There are three main body types: Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph. Easy to remember, no? No.
Fortunately, it doesn’t matter about the unfathomable names. What’s important is that you understand which one (or ones) you are. Doing so will help you to better understand your body and to find exercise that you’ll enjoy because you have a natural ability at it.
Most people are a mixture of more than one body type:
- Ectomorphs – think supermodels and skinny jeans. Ectomorphs tend to be slim and lean, with narrow shoulders. People with this body type have very little fat and sometimes have accelerated metabolisms, meaning they can eat a lot and never gain weight. If you battle with your weight, this may make you envious. However, ectomorphs who long to be more curvaceous or muscular often find it difficult to reach this goal. Ectomorphs tend to be good at long distance and endurance sports, like cycling or running.
- Mesomorphs – these are your more athletic people. Mesomorphs are more muscular than the previously mentioned ectomorphs, with broad shoulders and narrow waists. Their increased muscle mass is linked to the male hormone, testosterone, so it is mainly men who are mesomorphs. As we all have testosterone though, many women are also mesomorphs. Mesomorphs are usually good at any sports, especially those requiring a lot of power and weight, like rugby.
- Endomorphs – typically pear and apple shaped bodies. Endomorphs are, unfortunately, predisposed to store body fat. They have wider waists and may also have a good amount of muscle mass, although it might not be immediately obvious. More women than men are endomorphs because we are designed to store fat to feed our babies. Endomorphs are often well suited to sports which require a lot of power and intervals of high intensity. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) could be just the thing for you.
Do you recognise yourself in any of these descriptions? If you do, can you think of a sport or exercise that might suit you?
Understanding your body type can help you have realistic health and fitness goals for yourself. If you have struggled with your weight for your whole life, you are likely to be more of an endomorph. This does not mean that weight loss is hopeless for you – it may just mean that you need to eat fewer calories than you think you need, and to increase the intensity of your physical exercise. And if you are more of a lean ectomorph, you may have to rethink those dreams of becoming a bodybuilder! And if you are more of a mesomorph? We’re all envious!