 

If you've got a complicated health journey that you want to help with, or you want high performance, or you've got some big massive goal that you have, and you need some support around your mindset, or brain injuries, or a cancer journey, or stroke, or whatever the case may be, then please reach out to us, support at lisatamati.com and tell us what you're looking for. And we can see whether we'll be able to help you. We're enjoying working with a number of people and getting some fantastic results. So, let us know if you want to do that. 

Please also give a rating and review to the show if you haven't. It really, really helps the show. And I can't emphasize enough how appreciated that is when I get a rating or a review from a listener, it really makes my day. I love hearing from listeners because you don’t—you're always talking into a microphone, you don't actually get a lot of feedback. So, we do appreciate you telling us what you think. And if there's guest recommendations or if there's things that you want us to talk about then maybe we can add to the list, then please let us know. Okay? Reach out to us. And yes, right, over to the show now. We'll be enjoying this conversation with Neil Wagstaff, all around personalized diet and exercise. 

Welcome back, everybody. Fantastic to have you with us again. Today, I have Neil Wagstaff in Havelock North, my business partner at Running Hot Coach, my long-time coach, and exercise scientist, brilliant man, welcome to the show again, Neil. Fantastic to have you back again.

Neil Wagstaff: Thanks, Lisa. Nice introduction. I like that. 

Lisa: Yes, well, got to boast you up a little bit. (laughs)

Neil: Very nicely. Very nicely. 

Lisa: All very well entertained, by the way people. 

So today's subject and I love having these conversations with Neil because we love to learn together, develop our philosophies together, train together. Yes, it's all fantastic. So today we're going to be looking at exercise and nutrition, and how to personalize it to you, so that you are doing the right diet and the right types of exercise for your particular body. 

So, Neil, where do you want to start with this? Do you want to start with the body types and that type of thing? 

Neil: If we give people a little bit of an overview of just the phenotype, what we're going to be looking at and then we can go into some of the body types in there. So just everyone should appreciate and understand, Lisa, they're all unique. And it's okay to be different. It's okay to be themselves. And gone are the days of the one-size-fits-all program for the exercise and nutrition point of view. And your exercise and nutrition should be personalized to you. 

Now as we look at that and sort through, it is good to look at it through the lens of—which is where we're going to be looking at it—through the lens of epigenetics. So, as you know, we’re all born with around 23,000 genes, we’re all born with our blueprint. That’s our blueprint of our genes, and those genes are what we’re given when born. But what we can do now and where our body responds with the exercise and food we give it will dictate how our genes express themselves. 

So, if we're giving ourselves the wrong type of exercise, or the wrong type of nutrition, or doing it at the wrong times of day, or a different time of day, then our genes can respond in a different way. And what we get as a result that is a phenotype, with you and I looking at each other with how we look. Our phenotype can look some differently different, it can be affected from a health point of view, if we've got the exercise, wrong time of day, wrong dosage, and the wrong intensity. And the same from nutrition point of view—wrong foods, wrong time of day, and the wrong amount. And all of a sudden, our phenotype can change quite significantly. And we can end up with a body that is not in a good state from a health point of view.

Lisa: Yes, and this is where the one-size-fits-all approach of the fitness industry—up until recently, at least—has put certain body types in down the wrong direction. And you use a couple of terms there, I just want to clarify, and people would have heard on a couple of our earlier podcasts, if they have listened to a number of them. We're really big on understanding your genes and understanding how to optimize your genes and how to make the best out of your body, and not seeing the genes as something as deterministic. But seeing them as a, ‘Well, here’s my genes, here's how I can optimize them and how I can also be aware of perhaps some of the weaknesses that I might have, and how I can make the best out of my body and out of my mind and out of my sporting performance and out of my health’.

