Your body type, or somatotype, is a system of classification developed in the 1940s by Dr. W.H. Sheldon. The theory categorizes human physiques into three broad types: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. Sheldon hypothesized that people were predetermined to have one of these three bodily compositions, and that a person’s somatotype was set in stone right from their birth.
It’s now been disproven that a person’s physicality is in any way fixed for their whole life. Your physique is a combination of a multitude of factors, such as genetics, geographic location, and social influences. But most of it comes down to lifestyle choices: diet, daily activities, and your exercise regimen.
What Are the Three Broad Body Types?
Ectomorphs are naturally very slim, with narrow shoulders, small hips, and thin limbs. They tend to have very low body fat and a greater skin surface area relative to their body mass. They find it a bigger challenge to gain weight rather than lose it.
Mesomorphs enjoy a middle-of-the-road build, with broad shoulders and narrow hips. They are characterized by hard, rectangular outlines, put on muscle quite easily, and tend to have low body fat as well.
Endomorphs have a more rounded physique, with wider hips and shorter limbs. They tend to store more fat in their bodies, especially in their arms and legs. They find it harder to build muscle and lose weight. This doesn’t imply that endomorphs are unhealthy. You simply have to tailor your workout routine to fit your physiology.
That said, everyone’s body exists within a physical spectrum and isn’t a fixed variable. You can work on your body, like everything else in life, to achieve the shape and level of fitness you want. However, before you plunge into a specific training regimen, you should prepare for it with the right foods and diet.
Nutrition is incredibly important. This doesn’t necessarily mean a low or high calorie diet, but a balanced composition of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. If nothing else, remember this: exercising without the right nutritional support is counterproductive, and in many cases will wear down the very muscles you’re trying to train.
How to Train for a Body Type?
Alongside hitting the gym, there are plenty of outdoor and indoor exercises you can do to stay healthy. If there’s a specific body type you currently align with, here are exercise regimens you can adopt to get fitter:
Ectomorphs – Strength Training to Build Muscle Mass
Strength training is the way to go to improve your musculature. Use heavy weights, but balance it with adequate rest. Try to complete 8-10 reps and 6-8 sets of each exercise. Rest your muscles for a few minutes between sets and between exercises. If they feel sore, stop training till you recover. Try to limit your training to 1-2 body parts per day to conserve calories.
For the same reason, limit your cardio as well. We advise brisk walks and low-intensity bike rides – use an e-bike if you have to!
Mesomorphs – Varied Workouts to Maintain Muscle
A combination of moderate strength training and cardio is ideal for you. Get through 8-12 reps for basic exercises, including shoulder and chest presses, squats, deadlifts, and so on. Add in heavier weights for your legs. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your routine either. Mix in strength training activities that are fun and will help you achieve your fitness and sporting goals. Around 20 minutes of cardio done three times a week is sufficient for you.
Endomorphs – Broad Approach for Weight Loss
Cardio is a must. Work yourself into a decent level of cardiovascular fitness with some low-to-moderate steady-state training. Limit the impact on your knees so they don’t get too sore. Swimming, walking, and biking are great options.
Once your cardio starts plateauing, add in some high-intensity interval training (HIIT). For weight training, try and push yourself with 8-12 reps for the upper body and 12-20 reps for the lower body.
Don’t approach training as a chore. Find ways to make it fun and make your training regimen work for you. Work out with an exercise partner for mutual motivation. Try and get a feel for the best time of day to exercise by checking in with your body to see when it’s most responsive. And if you ever start to struggle to keep up with your regimen, always remember that it gets easier with time!