A Beginner’s Guide to Body Types
I think you will agree with me when I say:
It’s REALLY hard to change your natural body type.
When sizing up your strengths and weaknesses. Your body type is a big factor. Generally speaking, there are 3 body types: Ectomorph, Endomorph and Mesomorph. While you might not be familiar with these alien-sounding names, you are probably familiar with what they look like. You probably even know a few.
Like your friend Jessica who can eat whatever she wants without ever putting on any fat (the Ectomorph) or the natural jock who seems to pack on muscle each time he lifts a bag of groceries (the Mesomorph).
You might have thought to yourself that they are just lucky and you are just doomed, but I’m here to tell you you’re wrong. Once you know a little more about the body types and what it takes to mold them, you’ll learn how to achieve the body you want.
Body Type Test
Here’s a very brief test to help you find your body type:
In the first group, we have our ectomorphs. These are the guys who can eat whatever they like without putting on any fat. That being said, the ectomorph can also have a lot of trouble putting on muscle mass, too. Ectomorph body types are easy to spot. Skinny appearance with a small frame and slight joints. She can eat like mad because her metabolism is super quick, and you may notice that she always has a ton of energy. Ectomorphs are typically hyperactive, get full easily, and can have difficulty putting on muscle—particularly in the chest and buttocks regions.
All of this contributes to the fact that the world’s greatest endurance athletes are typically ectomorphs. Endurance training assists with increasing your base metabolism, so that your body will not only burn more energy while you’re running—you’ll be burning more calories while walking, standing and even sitting, too! The ectomorphic body type is packed with lean muscle and super low body fat, making for an incredibly durable and lightweight athlete.
- Skinny frame
- Low body fat
- Lean muscle
Ectomorph training session
Longer, low/medium-intensity workouts are typical for this body type. That includes long-distance running, walking, biking, swimming, paddleboarding and rowing for anything up to two hours! In the gym, this translates to low-intensity, high repetition exercises in anything from core workouts to push-ups and lunges.
Endomorphs and ectomorphs are at opposite ends of the spectrum on most points. Where ectomorphs struggle to gain weight, endomorphs can put on fat with ease. They have large frames with thick bones and a generally heavy look about them. Tightly cut muscle definition isn’t something you’ll see on an endomorph. These guys are high in something called ‘adipose tissue’; a fatty tissue which actually helps to prevent a lot of illness and injury.
Endomorphs are some of the strongest, most powerful athletes in the world. Olympic weightlifters are a typical example, along with NFL linebackers and those famous Japanese Sumo wrestlers.
- High body fat
- Strong, powerful athletes
- Large frame
- Difficulty losing weight
Endomorphic Training & Food
An endomorph’s workout will typically be between 45-60 minutes of actual work time, usually with a focus on heavy lifting, low-repetition exercises. 2-3 minute breaks between exercises are typical, too, since the muscles need time to recover after lifting such heavy loads.
Finally, we get to the mesomorphs. This is Michael Phelps, this is Arnold Schwarzenegger; this is the natural jock who can seemingly put on muscle at will while maintaining a low body fat percentage. Wide shoulders and a symmetrical build are typical, along with a small waist and tightly packed musculature. Along with packing on muscle at will, mesomorphs can also burn fat incredibly quickly—this means that they can eat whatever they want while still keeping incredible body tone. The stereotypical male body type.
This is the body type with which mainstream media has decorated its front pages. And maybe this is with good reason—it’s attractive, powerful and rare. When most people sign up for a gym membership, somewhere in the back of their mind is an image of themselves as a shredded, six-packed mesomorph.
- Tightly packed muscles
- Low-medium body fat
- Wide shoulders
- Symmetrical build
- Gains muscle easily
- Burns fat just as easily
Mesomorph Training & Food
Pure Breeds and Everything In Between
The truth is, it’s incredibly rare for someone to be purely Mesomorph or any other kind of ‘morph’. It’s much more likely that you fall somewhere between two—say between an Ectomorph and a Mesomorph. You may even have some qualities from all three.
The important thing to know is that these traits are not set in stone. You might start out with an Endomorphic body type, but with the right training you can certainly move your way into the Mesomorph ranks.