So the word phenotype is a word that we use in our daily language now. But people probably don't quite understand what a phenotype. So, if you think of your DNA, your 23,000 genes odd, we're still counting, but around about there. And then everything that happens in your environment, or your food, your nutrition, the way you think, the perspective on life, your emotional well-being—all of these things affect your genes. And what is the result of that is how you are. That includes not only the way you look physically, but also the state of your mind, the state of your body, and the state of your health. It’s a combination. 

So the ‘epi’ meaning above the gene, it’s outside of the genes, what's influencing the genes. So when we talk about genes being turned on and off, this is where it gets exciting because we have the ability. So, we inherited our genes, we can't do anything about that, mum and dad did that for us. We are given the blueprint half from mum, half from dad, we got to make this or that. However, which genes are actually activated and which are being transcribed—transcription is a word that is used in regards to genes—and actually read is very much in our control. 

So some people get a little bit nervous when they hear genes or ‘Getting my gene system, maybe I'll come back with some bad genes’. Well, there's no such thing really as having—well, there is some bad mutations and so on—but we don't need to say, ‘Well, that means I'm going to get cancer. I've got the bracket gene, so I'm going to get cancer’. Or ‘I've got the MTHFR gene and the methylation, and I've got some bad mutations, therefore I am going to get XYZ’. That's not the case. It's like, ‘Oh, okay, got a bit of a problem here. Right, I have to do some certain interventions, or certain things that can help support my body’. And that's what we're all about. And today we want to focus in on the exercise part of the puzzle, and also the nutrition part of the puzzle. 

So, if we go now into some broad body types, to give you a bit of a framework to build this around, and unfortunately, the podcast, for those watching on YouTube, we do have slides and stuff, but we haven't got them with us today. It's a little bit hard to picture. But if we go in now and talk a little bit about the three major body types, Neil, can you explain visually how they look? And what, yes? 

Neil: Yes. So somatotypes, as they're called, are basically three different body shapes. Okay, so different bodies are going to respond to exercise in different ways. 

Okay? So an ectomorph are generally taller, longer, slimmer, low percentage of body fat, leaner, and generally, depending on what they're doing, we'll find—will often struggle to put more lean tissue on. And regardless of whether exercising or not, they normally keep a similar sort of shape. 

A mesomorph are normally a little bit shorter in stature, then that sort of traditional triangle shape. So broader shoulders, narrow at the waist, and shorter with the lower limbs, and they're very, very good at putting on muscle mass and usually put it on very quickly. And they're usually those a little bit more agile, quick, good coordination. And usually those good in the sporting arena as well. 

Endomorphs are usually bigger bones, great putting on all tissues. So great putting on adipose tissue or body fat, also great putting on muscle. So bigger, much, much bigger units from a body point of view and evenly sort of shape with upper and lower body so that that mass is kind of distributed quite nicely across the whole body as well. And if you look around you, look at your family, your friends, those around you, you'll see that we all different shapes. And we should be different shapes, it's okay to be different shapes. 

If I'm an endomorph, I don’t want to spend my entire time...

Lisa: ...trying to be an ectomorph. 

Neil: ...trying to be an ectomorph. But this is the way the health and fitness industry has been set up, it is the picture of, ‘This is what we should all look like we should all look like this’. And we should all be great, which for some people, they're going to fit into that box and they're going to go, ‘Yay works for me’. Others, it's just not good news. We need to trade some more individuality and personalization around it, that people getting the right results. 

If we take it a step further as well, this whole process starts when you're growing in your mum's tummy. So, the science of embryology, this all happens at that phase. And if you imagine as you're growing in mum's tummy, how much energy you're given to each of your derms. So you've got your ectoderm, your mesoderm, and your endoderm. As you're developing and growing in mum’s tummy, you'll get certain amount of energy into each of those derms. So this whole process of what body shape or somatotype you're going to be starting as you're growing in your mum’s tummy. 

