Have you ever wondered why some people stay lean, regardless of what they eat? And other people, who have never seen the inside of a gym, appear perfectly toned with V-shaped torsos. Have genetics been cruel to you and sentenced you to a life of failed diets and pending obesity?
What most of us don’t know is that the overwhelming majority of people fall into one of three main body types, endomorphs, ectomorphs and mesomorphs. The concept of categorizing body types into these three groups was put forward in 1940 by American psychologist, William Sheldon. Each body type tends towards not only particular physical traits but particular personality traits, after all, it was the psychology that Sheldon was most interested in.
Understanding which body type you are will give you a tremendous advantage towards achieving your training goals.
Ectomorphs tend to be thin with long wiry limbs and narrow shoulders. They have a super high metabolism and can eat virtually anything they like and not gain weight. This makes it difficult for them to improve their muscle mass. Ectos can put on weight, usually later in life as their metabolism tends to slow, they’re still an ectomorph, just a fat one. This is not the ideal body type for body building but perfect for endurance sports. They tend to have a nervous personality, and often are inhibited, sensitive and thoughtful. One big fat advantage ectos have is that as they age, they tend to look younger than their peers.
If you’re an ecto and your life depends on gaining muscle then you will need to up your calorie intake, focus on working large muscle groups and cross the treadmill off your training plan. You should consider including supplements to assist with muscle gain, and remember to stock up on protein before going to bed to avoid muscle catabolism while you sleep.
A pure mesomorph is genetically blessed with natural (or unnatural) muscular development. They might find that they tend to lose and gain weight with ease. Even those mentioned earlier, who don’t know what a gym looks like will have a thick-set body with prominent trapezius, deltoid and forearm muscles. Put a meso inside that gym to throw some weights around hey presto, instant Adonis! This is the perfect body type for body building and sprint events. Just like a silverback, they can be decisive, aggressive and assertive, and have a tendency to drag their knuckles on the ground. All of that agro may be why they tend to develop an overly mature appearance as they age.
Mesomorphs put on weight more easily than ectos – both fat and muscle – so they need to be careful with their calorie intact and go for a run, jump on a spin bike or pack a skipping rope as part of their exercise routine.
Endomorphs are unfortunately gifted with the amazing ability to convert almost anything they eat straight into fat. They have large, soft bodies and short necks. The metabolism of an endo runs lower than the other body types which is the main reason why they tend to put on weight very easily and will also need to work harder than most to lose that weight. This is also a good body type for body building because behind all of that fat is a strong, dense, heavy-set frame. Although endos might appear timid, they are also extroverted, easy going and generally comfortable.
Endomorphs also need to include plenty of cardio as well as resistance training in their exercise regime.
Which one are you? If you don’t fit one of the three classic body types, you may be a hybrid, see below…
Ectomorph Ecto/Mesomorph Mesomorph Meso/Endomorph Endomorph