Since its inception more than 70 years ago, physician and psychologist William Sheldon’s theory on constitutional psychology and somatotypes has been challenged and disputed.
But not for many nutritionists and fitness professionals. The theory itself is a great tool for determining the individual body type and the fitness routine that goes with it. In addition, it gives you insight into how each somatotype might behave.
Here are some of the nuances of Dr. Sheldon’s theory that you should know about.
What Is Sheldon’s Somatotype Theory?
According to Sheldon, humans can be grouped into three different body types (ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph). Each type is said to have distinct physical and metabolic characteristics.
This is all described in Sheldon’s work on constitutional psychology.
The basic principles of constitutional psychology can be traced to eugenics, which has been abandoned for ethical reasons. However, somatotypes and certain principles of constitutional psychology are still relevant today.
What Is Sheldon’s Theory of Personality?
Per Sheldon’s constitutional theory, there are certain personality traits that correspond to each body type. Here they are:
Ectomorphs are usually somewhat self-conscious. They enjoy their privacy and like to keep quiet. They’re private people that only let a few close friends into their inner circle.
They’re also said to be quite creative and artistic.
Mesomorphs are adventurous and unafraid to venture beyond their comfort zone. You may often find them engaging in novel activities with new people.
Assertiveness is not a problem for mesomorphs, who tend to have a dominant personality. But they sometimes take this too far and are considered to be domineering, aggressive, and overbearing.
Endomorphs are friendly, laid back, and tolerant. They often get along well with others and have a warm and inviting energy.
In addition to being a people’s person, endomorphs are usually fond of food and affection. They can also be described as good-humored and fun-loving.
What Are the 3 Types of Body Composition?
Besides personality traits, William Sheldon also defined what each somatotype looks like.
This type can be generally described as tall and lean. Ectomorphs have a quick metabolism that makes it challenging for them to gain weight, both in the form of muscle and fat.
They usually have a narrow chest and shoulders, and long, lean limbs.
Mesomorphs are inherently muscular with strong legs and arms. This somatotype has a metabolism that helps them to regulate their body weight. Mesomophs take well to physical activity and are natural atheletes.
Endomorphs tend to have narrow shoulders and wide hips. Female endomorphs especially display more of a pear-shaped figure.
Endomorphs are also known to have a slow metabolism which makes them gain weight easily. But they are also the most adept at building muscle mass.
How Can You Tell Your Body Type?
A set point is a simple measure that lets you lock onto a particular health level.
– Vishen Lakhiani, founder and CEO of Mindvalley
Set points can be different for each somatotype. So, take a close look at your physique. This should help you determine your body type and act accordingly to find your personal set points.
Your body might fit somewhere in between the described somatotypes. Most people have the traits of at least two somatotypes. And again, it pays to know the unique characteristics of your body if you want to find the best exercise and nutrition.
Last Words of Wisdom
William Sheldon paved the way for you to unlock the full potential of your body. Some may disagree with his somatotype theory, which has undergone many revisions over the years. For fitness enthusiasts at least, the theory is a great way to get a better idea of your body type.
But your body type isn’t the only thing that defines the way you look and feel.
As Jon Butcher, Author of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Program says, “The key is the habits you put in place and then being true to those habits.”
Take Sheldon’s principle as a basic guide and try to better your life by adopting the habits that can make you happier and healthier.
Are you an ectomorph, endomorph, or mesomorph? Let us know in the comments below!