As you're developing—I’m just kind of sit as a ecto-meso, a little more on the ecto side. So, I'm kind of taller, stroke, with muscle — I can put some muscle tissue on more than the true ectomorph could. As I was developing in my mum’s tummy, I have much more energy go into my ectoderm. So, I have more development through my nervous system. So, I've got quite an active nervous system, more sensitive to pain, and a little bit of a very active mind. And probably described the body's a little bit more fragile than an endomorph body would be, which has more development through the digestive tract, and the ability to put more on tissue. So therefore, a much more resilient body, going to be better to deal with the calibre stress...

Lisa: The human weight 

Neil: Endurance wise, it’s great at taking a whole lot of burn, physical endurance. From an exercise point of view, it’s a sort of body that's going to be well suited to powerlifting and things like that, but great endurance wise, 

Lisa: Dwayne Johnson is a good example of one of those, isn’t it? The Rock. 

Neil: Very much so. Very, very resilient body. This whole process is starting, as you—when you come into the world, you're kind of already going to be an ecto, a meso, or an endo, or a combination of—you might be an ecto-meso, meso-endo, and an endo-ecto. 

But if you can start to relate as you're listening and look at your body shape, and start to think about where, what sort of body shape I've got, and what sort of activities should I be doing for that for that body? And what time of day, should I be doing it? And how should, what sort of dose of exercise should I be applying? Then you can start to get some good wins. Okay, you can start get some real, real good wins with your exercise and nutrition plan.

Neil: And that's what we sort of want to cover off today, it’s a little bit of a broad—it's a very broad overview. So Neil, and I have a program where we actually do your genes and have a have a whole technology behind us if you wanted to go into it and do a deep dive and find out exactly what you are and where you sit and what the right recommendations are for your body—the right foods, the right exercise, the right times a day. 

But to just give you a broader overview here, what are some takeaways from today, so start to think where do I sit? So, I know that I sit on the ecto-meso sort of side of things. So I'm not a true-true mesomorph but I am quite muscular in built. I'm a little bit taller than your average mesomorph. So I have some ectomorph tendencies as well. So if I'm looking for me, there are certain things that are really good for me and certain things that are not so good for me. 

And so, we're going to cover off a little bit today, those from them three major groups, the ectomorph, endomorph, and the mesomorph. What some high level wins that you can just take away from this podcast today and actually go, ‘I think I fall into that category or a combination of those two’, and then you can start to experiment. I mean, of course, come and see us, ask us some questions, do the program if you want to do it, but if you don't want to do it, you can take some high level wins away from this. 

So for the—let's start with a mesomorph because it's sort of the part that I fall into and know quite well. So the mesomorph from our body type is very good at putting on lean muscle mass, they're very quick adapters. So when they exercise, they get results quite quickly. They're very coordinated usually and quite athletic. From a personality perspective, they can be quite into challenge and into beating everybody else, very competitive. They love to express themselves. So they're quiet, they need to be able to share their thoughts. Sometimes there's no filter between the brain and the mouth. And they have a dominance in testosterone and adrenaline if they're true mesomorph. And this means that they have a bit more of a risk-taking personality, they have a lot of drive and determination, they can push through, and they tend to go hard out. And they like a lot of change, and a lot of like, challenge, and that sort of thing. So, you can see, possibly, that I fit nicely into that category with a bit of ectomorph in there as well. 

So for that person, Neil, can you explain what are some of the high level wins for them from an eating and an exercise perspective?

Neil: Yes, no worries, Lisa. So natural strengths for the sort of body you're just describing is going to be good from sort of hand eye coordination point of view. So, getting involved in activities that involve good hand eye coordination. They're going to be quite agile and quick, they're going to be able to move quickly, and respond quickly. From a body awareness point of view, they're going to have good connection with their body. Often you'll find—if you're the sort of body, you'll be able to pick things up quite quickly. Try sport, try an activity, and get it quite quickly. As you say, quick responders, so the type of exercise you're doing, and you're going to respond quickly to. 

