DETERMINING YOUR BODY TYPE:
Perhaps it was immediately obvious which body group you fell into. But if it was not, think about how you react to food and exercise.
METABOLISM – Do you gain weight quickly if you eat the wrong foods or after going on a lazy holiday? If you lose this weight rapidly after a change in diet or some exercise, you are probably a mesomorph. If you struggle to lose these extra pounds, then you exhibit endomorphic features. If you do not put on any weight, you most likely are an ectomorph.
EATING HABITS – Compare your eating habits with your appearance. If you consume a large amount of calories and are still thin, you are probably an ectomorph. If you eat a small number of calories and still appear thin and healthy you are probably a mesomorph. If you consume few calories and still appears heavy you are probably an endomorph.
SIZE OF JOINTS/ BONES – To determine whether you are small, medium, or larger boned/ jointed, encircle your wrist with your thumb and middle finger. If your middle finger overlaps your thumb, then you are small boned/ jointed (ectomorph). If your middle finger and thumb just touch, you have medium sized bones/ joints (mesomorph). If your finger and thumb do not touch, then you are larger boned/ jointed (endomorph)
THINK BACK – To help determine your body type, think back to your adolescence, a time before age (metabolism slows as you get older, making you more prone to weight gain) and lifestyle transformed your body into what it is today.
PICTURES – Look at some images of the various body types here and see if you identify with any of the body types.
ONE LAST THING … Everyone has the potential to develop a great shape – regardless of his or her dominant body type. Losing inches, especially off your problem areas, can be accomplished through proper exercise and eating habits. If you are a large-framed person, though you will never be willowy, you can be slender and fit, wear a size 8 with room to spare and look super sexy in a bikini.
However, it is futile for a person with strong mesomorph or endomorph characteristics to aim to be willowy like an ectomorph, this will only lead to disappointment and ill health. Even if this target thinness were reached, it probably would not look good, could be difficult in the extreme to maintain and would continue to have adverse effects on the body.
Do the right cardiovascular exercise for your body type to improve your body and get the results you want? Also, ectomorph workouts, mesomorph and endomorphs need to train differently when it comes to resistance training.
Click on the body types below to see more
Typically, an ectomorph will have a small build and a linear physique which can be described as resembling a rectangle. Their frame is ‘delicate’ and they have little fat or muscle.
- Small chest
- Long limbs
- Narrow hips
- Finds it difficult to gain fat and muscle
- Low body fat
Ectomorphs are often referred to as your ‘hard gainers’, this group of people struggle to gain muscle and have a fast metabolism, meaning they are less likely to gain fat as well. These are the people who seem to eat and eat and never gain any weight. Ectomorphs’ fast metabolism also requires a higher carbohydrate intake than other body types, as they burn energy quickly.
Endurance sports and events are where the ectomorph will dominate as this body type is better at thermoregulation. Typically, their body type means they make the perfect runner: light and agile. If you are an ectomorph but running is not for you, the ectomorph’s light frame is also well suited to other aerobic activities such as gymnastics due to their lower body weight.
In order to support this lighter frame, ectomorphs will require hypertrophy (muscle building) training. Lifting weights will help to increase their bone density and enhance the strength of their naturally weaker build, which is more susceptible to injury. Female ectomorphs may use hypertrophy training to build curves on their naturally slight frame whilst male ectomorphs will require hypertrophy training if they want to gain size.
The ectomorph is easy to distinguish – he is often below the average weight for their height and with a skinny appearance. Ectomorph tends to have a high metabolism and is complaining of relentless eating with no weight gain.
- Skinny appearance
- Low body fat
- Narrow frame (“pencil frame”)
- Narrow hips and clavicles
- Small joints (wrist/ankles)
- Thin build
- Stringy muscle bellies
- Long limbs
- Small chest and buttocks
- Fast metabolism
- Can eat whatever they want
- Get full easily
- Difficulty building muscle
- Difficulty gaining weight
Ectomorph can easily lose fat but also can hardly gain muscle. The very special diet is needed to maintain or to gain weight.
ECTOMORPH DIETING TIPS:
- Eat at least 6 – 7 meals a day, break calories up into several small meals if impossible to stomach big meals
- Eat at least 50-60% carbohydrates compare to total daily calories amount
- Eat high density foods such as almonds, avocado, peanut butter, nuts
- Eat junk foods you enjoy, even unhealthy (in moderation)
- Use high calories weight gainers to add calories, with milk if well digested
ECTOMORPH TRAINING TIPS:
- Heavy train weights, use sets of 5-10 repetitions
- Take long rest breaks (because of high weights used)
- Do compound lifts (squat, dead lift, bench press, rows, pull-ups, chin-ups, military press and overhead press) to solicit as much muscle groups as possible.
- Do not do cardio (or short high intensity sessions only).
- Bruce Lee is a perfect example of an ectomorph body type.
