As many bodybuilding and nutrition enthusiasts very likely already know, which of the three major body types you possess makes a huge difference as far as how your body will respond to different exercise regimens and dietary plans. If you’re just starting out, it’s even more important to know which category you fall into so that you can put together a plan from the beginning that will be most effective for you, working with your body rather than against it.
The body type system most commonly used by bodybuilders today was first developed in the 1940’s by William Sheldon, an American psychologist who spent a lifetime studying different physical body types, as well as how they related to different personality types and physiological make-ups. According to Sheldon, all people more or less fall into one of three body types – the ectomorph, the mesomorph, and the endomorph. Let’s take a look at each of the types in turn along with its characteristics.
Ectomorphs generally have a tall, skinny, lean build with an overall fragile appearance and sharp facial features. They also tend to possess characteristics such as a weak lower jaw, sensitive skin that burns easily, and sensitivity to heat or cold. The bones and joints of an ectomorph are relatively small compared to other body types, and they don’t tend to possess a high volume in terms of muscle. This makes them the body type that has the most trouble with building muscle mass.
As far as a workout regimen goes, ectomorphs should concentrate on building muscle mass. They can definitely benefit from weight training, but they should be careful not to overwork themselves or train for too long at a time. They should also avoid activities that burn tons of calories, such as high impact aerobics, and opt for activites such as tai chi, yoga, or walking instead. As far as nutrition, ectomorphs should consume high-calorie diets, but the must be sure that they are nonetheless consuming good, nutritious foods instead of junk and empty calories.
Mesomorphs typically have naturally fit bodies that feature small waists and tapered body torsos. They also have well-defined facial features and bone structure, and limbs that are well-developed and well-muscled. Mesomorphs also typically have thick hair, as well as thick skin that tans much more easily than that of ectomorphs. Mesomorphs also put on muscle much more easily than ectomorphs and typically have a much higher endurance level.
Mesomorphs should also work on building muscle mass, and are able to train for longer periods than ectomorphs and they can also train using moderately heavy to heavy weights. They should also make sure to get plenty of good quality cardiovascular exercise in the form of aerobics, cycling, running, or sports. The diet should be balanced and rich in nutritious, wholesome foods, but unlike ectomorphs, mesomorphs must keep an eye out for gradual weight gain.
Endomorphs generally possess round, soft, stocky bodies that put on weight easily and feature limbs that typically appear short or stubby. Hands and feet tend to possess a relatively small appearance. The upper body also tends to be more developed than the lower body. Endomorphs also tend to have features like round faces, fine or wispy hair, and soft skin.
An endomorph’s biggest issue is usually fat loss and the focus should be on trimming down and replacing some of the lost fat with muscle mass instead. Training with weights is recommended to help improve the body ratio of muscle to fat, which will in turn help with staying trim and warding off future weight gain. Daily activities such as aerobics, brisk walking, and cycling are recommended to help burn excess calories and develop an active lifestyle. The diet should be nutritious, rich in low-calorie and low-fat foods, and completely lacking in any type of junk food.