To be fair and probably very honest, this is the message the sort of people that the fitness industry is... 

Lisa: Catering to 

Neil: ...screaming about for years when you should do high intensity and sport training. So CrossFit style exercise, high-intensity interval training, short bursts of high intensity exercise worked very, very well for this body. So if you've got this body, those shorter sessions are sort of 20 to 40 minutes, is going to work very well for your body. 

And things to be careful of here exercising for too long. So exercising for long periods of time, it's a lot to involve in, resulting in additional information and additional load on the body. So one of the biggest wins—and we've worked a lot on this, at least ourselves as well with your programming—is making sure that there’s enough rest in the program. Here, it's all about going hard but then resting hard. Going hard, resting hard. 

Now what often happens is, a lot of our athletes, the runners that we work with, and just people looking for general health goals as well, we find that they go hard really well, but they don't rest so well. So, you end up with that inflammation, that additional load on the body, and then the next one, you end up with the injuries, niggles, and health burnout as well. 

So just, yes, rest hard and all right to work out, make sure the rest hard is there as well. Move daily, the regular movement. As I'm talking to Lisa, now she's moving around on a...

Lisa: Rocket board. 

Neil: Rocket board. So she's rocking back and forth. That’s great for her, it means we can do what we're doing. And she can stay in flow and she can stay in flow because she's moving regularly. For this body type, leaving it sat still, desk all day, is a recipe for disaster. 

Lisa: Kills me.

Neil: So don't be sitting in the tree in the afternoon. Okay, be conscious about moving in that 2 to 4pm window, getting out and moving. If you sat at your desk, then stuff where you can work and move is very useful as well. 

Lisa indicated that about having a competition—the challenge, whatever you’re doing, exercise-wise. This is why for the mesomorph programs like CrossFit works so well. You get a workout after the board, it’s like, ‘Right. What is the challenge for today? I don't know what it's going to be, what is it? We've got the challenge, it’s up on the board, the way we go, and now the whole group of people I can be’. So that’s why it works so well for the mesomorph.

Looking for opportunities as well. Working out earlier in the morning. Some good wins when you work out through the afternoon. But make sure that you are dipping things down and going through your working install exercises in the late afternoon and evening. 

So you turn in the body down, mobility work, meditation work, stuff that's going to slow the system down and get you into a parasympathetic state. So, you're then ready to rest and recover and go and do the same thing the next the next day.

Lisa: Don't go hard out all night, which I used to do, day and night (laughs). Relinquish.

Neil: Rest, rest, rest hard. Food wise, you can start to see that it's a similar—it's going to be with the amount of movement that we're encouraging for the mesomorph. It’s like, ‘Right we're going to need to feel that’. So food to this body is like kindling on a fire. If you put it in and it burns through it quickly, transit time from mouth to bomb is pretty quick. 

So you need to keep fuelling. So, three good meals, with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and then regular snacks. So, you're going to be looking at up to sort of five or six meals a day, that paleo style food recommendation, again has come out from the fitness industry, is great for the mesomorph. 

Lisa: This type... 

Neil: Okay? And enough protein. Protein is going to be key. Often we find that a lot of mesos we work with, and some are even vegetarian or vegan, where we get some massive wins, is getting the protein up. So protein is needed for the recovery, it's needed to see more so for this body type, so getting that happening and increasing that can be can be key.

Lisa: And to that point, quickly we did a podcast was two weeks ago, I think, with Dr. David Minkoff, make sure you go and listen to that podcast because it was all about the perfect amino combination and getting the right—so amino acids bring the building blocks of proteins, and this is a game changer for a lot of athletes, especially people who are in the mesomorph interview. 

Definitely if you're vegan or vegetarian and try in your office body type, or if you're like me, and you're constantly dealing with a protein deficiency, then that can be really detrimental to your health. And there's a product that Dr. Minkoff has put out, which is just next level. I've had some great ones with it already with a couple of people that I'm working with and with myself. And just healing much better, much more calmer and so on because you're finally getting all the proteins that you need in the right combination. 

