Get ten different people in a room and put them on the same exercise and diet plan. Although everything is exactly the same, some of those people will respond better to the exercise and diet plan than others. You’ve seen this before – what works for one doesn’t always work for another. Exercise and diet plans are individualized because exercise and dietary choices are impacted by your body type.
In the 1940s, Dr. William Sheldon introduced the concept of somatypes. Somatypes are a categorization of body styles into one of three general categories. These categories include the ectomorph, the endomorph, and the mesomorph. The difference between the body types includes body density, bone structure, and musculature.
1. The Ectomorph
The ectomorph has a lean and long body style. These people generally have very little body fat and very lean muscle. It is extremely hard for an ectomorph to build up muscles or have womanly curves. Under periods of stress, the ectomorph may become dangerously thin and have bones that jut out of their frame. Examples of ectomorphs are runway models and basketball players.
Workouts for an ectomorph should be short, intense and focused on muscle gains. They should supplement with natural protein powders in order to keep their calories high enough to meet their metabolism needs. Ectomorphs can also eat more carbs than the other two types.
2. The Endomorph
The endomorph has a large bone structure with lots of natural body fat and natural body curves. They can easily gain weight even when limiting calories. These people have to work very hard in order to lose weight and may never be considered truly skinny. They may also be naturally strong, but they usually have a lower tolerance for carbohydrates. Examples of endomorphs are football linemen or powerlifters.
Workouts should include both muscle building exercises (which are usually very easy for this type) and cardio exercises (which are much more difficult for this type). When planning a diet, limiting carbohydrates to the bare minimum is required. Additional carbohydrates can be added but only after intense muscle-building and cardio workouts. Diets should be higher in protein and very healthy fats with lots of raw and steamed vegetables.
3. The Mesomorph
The mesomorph is a naturally athletic and strong person that is neither too curvy nor too skinny. They can lose weight or gain weight relatively easy and without a lot of thought. This type is testosterone dominant and may be more predisposed to lower body fat gain when they do gain weight. Examples of mesomorphs are soccer players or football quarterbacks.
Workouts should be focused on strong muscle gain with a moderate level of cardio to increase fat burn. The diet for a mesomorph should be an evenly mixed diet of complex carbohydrates, protein and fat. High fiber foods may help to discourage sugar cravings. When not training or exercising, the mesomorph should limit carbohydrate intake.
Most people are a combination of the three styles, but do tend to be more like one style than another. What’s important from understanding your body type is learning how to use your strengths to become healthier and fitter. You can also learn those things you should avoid in terms of diet and exercise so you don’t sabotage your own efforts.