One of the most important places to start when creating an extraordinary life is improving our health and fitness. But different bodies require different routines. So, the question is: are you doing the right exercises and diets for your body type?
Here’s what you need to know about caring and training for your individual body type.
How Many Different Body Types Are There?
Both men and women come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. So, you have to wonder: are there really different body types that we are all somehow categorized into?
Physician and psychologist, William Herbert Sheldon analyzed thousands of photographs to determine similarities in the human physique. And he concluded that there are three general body types, which he called somatotypes.
What Are the Body Types?
The three body types are ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.
Everyone falls into one of the three categories, and your ideal health and fitness lifestyle depends on which group you’re in.
Wondering which body type you are? Let’s explore each somatotype in closer detail.
Ectomorphs are relatively lean, wiry body types with narrow frames and long limbs. They have difficulty building muscle and as a result, are usually more inclined to excel at cardiovascular activities.
They often have a fast metabolism, which allows their bodies to burn calories rapidly. As a result, they’re often quite lean without much body fat.
Should an ectomorph pile on the calories if they’re looking to gain weight? Well, not exactly.
Adding more calories to your diet can help you put on the pounds. But this doesn’t mean you should stock up on junk food.
There are ways to increase your caloric intake by eating more healthy fats and proteins like meat, fish, nuts, and seeds.
A small snack or meal before sleep may also help. By eating before they go to bed, those with an ectomorph body type can prevent muscle catabolism.
What about an ideal ectomorph workout?
At the gym, an ideal routine for an ectomorph will be intense and short.
The name of the game is quick sessions to get your muscles going without putting your metabolism into overdrive. In addition, the workouts should focus on large muscle groups, like the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core.
With their exceptional muscle mass, large bones, and rectangular shape, mesomorphs are hard to miss. These natural athletes excel at just about any physical activity they take on.
Mesomorphs have the ability to lose or gain weight, depending on their fitness goals.
A sensible balance of protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats is what will help mesomorphs get the most from their bodies.
This diet coupled with a mix of cardio and targeted weight training will yield the best results.
Their bodies take well to both cardio exercise and weight training. But mesomorphs still need proper training and nutrition to achieve the results they’re looking for.
Endomorphs are often shorter than the other two body types. They have thick legs and arms with a rounder body. Overall, you may describe them as stocky.
Nevertheless, endomorphs are strong, particularly in their legs. They gain muscle quite easily but can also easily gain fat, which can be tricky for them to lose. The reason for this lies in a slow metabolism, so a sensible diet is an absolute must.
Because endomorphs have a slower metabolism it’s easier for their bodies to convert carbohydrates to fat than other body types. Their best diet consists of plenty of healthy fat and protein. You might choose to follow a diet similar to paleo.
Prioritizing healthy fat and protein foods in your diet means that you would have more lean meats, high protein vegetables, nuts, and eggs.
Avoid all processed foods like frozen meals, simple carbs like pasta or white bread, and fatty butter similar to margarine. The best way to consume carbohydrates is to go for complex carbs like fruits, starchy vegetables, and whole grains.
Endomorphs benefit most from planned workouts that are designed to expedite fat burning and define muscles. Weightlifting plus cardio is usually the winning combination.
How Can You Identify Your Body Type?
The quickest way to identify your somatotype from the three types of body build is to evaluate yourself objectively. You can also try a body type quiz, but a quick look in the mirror works too!
Everyone has different types of bodies, so set aside how you feel about your appearance and be honest with yourself.
Start with your physique. Are you tall, average, or short? Are you lean, round, or plump?
Next, think about how your body responds when you eat and exercise. Do you gain weight easily? Do you have trouble gaining build muscle?
These are the traits to look for your type of body build:
- Ectomorph: You have almost no body fat, a wiry frame, and long slender limbs.
- Mesomorph: You have a proportionate figure with a balance between muscle and fat.
- Endomorph: You have a stocky frame and large, powerful legs.
Can you be a combination of two body types?
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to different types of body builds. In fact, many people are a combination of two body types: ecto-meso and meso-ecto.
The ecto-endo combo, however, is less common because it’s usually acquired due to behavior, such as poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle.
What Are Body Types for Females?
Like males, females can be categorized into endomorph, ectomorph, mesomorph. The characteristics are similar as well.
Female ectomorphs find it hard to gain weight. They have a narrow body frame with thin arms and legs. Cameron Diaz is a great example of an ectomorph type.
Female ectos should always protect their joints while exercising. However, regular cardio combined with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can do wonders for their physique.
Strength training is also a good option, as it helps them build muscle around their lean frames.
Mesomorphs, on the other hand, have naturally curvy bodies with well-defined muscles. They are known to gain muscle quickly, and HIIT training can be an effective way to streamline both their cardio and strength training interests.
A great example of a female mesomorph? Look no further than Jessica Biel or Halle Berry.
Endomorphs are typically pear-shaped and have narrow shoulders coupled with wider hips.
Like their male counterparts, female endomorphs gain fat quickly and have a slower metabolism. But they can use a combination of weightlifting and HIIT to shed excess fat and build more muscle.
A quick look at Kim Kardashian or Beyonce is enough to highlight the typical female endomorph body.
The Final Word
Determining your body type can help you better understand how your body works and what it needs. But in the quest for greater health, we need more than just a healthy diet and exercise routine.
It’s a journey that requires perseverance, stamina, and willpower. But it will lead you to the realization of your full physical potential.
What are your personal goals?