So make sure you go and listen to that because when you have a steak, only 33% of that steak is actually going to turn into protein. So just because you eat meat, don't think you've already got it covered. So make sure you go and listen to that episode a couple of weeks ago. 

Just as an aside, but the mesomorph does need a lot more protein. The mesomorph also has a lot more oxidative stress—they have a lot more oxidants. So, they need a lot of antioxidant support. So these antioxidants are things like your vitamin C, which I've just done a massive series on as well. Very, very important for this body type to define as your master, antioxidant bioflavonoids. 

So, getting your fruits and your veggies and your things that have got this antioxidants in there can really help this type as well. 

Neil: Connecting the dots a little bit for the listeners as well, Lisa, is that we're recommending here, when we said sort of dosage wise, we were talking about that sort of 20 to 45 minutes short session. 

Now it could be, we got some runners listening and doing ultra-marathon runners like you used to, with your big distance you've done in the past, is looking at right, it doesn't mean you've got to stop running long distances and you've got to cut back to doing 20 to 45-minute sessions. You can still be a long-distance runner, but it becomes more important then that you rest harder. So the rest dosage needs to go up. Plus, really conscious then, are you getting the right amount of food in each day? And is there enough protein to support that additional workload? 

So it's getting clever with going, ‘Right. There's other exercise that I want to do, which isn't necessarily the best choice of exercise for my body type, but I love it. So I'm going to carry on doing that. But now I can use the other information I've got to go right. What do I need more of to support my body through this’? 

Lisa: And that's working in the grey, if you like. We've got our personal goals and then we've got our genetics and what they want. So, it's that's what we help with people to work in that grey area to make—like I wanted to do ultras, I did it for 25 years and had some fantastic times and successes but it did come at a cost because I wasn't aware of all this spec being and not necessarily covering all my bases which lead to problems, as shall we say. 

Okay, let's move over now to the endomorph body type. So, these are those—the types of people that are bigger boned, like literally bigger boned, and they have more muscle mass, more bone mass, and they tend to be conservationists in their body type. 

So, my mom's a classic example of an endomorph body type. Can level the smell of an oily rag basically, as far as food goes for a long period of time, and not lose weight and also not lose muscle which can have huge advantages and huge disadvantages. 

So Neil, what are some of the exercise and food recommendations for the endomorph body type?

Neil: But generally, these guys' bodies we said when we're talking about the embryology side with the body shapes, these bodies are going to be good for endurance, they're going to be great for strength, you can put a significant amount of load through them. 

Okay, so we've talked for now you start to see some differences coming in. We talked about the mesomorph, short, sharp, high-intensity, fast, explosive, quick style movements, Cross fit style stuff. Now we're going to talk about getting heavier weights. Okay? So heavier weights, lower repetitions, could be in the sort of five to eight rep range with good rest periods in between. So, you can get gains without pain. That message again, that's come out of the fitness industry over the years is, ‘Got to keep pushing. No pain, no gain’. Yes, we can get gain without the pain, that's fine. Just let the body take its time, put some good loads for a bit. 

Things to take into care in here as well as we've got runners listening, which we probably have with the audience. Lisa's looking at making sure you've got a longer warm up. So, this body is going to take longer to warm up, if you're going to do some endurance stuff, give it a good 15, 20 minutes. A mesomorph body type might not need as long to warm up. Okay? There's going to be differences and care for the perfect repetitive impact and jumping without the extended warm up can still do them, but you need the longer the longer warm up for it. 

Now, and generally in the morning, this body type—we said with a mesomorph get up early and get into some stuff. What we're saying here with this, the endo body shape is start slower. This body is going to have a different hormone balance as well. So, getting up early and loading the body with a high intensity class at 6am is probably going to result in that body putting on all adipose tissue and body fat tissue. 