Mesomorphs are thought to have the body most aspire for. They typically have a medium-sized frame and boast a high percentage of natural lean muscle. Male mesomorphs are often described as having a ‘V’ shape; broad shoulders which taper into a small, lean waist.
- Naturally muscular
- Medium/low body fat, evenly stored throughout the body
- Females: defined hourglass figure
- Males: large shoulders and a small waistline
Mesomorphs are generally regarded as your ‘athletic’ body type. These people find it easy to gain muscle and burn fat. Mesomorphs can afford a moderate level of carbohydrates to fuel their training and should keep their protein intake high to maintain lean muscle mass.
Their proportionate and muscular physique enables them to gain strength easily and makes them perfect athletes for sports which require strength and power such as weightlifting, bodybuilding, or triathlon.
The best type of training for the mesomorph is interval training as it stimulates the body and keeps you on your toes. Short, sharp bursts of high-intensity activity will work best to keep the mesomorph’s lean physique looking good.
The mesomorph is someone between the ectomorph and the endomorph and as such, displays qualities from both. He seems to put on muscle just by looking at weights, and he is maintaining a lean physique despite a high calories amount. He has a larger bone structure then the endomorph does, but a low body fat percentage as the ectomorph one. The perfect body type that everybody wants to have.
- Wide clavicles – as well as shoulders
- Symmetrical build
- Narrow waist
- Thinner joints
- Long and round muscle bellies
- Small waist
- Low body fat
- Large musculature
- Seems to put on muscle easily
- Seems to burn fat easily
- Eats in moderation
MESOMORPH DIETING TIPS:
- Eat at max 40-50% carbohydrates compare to total daily calories amount
- Portion meals carefully, using scale to be precise: the perfect body type needs perfect nutrition to progress
- Break meals into 5-6 small meals throughout the day
- Eat enough calories and protein contain to maintain muscle mass
MESOMORPH TRAINING TIPS:
- Mix heavyweight and moderate weight sessions
- Train using 8-12 repetition reps
- 30 seconds up to 1 min rest periods between sets
- Enough cardio to stay lean, short periods (20-30 minutes after workout is a good value)
- Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone are perfect examples of mesomorph body type.
Endomorphs have the greatest tendency towards ‘roundness’. These are the people often described as ‘big boned’. The ‘easy gainers’, mesomorphs gain and hold weight easily.
- Larger, round body shape
- Shorter arms and legs
- Higher body fat percentage
- Wide hips and wide shoulders
- Puts on fat and muscle easily but struggles to lose weight
Endomorphs have the hardest job when it comes to maintaining low body fat and good fitness. Their slower metabolism means they gain fat easily but find it hard to shift. Endomorphs need to watch their carbohydrate intake and ensure they expend the calories they eat.
Endomorphs are best suited for strength and power sports such as powerlifting, strongman, and sumo wrestling. Their large size, short limbs, and easy ability to pack on muscle will give them an advantage in these types of activities. They will struggle with endurance sports like running due to their heavier weight and denser bones.
It’s important for endomorphs to maintain cardio training to keep a lower level of body fat. Endomorphs who are happy to pack on size will enjoy lifting heavy weights with a low rep range, 4-6. They will enjoy typical powerlifting and strongman moves such as deadlifts, squats, and farmer’s walks. If you think you are an endomorph but want to slim down, you will see the best results by doing high intensity interval training and eating a low carb, high fat diet.
The endomorph body type is the complete opposite of an ectomorph. He is larger in appearance, owning a heavier fat accumulation and little muscle definition. It is hard for him to drop the fat, even using several hard diets, workout programs and lot of cardio, but putting on muscle tissue is a game.
- Is a block
- Thick rib cage
- Wide/thicker joints
- Hips as wide (or wider) than clavicles
- Short limbs
- Large amount of fat accumulation
- Large skeleton
- Low muscle definition due to adipose tissue
- Often fatigue easily
- Insatiable appetite – eat large meals or several smaller sized meals
- Need to try many diets and workouts to find the best
- Workouts to failure
- Do not seem to drop weight easy
ENDOMORPHS DIETING TIPS:
- Need to portion meals appropriately – scale is mandatory
- Eat at max 20-30% carbohydrates compare to total daily calories amount
- Eat non processed foods and whole grains
- Eat tons of vegetables to be full
- Drink plenty of water
- Long diet plan is the only working
- Divide the daily caloric intake into 5-6 meals
- To lose fat, take in 200-500 calories less than the maintained caloric intake
ENDOMORPHS TRAINING TIPS:
- Train using sets with 15 and more repetitions
- Take 30-45 second for rest periods between sets
- Do as much cardio as possible! After workout as well as at morning on empty stomach
- Do also compound lifts (squat, dead lift, bench press, rows, pull-ups, chin-ups, military press, and overhead press) at every workout to burn more calories
- Jennifer Lopez is the perfect example of endomorph body type.