So you could do bootcamp, literally three days a week. You can train like a HIIT train and get better or not change at all. So both are just crazy concepts. I train three mornings a week, I eat six meals a day, and I'm getting better. So it's looking at—the morning should be about improving your circulation and rising slowly. So if you want to move, move, but keep at low volume.

Lisa: Low stress level. Go for a walk. 

Neil: Low stress level. Ease into the day, spend time in nature, and then slower heavy lifting will start to get you better results. 

Optimum times—when doing some training is going to be later in the day. So, the later you can push your training in the day, the better against slow start, pick up steam, and then go hard. And then use your energy before you go down into the latter part of the day.

And yes, just look at low reps, try it and test it. Okay? Like you said at the start, if you want to get the exact, here you are, come and look at the program. If you want to play with it and test it, see what results you get. Some more traditional style lifting, bigger compound movements, get some good weights through the body, and that weight will—sorry the body will respond well to that additional resistance. And that applies to guys and girls. Ladies, don't worry that you're going to start getting bigger. The result of this will start to change shape in a positive way by getting more load through your body. 

Lisa: Exactly, and muscles are good things, girls. And an example of this is my brother Dawson, who looks like The Rock actually. And his classic training style is heavy, heavy weights, and doing them quite slowly. Whereas if you watch us two at the gym, I'm going hard out hard out, like back-to-back seats, changing. And he's sitting near with his music on and he's doing one set, and then he's having a rest, and then he's doing another set and having a rest. 

And I used to think, ‘Shit, I don't want to do that because that's wasting my day. Like I don't want to spend so long at the gym’. And then he’s cut it down to the size he wants. But that's the right way to exercise for his body. Conversely, with my husband, Haisley—and I've said this before—I used to make them do CrossFit at 6am in the morning, which was a complete disaster for his body.

Neil: You’re a hard woman, Lisa. 

Lisa: Yes, I am a hard woman. Poor Haisley. 

And now that he does super long-distance running. And he does heavy weights, he doesn't like doing the weights particularly, so I got to drag him to the gym. But that—his body responds to that heavier slower weights but don't make him do CrossFit, he won't get the results and it won't be a good experience for him. 

From a meal perspective, let's talk a little bit about their eating times and the chronobiology of their—when they should eat.

Neil: Yes. We talked about with the mesos that five or six times a day, the food is like kindling on a fire. Now we're going to change that. For this body type, we're looking at potentially changing the meals to say 10, 2, and 6. So later breakfast, later lunch, with lunch being the biggest meal. Lunch being the biggest meal of the day and then a smaller dinner as well. And in some key cases, depending how close you are to the meso and how close you are to the ecto in some cases, looking at—for the endomorphs looking at getting rid of breakfast all together and having a longer fast in the morning. Higher vegetarian. High vegetarian intake for these bodies as well. 

And it's amazing, some of the local wins we've had with some of the guys working with locally in Hawke's Bay. Big guys, big sportsmen as well, and just going from eating sort of four or five times a day, lots of meat, reducing that meat down, increasing the vegetarian portion of food that's going into a diet, longer fast in the morning. Their energy has gone through the roof, their clarity of mind has gone through the roof. Their resilience with regards to niggles and injuries that they had before, which was probably down to inflammation, has now started to go. And the results they're getting is phenomenal. 

Now, again, you see in the media that everyone should be fasting’s next best thing. What we're seeing now that for some people it is the next best thing, it's the perfect thing.

Lisa: For these guys, it’s great. 

Neil: For these guys, it’s great. For others, if you put me on a fasting process like that, when we talked about the ectomorph having the high nervous development in the nervous system, need carbohydrates for the brain. I'd be out cold by lunchtime, if I follow through a meal time like that. I would have probably eaten one of my limbs.

So the more time for a person...

Lisa: I mean, you could do a fast. But you do a shorter fast don't you, Neil? So you do a 12-hour as opposed to...

Neil: Yes, so generally I won’t eat after seven in the evening and then don't eat until seven again in the morning. 

Lisa: So it’s a 12-hour fast type of thing? Yes

Neil: So, to kick start my day, I need to eat the carbs.  

Lisa: Yes. And so that's just working in with your thing. Because there is good things about fasting, don't get me wrong here. Like there is really good things about fasting for all body types to a certain degree. Woman have to be a little bit careful with a longer, longer fast, in relation to—so I find and if you're of an ectomorph side of the wheel then, and to a certain extent, a meso, then your fast should be a little bit shorter. 

There are some great things about fasting, especially if you're dealing with weight issues or inflammation on the body. Or if there's some specialized reasons why you want to do longer fasts for autophagy, inhibiting mTOR and things like that. But that's outside today's discussion. 

But it is a general rule, a good 12-hour intermittent fast for an ecto is a great thing to give your body a rest. For an endomorph, if you can last for up to 16 hours or even longer, brilliant. And you can actually even go for longer periods of time if you're really on the endomorph side of the scale without too much detriment. 

So it's a learning to understand but definitely only two to three meals a day. And not five to six meals a day is probably a key takeaway point.

Neil: Correct. And the way we've had the biggest wins just as a little summary for these guys is changing the exercise time. So, moving the exercise the later in the day, and going to three meals, at 10, 2, and 6. Huge, huge, huge wins. 

Lisa: Already. 

Neil: So it's simple changes, massive results.

Lisa: Yes, slower, slower periods in between your seats, or long-distance slow sort of aerobic activity perfect for these guys. 

Okay, now let's go to the ectomorph, the last sort of group on the spectrum, if you like. What do these guys need? 

Neil: So these guys are generally going to be your speed endurance guys and girls. They're going to be the ones that got the ability to live on that threshold. So, they often be your triathletes, your sort of middle-distance runners, those people that—and some people also long-distance runners—but they can live on the edge, that lactate threshold quite comfortably and enjoy it for quite long periods of time. 

So high drive to do that as well. So, they want to do that, enjoy doing that. And we talked as well about them being more developed in the nervous system. So, the rhythmical exercise of cycling and running and swimming, that helps calm his body a little bit as well. So the rhythm is a good exercise, almost like a meditation, will help calm that I find being able to process my thoughts of mine while I'm on a bike or running is the best place to do it. 

Things to be careful of. This body will often be stiffer through the spinal cord and will often have to tie some more rigid tissue. So, you need a balance of that speed endurance work and but also to complement that, you're going to need a lot of mobility work, flexibility work. Okay? Stuff that's going to mobilize, moving up the spine. 

From a repetition point of view, we've just talked about the endomorph having higher reps. I am personally, historically would always come out... 

Lisa: Oh right. Actually. 

Neil:  ...generally done a strength block a couple of times a year. I would end up doing reps of sort of five to eight heavy lifting and that's when I'd usually pick up most of my injuries. The  reason is my body just wasn't, is...

Lisa: Not designed for that.

Neil: Not capable—capable is not the right word—it’s not designed, as you say, to do that. I can put some heavier load through it but we need to be a lot more careful than an endomorph body would. So high reps, 12 to 20 reps, lots of mobility work and really going a day of high intensity, endurance base work followed by a day of recovery, yoga, mobility work, and peaking and troughing like that. 

Okay, and good windows of opportunity with exercise around seven in the morning. And then again in the afternoon, depending on what works best for this body type. Okay, again, seeing quite big differences. Differences in body shape, therefore differences in the type of exercise you're going to respond to and the results you're going to get from it.

Lisa: Yes. Now, I think that rounds it out really nicely. 

So you got your ecto, your endo, and your mesomorph.  And this is a helicopter view, guys. If you want to dig deeper into the whole science of the genetics and epigenetics, then we can get really granular. Like we can tell you, ‘Don't eat kale, do eat spinach’, like down to that root sort of level. 

But just to keep it so you can take away some wins for today, those that I think, try and identify what you are. Whether you're like me, a bit of a mixture between a mesomorph and an ectomorph, and where use it on that scale, listen to this, again. Pick out some of those—because this is about low hanging fruit and getting a couple of wins. And if you take away from this that you should be eating a little bit later in the day and doing your exercise later in the day, then that's a little bit already a positive one then, that’s an understanding.

I think one of the biggest things that I've gotten out of this whole genetics, this whole genre of it, you and I’ve gone down, Neil, in the functional genomics and the epigenetics is, it's okay to be me. In that in all aspects, whether it's us working together in our business, in the way our brains work, in the way our personality is, in the times of the day that we do things, right through to the nutrition, and right through to the social, and understanding, ‘Hey, I was born this way’. 

Not that this is an excuse to be not great at something, but it does explain why I do things in a certain way, and why my brain works in a certain way, why my body reacts in certain ways. And that gives you permission to be you because like as a young woman, I know that I was always wanting to be an ectomorph. I always wanted to be the super skinny model type girl and I was a muscular athletic girl and that was not okay because that was not what I wanted to be. And I know Neil's struggled with the same thing here. Small calf muscles and thought, ‘If I do a billion reps of calf muscle exercise, I’m going to have big calves’. And you're pushing should have basically, aren’t you, Neil? You can’t be what you’re not. 

Neil: They weren’t enough. 

Lisa: Now you love your calves because you can run a lot faster than I can, that's for sure. 

Neil: Yes. They’ll look great in heels. 

Lisa: Exactly. And you know, for someone like mum who struggles with the weight because of the endomorph tendencies. I tell you what if she hadn't had that type of body, she wouldn't have got up out of a wheelchair after two years of being unable to walk. Because she still had muscle mass. She still had good bones, she still didn't have osteoporosis, or anything. 

So there are advantages and there are disadvantages to everybody type. The thing to take away is let's work with our advantages. Let's be aware of our weaknesses and let's accept ourselves, I think, as we are and understand ourselves better. And that's probably a good place to wrap it up...

Neil: Nicely.

Lisa: ...for the day. 

Neil: We'll wrapped up. Very good.

Lisa: Okay guys, well thank you very much once again for listening to us. Please do reach out to either Neil or I if you want support doing this program. We'd love to have you join us of course. 

Or if you've got any other health issues or whatever you want to talk about, or your fitness journey, you're running, you've got some goals, please reach out to us. You can get us at support@lisatamati.com. Give the show a rating and review and share this please with your friends. We love doing this type of thing, aren’t we, Neil?  If we could just do this all day, we’ll be stoked. 

Neil: Would be nice. Would be nice. 

Lisa: We love teaching, we love sharing, we love having good content out there in the world. So, thanks very much, guys and we'll see you again next week.

That's it this week for Pushing The Limits. Be sure to rate, review, and share with your friends and head over and visit Lisa and her team at lisatamati.com

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My favourite running podcast by miles⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

This is the best podcast for long runs. Lisa is just so relatable, honest, funny and inspires me to push my own limits. Awesome guests (I particularly enjoyed the podcast with Kim Morrison) and a wide variety of topics covered. Thanks for keeping me running, Lisa!
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I am getting my mojo back with regards to my health and running after treatment for breast cancer, I connected with Lisa as I was looking for positive influences from people who are long distance runners and understand our mindset. Lisa’s podcasts have been a key factor in getting me out of a negative space where I allowed others limiting beliefs to stop me from following my heart and what I believe is right for me. After 18 months of being in cancer recovery mode I wanted to get out of the cancer mindset and back to achieving goals that had been put aside. Listening to Pushing The Limits has put me onto other great podcasts, and in the process I have learnt so much and am on a pathway to a much better place with my mindset and health. Thanks so much Lisa for doing what you do and always being you.
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